A combination of fish oil and vitamin E reduced the levels of cytokines (pro-inflammatory proteins that cause the joint swelling, pain and tenderness) in mice. This result found in a study lead by Jaya Venkatraman, Ph.D., University of Buffalo associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Dr. Venkatraman said that clinical trials in humans and laboratory research with animals have shown that dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil provides significant benefits, but the mechanism behind this action isn’t well known.
The study utilized genetically altered mice that aged rapidly, had immune system abnormalities and had a tendency to get autoimmune diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis). By feeding some of these genetically altered mice a diet that included fish oil plus vitamin E and giving others a regular diet, the study was able to compare concentrations of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the blood serum of both groups.
The genetically altered mice had higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in their serum. The mice fed fish oil and vitamin E had significantly lower levels of these inflammation-inducing proteins.