What Is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) And Fish-Oil Supplements, And Can They Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Question: What is gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and fish-oil supplements, and are they helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis? Side-effects, dangers?

Answer: Well, GLA and fish oils are, I think, very important and kind of on the cutting edge of what we're using to treat, apart from really targeting the bone marrow with our disease-modifying agents, being very aggressive in treating patients with chemotherapy medications -- new, novel, very expensive infusions, we are using alternative and complimentary therapies. Fish oils is really high on my list, especially with the change from going a little bit away from using anti-inflammatories for inflammation, but to more targeting inflammation. And I find that omega-3s, of which GLA is really a key ingredient, can be very effective and definitely a good option. They also have the added benefit in that they do help the cardiovascular risk profile. Our cardiologists are using them widely, and so for a patient who has heart issue risk, as well as somebody who has arthritis, the use of omega-3s, fish oils, GLA, you know, is an excellent combination. Recent data has also stated that a patient with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritis, are much more likely to be at risk for cardiovascular events, and so we are taking their cardiovascular health very seriously when we treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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