One of the most popular reasons to supplement with omega 3 is to harness its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a response from our body to injury or infection and is not inherently bad, but unwarranted inflammation can lead to unwanted side effects - from arthritis to asthma. The link between Omega 3 and reduced inflammation has been demonstrated consistently in numerous studies, and is thought to happen through multiple mechanisms, including reducing the production of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines1.
Joint pain2 – Omega 3 may help with arthritis: patients taking omega 3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength. The two most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Rather than targeting the route causes of the arthritis, Omega 3 helps by targeting the inflammatory side effect of arthritis, helping to reduce pain and swelling.
Muscles3 - Omega 3 has been shown to reduce onset muscle soreness, preventing loss of muscle strength in the days following intense exercise. Although the exact mechanism through which Omega 3 EPA & DHA can aid muscle recovery is unknown, the authors speculate that it may be related to improving nerve structure and function.
Asthma4 – Omega 3 has been linked to a lower risk of asthma in children and young adults. Asthma is an inflammatory response in the lungs that restricts your airways, causing trouble breathing. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3, it has long been hypothesized that fish oil may be able to help reduce the side effects of asthma by reducing this inflammatory response. The degree of benefit varies from study to study, with the strongest evidence being reported in children and young adults.