It is not widely known that joint deterioration can be caused by what you eat. More specifically, the type of fat you consume, and how much, can bring on bad cases of osteoarthritis. When the top layer of cartilage wears away, bones rub together, which causes a lot of pain in the joints. It can also cause a reduced range of motion.

Osteoarthritis is usually caused by obesity and extended stress on weight-bearing joints, but scientists were puzzled to see osteoarthritis in joints like the hand, as that is not a weight-bearing joint, and wouldn’t have the same stress put on it as a knee or an ankle. Researchers at Duke University set out to figure out what was the cause of this premature wear on the joints. They tested different kinds of fat on mice to determine its effect on the joints.

Three different types of fat were given to three different groups of mice. Saturated fat, Omega-6 fatty acids, and Omega-6 fats, but the Omega-6 fats were supplemented for Omega-3 fatty acids. The scientists and researchers found that the mice who were given the saturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids had heightened symptoms of osteoarthritis and their joints deteriorated faster. The mice with Omega-3 fatty acids had healthier joints at the end of the research. Researchers also discovered that arthritis went hand in hand with their diet, and had nothing to do with being overweight or obese. Omega-3 fatty acids did not necessarily stop or reverse osteoarthritis, but it at least slowed it down. Mice who received the Omega-3 fatty acids also healed from other non related injuries faster than the other test subjects.

Researchers recommend that people eat the same amount of all three of the fats tested, but American diets are usually high in Omega-6 and saturated fats. They recommend fish, fish oil, flax seeds, canola oil and walnuts to help the body even out the fat it consumes.

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