medwireNews: Taking omega-3 is associated with a reduction in measures of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity, suggests real-world data.
The findings, presented at the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, show statistically significant associations between omega-3 supplementation in the past year and disease activity variables including lower DAS28-CRP score and fewer tender and swollen joints.
Data for 1557 RA patients were obtained from the Brigham Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS). As part of the study, they were asked twice a year about what herbal or health food preparations they currently took for their arthritis.
“From this question, we collected data on supplements containing docosahexanoic acid or DHA, eicosapantaenoic acid or EPA, and alpha linolenic acid or ALA, presenter Adel Andemeskel, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, explained.
“These supplements came in many forms; they came in fish oils, salmon oil, krill oil, as well as flaxseed or flaxseed oil, or simply omega-3s.”
A total of 640 participants were identified as omega-3 users based on taking supplements at least once in the past year, with an average 33 months of total use and 11 months of consistent use.
Andemeskel commented that omega-3 users were more likely than the 917 nonusers to be female, have at least a college education, and to be taking biologics.
“A higher percentage of non-omega-3 users took corticosteroids,” she noted.
The findings showed that omega-3 use was significantly associated with a lower DAS-28-CRP score, tender joint count, and swollen joint count, with β-estimates of –0.159, –0.136, and –0.123, respectively, after taking into account demographic characteristics, seropositivity, and methotrexate, biologic, and corticosteroid use.
Andemeskel noted that one of the limitations of the study was the lack of information on the type, dose and duration of omega-3 use, which she concluded requires further investigation from “large, real-world cohort data.”
By Lucy Piper
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