Supplements & Natural Alternatives For Arthritis
No one likes being in pain! The chronic pain of either arthritic conditions can be quite painful and difficult to manage with over the counter medications alone. There are a number of prescription drugs that can help with pain and other symptoms, but even these are not foolproof. The best way to combat them is to have a varied diet, exercise and supplements to encourage natural healthy function within the body.
Arthritis is a joint condition in which one or more of your joints has inflammation. There are over a hundred different kinds of arthritis but the most common two are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is most commonly caused by age, obesity, or an injury to your joints. The most common side effects with osteoarthritis (also known as OA) are joint pain and joint stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (also known as RA) is a type of arthritis that can affect not only your joints but also your entire body. Some of the symptoms of RA include joint pain, joint stiffness, joints being warmer than normal, fatigue, and muscle aches.
Natural Supplements/Alternatives For Relief
There are quite a few supplements you can take to help get relief of your arthritis symptoms like swelling, pain, and inflammation. Take a look and see how these supplements, herbs and minerals can help you when you have whether OA or RA.
Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables is an all natural vegetable extract derived from ⅓ avocado oil and ⅔ soybean oil extracted after hydrolysis. ASU is used as a preventative measure for the deterioration of synovial cells lining the joints, encourages the regeneration of normal connective tissue, and inhibits pro-inflammatory chemicals.
What Does ASU Do?
ASU has been shown to slow the progressive effects of osteoarthritis (OA), in addition to preventing the breakdown of cartilage and even encouraging natural healing of the damage done by the OA. Due to the inhibiting properties of ASU to pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, it significantly reduces the need for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, if not eliminating the need for them entirely.
Black Currant Oil
This is a seed oil derived from the seeds of the black currant, comprised of 15-20% gamma-linolenic acid, 12-14% omega-3 fatty acids, and 2-4% stearidonic acid. Not to be mistaken for the black currant berry, black currant oil has been used as a diuretic, as a pain reliever for rheumatic and arthritic discomfort, and for controlling diarrhea.
What Does Black Currant Oil Do?
Used as a folk medicine in old Europe, black currant oil is recognized as an effective anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective. It has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the immune system, as well as empowering its ability to ward off disease. Gamma-linolenic acid is also known for decreasing swelling, making it ideal for reducing the joint swelling and pain experienced with osteoarthritis.
Borage oil is a pleasant smelling golden yellow substance with a long history in folk medicine throughout medieval Syria and Turkish Asia. Derived from the borage plant, an annual wildflower with bright blue leaves, native to Syria, which is now cultivated several places around the world. Containing 20-26% gamma-linolenic acid, it is frequently used medicinally for the treatment of inflammation.
What Does Borage Oil Do?
Borage oil has many different uses beyond anti-inflammation, such as its skin hydrating and anti-aging properties. It can also be used for relieving respiratory disorders, such as an aggravated cough or sore throat, and contains mucilage, a gel-like matter known for soothing mucous membranes. Studies have shown it to be effective in reducing high-blood pressure, stress, and depression. For women, borage oil is commonly used to reduce breast tenderness, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome symptoms and stress, and menopausal symptoms, in addition to easing pain and cramping.
People have been using the gum resin, known as frankincense or olibanum, from the bark of India’s native Boswellia tree, for many years. Boswellia trees are unique in their extreme resilience and ability to thrive in the harshest of areas, including even growing out of rocks, creating a bulbous swelling at the base of the trunk, which enables them to withstand intense winds without being pulled from the ground. Due to its pleasant aroma it is frequently used as incense or in perfumes, but frankincense is also known for its many medicinal properties.
What Does Boswellia Do?
The active ingredients in boswellia frankincense are boswellic acids, which are very effective for analgesia and anti-inflammation. By preventing cartilage reduction and restricting the autoimmune process frankincense has been used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition it has been found to be useful in treating crohn’s disease, and for relieving the symptoms of bursitis and ulcerative colitis.
Bromelain is an enzyme that is found inside of pineapple. The pineapple fruit has been used in folk medicine for many years by the natives of Central and South America. Though few studies have decisively proven its medical uses, it is believed to be good for reducing swelling and as a treatment for arthritis. When you eat pineapple on an empty stomach Bromelain acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. However you should not take the supplements if you are allergic to pineapple.
What Does Bromelain Do?
Since Bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory it helps in several ways. First off since it is an anti-inflammatory it helps reduce inflammation in joints and can help with joint pain. Bromelain can also help your joints be more mobile. Used in some cases for the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is recommend that you take 500 mg – 2,000 mg before meals.
Calcium is extremely important when it comes to bone and joint health. Having healthy bones helps you to have healthy joints but when you do not have enough Calcium in your body your blood will take it from you bones, weakening them.
What Does Calcium do?
Taking Calcium helps your bones to stay stronger. The most common sources you get Calcium from are dairy products, such as milk and cheese. However if you do not get enough Calcium from your diet there are supplements you can take. It is recommended that an adult has 1,000-1,200mg daily.
Capsaicin is the part of a chili pepper that produces the burning sensation when eaten. It was first extracted as an impure compound by Christian Friedrich Bucholz and was called capsaicin in reference to originating from the Capsicum genus. It is an irritant to all mammals, and the burning sensation its produces is the result of a chemical reaction with the body’s sensory neurons. Due to this it is not only used in food and medicine, but also as a pest deterrent and in pepper spray.
What Does Capsaicin Do?
Capsaicin is most commonly applied as a gel, a patch, or a topical cream. It operates by reducing the amount of neurotransmitter substance P, which transmits pain to the brain, and must be used consistently to avoid more of the substance P from accumulating. This makes it an effective topical pain reliever, and very useful in reducing the discomfort caused by fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, in addition to helping with joint pain. It is important to note that capsaicin should be kept away from the eyes, and sensitive skin.
This is the root and bark of a woody vine native to the rainforest, Central and South America specially, and is also known as Una de Gato. Though it has been used in Peruvian medicine for years, it has only just recently come to the attention of researchers and herbalists. The leaves of the plant are elliptic and smooth, it will only grow in whorls of two, and it is called “cat’s claw” because of its distinctive curved thorns. Cat’s claw can be used for various medicinal purposes, including stimulating the immune system and for anti-inflammation.
What Does Cat’s Claw Do?
Cat’s claw blocks the tumor necrosis factor, which is very frequently used in rheumatoid arthritis medication. It is also known for its benefit to the immune system, and has been used to treat injuries, arthritis, and even to relieve digestive issues and cancer symptoms. It typically will come as a tablet, capsule, or liquid and tea bag, and should not be confused with other plants of the same name. You should not use cat’s claw if you have tuberculosis, or if you are currently taking antihypertensive medication, or drugs to thin the blood or for the immune system, and it can be known to cause low blood pressure, headaches, light-headedness and nausea.
Chondroitin Sulfate, commonly just referred to by the beginning portion of its name, is a chemical naturally found in the bones and cartilage of the body that helps to block enzymes that break down cartilage.
What Does Chondroitin Do?
Chondroitin helps to decrease inflammation as well as reducing pain. Chondroitin helps improve the functioning of your joints. Chondroitin has also been shown to help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. When taken as a supplement the recommended dosage is 800mg-1,200 a day broken down into several doses.
Devil’s Claw is a herb that is found in South Africa. The most common part of the herb used is the root.
What does Devil’s Claw do?
The active ingredient in Devil’s Claw. Harpagoside, helps decrease inflammation in joints. Devil’s Claw has also been found to help relieve joint pain. The average dosage ranges from 750-1,000mg three times a day.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (aka DHEA)
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an androgen steroid hormone which the adrenal glands naturally manufacture, also known in its pharmaceutical form as prasterone. This should not be mistaken for 7-Keto DHEA. In humans, DHEA is the most common circulating steroid hormone manufactured by the adrenal glands, in addition to the gonads and the brain. Its main purpose in the body is to act as an intermediary in the biosynthesis between estrogen and androgen sex hormones. It also acts like a neurosteroid and serves to bind a variety of nuclear and cell surface receptors.
What Does DHEA Do?
A symptom of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis is having lowered levels of DHEA. This is also the case in postmenopausal females and men suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, though for men that may be the result of using corticosteroids. So for those with lupus DHEA assists in controlling flare ups and the generally activity of the disease. For those with arthritis it helps in controlling their inflammation and immune system, in addition to preventing bone loss and boosting bone density. DHEA is known for having a variety of side effects ranging from upset stomach, to the growth of facial hair in women, all the way to it having adverse reactions in those with liver disease. So it is important to consult your physician or pharmacist before beginning use of dehydroepiandrosterone.
Dimethyl Sulfoxide (aka DMSO)
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is one of the results of processing wood pulp. It is a colorless organic containing sulfur. One should not use industrial-grade DMSO, and thoroughly clean the skin of any previously applied products such as lotions or skin creams. It is generally used topically, but can be prescribed for internal use by a doctor. DMSO can have a variety of side effects and has several conditions, medications, and products it doesn’t interact well with so consulting your physician or pharmacist is advised before use.
What Does Dimethyl Sulfoxide (aka DMSO) Do?
There has been relatively few human studies of DMSO, which have yielded conflicting results. However, it has been shown to help increase joint mobility and reduce inflammation and pain in patients with scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. In addition, it improves blood flow to the skin and has shown promising results in controlling the excessive buildup of protein in organs (amyloidosis), as occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. One should not use DMSO if they have diabetes or an asthma, kidney, liver, or heart condition.
Evening Primrose Oil
This is an oil derived from the seeds of the evening primrose wildflower. Native to North America and Europe, the evening primrose oil contains 7-10% gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and has been used medicinally for many years. For example, native americans used evening primrose seed pods, roots, and leaves in concoctions for everything from bruising and injuries, to skin conditions and hemorrhoids. The active ingredient used medicinally in evening primrose oil is GLA, so it should be noted that it is an alternative source, to particular foods and various other plant oils like borage, which also contain GLA. It comes available for both external and internal use, in relation to the specific condition being treated.
What Does Evening Primrose Do?
More studies most done as to the effects of evening primrose oil, however it has shown promising results in treating many mild to serious conditions including breast tenderness resulting from menstruation, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and several skin conditions including acne, atopic dermatitis psoriasis, and eczema. It has also been used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve damage resulting from diabetes, and many more conditions. Evening primrose has a long history being used in medical treatment, but due to the small amount of studies having been done on its specific effects on humans afflicted by various conditions, it is advised you consult your doctor or pharmacist before beginning use.
This is typically oil derived from cold water fish specifically, such as halibut, herring, mackerel and tuna for example. It has been used in folk medicine for a very long time, and is commonly used in modern medicine for treating a wide variety of conditions and diseases. It is very important to be aware of several factors which can affect the overall effectiveness of the fish oil you use, such as how fresh it is, how pure, the potency, what are its full list of nutrients, bioavailability, is it sustainable, and how much does it cost. Some fish oils can be have bad ingredients or be oxidized, leading to more causing more problems than it helps. With careful research though, fish oil can be used for a long list of conditions.
What Does Fish Oil Do?
Fish Oil is known as an anti-inflammatory, because it contains fatty acids essential to the body, such as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which inhibit the inflammatory prostaglandins and cytokines. It also reduces circulating fat in the blood stream, making it useful for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart disease. Fish oil is frequently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and to prevent the condition from developing, in addition to being used in the treatment of depression, Raynaud’s phenomenon, psoriasis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also useful for improving brain function.
Ginger is a plant found commonly in Asia. The root is the base part of what we ingest. It is eaten either normal or dried, but you can get it in many form. When used medicinally it is commonly taken as a tea or a supplement.
What Does Ginger Do?
Ginger can help reduce inflammation in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It can also help reduce joint point. Ginger has been known in some cases to help increase circulation in some people.
Native to East Asia, this derives from the leaves of the ginkgo tree, also known as the maidenhair tree. With fossil records dating back 270 million years ginkgo has a very long history. It is actually known as an extant species, because the rest of its genus family has gone extinct. Ginkgo was also introduced very early on in human history, being used medicinally to treat various conditions, and in food as well. Historians generally assume that its name derives from a misspelling of the chinese word for silver apricot “gin-kyo”.
What Does Ginkgo Biloba Do?
Ginkgo Biloba is known as a good mood stabilizer, and improves brain function, including memory and fatigue, and is also being studied as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Ginkgo improves circulation and blood flow in Raynaud’s phenomenon as well, and reduces the leg and or arm pain caused by the blocked arteries in so doing. Though there is little evidence to support its effectiveness, it has also been used through the years to treat many conditions including menopause related mental decline, tinnitus, peripheral arterial disease, macular degeneration, high blood pressure, post-stroke recovery, and even altitude sickness.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is found in black currant oil, borage oil, and evening primrose plants, and is classified as an omega-6 fatty acid. These are extremely important to personal health despite the human body being unable to naturally produce it. GLA plays a very important part in mental health and brain function, in addition to general growth functions and development. GLA was originally found in evening primrose plants, and grown by native americans for a variety of treatments including reducing inflammation, and was introduced to early Europe in the 17th century in the form of a folk remedy, but expanded in its use upon further study of its benefits for the human body.
What Does Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) Do?
Gamma-linolenic acid is known for relieving the joint stiffness, pain, and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis with minimal side effects, in addition to lessening the symptoms from Sjogren’s and Raynaud’s syndromes. It is helpful in regulating the immune system, controlling the reproductive system and metabolism, stimulating hair and skin growth, maintaining bone health, and is generally most effective when ingested. There is little proof as to the effectiveness of the oils, however studies are being done into what their possible benefits may be.
Glucosamine is something that already naturally occurs in your body’s cartilage. Within your body it helps keep your cartilage and connective tissue healthy. The glucosamine that you take as a supplement usually comes from chitin, such as crabs and shrimp.
What does Glucosamine do?
When taken as a supplement for arthritis glucosamine does several things. First off it can help replace the glucosamine your body naturally loses as you get older. Glucosamine can also help improve the mobility of joints and help relieve some of the pain caused by osteoarthritis. Some studies show that it may also slow down the deterioration of connective tissue. The recommended dosage is 500mg three times a day or 1,500mg total in a day.
New Zealand’s green-lipped mussel is a shellfish, also known as perna canaliculus, which feeds on various types of phytoplankton. The green-lipped mussel is unique amongst the various species of mussel for its large size and green/brown shell and singular adductor muscle. The extract from this particular species of mussel contains chemicals which have been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Green-lipped mussel extract can be found ground up, freeze-dried, and in capsule form.
What Does Green-Lipped Mussel Do?
Green-lipped mussels are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can decrease the amount of prostaglandins and inflammatory molecules produced by the body. Results from human studies have typically been mixed, however it is believed to be effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, including having significant importance in sustaining joint cell function and structure. They are also considered to be easier on the stomach and can help in healing ulcers. There are some who believe these are useful in treating cancer, but these claims have yet to be proven through clinical trials. Caution should be taken when using, if you have hepatic impairment or in the case of pregnancy.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid found in fish oil. It commonly comes from fish like salmon, halibut, and cod. It can be found as a supplement or you can get it just by eating many different kinds of fish.
What Does Omega-3 Do?
Omega-3 works with the body to decrease inflammation. It has also been known to help some people with their morning stiffness. The recommended dosage for someone with arthritis is 2.6g twice a day.
Stinging Nettle is a plant found all over Europe, the U.S., and Canada. The leaves are covered with sharp stickers, causing a painful stinging sensation when touched, hence the name. Both the leaves and stem are used for medicinal purpose as well as being made into tea.
What Does Stinging Nettle Do?
Stinging Nettle is high in magnesium, potassium and calcium. Additionally, has been used to help decrease inflammation. It has also been found to help relieve the aches and pains associated with osteoarthritis. The recommended dosage is up to 1,300mg if you are taking a Stinging Nettle supplement. If you choose to drink it as a tea then it is recommended to drink a cup three times a day. You can also just apply Stinging Nettle leaves directly to the affected area.
Turmeric (Aka Curcumin)
Turmeric is a plant that is sometimes called curcumin. This plant found in Indonesia and India and is related to the ginger family. It is often ground into a fine yellow powder for use.
What Does Turmeric Do?
Turmeric has an active ingredient called Curcumin. Curcumin helps reduce pain in people with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin also helps decrease inflammation as well as decreasing joint stiffness.
Must Have Vitamins for Arthritis
Living with pain is, well… a pain. When you are dealing with it on a daily basis, you will look to any source to find out how to get some relief. In your search, you have probably found that there are certain foods that you should or shouldn’t eat.
The reason that doctors will tell you to eat certain foods is because they contain vitamins and minerals that can help with the specific issues that are caused by arthritis. Many of the popular foods that you are redirected to eat such as dairy and leafy green vegetables are powerhouses for the vitamins that can help give you the relief you are looking for .
Take a closer look at the recommended vitamins. Most of these vitamins can be obtained by taking a daily multi-vitamin. However, if your doctor detects that you are deficient in any area, you may be directed to take an additional vitamin supplement to compensate.
Egg yolks, liver, fish and dairy products are all high in Vitamin A. Additionally, you can get it from vegetable sources such as vegetables that have carotenoids. Beta carotenoids are one popular source, which is why carrots are always popular for those wanting to incorporate Vitamin A into their diet.
What Does Vitamin A Do?
An antioxidant that can slow the aging process, provides protection for the eyes, aids in growing bones and tightens both skin and digestive tract tissue, Vitamin A is strong supplement for all kinds of arthritis. Additionally, research is promising regarding the use of Vitamin A and its specific assistance for Rheumatoid Arthritis as well. The jury isn’t in, but you will likely be hearing a lot more in the future about how this vitamin helps to suppress inflammatory cytokines.
It is important to note that Vitamin A can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Xenical / Alli (Orlistat)
- Oral Contraceptives
- Soriatane (Acitretin)
- Bexarotene (Targretin)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Also referred to as Thiamine, Vitamin B1 can be found in brown rice, whole grains, fish and pork. Energy drinks as well as fortified foods such as cereal, bread and pasta are all excellent sources of B1.
What Does Vitamin B1 Do?
Deficiencies in B1 can lead to a number of problems, but the most pervasive symptom pertaining to arthritis is that it can cause nerve damage. However, taking the vitamin as a supplement will help to support both the nervous system and muscles. It can alleviate pain and spasms that are can be troublesome when in an arthritic flare up.
It is important to note that Vitamin B1 can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Lasix (Furosemide)
- Dilantin (Phenytoin)
Like other B vitamins, you can get B12 from animal sources including egg yolks, liver and fish. Synthetic Vitamin B12 is also available and is often added to fortified foods such as cereal, bread and pasta. Having enough of it in your diet can help to boost energy and rejuvenate your body.
What Does Vitamin B-12 Do?
You need Vitamin B12 in order to have a healthy and functioning nervous system, brain and red blood cells. Furthermore, the vitamin aids in the creation of both red blood cells and DNA. In regards to RA, it can reduce the amount of homocysteine, which high levels of are almost always found in people with the condition. Research has suggested reasons for the link, but not found the direct correlation yet. The fact that it is a marker for RA though and that symptoms reduce when levels are lower means that B12 is an integral vitamin to be added when you have the condition.
It is important to note that Vitamin B12 can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Reflux disease medications
- Cholesterol reducing drugs
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Also seen on ingredient labels as Riboflavin, Vitamin B2 is quite helpful in aiding arthritis. It can be found in both animals and vegetables including foods like eggs and dairy naturally or in fortified bread products. Like other B vitamins, it can help to increase energy, which in itself can be a blessing when you’re in the middle of a flare up and lacking sleep.
What Does Vitamin B-2 Do?
Vitamin B2 is necessary for the body to process both B6 and folate naturally, as it converts them into forms that can actually be utilized. Without B2, the other vitamins would not function as designed within the body and you would get limited or no effects from them. Because it fends off free radicals, it also acts like an antioxidant in the body, aiding in the purification of cells, reducing aging and helps with cell function.
It is important to note that Vitamin B2 can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Some seizure medications
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Commonly referred to as Niacin, Vitamin B3 is essential for the body to produce energy. It is also essential for the health of the nervous and digestive systems. Thankfully, Vitamin B3 is easy to find. You can get it in grains such as brown rice and barley. It is also plentiful in pine nuts, sunflower seeds, red chili peppers and split peas. Energy drinks are also have all of the B-Complex vitamins in large doses because of the added energy that they provide.
What Does Vitamin B3 Do?
Because B3 can reduce the amounts of harmful cholesterol and increase the beneficial kinds of cholesterol, it is important for not only arthritis but heart health. Because arthritis is an inflammatory disease, this is an important system to manage in order to maintain the overall health of the body. For arthritis, because Vitamin B3 can reduce inflammation, it is also a needed supplement. For it to be effective in helping with arthritic pain, the vitamin needs to be taken regularly. Missing doses will result in reduced effects.
It is important to note that Vitamin B3 can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Medications for gout
- Statins and cholesterol drugs
- Metformin and Diabetes medications
You can find B6 in many of the same foods that you might seek out for comfort. Things like mashed potatoes, chicken and turkey are all high in the vitamin. Additionally, B6 is commonly found in energy drinks because it gives a boost of energy and also helps the body manage Vitamin B3.
What Does Vitamin B6 Do?
B6 is possibly the most powerful of the B-Complex vitamins as it is responsible for over one hundred chemical reactions, affecting a wide range of bodily symptoms. It is vital to maintain red blood cells, nerve function, brain function and even the production of energy.
It is important to note that Vitamin B6 can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- Some epilepsy medications
- Asthma treatments
- Drugs for Tuberculosis (TB)
You can easily get Vitamin C from fruits, but often multi-vitamins will include this in the mix because there are so many benefits. Plus, you can’t get too much of it. Vitamin C is water soluable and the body will flush out any extra that it gets and doesn’t need.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Not only is Vitamin C a super antioxidant that can help block you from free-radicals and protect your body from dangers from the sun. It can also promote collagen growth, help to maintain connective tissue and improve absorption of iron. For those with arthritis, some of these benefits can be a lifesaver.
It is important to note that Vitamin C can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Some cancer treatments
- Blood pressure medications (mainly statins)
- Blood Thinners
- Some HIV and AIDS drugs
Vitamin D3 is a one that helps strengthen bones because it helps your body to absorb the calcium in your diet. To maximize absorption of calcium, you want to have enough of it in your diet. It makes sense then why there is “Vitamin D” milk, right? While it can be found in some milks and juices, the human body also produces Vitamin D3 when exposed to the sun light.
What Does Vitamin D3 Do?
Vitamin D3 is essential for healthy strong bones and has also been shown to help increase bone density when taken by people who have osteoarthritis. Additionally, like your B-Complex vitamins, Vitamin D can help your heart as well. It is essential to those with all forms of arthritis, but can be exceptionally beneficial for people with RA because it aids the functions that regulate the cells, directly linking it to autoimmune disorders. It can regulate the autoimmune functions, which are required in order to maintain time between flare ups.
There are no notable drug interactions for Vitamin D / D3.
Vitamin E is usually an oily substance that you can ingest or apply topically to the skin. A super power in it’s own right, it aids the immune system and red blood cell functioning. To get these benefits in your diet, make sure to eat plenty of nuts or seeds including almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds. Additionally, spinach and broccoli are also good sources.
What Does Vitamin E Do?
Another vitamin that also performs antioxidant functions, Vitamin E also provides protection from free radicals. This can reduce sun damage and other interferences that are sometimes experienced by those with RA.
It is important to note that Vitamin E (in high doses) can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
- NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
- Some cancer treatments
One of the reasons that spinach and kale are so popular is because of their “super food” status. Vitamin K is a main contributing factor to this. Aside from leafy greens, you can also find this beneficial supplement in miso and soy sauce. Vitamin K is most effective when taken in regular doses and for this reason you will want to make sure that your multivitamin has it in there (and an adequate amount that you discuss with your primary care provider) or that you take an additional Vitamin K supplement.
What Does Vitamin K Do?
While Vitamin K is usually known for preventing blood clots and preventing calcium from interfering with blood flow of the arteries, it is also helpful for strengthening bones. Some studies have indicated that it is also capable of ridding the body of inflammatory cells that are often associated and a contributing factor to RA. Additionally, regular intake of Vitamin K through natural sources and supplements can help to reduce the risks of bone fractures in some people.
It is important to note that Vitamin K can have potential interactions with certain medications including:
Don’t Forget Joint Friendly Minerals
Magnesium is an essential mineral produced by your body and utilized in hundreds of processes therein. Foods that are high in magnesium include potatoes, whole grains soybeans and many nut varieties.
How does Magnesium work?
Because Magnesium is important when strengthening bones and with the Vitamin D processes, it is important to maintain the balance when you have arthritis. Proper levels can also help with fatigue levels. Especially important to those with postmenopausal osteoarthritis, research has shown that maintaining sufficient levels in Magnesium throughout your life can reduce the likelihood of onset.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is available in organic and inorganic forms. Another antioxidant supplement, Selenium is helps to protect the body from the damage of free radicals. You can find it naturally in eggs, mushrooms, fish, shellfish and pork.
What Does Selenium Do?
It has been noted that selenium deficiencies are linked with RA specifically, and because of this correlation it is suggested to use it as a supplement to your diet if you suffer from the disease.
Zinc is highly beneficial because it offers so many benefits to the human body. It iis naturally found mainly in meat, but is in shellfish including lobster and crab as well. Vegetable sources of zinc included in breads and nuts.
What Does Zinc Do?
Zinc is essential with the production and processes of over three hundred enzymes and hormones within the human body. Because it is so immersed and there are so many aspects of the body dependent on zinc, it is essential to have in your diet in ample quantities when you have either form of arthritis. Some studies have shown that zinc can be especially helpful for those suffering from RA. It has been noted that
There is Such Thing as Too Much of a Good Thing
So, now you have a wealth of information and know which vitamins, minerals and supplements can help you the most if you are suffering from OA or RA. Remember, supplements of all varieties have their own regulations and do not constitute as medicine. They are not approved by the FDA. This makes it important to purchase arthritis supplements from a reputable source. You want to be sure that the ingredients are listed and displayed.
While there is rarely a risk of overdose from supplements or vitamins, you can have an overabundance. For example, some vitamins such as the B Complex Vitamins and Vitamin C are both water soluble. This means that if you do take more than you should, you will flush out extra unnecessary amounts as waste from the body.
Other vitamins such as A, D and K are all fat soluble. These won’t flush out of your body. Rather, your body will hold on to the extras in your fat cells. When you take too high of doses for fat soluble vitamins, you can run the risk of unseen complications.
Taking too many minerals can be problematic as well. For example, too much calcium has been associated with heart disease risk. High doses of certain can raise to toxic levels, causing aggravation of problems that you were trying to alleviate (ie. joint pain or fatigue). Additionally, some can also cause hormonal imbalances, depression, weight gain and other troublesome issues.
Taking the recommended doses, per your primary provider, is the number one way to avoid unforeseen issues when taking supplements of any kinds. Additionally, it is important to report this information if you are on medication. Certain vitamins and minerals can cause complications or interfere with prescription medications.
Tip: Always keep track of how much of each compound that you are taking each day when you incorporate supplement for arthritis into your diet. Many fortified foods and energy drinks contain large amounts vitamins and minerals that can cause you to be taking too much of something.
What Other Natural Options Are There?
Aside from traditional supplements, there are a number of other options that you have. This is not to say that you should forgo arthritis supplements and choose these options. Rather, you should consider including the following into your diet alongside in order to have the greatest control over your arthritic symptoms.
Recent research suggests that fiber may be a solid answer to reducing inflammation. The trick to it is that you need to eat enough fiber for it to do it’s job. Many Americans do not get enough in their diet and for this reason they need to seek out fiber supplements that can replace natural sources.
Additionally, people need two separate kinds of fiber. One type is soluble and when mixed with liquids it will create a gel-like substance that slows down the digestive tract. This is how the body absorbs the nutrients that it needs. The other, non-soluable fiber like you find in beans and wheat bran, creates weight to your bodily wastes. Essentially, it adds weight or bulk to your stool. This is the kind of fiber is what prevents you from being constipated.
When fiber levels are optimal, your body can absorb the vitamins and minerals that it needs to function. Furthermore, in the case of a person with arthritis, it can react properly to things that would cause it to swell or become inflamed.
Another study showed that people who minimal levels of C-Reactive protein (CRP) in their bloodstream usually report higher levels of fiber in their diets. While it’s not conclusive yet, doctors are recommending that their patients with RA increase fiber intakes. It is thought that by reducing CRP from the blood that there may be less symptomatic flare ups from RA.
Green Tea has been used for centuries as a healing tonic for a number of diseases including those affecting the heart, nervous and skeletal systems. The main reason for this is because it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects when consumed regularly. You can get these benefits from drinking steeped brewed green tea, drinking green juice tea s and from green tea powders.
Recent research is showing much success for the treatment of RA as well. Much of the attention is coming from a study from Washington State University that showed how ankle swelling in a mouse was reduced in a mouse by a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that is found in green tea.
This is the same compound that reduces swelling in the body, likely the same thing that has made green tea already popular with arthritis sufferers. However, with this new research, it is likely that you will also see arthritis supplements made with forms of EGCG.
Manganese, Chondroitin and Glucosamine
Arthritis often wears down joints and bones. Manganese helps to rebuild cartilage, the connective tissue between bones that often gets worn out. Manganese works with chondroitin and glucosamine to help reduce swelling. Many patients that take these together also find that they have a reduction of symptoms overall.
A common supplement for osteoarthritis, MSM has been being used for many years to combat inflammation of the joints and muscles and also to alleviate musculoskeletal pain. MSM has a very high sulfur content which allows for the body to maintain the structural integrity of the cartilage. This connective tissue will wear down over the course ofthe disease and where manganese can rebuild, MSM can fortify. By strengthening the cartilage, there is less inflammation and more support to the bones and structure of the body. This alleviates pain and can be of great benefit to many arthritis sufferers.
Your body is filled with germs and bacteria, but not all of them are bad. Your body functions best when those bacteria are in a healthy balance within the system and Probiotics can help with this. When harmful bacteria overwhelm your body, this is essentially when you are sick. When your body is sick, it is under stress. Those that have RA especially, will understand what can happen when stress hits the body. Flare-ups, fatigue and swelling are all common side effects. Thankfully, there is a solution. Probiotics help to balance out the good bacteria in the body.
People often think about their joints when they think about swelling, and because of this, swelling is often mentioned as an important issue to resolve with supplements. However, a key component as to why arthritis sufferers need to be mindful about reducing inflammation in their body is because of their digestive tract.
While it is obvious that when there is swelling in the joints, the side effects to internal tissue is not often so easy to notice. Sometimes you may get an upset stomach, yet other times you will simply feel fatigued. Inflamed digestive tract tissue will allow for things to pass beyond the walls. This can lead to infection, toxins and waste getting into other areas of the body, which in turn can cause additional inflammation throughout the body.
Additionally, it is suspected that certain kinds of bacteria that dwell in the gut and that are also harmful, may be a link to triggering the symptoms of arthritis. As more information is found, you are sure to hear more about the beneficial effects of probiotics for arthritis soon.
By incorporating probiotics into your diet, you can allow for the balance to be regained in your digestive tract, and prevent future flare ups of inflammation.
You watch what you intake into your body, ensuring that you are getting the right nutrients and supplement yourself against the painful side effects of both Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. Don’t stop there though.
Unfortunately, to date, there is no cure for arthritis. However, if you are proactive, you can help to manage your symptoms with a healthy and active lifestyle. Gyms with warm pools and swimming are one of the most commonly recommended exercise programs for those with RA or OA by doctors.
Remember with arthritis, like any other physical medical condition, you will want to discuss any changes in activity before starting any exercise plan. They will work with you to determine a program that will aid you in any fitness goals while ensuring ease on the knees and other joints.
See How Supplements Can Help With Your Arthritis
Many of these supplements have been around for a very long time. Most are easy to work into your lifestyle. With supplements for arthritis, please allow up to one month before you feel the full beneficial side effects.
Many people find relief from their osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, like pain and inflammation, every day with supplements and natural alternatives. Talk with your doctor about the supplements, minerals and activities that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.