Dietary Interventions with or without Omega-3 Supplementation for the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review

Nutrients. 2021 Oct 4;13(10):3506. doi: 10.3390/nu13103506.


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by symptoms of inflammation and pain in the joints. RA is estimated to have a worldwide prevalence of 0.5-1%, with a predominance in females. Diet may play an important role in the symptoms of RA; however, little is known about the effects of various diets. The aim of this systematic review is to explore the effect of dietary interventions, with or without omega-3 supplementation for the management of RA. The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library were systematically searched for clinical trials investigating dietary interventions, with or without omega-3 supplementation to retrieve papers from inception to April 2021. Randomized and non-randomized controlled trials of dietary interventions in adults with RA were eligible for inclusion. Twenty studies with a total of 1063 participants were included. The most frequently reported outcomes were pain, duration of morning stiffness, joint tenderness, grip strength and inflammatory markers. Dietary interventions with an anti-inflammatory basis may be an effective way for adults with RA seeking complementary treatments, potentially leading to improvements in certain parameters. However, there is a need for longer duration studies that are well-designed and sufficiently powered to investigate the influence of diet on RA.

Keywords: dietary interventions; nutrition; omega-3 supplements; rheumatoid arthritis; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diet therapy*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3

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