“Complementary therapies” are any treatments or therapies that are not part of the conventional treatment (such as medicine or surgery) of a disease.
Examples include acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, vitamins and herbal medicines.
To learn more about complimentary therapies download the information sheet ‘complimentary therapies’ which provides a summary of the current evidence about complementary therapies for arthritis and tips for safe use. Sources of further information are also included.
Fish oils are oils found in the tissues of fish, containing a certain type of fat called omega-3.
Omega-3 fats are a type that may be important for good general health. Omega-3 fats may help reduce inflammation in some forms of arthritis. Research suggests the dose needed to reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is 2.7 grams of omega-3 fats (EPA plus DHA) daily. It should be noted that 1000 mg fish oil capsules will usually only contain between 300 mg and 400 mg of omega 3 fats (EPA + DHA). Always check the label first but if this is the case the dose usually requires approximately either:
- 9 to 14 standard 1000mg fish oil capsules or five to seven capsules of a fish oil concentrate per day, or
- 15ml of bottled fish oil or five to seven mL of concentrated bottled fish oil per day.
To learn more about fish oil and omega-3 download the ‘Fish oils’ information sheet which provides general information about the use of fish oil supplements as a treatment for arthritis. It includes information on who may benefit from taking fish oils, how much to take, and where to find more information.
Glucosamine is a sugar naturally produced by the body. It is one of the building blocks of cartilage.
Chondroitin is believed to help draw water and nutrients into the cartilage, keeping it spongy and healthy. Research is mixed on whether glucosamine and chondroitin are effective for arthritis. There have been some claims that these supplements can help reduce pain in people living with osteoarthritis (OA).
However, high-quality studies show little or no benefit. There are no claims for the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin in other types of arthritis. To learn more about glucosamine and chondroitin download the information sheet ‘glucosamine and chondroitin’ which includes information about the effectiveness of these supplements and the possible risks.
Useful links & resources
Complementary therapies info sheet
Glucosamine and chondroitin info sheet
Complementary medicines explained
Dietary supplements and herbal remedies
Selecting a complementary medicine healthcare practitioner fact sheet