Fish Consumption May be Linked to Lower Disease Activity in RA Patients

June 28, 2017
Alison Rodriguez

A higher intake of fish may be associated with reduced disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

A higher intake of fish may be associated with reduced disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In a new study published by in Arthritis Care & Research, investigators used a cross-sectional analysis while considering data from participants included in the Evaluation of Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and Predictors of Events in RA study, to calculate the influence of fish consumption on RA disease activity.

The 176 participants were required to answer a 120-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), that would reflect their typical diet of the past year. The questionnaire took serving size and frequency of consumption into consideration to determine the levels of fish consumption among different demographic groups.

Fish consumption was divided into categories based on how often a patient would intake fish per day, per week, or per month. This categorization helped specify the point where fish consumption becomes influential. Of the 176 participants, 35 (19.9%) reported to be infrequent fish consumers (never to <1 per month), while 31 participants (17.6%) were considered frequent consumers (≥2 times per week).

The study found that subjects who consume fish 2 or more times per week had a significantly lower DAS28-CRP (disease activity score) compared to those who did not eat fish during the month. Also, for every additional serving of fish per week, DAS28-CRP decreased.

“Our observation that baseline consumption of fish ≥2 times per week was associated with lower DAS28-CRP at the same point in time may either reflect a generally healthier lifestyle among those who eat fish most often, or may reflect an effect of consuming fish as a whole food that contains various macronutrients and micronutrients in addition to omega-3 fatty acids,” wrote the researchers.

The researchers concluded by acknowledging the need for a randomized controlled trial to provide firm evidence; however, their analysis supports the association of high intake of fish to a lower disease activity in RA patients.