Cod Liver Oil May Slow Osteoarthritis

Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004
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Cod liver oil helped slow the destruction of joint cartilage in osteoarthritis patients, a British study found. Medical experts predict that cod liver oil could lower the number of knee and hip replacements done annually and shorten waiting lists for joint replacement surgery.

The study included 31 participants in the United Kingdom who were on a national waiting list for total knee joint replacement surgery. Of the 31 patients, 50% took cod liver oil and 50% took a placebo for 10 to 12 weeks before their surgery. The study results showed that 86% of the arthritis patients who took 1000-mg capsules of extra-high-strength cod liver oil daily had no levels, or dramatically reduced levels, of the enzymes that cause cartilage damage, compared with 26% of the arthritis patients who took a placebo.

"This breakthrough is hugely significant because it demonstrates the efficacy of cod liver oil in patients with osteoarthritis taken prior to their joint replacement surgery," said researcher Bruce Caterson, PhD. "The data [suggest] that cod liver oil had a dual mode of action, potentially slowing down the cartilage degeneration inherent in osteoarthritis and also reducing factors that cause pain and inflammation."

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