A new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers has found that frequent fish consumption is associated with lower disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
“If our finding holds up in other studies, it suggests that fish consumption may lower inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis disease activity,” said Dr. Sara Tedeschi, a rheumatology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author of the results published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
“Fish consumption has been noted to have many beneficial health effects, and our findings may give patients with rheumatoid arthritis a strong reason to increase fish consumption.”
Dr. Tedeschi and co-authors examined data from 176 patients from the ESCAPE-RA (Evaluation of Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and Predictors of Events in Rheumatoid Arthritis) cohort study.
“We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using baseline data from participants in the ESCAPE-RA cohort study,” they said.
“Frequency of fish consumption was assessed by a baseline food frequency questionnaire assessing usual diet in the past year.”
“Multivariable, total energy-adjusted linear regression models provided effect estimates and 95% confidence intervals for frequency of fish consumption (never to <1/month, 1/month to <1/week, 1/week, and >= 2/week) on baseline DAS28-CRP (Disease Activity Score 28-joint count C reactive protein).”
“We also estimated the difference in DAS28-CRP associated with increasing fish consumption by one serving per week.”
The researchers found that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who consumed fish >= 2 times/week had lower disease activity (swollen/tender joint counts along with other assessments) in comparison with those who ate fish never to <1/month.
There was also a graded association, so that increasing servings of fish were linked with incrementally lower levels of disease activity.
“Our findings suggest that higher intake of fish may be associated with lower disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients,” the authors said.
“In our cross-sectional analysis of fish consumption in a cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients, DAS28-CRP was significantly lower among subjects consuming fish >=2 times per week compared with those eating fish <1/month,” they explained.
“Each additional serving of fish/week was associated with 0.18 lower DAS28-CRP.”
“The ESCAPE-RA cohort was predominantly white, well-educated, married patients with longstanding rheumatoid arthritis, thus our results may not generalize to other populations,” Dr. Tedeschi and co-authors said.
Sara K. Tedeschi et al. The relationship between fish consumption and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research, published online June 21, 2017; doi: 10.1002/acr.23295