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Cetylated fatty acids (CFAs)

Classification for CFAs

CFAs are nutritional supplements. You can buy them over the counter in pharmacies and health food shops. There’s a little evidence that the cream may be effective in improving some aspects of range of motion in the knees of participants with osteoarthritis. How it works, its safety and its effectiveness in relation to conventional medications is still unclear.

What is it?

Family: Nutritional supplement
Scientific name: Cetylated fatty acids
Other names: Individual CFAs (for example cetyl myristoleate), combinations of CFAs (for example Celadrin®)

Cetyl myristoleate (a specific CFA) was proposed as a possible treatment for musculoskeletal conditions in the 1970s by an American chemist who found that it might be responsible for protecting mice against the development of rheumatoid arthritis. You can buy CFA capsules (350 mg) and creams in pharmacies and health food shops.

How does it work?

The exact ways that CFAs work in treating musculoskeletal conditions haven’t been formally studied. It’s been proposed that they may have a lubricant effect on joints. They may improve your body’s production of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that regulate your immune system and fight joint inflammation).

Is it safe?

No serious side-effects have been reported and interactions with other medications haven’t been examined. The best dose hasn’t been found, but a treatment plan consisting of three capsules of Celadrin® containing 350 mg of CFAs per day has been used in studies.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.