Like everyone else, people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) feel their best when they receive nutrients such as vitamins and minerals in proper proportions. Due to disease activity and the side effects of medications, those with RA may suffer from deficiencies in certain nutrients. In addition, some researchers have suggested links between some nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids and decreased inflammation in people with RA. Certain herbs, such as Boswellia and thunder god vine, have also been proven to have a positive effect on RA symptoms. Taking supplements can be one way to maintain good health, prevent complications, and even lessen inflammation and other symptoms.
It has also been proven that some supplements are dangerous. When you are choosing supplements, make sure to check labels and avoid these ingredients in order to prevent serious side effects.
There is no scientific evidence that any supplement can cure RA or reverse its symptoms. There are many misleading claims that one supplement or regimen of supplements or another can effectively treat RA. Most of these claims are based on personal narratives and not on controlled scientific trials. These individuals may have experienced spontaneous improvement in their condition, but it could be related to other factors apart from supplements.
Some supplements may increase your levels of certain nutrients to toxic levels. It is possible to overdose on vitamins and minerals. In addition, some supplements and herbs may cause dangerous interactions with medications. No supplement is ever a good substitute for clinically proven drug therapies.
What does it involve?
Always consult your doctor before taking any new supplement. Ask your doctor for the correct dosage of any new supplement. Be sure to provide your doctor with an up-to-date list of all medications in order to avoid drug interactions.
Certain fatty acids can help fight inflammation, which causes RA symptoms. Fish oil supplements are one type of supplement containing Omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to decrease inflammation. Plant seed oils such as evening primrose, borage and black currant contain Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of Omega-6 fatty acid, may also be helpful.
Thunder god vine is an herbal extract that may help fight inflammation and depress the immune system. It may be taken orally or applied topically.
People with RA may require more of certain nutrients than people without lupus. For instance, corticosteroids can thin your bones and cause osteoporosis. Therefore, you may ask your doctor whether supplements containing calcium and Vitamin D may be appropriate for you.
If you are taking Methotrexate[LINK], you may benefit from taking a folic acid supplement.
Some supplements have been identified as dangerous. The chemicals L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytrytophan (5-HTP) have been associated with a serious illness called eosinophilia myalgia. Adrenal, thymus, or spleen extracts are sourced from raw animal organs and may be contaminated. Similarly, fermented kombucha tea may be contaminated with bacteria. Herbal supplements such as autumn crocus, aconite or chaparral are very toxic, and it is easy to overdose. Likewise, arnica is safe to apply topically, but if taken orally or applied to broken skin, it can cause paralysis, heart problems, and death. Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) is also linked to serious side effects.
Optimizing your nutrition will help you feel your personal best. Taking certain supplements may help your body fight inflammation and reduce RA symptoms.
Several studies have indicated that taking fish oil supplements or plant seed oils such as evening primrose, borage, and black current may decrease RA symptoms such as tender joints and morning stiffness. Using fish oil may also allow people with RA to take less non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Some studies suggest that thunder god vine can reduce inflammation and may suppress the immune system.
Laboratory or animal studies have indicated that substances including green tea, the herb Boswellia, ginger, and turmeric may have anti-inflammatory effects. However, these compounds have not been thoroughly tested in human studies.
Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet.
Fish oil can cause the blood to clot more slowly. People taking anticoagulant medicine should use fish oil with caution. Fish oil also contains vitamins A and D, which can be toxic in large quantities. Discuss correct dosing with your doctor.
Thunder god vine can cause headache, diarrhea, and stomach upset in addition to serious side effects including reproductive problems and increased osteoporosis risk.