5 Benefits of Olive Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is the condition in which the joints become inflamed due to swelling.

Arthritis can be of many types but the most common one is rheumatoid arthritis.

This type of arthritis is caused due to an autoimmune response of the body which leads to inflammation in the joints.

The immune system starts attacking its own tissues and cells by releasing antibodies into the blood.

This causes the tissues around the joints to become inflamed. In the long run, this condition can lead to the destruction of the joints and functionality disability.

The common symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness around the affected joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect both young and old people and it has been observed that it is three times more likely to affect women than men.

No cure has been found for rheumatoid arthritis at present. Science relies on easing the pain and symptoms associated with Rheumatoid arthritis.

This is done through medication, improvement of diet to reduce complications and occupational therapy.

No cure has been found for rheumatoid arthritis at present.

Science relies on easing the pain and symptoms associated with Rheumatoid arthritis.

This is done through medication, improvement of diet to reduce complications and occupational therapy.

5 Benefits of Olive oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Olive oil can benefit those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in the following ways:

1. Reducing Inflammation

Each joint has a protective capsule. The lining of the capsule is made of synovium, a lining few cells thick.

In patients having Rheumatoid arthritis, chemical messengers produce chemicals that cause inflammation.

As time goes by, the thin layer of synovium grows thicker.

This causes the joints to swell and the layer of synovium to thicken.

The immune cells in the body produce chemicals that erode bone and cartilage.

Animal models such as rats were used to conduct a study to understand how inflammatory pathways were affected by the consumption of olive oil and its components.

Arthritis similar to the rheumatic type was induced in rats using experimental means.

The results of all the study showed improved inflammatory pathways and decrease in swelling.

In another animal study, similar findings were observed to back the use of olive oil in anti-inflammation.

These findings are accredited to several different components of olive oil. Olive oil is rich in omega 3- fatty acids that are known to have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.

They are known to reduce chronic inflammation associated with different types of diseases and disorders such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, etc.

Olive oil also containshydroxytyrosol, a phenolic compound. In animal studies, this component was found to reduce tissue swelling and enhance the anti-inflammatory action.

In fact, this compound was also highly effective in delaying or preventing the developing of RA in animal models and provided a new base for further research.

Oleocanthal, another phenolic compound is known to reduce inflammation and is one of the most important components of olive oil.

It was known to exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect in several joint degenerative as well neurodegenerative diseases.

Oleocanthal has also been deemed responsible for several health benefits observed in the Mediterranean diet.

It is widely known to have similar activity to the drug ibuprofen that reduces pain fever and inflammation.

Phenolic compounds present in olive oil can reduce joint edema (accumulation of fluid due to inflammation), cartilage degradation as well as bone erosion.

What does this mean:  Olive oil has so many beneficial compounds that can reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This can, in turn, reduce the swelling and discomfort caused to the individual.

2. Reducing Pain Or Action As An Analgesic

People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience a lot of pain in their joints. They also experience stiff and tender joint.

This can lead to the probable loss of joint function or loss of motion.

One of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness.

Hence, Patients are often put on analgesic drugs in order to reduce the loss of pain.

Through research conducted on animal models, olive oil has been accredited to having antinociceptive properties (blocking of pain stimulus).

This means that it can reduce the amount of pain and discomfort felt by an individual.

Another animal study backs the analgesic (pain reducing) properties of olive oil with similar findings.

In 1990, A study was conducted using 49 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This study lasted 24 weeks.

They were asked to consume fish oil and olive oil along with their regular medication.

At the end of the study, the tenderness of the joints decreased significantly. The level of swelling in joints lessened.

Patients also confessed to reduce pain in joints and better movement.

The intensity of morning stiffness too reduced.

This study concluded that olive oil taken along with fish oil could prove beneficial and improve the lives of patients.

Olive oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acid can act as a powerful analgesic and reduce the amount of pain.

It can provide beneficial manifestations in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and result in a fewer tender and swollen joints decreased the duration of morning stiffness and improvements in grip strength.

There was also reported a decrease in the pain felt when the patients were assessed. It can also reduce inflammation.

There have been studies conducted where dosages of antirheumatic medications have been decreased after treatment with omega 3 fatty acids.

Analgesic or pain-reducing properties of olive oil are also attributed to polyphenols and triterpenes present in it.

Oleocanthal, a phenolic compound present in olive oil can also help reduce pain and improve joint mobility.

Maslinic acid, known to have antinociceptive (blocking pain receptors in order to feel less pain) effect is found in olive oil.

This is a major benefit for individuals suffering from RA as massive amounts of analgesic drugs can give rise to complications.

What does this mean: Olive oil can reduce the morning stiffness, swollen and tender joints and reduce pain felt. It can also possibly influence the amount of medications a patient would have to take in order to keep his/her health at check. Natural treatment such as olive oil to curb or delay further complications can highly benefit individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Reducing Chances Of Complications Such as Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the phenomena where the inner lumen of blood vessels get lined by WBCs and cholesterol.

This decreases the lumen of the blood vessels and increases the risks of strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.

Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are highly susceptible to developing atherosclerosis.

Studies conducted on animal models have found to increase total HDL concentration (the good cholesterol), lower the amount LDL (bad cholesterol) and its susceptibility to oxidation, and also a decrease in total serum cholesterol level.

In a random trial conducted in 2016, 33 patients suffering from hypocholesteremia (high cholesterol) received 2different types of olive oil.

At the end of the study, Results showed decreased ratios of LDL/HDL which meant the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol was lowered and the level of HDL increased.

This is possible due to polyphenols present in olive oil. They can lower cholesterol.

Oleic acid present in olive oil can also increase the level of HDL in the system.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids will render lipoproteins less susceptible to oxidative damage and prevent the development of atherosclerosis.

Substituting saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids can lower cholesterol.

They can also prevent oxidation due to the nature of their double bonds and lower LDL.

What does this mean: Cardiovascular complications in patients suffering from RA contributes to maximum number of deaths. Controlling the levels of cholesterol can prevent the development of atherosclerosis which in turn will reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

4. Joint Protection

In rheumatoid arthritis, joints undergo inflammation, swelling causing a lot of pain It is also characterized by stiffness and restricted movements of joints.

A study was conducted on an animal model in order to understand how olive oil can affect joints.

At the end of the study, Cells were analyzed under laboratory conditions to look for the changes that occurred.

The levels of proinflammatory cytokines decreased. Proinflammatory cytokines are responsible for increased inflammations.

Consuming olive oil was also found to alter pathways and suppress pathways responsible for inflammation.

Decreased swelling and cartilage destruction were also observed. Another animal study concluded giving similar results.

The study also reported decreased bone erosion.

These joint protective effects of olive oil have been accredited to the presence of phenolic compounds present.

They are the substances that are responsible for reducing inflammation, cartilage degradation and preventing bone erosion.

Oleuropin aglycone another compound present in olive oil is known to protect tissues from further damage and suppress inflammation.

What does this mean: olive oil can protect joints and delay joint damage caused in arthritis.

5. Reducing Risks Of Ra Through Dietary Intake

Through human trials, it has been found that consumption of cooked vegetables and oils had an inverse relation with the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This study was conducted on almost 184 RA patients.

In another study, patients with RA were divided into 3 groups in which they had to consume soy oil (Group 1) , fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids ( group 2), and olive oil combined with fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids (group 3).

In another study, patients with RA were divided into 3 groups in which they had to consume soy oil (Group 1) , fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids ( group 2), and olive oil combined with fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids (group 3).

Significant improvement was seen in patients of group 2 and 3. Duration and intensity of morning stiffness reduced.

Patients saw an improvement in both grip strength and mobility of joints. There was also a reported decrease in the intensity of pain felt.

Dietary consumption of olive oil can help reduce the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis.

This protective effect of olive could be due to the presence of unsaturated fatty acids. Some of them such as n-3 (omega 3) fatty acids suppress cytokines responsible for inflammation and effectively reduce it.

This can lead to less swelling, pain and better movement of joints.

Olive oil is also rich in oleic acid. It contains some amount of linoleic acid too. Both work to induce anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing certain molecules that are responsible for inflammation.

Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants such as tocopherols that serve to attenuate oxidative stress and prevent joint damages from occurring in the first place.

What does this mean: Olive oil can possibly delay the occurrence of RA in people. It can also delay the complications associated with it.

How to take olive oil in the diet

Olive oil has recently entered the Asian cuisine as more and more people are becoming aware of its numerous benefits.

Olive oil is most commonly used in the form of cooking oil in numerous curries and recipes.

Cooking in this oil is not only healthy for normal people but also able to treat numerous health conditions.

Another form in which the oil can be consumed is putting it in salads as dressing.

As a dressing, it is consumed in a raw form rather than the cooked form and it has equal benefits. Raw olives are also known to contain the components of the olive oil and these can be added to the salads or other food items.

In addition to the oral consumption of olive oil, it can also be applied to the skin where it is absorbed from the skin into the body.

If taken for medicinal purposes, the oil can be taken directly for effective benefits.

It can also be used for deep frying food items so that they absorb the oil and it is ingested with the food items.

Other ways include pouring it on top of cooked food while eating and adding it dough’s like pizza dough, pie dough and other types of dough’s. The list is endless as it is up to the user in which form they want to consume it.

Dosage Of Olive Oil For Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is recommended to consume around 6g of olive oil in a day.

It is necessary to store it in a tight container, away from sunlight since olive oil can easily turn rancid.

Virgin olive oil is can be used to dress salads and sauté vegetables at low flames. However, for uses such as frying, refined olive oil should be used.


Olive oil when rancid or oxidized can possibly produce allergic reactions and this had been observed in animal models when experiments have been conducted.

They can contain peroxides that can induce immediate or delayed allergic reactions.

There also have been reported cases of eczema or skin discoloration on the application of olive oil.

Hence a patch test is recommended first before using olive oil. Also, consuming rancid olive should be avoided.


Olive oil can highly benefit those suffering from RA.

It can help lower the number of tender and swollen joints by decreasing inflammation, Mask the pain effectively by acting as an analgesic and improve grip strength and decrease the intensity of morning stiffness.

It can overall improve their quality of life by delaying complications associated with RA. It can also reduce the amount of medication needed to combat the disorder and has preventive effects.

Thus, those with a family history of RA can consume olive oil due to delay its onset.

It is rich in antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids and other phenolic compounds that can prevent bone and cartilage damage.

It is a natural and novel means by which a patient can improve his condition and strive for betterment.

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