Duke Medicine researchers have shown that mice consuming a supplement of omega 3 fatty acids had healthy joints, which may suggest that dietary factors play a role in osteoarthritis (OA). Mice consumed a supplement of omega 3 fatty acids and had healthier joints than those fed diets high in saturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids. Farshid Guilak, PhD, senior author of the study, and colleagues focused on mice with OA of the knee caused by injury to the joint. The mice were fed one of three high-fat diets: a diet rich in omega 6 fatty acids, one rich in saturated fat, and one with omega 6 fatty acids but supplemented with a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids.

The research team found that arthritis was significantly linked with the diet of the mice, but not with body weight. According to a Duke Medicine news release, the mice that ate diets high in saturated fat or omega 6 fatty acids experienced significant worsening of their arthritis, while mice consuming a small supplement of omega 3 fatty acids had healthier joints. Guilak explains, “While omega 3 fatty acids aren’t reversing the injury, they appear to slow the progression of arthritis in this group of mice. In fact, omega 3 fatty acids eliminated the detrimental effects of obesity in obese mice.”

In addition, the researchers also examined the mice’s ability to heal wounds, which may help them to understand the relationships between arthritis and wound healing, as noted on the Duke Medicine news release. In mice consuming omega 3 fatty acids, a small ear punch typically used to differentiate mice healed much more quickly than it did in animals that did not receive the supplement.

Lead author of the study Chia-Lung Wu states, “We found that independent of body weight, dietary fatty acids regulate ear wound healing and severity of osteoarthritis following joint injury in obese mice.”

The Duke Medicine news release indicates that the research team is working to translate their findings to humans. Overall, Guilak says, “Our results suggest that dietary factors play a more significant role than mechanical factors in the link between obesity and osteoarthritis.

[Source: Duke Medicine]