According to the 2005 US census, osteoarthritis (OA) was the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million people. Current treatments are targeted at reducing symptoms of the inflammatory reaction that occurs after destruction of essential joint cartilage.
Laboratory studies have shown that eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid reduce pro-inflammatory mediators and increase joint lubrication in vitro. Well-designed clinical trials are needed to substantiate or refute the potential benefit of fish oils in OA treatment. Long-term studies are needed to assess the possibility of prevention. In addition, standardization of the fish oil industry is needed for consistency of therapy.