Arthritis Foundation Recommends Olive Oil

The Arthritis Foundation suggests olive oil along with a Mediterranean diet to help arthritis sufferers.

By Vicky Prior
Jun. 6, 2018 13:02 UTC

The Arthritis Foundation in the UK has rec­om­mended olive oil to help decrease joint inflam­ma­tion caused by arthri­tis.

The ben­e­fits of a Mediterranean diet have long been extolled by arthri­tis researchers. A study from the Cochrane Collaboration in 2009 found that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet may reduce pain fol­low­ing a 12-week trial.

As detailed in a recent arti­cle in British news­pa­per, Sunday Express, olive oil is rich in Omega‑3 fatty acids, also found in oily fish such as tuna and salmon. Omega‑3 works as an anti-inflam­ma­tory and helps reduce swelling and pain in arthritic joints.

Sunflower oil, on the other hand, con­tains Omega‑6 fatty acids. While small quan­ti­ties of Omega‑6 are not harm­ful and should be ingested as part of a bal­anced diet, Omega-6s are known to cause inflam­ma­tion, thereby wors­en­ing arthritic swelling and pain.

The Arthritis Foundation web­site sug­gests con­sum­ing 2 to 3 table­spoons of olive oil daily. Alongside Omega‑3, olive oil also con­tains oleo­can­thal, a nat­ural com­pound which works in a sim­i­lar way to NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflam­ma­tory drugs), by reduc­ing the effect of enzymes that cause inflam­ma­tion. A com­mon NSAID used for arthritic pain is ibupro­fen, which, like most med­ica­tion, can have unpleas­ant side effects. Taking reg­u­lar NSAIDs increases the risk of kid­ney fail­ure and stom­ach ulcers.

Oleocanthal was dis­cov­ered to reduce inflam­ma­tion in a 2005 study. It found that extra vir­gin olive oil con­tains the same enzymes as drugs like ibupro­fen, despite the mol­e­c­u­lar struc­ture of oleo­can­thal and ibupro­fen being com­pletely dif­fer­ent. Dr. Gary Beauchamp, who led the study, found that the more astrin­gent the olive oil, the more oleo­can­thal it is likely to con­tain. When sipped, the oil should cause a burn­ing sen­sa­tion in the throat.

Eating olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet has other health ben­e­fits indi­rectly linked to arthri­tis symp­toms.

Followers of an olive oil-based, Mediterranean diet have been found to lose weight, which eases ten­sion on arthritic joints. There is a decreased risk of heart prob­lems and seri­ous dis­eases such as can­cer.


Related Articles