Thursday, August 16, 2018

Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

I haven’t painted a very rosy picture of rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, that’s because it doesn’t deserve one. There are many drugs on the market prescribed in hopes that they clear up the pain and other symptoms; these include NSAIDs, corticosteroids, COX-2 inhibitors, anti-rheumatic drugs, drugs that suppress the immune system, drugs that block a certain cellular protein, “Orencia,” “Rituxan,” and antidepressants. Sometimes surgeries, such as joint replacement, are used.

There are several good options in the natural side of medicine to help limit the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis. Here is a look at the natural choices:

1. Fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish such as tuna, herring and salmon contain anti-inflammatory properties and may be able to help those with Rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 has been proven successful in improving this condition. For some, the more omega-3 you have, the fewer NSAIDs you need for pain.

A double-blind study found that taking 2.6 g of omega-3s a day led to significant improvements in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms for patients during a 12-month study. In fact, at least 13 good-quality studies have found that using omega-3 supplements could significantly reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. (Note: the benefits of fish oil may be enhanced by eating olive oil at the same time.)

2. Boswellia. This Indian herb, legendary in the annals of Ayurvedic medicine, is directly related to frankincense. It’s a historical herb for arthritis, but modern research seems to back up its potential here. There are active ingredients in boswellia, acids that fight inflammation, which make the herb useful for Rheumatoid arthritis. A review of previously unpublished studies found that 81 people with Rheumatoid arthritis had significantly less swelling and pain over three months taking boswellia.Another one found that six months helped relieve symptoms in 60 rheumatoid arthritis patients. While more is to be discovered here, boswellia is promising.

3. Herbs named “claw.” Devils’ claw has potential for rheumatoid arthritis. A good study tracked 89 patients over two months, and those taking the herb showed a major decrease in pain and improved motion in the joints. Another following 50 people with a variety of arthritis types proved that 10 days of devil’s claw treatment provided significant pain relief.

The other herb here is cat’s claw, which has well-known potential for joint pain. Taking the extract called Uncaria tomentosa in supplement form may improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms a little bit. Taken alongside regular drugs, the number of swollen joints and painful flare-ups can be reduced.

4. Gamma linolenic acid

Gamma linolenic acide (GLA) is found in evening primrose and borage seed oils. It’s a fatty acid that could help control inflammation and repair injured joint tissue. In a study of 37 rheumatoid arthritis patients, GLA reduced the number of tender joints by 36%, swollen joints by 28%, and two related medical “scores” (how the patient rated) by nearly half. Those on placebo had no improvement. Taking borage seed oil along with conventional drugs helps decrease symptoms even further than taking drugs alone. Other studies have found encouraging results as well. Both oils as well as GLA can be found in any health store.

5. Vitamin E

The super antioxidant vitamin doesn’t work to limit inflammation, but could reduce pain. Evidence shows that taking vitamin E orally along with standard rheumatoid arthritis therapy could bring pain down further and improve results.

6. Glucosamine

This is a very popular supplemental treatment for osteoarthritis, but may have benefit in rheumatoid arthritis as well. Last autumn, a good-quality study of 51 RA patients found that 1,500 mg of glucosamine a day significantly improved symptoms. Like vitamin E, it didn’t affect the inflammation at all.

7. Dietary measures

People with Rheumatoid arthritis can use food to help themselves as well. Some find that avoiding dairy can help improve symptoms—keeping a food diary and seeing if any foods seem to aggravate your symptoms is a good idea. Learning what the culprits are and cutting them out of your diet is not a bad idea. One study found that following a vegan diet that is rich in chlorophyll drinks could decrease the symptoms.Researchers have found that fasting can provide temporary relief of pain.

In 1991, the Lancet published a study that found tenderness and swelling in joints was lowered, morning stiffness was decreased and grip strength was increased in Rheumatoid arthritis patients who followed a particular diet. Step one: a seven-to-10 day fast during which only herbal teas, garlic, vegetable broth and juice extracts (carrot, beet, celery) were allowed.

Step two: a “new” food item was introduced every other day. If RA symptoms got worse in the next two days, this food item was eliminated for a week. If this item aroused symptoms again, it was cut permanently. So, what got eliminated? Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, gluten, refined sugar and citrus fruits. Also to be avoided: salt, strong spice, preservatives, alcohol, tea and coffee.

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