Omega-3s may protect against chronic gout flare ups, but only omegas from fish sources, according to new preliminary research presented at the American College of Rheumatology ARHP Annual Meeting.
A form of arthritis, gout occurs when uric acid forms crystals in the joints—often notably in the big toe. Uric acid is a waste product in the blood. Gout's been called “the disease of kings,” because of its association with gluttony and a rich diet; however, the kingly affliction has hit the serfs big time. In the past half century the prevalence of gout in the general U.S. population has more than doubled, reports Scientific American. It now afflicts more than 8 million American adults.
Dr. MaryAnn Zhang of the Boston University School of Medicine lead a study that included 724 subjects who had experienced at least one instance of medically reviewed gout flare up in the previous year, according to post about the research on foodworldnews.com.
For a year, the researchers had subjects record their eating 24 to 48 hours preceding gout flare ups. The study took into account extraneous factors as diet, supplements, over-the-counter medications, alcohol intake and purine consumption.
They found that eating omega-3-rich fatty fish protected subjects against gout flare ups. However, eating other foods with equal levels of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids ratio had no effect.
Zhang thinks the link is strong enough to pursue. "Consumption of specific sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid for gout flare up prevention warrants further study in an adequately powered clinical trial," she said.