From studies, seal oil is known to reduce joint pain. In a new study headed by NIFES patients with joint pain drank fish oil or seal oil for 14 days. The results show that both treatments reduce joint pain and inflammatory reactions, and result in a healthier fatty acid composition in the blood.
In a study 38 patients with the intestinal disease IBD at Haukeland University Hospital consumed 10 millilitres of seal oil or fish oil at breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two weeks. IBD is short for inflammatory bowel disease, which is an inflammatory intestinal disease. The disease includes both ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine) and Crohn's disease (inflammation in the region from the oral cavity to the rectum). The disease often results in joint pain, muscle stiffness in the morning and changed sleeping patterns.
"Both fish oil and seal oil equally reduced the patients' joint pain in this study," says Livar Frøyland, head of research in the Seafood and Health Research Programme at the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, NIFES.
Also a reduction in inflammatory markers
Intestinal inflammation can manifest as superficial sores in the large intestine, inflamed intestinal walls and contractions. Inflammatory reactions are largely controlled by local hormones, such as eicosanoids. One example is leukotrienes B4 (LTB4), which is synthesized in the body from omega-6 fatty acids and promotes inflammation. A high intake of omega-6 fatty acids results in an increased level of LTB4, while a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids results in a reduced level of LTB4.
"The patients drank fish oil or seal oil every day resulting in a higher content of marine omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, leading to a reduction of the inflammatory marker LTB4," says Frøyland.
Just as good as a tube
In earlier and similar studies the oil has been introduced into the intestine via a tube, which is a more work intensive method and results in discomfort for the patient. This study shows that consuming oil in the normal way through the mouth reduced joint pain as previously shown in the tube studies.
Collaborating Partners: Haukeland University Hospital, Section for Rheumatology and Section for Gastroenterology.