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The Best Herbs, Supplements, and Vitamins for Rheumatoid Arthritis (and What to Avoid)

October 24, 2018

Rheumatoid arthritis or also referred to as RA is a type of chronic disease that affects more than two million Americans. This inflammatory condition manifests through signs of pain, swelling, stiffness, abnormality, and sometimes loss of movement in the joints. However, medical experts cannot pinpoint the exact cause of this disease.

At the same time, there is no single cure to prevent RA from occurring. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to detect the problem immediately to be able to minimize the risk and prevent further damage. Through early diagnosis, doctors will be able to check the extent of the joint damage and provide you with the best treatment.

Unfortunately, RA is irreversible. There are certain steps and treatments you can do but they may be limited to their efficacy depending on the condition of your RA.

Seeking Alternative Medicines

A lot of patients are looking for different options on how to approach this incapacitating disease. According to research, most people who are suffering from this chronic condition are most likely to seek other options specifically alternative solutions versus traditional medicines. Many resort to using vitamins and supplements to help manage their condition.

Meanwhile, a lot of people use herbal treatments to control this disease for many centuries. There are a lot of natural vitamins and supplements that are designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis along with other types of arthritis.

Another easy and practical way to address this condition is to use topical products such as the DermaMed Mobility Balm. This balm is an excellent alternative to painkillers. It effectively soothes and relaxes the affected joints and muscles. At the same time, because it is made from organic ingredients, it is practically safe to use.

Is it Necessary to Take Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements?

People who suffer from RA need all the assistance they can get from herbs, vitamins, and supplements. It can provide all the essential nutrients and minerals their body needs to help control this condition. Hence, many turn to supplements for relief. Plus, do not discard the significance of following a healthy diet.

The food you put in your mouth is the best source of nutrients and minerals. The best type of foods to include in your diet are fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Supplementing your diet with vitamins is a necessary step to ensure that your body gets everything it requires.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which causes the immune system to attack the tissues in your body. This affects the lining of the joints, therefore, causing it to become painful and swollen. In severe cases, it may eventually lead to joint deformity and physical disability. The inflammation caused by RA does not only affect the joints but it can also damage various parts of the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Usually, the first signs of RA affect the joints in your fingers and toes. As it develops further, the symptoms start to spread to the wrist, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. Patients with RA tend to develop sensitive and swollen joints.

The stiffness in their joints occurs after being idle which happens in the mornings after they wake up. Other signs of RA may include weight loss, fever, and fatigue. In some cases, other patients have symptoms that do not manifest in the joints. It can also affect other areas in the body such as the skin, lungs, heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves among many others.

The symptoms may vary from person to person depending on how severe your condition is. There is a possibility that this disease may go away on its own. However, it can also recur anytime. There are periods where the pain and swelling tend to disappear only to come back again with full force.

What Causes RA to Develop?

When the immune system attacks the lining of the membranes surrounding your joints, it causes inflammation. This can eventually damage the bones and cartilage in the joints while the ligaments and tendons weaken. Hence, the joint may become fragile and misaligned over time.

Sadly, medical experts do not know the real reason and cause of rheumatoid arthritis. Some doctors relate it to genetics but the genes are not the real culprit of RA. On the other hand, it can make you more prone to infection from bacteria or virus which can trigger the development of RA.

Risk Factors Involved

There are certain factors that you need to take into account when it comes to this disease. Studies show that women are most likely to develop RA compared to men. Even though this disease can occur at any age, it often starts to manifest between 40 to 60 years old.

If a family member suffers from RA, there’s a bigger risk that you may acquire this disease too. Overweight people also pose a higher risk of developing this condition. Smoking also increases your chances of RA and can lead to a more serious form of this disease. Unfortunately, it can also lead to further complications if left untreated.

The Best Vitamins and Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

While there is no particular cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many herbs, supplements, and vitamins that can help you control this disease to keep it from getting worse. Here are some of the most recommended by doctors.

Borage Oil

Borage seeds contain omega-6 fatty acids specifically gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. This type of omega-6 fatty acid can provide relief to joint stiffness, tenderness, and inflammation. The GLA found in borage oil is as an essential nutrient for joint structure.

Studies show that borage oil can reduce the activity of RA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the daily recommended intake is 1,300 mg.

Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the most popular herbs used to address signs of rheumatoid arthritis. This has been used in Chinese herbal medicines for many generations. Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric and is packed with anti-inflammatory properties. This helps reduce the pain, tenderness, and swelling caused by RA.

You can easily incorporate turmeric into your diet as it is available as a spice or tea. At the same time, it also comes in supplement form. The recommended dose of turmeric is 500 mg. twice per day. Research shows that curcumin is essentially safe to drink.

Ginger

Ginger is another popular herb used to treat various kinds of health issues. This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is often compared to having the effects of ibuprofen. Ginger can help improve the symptoms of RA while helping protect the joints.

You can easily brew ginger tea and drink up to four cups per day. It is also available in supplement form.

Evening Primrose

This herbal extract is used to treat a number of health concerns including RA. This flower contains 7% to 10% GLA and is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects. A lot of people use evening primrose supplement to combat symptoms of RA in order to help improve their joint function and immune system. Doctors recommend taking at 540 mg. of evening primrose oil twice per day.

Cayenne Pepper

Another herbal treatment used to fight signs of RA is cayenne pepper. This is long used in digestive support and also acts as an effective pain management. It contains an active substance called capsaicin which helps block the nerve cells from sending pain signals through your body.

Cayenne pepper is used to assist in pain reduction. There are a number of topical creams and balms that contain capsaicin. Experts suggest applying it on the affected area several times daily. At the same time, doctors recommend incorporating cayenne pepper as part of your anti-inflammatory diet.  

Green Tea

Green tea is a widely popular herbal remedy that is used for many centuries. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, this herb is used to treat numerous health conditions. Studies show that green tea contains an active compound that can help reduce symptoms of swelling, inflammation and other effects caused by RA.

The catechins found in green tea extract are linked to anti-rheumatic activity. The recommended daily intake is at least four cups of green tea per day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acid is a type of healthy fat that can be found in fish. Since some complications in RA are linked to heart diseases, doctors recommend loading up on omega-3’s to support a healthy heart. This supplement also alleviates symptoms of RA including morning stiffness.

According to studies, patients who suffer from RA have low levels of EPA and DHA which are both types of omega-3 fatty acids. Since your body doesn’t normally produce omega-3’s you need to source it from your food. Omega-3 is present in tuna, salmon sardines, and other kinds of fatty fish.

While there is no specific recommended daily intake, doctors suggest eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids at least twice or thrice a week. You can also take fish oil as a supplement.

The Natera Hemp Protein works wonders for your health as it contains a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Thus, making it an excellent source of fatty acids that can help relieve the effects of RA. At the same time, hemp protein also provides the body with a number of benefits including increased energy, better metabolism, lower cholesterol, and an improved immune system to name a few.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B that is found in supplements as well as fortified foods and plants. This supplement works great in supporting your body’s metabolism. There are some RA medications that interfere with the way the body uses folic acid.

You can get this nutrient from veggies and fruits including oranges, peas, beans, lentils, spinach, broccoli, collards, and asparagus among many others. Adults are recommended to get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Meanwhile, patients with RA are suggested to take 1 mg. daily or 5 mg. once every week.

Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral that is required to promote strong bones. People who are taking corticosteroids to treat their rheumatoid arthritis makes it more difficult for their body to absorb calcium. Hence, lack of calcium increases your risk of getting fractures and may lead to osteoporosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to bone loss. The best way to manage this is to ensure that you get enough calcium every day. The amount of calcium your body needs depends on your age and gender. Adults under the age of 50 years old are recommended to consume 1,000 mg. per day. Meanwhile, those who are 51 years old and above are suggested to take 1,200 mg. daily.

Aside from taking calcium supplements, you can also source it from dairy products, veggies, and fortified products. The Natera Moringa Leaf Powder is rich in calcium and is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  At the same time, it also features a complete source of protein that is essential for your body’s optimal health.

Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to promote healthy muscles, bones, and immune system. At the same time, it requires vitamin D so that it can use the calcium your body gets from food and supplements. Studies show that patients with RA have low doses of vitamin D in their body.

Doctors recommend adults up to 70 years old to take around 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Meanwhile, those who are over 71 years old are recommended to get a daily dose of 800 IU. On the other hand, if your body is low on vitamin D, you may need a higher dosage.

Aside from taking vitamin D supplements, you can easily add food sources with vitamin D to your diet. Milk products, orange juice, soy, and egg yolks, are just some of the foods that you can easily incorporate in your meal plan. Another natural way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is getting some sunlight. However, the amount of vitamin D entering your body may be reduced with the use of sunscreen.

What to Avoid When You Have RA

People who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from taking herbs, supplements, and vitamins. However, there are specific supplements that they should stay away from as well. There are some that can prove to be bad for your overall health.

According to health experts, supplements such as chaparral, arnica, and kombucha among many others can add more harm to your liver. If you want to improve your fatty liver, you should consider taking the Real Fatty Liver Protector. It can detoxify your body from harmful substances while help unclogs your liver from fat buildup.

Chaparral is known to cause toxicity in the liver. Meanwhile, methotrexate, a commonly prescribed medication is another bad choice as it can also affect the liver.

While there may be some supplements that ease the symptoms of RA, it also produces a number of side effects making it more harmful than helpful. Another example is the Thunder god vine which boasts of its anti-inflammatory properties. On the other hand, it also produces side effects including diarrhea, nausea, and respiratory infections.

Health experts highly recommend setting an appointment with your doctor first before you start taking herbal medications, supplements or vitamins. Even though they may present a lot of benefits, it’s always best to double check if it produces side effects before taking any.

Here are some supplements that may produce dangerous side effects in which case, you need to avoid.  

Aconite

Aconite is a plant that is highly poisonous. However, it is still used in Chinese medicine to help improve circulation and minimize inflammation. Nevertheless, it is very dangerous especially when ingested.

It may cause sickness, vomiting, and may lead to an irregular heartbeat which can be deadly. This is why experts highly urge patients with RA not to include this in their treatment plan.

Chaparral

A Chaparral is available in tea or capsule form. This supplement may reduce inflammation to alleviate the pain in arthritis. However, there are no conclusive studies to support these claims.

A separate study shows that chaparral has toxic effects on the liver. Patients who take methotrexate to manage their RA condition should avoid chaparral completely because it can lead to liver damage. The same goes for people who regularly take commonly prescribed medications.

Arth-Q

This dietary supplement is used to relieve muscle and joint pain as well as arthritis. However, the F.D.A. cites that the main ingredient found in this supplement is ibuprofen which is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID. Patients who are already treating their RA symptoms may find that this supplement can interfere with their ongoing treatment.

It may possibly even result in excess dosages which may lead to a damaged intestine, stomach or gastrointestinal bleeding. Other complications may also result in a stroke or heart problems. Therefore, making this supplement a harmful substance.

Arnica

The arnica plant is also used for various medicinal purposes. It is a popular choice for treating a number of health issues including osteoarthritis. In fact, a study shows that applying arnica in the form of a gel to the skin is as effective as taking ibuprofen when it comes to relieving their pain.

On the other hand, there is no direct evidence showing the same results for rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, it is also included in the U.S. F.D.A.’s list of poisonous plants.

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is produced from the root and bark of a vine of a plant. Even though it may help reduce the inflammation of RA, it is also known to have effects such as headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. Thus, making it a red flag for people who are taking medications such as blood thinners because it lowers the blood pressure. The Arthritis Foundation also does not advise this herbal medication to be taken by patients who undergo immunotherapy.

Kombucha

The kombucha tea is widely used for its many health benefits including the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is produced from fermented black tea mixed with yeast and bacteria. Kombucha tea is known to boost the immune system and improve the body’s detoxification.

On the other hand, these claims have not been proved as well. Instead, reports show that it may have adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, and liver damage. Also, there is a risk of getting contaminated due to the brewing process. Since the kombucha tea is highly acidic, it may affect the effectivity of other medications you are taking especially those that depend on the stomach’s pH level for absorption.

Staying Fit and Healthy

One of the simplest and most practical solutions to treat rheumatoid arthritis is to stay healthy and lead an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can go a long way. Make sure you include strengthening exercises as well as other activities that include lots of motion.

These type of exercises can improve the joint function, reduce the swelling, and improve the pain. In addition to taking supplements, an active lifestyle is an efficient way to manage your rheumatoid arthritis. You may also try the DPE Nuve LED Light Therapy device to help ease the pain and inflammation from RA. It helps in stimulating the circulation while relaxing the muscle spasms.

Adding herbs, supplement, and vitamins to your daily diet may help improve your overall health and well-being. Health experts strongly advise that you visit your doctor first before jumping into any medications. They highly recommend that you work with your doctor in customizing your RA treatment plan.

Your doctor will be able to provide you with the best possible options and recommend which one would best fit your lifestyle. They need to check the condition of your rheumatoid arthritis before they can come up with the most practical solution to address your problem.

Remember, taking care of yourself is a significant part of treating your rheumatoid arthritis. Thus maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, taking supplements, and managing your stress are all crucial to your RA treatment.



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