Arthritis is a general term used to refer to many conditions that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts have identified over 100 different types of arthritis.
And rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common form of arthritis. It affects one in every 100 Canadians.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease in which the immune system actually attacks the health joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis leads to inflammation of the joints and chronic pain. Eventually, if left uncontrolled, the joints and cartilages get damaged leading to reduced joint mobility and permanently deformed joints.
There are several natural remedies and herbs that can be used to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. Hopefully, it will improve the quality of life for the individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
|Natural Remedies||What experts say...|
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (consisting of DHA and EPA). Studies have revealed that it can reduce inflammation and cut down on pain from arthritis.
Not all fats are bad; omega-3 is considered to be "good fats". See the full review on the Health Benefits of Fish Oil for a detailed report.
Dosage: Take 3 to 9 grams of DHA and EPA (total) daily. Some studies have used even higher doses. At these higher doses, seek the help of a qualified health care professional.
Stick with omega-3 fatty acids, the concentrated formulations, rather than just taking a basic "fish oil" capsule. Make sure the amounts of DHA and EPA are listed on the package.
Celadrin is a proprietary formulation of fatty acids. Some clinical studies have revealed that it can help provide lubrication for the joints, reducing inflammation and pain.
There is some evidence that it may promote healing of the joints as well. It comes as a cream or capsule formulation.
Dosage: Cream - Apply the cream formulation two or three times daily. Capsules/Tablets - Take 1,500 mg daily.
Boswellia is traditionally used in Indian medicine for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Some research studies have revealed that it cuts down on inflammation and pain.
Its effectiveness has been compared to prescription NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). But one big advantage is that it does cause stomach upset.
Dosage: Take 400 mg three times daily as needed.
This is the active substance found in the spice turmeric.
Research studies show that it is as effective as prescription cortisone for reducing inflammation, but without the side effects. It also possesses strong antioxidant benefits as well.
See Curcumin for Rheumatoid Arthritis for a quick discussion based on research studies.
See the full review on the Benefits of Turmeric for the full detail on this highly popular spice.
Dosage: Take 400 mg three times daily. Higher doses have been used as well.
This is a hot pepper extract that has been shown to reduce pain when applied to the joints.
It works by depleting substance P, a pain substance produced by our body. (It is a neuropeptide released from pain-sensing nerve endings.) Be careful not to get this cream in your eyes as it will be very irritating.
Also, do not apply to broken skin. Always wash your hands after applying the cream.
Dosage: Apply a 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin cream up to three times daily to the affected joints. Do not get into your eyes.
This is an enzyme that possesses anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to help increase joint mobility in people suffering from osteoarthritis. It may be helpful with rheumatoid arthritis as well.
There are few reported side effects from taking bromelain. Individuals taking any type of blood thinners should be monitored by their doctor if they plan on taking bromelain as it may thin the blood.
See Benefits of Bromelain for a detailed report on this supplement.
Dosage: Take 2,000 to 6,000 MCU daily.
Vitamin D is involved in many immune-related diseases. There are population studies to suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be involved in rheumatoid arthritis.
One study showed that increases in blood levels of vitamin D reduced pain and the severity of the disease.
See Vitamin D for Rheumatoid Arthritis for the complete discussion on this.
See Benefits of Vitamin D for a comprehensive list of the benefits of taking this all important vitamin.
Dosage: Avoid deficiency by taking 1,000 to 2,000 mcg daily.
|Multivitamins & Minerals||
Some studies have shown that certain types of nutrients are low in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Those found to below average (when compared to health individuals) include zinc, copper, selenium and B-vitamins.
This group of minerals and vitamins are suspected to reduce the damaging effects of oxygen free radicals. They are also believed to support the health of the joints and cartilage.
Dosage: Take a high-potency multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily.
In some people, the foods they eat may have a significant impact on the amount of pain and inflammation they experience.
Common sense would tell an intelligent person that foods loaded in saturated fats and high in sugar content is probably not good for health in general.
See our article Foods for Rheumatoid Arthritis for a complete list of recommended foods to eat and foods to avoid.Some of the recommendations, such as avoid nightshade vegetables are specific to rheumatism.