Fish Oil Supplements Help Maintain Healthy, Mobile Joints — Here's How*
Whether you're running a marathon or walking up the stairs, your joints work hard to help you move. The only problem? Joints tend to become stiffer over time, making them less flexible as we age. It also doesn't help that today's desk culture limits our daily movement, which is crucial for happy joints.
Fortunately, in addition to staying active and eating a balanced diet, prioritizing your omega-3 fatty acid intake can help maintain joint mobility.* Learn how these healthy fats provide 360-degree support for your joints.*
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are marine-derived (i.e., fish, shellfish, or algae) omega-3 fats. Your body can synthesize EPA and DHA from ALA, but there's a catch: The conversion rate is inefficient1, meaning it's not a reliable process for achieving optimal omega-3 levels. The more effective option is to consume EPA and DHA from foods—specifically, fatty fish like anchovies, salmon, and herring—and fish oil supplements.
4 ways omega-3s promote joint health.
Deliver anti-inflammatory properties
According to collective science and highlighted in a 2019 scientific review from Nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids help regulate anti-inflammatory pathways2 and mediate the production of key cytokines (i.e., pro-inflammatory signaling compounds).* These actions support a healthier anti-inflammatory response and resolution, which is key for overall joint wellness.*
Modulate oxidant vs. antioxidant balance
Promote joint mobility
As omega-3 fats exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, they also promote joint mobility and comfort, which can help support longevity and independence as you age since having mobile joints will allow you to move with ease.* Likewise, if you're an athlete, these effects can help you sustain your performance and resilience.*
Bolster healthy blood flow
Omega-3s are known for their effect on heart health, and for good reason too! These fats help regulate blood pressure and promote healthy levels of triglycerides, ultimately helping to maintain cardiometabolic health.* This translates to healthy blood flow and circulation, which sends nutrients and oxygen to the joints and promotes mobility.*
Other ways to support healthy joints.
In addition to consuming fatty fish and high-quality omega-3 supplements, eating plenty of unprocessed plant-based whole foods (think fruits, vegetables, and nuts) also bolsters healthy joints.* These eats are teeming with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, which further promote overall joint health.
It's also important to incorporate a combo of low-impact exercises and gentle stretching into your routine. Low-impact activities—such as walking, swimming, and casual cycling—are vital for retaining joint flexibility. Meanwhile, gentle stretching can maintain your range of motion and promote top-notch joint mobility.
The bottom line.
Thanks to their impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the body, omega-3 fatty acids are a daily essential for joint mobility and comfort.* The cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fats also support healthy blood flow, further nurturing joint function and wellness.*
To increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, consider starting by adding two servings of fatty fish to your weekly menu. If eating seafood isn't your style, or simply for a reliable, concentrated dose of daily omega-3s, you can also take advantage of a high-quality fish oil supplement like mbg's omega-3 potency+, to enjoy the EPA plus DHA equivalent of a fish a day (in a far more convenient way).†
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Kirsten Nunez is a health and lifestyle journalist based in Beacon, New York. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman's University and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. Kirsten specializes in nutrition, fitness, food, and DIY; her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including eHow, SparkPeople, and international editions of Cosmopolitan. She also creates recipes for food product packaging.