Scientists from Université Paris-Saclay and elsewhere found that eating fatty fish may help reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.
RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees.
In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue.
This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness).
RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes.
They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines).
Eating fish has been thought to reduce the risk of RA, but the findings are conflicting.
In the current study, researchers aimed to assess the link between fish-eating (overall, lean fish, and oily fish) and the risk of RA.
They used data from the E3N Study, a French prospective cohort study including 98,995 women since 1990.
Dietary data of the people were collected via a food frequency questionnaire in 1993. Among 62,629 women, 480 incident cases of RA were identified.
The team found that a moderate intake of fish was associated with a decreased risk of RA, especially among current or former smokers.
They also found there was a trend showing that only oily fish intake, but not lean fish intake, was linked to a lower risk of RA.
These results suggest that moderate fish intake could reduce the risk of RA and potentially counterbalance the increased risk of RA induced by smoking.
In addition, this effect might be explained by the omega-3 fatty acid content of oily fish.
The research was published in Nutrients and conducted by Yann Nguyen et al.
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