Potential role for omega-3 PUFAs in RA non-inflammatory pain suppression
medwireNews: Study results suggest that dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is inversely associated with unacceptable and refractory pain, but not inflammatory pain, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
In a study of 591 patients with early RA receiving methotrexate treatment, the researchers found that patients in the highest tertile for omega-3 intake were approximately half as likely to experience unacceptable pain as those in the lowest tertile after adjustment for potentially confounding factors (odds ratio=0.57).
And participants with a higher omega-6 to -3 ratio were more likely to experience unacceptable pain than those with a lower ratio.
The team observed similar associations between these PUFAs and refractory pain, but omega-3 and -6 levels were not correlated with inflammatory pain.
Previous studies have demonstrated that omega-3 PUFAs have anti-inflammatory properties, whereas omega-6 “has been linked to pro-inflammatory actions in RA,” explain study author Cecilia Lourdudoss (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) and colleagues.
And they conclude in Arthritis Care & Research: “These data suggest inflammatory independent associations between omega-3 FA, omega-6 to -3 FA ratio and pain in early RA.”
By Claire Barnard
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