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How much EPA and DHA from omega-3 is required for joint pain?

2017 February 23

The present EPA and DHA in your fish oil capsules are 1,440 mg (4 capsules) per day for joints when added together. Is that the maximum limit for people with joint problems? Because I’ve read that the ‘safe’ EPA and DHA dosage per day is 1,000 mg so do lower dosages (lower than 1,440 mg) have no effect?[omega-3-rechts]

No fixed dosage has been set for fish oil like glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. A lot of research has been done about glucosamine and chondroitin and there are only a limited amount of dosages that prove their effect. Higher doses may be unsafe (glucosamine) or not extra effective (chondroitin). Also for those supplements the area is clearly limited: osteoarthritis.

For fish oil there is very limited evidence for an effect in osteoarthritis. One study found a faster effect of glucosamine when this was supplemented with 600 mg of EPA + DHA (comparable to 2 capsules).

Most research has been done in rheumatoid arthritis. For this purpose, the dosage is around 3,000 mg of EPA + DHA (similar to about 8 capsules). That dosage seems effective in studies that last for about 3 months. A high dosage of 3,000 mg should only be administered under doctor’s supervision. Incidentally, a dose of more than 1,000 mg EPA + DHA is not considered unsafe. In many countries in Europe, a much higher dose is still considered safe.

Because the effect of fish oil slowly builds up, we expect a positive effect with a lower dose of 4 capsules in rheumatoid arthritis. However, it requires a longer term than 3 months.



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