(HealthDay News) – Regular consumption of dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in fish is associated with reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women, according to research published online Aug. 12 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Daniela Di Giuseppe, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues prospectively studied the association between dietary long-chain n-3 PUFAs and the incidence of RA in middle-aged and older women from the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Diet was assessed using a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire in 1987 and 1997.

The researchers identified 205 cases of RA during follow-up averaging 7.5 years among 32,232 women born in 1914–1948. Women consuming >0.21 g/day of dietary long-chain n-3 PUFAs had a 35% lower risk of developing RA than women consuming less. Long-term, regular intake of >0.21g/day correlated with a 52% decrease in risk of RA. Compared with those who ate less, women who ate at least one weekly serving of fish on a routine, long-term basis had a 29% decrease in risk of RA.

“Long-term consistently high intake in both 1987 and 1997 of >0.21g/day (corresponding to at least one serving per week of fatty fish [e.g., salmon] or four servings per week of lean fish [e.g., cod]) was associated with a 52% decrease in risk of RA,” the authors write.

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