Most people think an ‘old wives’ tale’ is synonymous with silly, superstitious, useless information. But the fact is that some ‘old wives’ tales’ have passed on a lot of useful knowledge over the years.
In fact, many of today’s accepted alternative health practices were once thought of as old wives’ tales. Take cod liver oil, for instance. In my day, many an old wife recommended cod liver oil for all sorts of ailments. I even remember my grandmother swearing by it for arthritis pain. Maybe yours did, too.
Scientists at Cardiff University in Wales have studied the effects of cod liver oil on the joints and cartilage. And you know what? They’ve found that grandma knew what she was talking about all along.
Arthrits: Simple home remedy can reduce inflammation and protect cartilage
For several years now, scientists at Cardiff have been researching cod liver oil. Previously, they found that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce collagen degradation and inflammation.
Just recently, their laboratory tests revealed that cod liver oil can actually ‘switch off’ or reverse the action of the enzymes that degrade collagen and break down cartilage. The researchers suggest that taking cod liver oil can prevent the development of arthritis, and can reduce symptoms in those already afflicted with this painful disease.
While this research focused on osteoarthritis, there is plenty of evidence showing that cod liver oil can help reduce the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis, as well. And we know that fish oils, like cod liver oil, may also be heart-healthy, by reducing coagulation, lowering blood pressure, and helping to balance lipid levels.
Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamins A and D, and is one of the richest sources of the omega-3 essential fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).
Arthritis: Cod liver oil can save you money and save your stomach from NSAIDs
There are some people who shouldn’t use cod liver oil, however. Some studies have suggested that it can raise blood sugar levels, so it is not recommended for those with diabetes. And, if you take a blood-thinning medication like Warfarin, you shouldn’t take cod liver oil, as the combined anticoagulant effect could be dangerous. Also, cod liver oil can interact with immune system-suppressing drugs like cyclosporine.
But for most people, cod liver oil can be a cheap, effective way to relive the pain of arthritis, without the damaging effects of NSAIDs. Grandma used to just toss back a spoonful straight from the bottle. But if that doesn’t sound appealing, you can get softgel capsules of cod liver oil from just about any health food store or supplement supplier.
Dosages vary depending on the product you choose; if you decide to try cod liver oil, follow the recommendations on the product label and adjust your dosage until you see results.
My grandmother hasn’t been around for years. But even if she were, I don’t know that she would be too concerned about the scientific vindication of her old-time remedy. You see, ‘old wives’ like her were more impressed with results than science. If something worked, she’d continue to use it – that was good enough for her. If you suffer with arthritis pain, consider giving cod liver oil a try. And if you feel relief, you’ll have all the evidence you need.
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