Supplements for Arthritis

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Blog

Supplement selection can be overwhelming, especially when a chronic condition may need to be considered. In this article let’s discuss some of the best supplements that can assist Arthritis. There are 100 different types of arthritis, for the sake of feasibility and supplement overview the two mentioned most in this review are: Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis that involves wearing away of the cartilage that protects the bones in our joints and Rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the joints themselves and the cartilage as well.

            What are considered supplements and what benefit could they bring to someone living with arthritis? Supplements can be characterized as vitamins, herbs, minerals, and enzymes. Often supplements are incorporated into a diet due to a deficit, illness or medication causing one’s body to not produce the needed amount. Supplements are simply a boost to the body and can be very beneficial when properly understanding what the body may require or be lacking. As an example, Rheumatoid Arthritis is known for depleting the body of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to keep bones, tissue, muscles, and organs healthy. In Rheumatoid arthritis as the disease is active the vitamin D levels in patients can see a decrease. Low vitamin D levels can cause unnecessary pain, muscle weakness, hair loss, and bone pain. A simple blood panel can be run to check vitamin D levels in any patient but should be especially considered for patients with arthritis and rheumatoid. Vitamin D may be a supplement to consider if you are a person living with arthritis.

            In addition to Vitamin D two other supplements with known benefits for Arthritis are: Glucosamine and chondroitin. Both supplements play an imperative part in cartilage protection. Cartilage is the material that protects all the joints in the body, think of it as tiny pillows that protect joints, and as the cartilage is depleted through wear via arthritis or the body attacks the cartilage during Rheumatoid the joint bones begin to rub against themselves causing pain. Arthritis tends to be a painful condition because of the depletion of the cartilage, these two supplements by enhancing the body’s production of enzyme factors needed to protect cartilage. Both can be thought of as building blocks for the body’s joints. Clinical studies indicate that glucosamine sulfate has been shown to be a safe and relatively effective treatment for osteoarthritis. (James & Uhl, 2001) Protecting the cartilage and joints themselves in arthritis is critical as well as keeping pain levels at zero or maintainable. Both supplements have good evidence that both can be achieved with regular consumption. Neither supplement should be used in lieu of prescriptions prescribed by a physician, but they may assist in pain management similar to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

            Another supplement that can support joint pain and inflammation is Methylsulfonylmethane. Now, this is quite the word so most often it is referred to as “MSM”. MSM has been known for its’ benefits in reducing pain and mobility improvement. MSM can take 2-3 weeks for an individual to feel its’ effects and is crucial in the natural building of glucosamine and collagen. MSM has antioxidant properties as well which better detoxify the body of waste by assisting liver and kidneys. Some added benefits of reducing inflammation, better mobility, antioxidants, is that MSM also helps build Keratin in the body so hair growth or health may increase.   One study found that combining MSM with glucosamine and chondroitin was more effective at decreasing pain and stiffness in people with knee osteoarthritis than glucosamine and chondroitin alone. (Kubala, 2018)

            A few other supplements that can be taken via pill or tea but can also be found in our daily diet are: ginger, omega 3s, and turmeric. These supplements can further assist in reducing inflammation of the joints, muscles, and cartilage within the joints. Omega 3s are found in healthy fats such as: olive oil, salmon, seaweed, Brussel sprouts, and nuts like walnuts and chia seeds. Not all supplements may require a purchase of pills but rather a healthy contribution to your daily diet. By incorporating small changes that may improve your experience with Arthritis. Omega 3’s is used in the body as healthy fats to further protect joints, healthy skin, and may prevent other vitamin depletion. Ginger and Turmeric can be incorporated into the diet as well and have shown to reduce inflammation. Arthritis of any kind if inflammatory disease. The body is responding to disease by causing inflammation within it – the way of saying “hey pay attention to me over here”.

            Natural supplements that can even be incorporated into your daily diet have proven benefits. Boswellia, green tea, and turmeric could be taken via supplement (pills or liquids) but they can be included in recipes as well. Boswellia is herbal resin from trees and has both anti inflammatory properties and pain relief. It may also prevent loss of cartilage. Boswellia does need to be taken in supplemental pill form. Green tea is a lovely addition to both diet and supplementation that can benefit arthritis. Research suggests that green tea has both anti inflammatory agents and anti-oxidants that can both protect joints and assist with pain management. “According to the Arthritis Foundation, polyphenols have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is a particularly good source of epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). This is a type of polyphenol with particularly potent antioxidant effects.” (Going green: Green tea for rheumatoid arthritis) Green tea can be consumed as a beverage for extra hydration throughout the day and also found in the supplemental form. All teas are best bought and consumed as organic.

            Turmeric is also an easy addition to both diet and supplemental regime. Turmeric has not only been proven to help with arthritis inflammation and pain but in some cases also beneficial to depression aide. Turmeric does not need to be consumed in heft doses for anti-inflammatory benefits, so while folding into recipes and smoothies will provide benefit for the reduction in inflammation and pain it may be best try the supplement in pill form.

            These are a handful of the best researched supplements with results assisting in Arthritis. Supplements may not always be enough for prescription medications to not be required in disease management, but they are a good place to start when discussing the benefits of an integrative approach. Integrative medicine is important to consider and discuss with your physician and specialist prior to self-starting supplements. Please always consult your licensed specialist or physician before beginning supplements or vitamins to understand the benefits or interactions there may be.

            If there are other supplements, vitamins, or integrative approaches you would like to know more about let us know!

Supported Literature

James, C. B., & Uhl, T. L. (2001, October). A review of articular cartilage pathology and the use of glucosamine sulfate. Journal of athletic training. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155438/

Kubala, J. (2018, May 21). Top 8 health benefits of MSM supplements. Healthline. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/msm-supplements#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

Healthline Media. (n.d.). Going green: Green tea for rheumatoid arthritis. Healthline. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis-green-tea#research

1 Comment

  1. Tom Sage

    Hello Dr Yu,
    Thanks a million for this website. It gives hope to those of us that are dealing with severe idiopathic pain.
    Have any of your patients try Hemp CBD creams? If so, did the Hemp cream help?
    I have had IBS for 10+ years, and just recently got severe joint pain. Please consider a video, or article, on how joint pain can be due to GI conditions.
    I really like the friendly way you present these serious issues. I think of a Rheumatologist as someone very serious who will probably give us all bad news. You are so friendly and want to help.
    Many thanks for your excellent help!

    Reply

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