Fish oil or omega 3 fatty acids help recovery and pain reduction because of their ability to reduce inflammation, protect joints, provide a substrate that is neuroprotective (protects the nervous system) with improved dopamine neurons. These fatty acids are primarily found in cold water fish, eggs, cod liver oil and also flaxseed oil.
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal malignancy. The authors concluded that omega 3 fatty acids were effective in improving the nutritional status and immune function in patients undergoing surgery. The omega -3 fatty acids not only enhanced immunity but attenuated inflammatory response. Another experimental study demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids significantly decreased wound area by day 7 in diabetic wounds. Additionally, the wound strength was significantly increased by day 15. In an animal model for osteoarthritis cartilage degeneration, docosahexenoic acid (DHA) an Omega- 3 fatty acid, showed promise as a therapeutic agent in osteoarthritis prevention. In the field of dentistry, omega-3 fatty acid effect reduces bone resorption following gingivalis infection. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids continue to be supported to improve cognitive function as well as reducing central nervous system oxidative stress.
here are no known toxicity effects of omega – 3 fatty acids. Blood-clotting times may decrease with supplementation. Omega-3 and DHA/EPA has an excellent safety profile in its natural whole-food form. However, in supplemental form there is the risk of rancidity and contamination depending on the source. As it relates to orthopedic surgery the major issue remains on other nutrient-drug interactions. Adverse reactions to Omega-3 have been noted in combination with common cardiovascular medications like ACE inhibitors and statins. These drugs are relatively common for patients undergoing total joint replacement surgery and this may be problematic. The other potential issue is related to shellfish allergy, where flaxseed oil may be a better fit. The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons recommend that omega 3 fatty acid supplements taken at 3g or more be discontinued 2 weeks prior to surgery given the potential to reduce blood clot formation. Dosage range of optimal fish oil has not been established. Over the counter products typically provide 200-1500mg combined EPA/DHA per dose.
Fish oil supplementation has benefits to the healing process including brain support and should be considered for the healing process. However, consuming cold water fish during recovery 2-3 times a week from wild source fish may be of equal value. In its whole food source, there is little risk.
The SOAR INTO HEALING plan includes optimal professional supplementation of fish oil free of contaminants and rancidity to promote healing and reduce pain safely.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove fear of fish oil.
Replace with a professional grade fish oil supplement or consume wild caught fish 2-3 times per week during the healing phase.
Restore a normal brain response to pain.
Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well. Connect Well. Supplement Well.....SOAR INTO HEALING
Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal malignancy: a systematic review and meta-analysisHerb Nutrient and Drug Interactions
The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book, 4th edition: The Definitive Guide to Designing Your Personal Supplement Program
Docosahexenoic acid treatment ameliorates cartilage degeneration via a p38 MAPK-dependent mechanism
Omega-3 fatty acid effect on alveolar bone loss in rats.
Omega-3 deficiency and neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra: Involvement of increased nitric oxide production and reduced BDNF expression
Differential vulnerability of substantia nigra and corpus striatum to oxidative insult induced by reduced dietary levels of essential fatty acids.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.