I try to convince all of my patients that are taking NSAIDs to switch to high-quality fish oil. NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) include common over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil and Aleve. There are many prescription medications as well such as Relafen, Celebrex, Daypro and Voltaren. These medications work by decreasing your body’s own inflammatory response that is mediated by a chemical pathway utilizing Prostaglandins.
Fish Oil decreases the “bad” inflammation that is destructive to cartilage and it helps promote the “good” inflammation that is important in the normal maintenance of healthy tissue
Even though these medications are readily available at your local pharmacy, there are many risks in taking them. These include bleeding ulcers in your stomach, increased risk of stroke and/or sudden cardiac death, kidney damage and damage to your own body’s cartilage. That’s right…the most common cause for taking these medications (osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain) is actually causing harm to those very structures (1)!
The following list details the increased risk associated with taking certain NSAIDs and suffering stroke or sudden cardiac event (2):
|Stroke Risk||Heart Attack Risk|
Now for the good news, taking high quality fish oil has been shown to be just as effective as NSAIDs in treating pain and is much safer (3). It is also beneficial for your joints. It decreases the “bad” inflammation that is destructive to cartilage and it helps promote the “good” inflammation that is important in the normal maintenance of healthy tissue. Due to the effect on “good” inflammation, fish oil has been linked to being beneficial for your cardiovascular and neurologic systems and it helps combat autoimmune disease. So, ditch your NSAIDs and start taking some fish oil!