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Nutritional Supplements for Arthritis

written by: Rafael • edited by: lrohner • updated: 1/30/2009

Many of us have suffered at times from minor inflammation of the joints with its associated pain and stiffness. When this is recurrent, arthritis may be present. Learn how to use nutritional supplements for arthritis.

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    Arthritis, a condition that many people suffer in their lifetime, can be defined as a localized degeneration of joint cartilage that usually affects weight bearing joints. Arthritis causes joint pain, inflammation and limitation in its movement, decreasing the quality of life of the patient (1).

    Conventional (or traditional) medicine treatment for arthritis is based on a variety of drugs including: corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs, anti-rheumatic drugs, etc. However, these drugs only provide temporary relief for arthritis and do not attack the underlying cause of arthritis (the cartilage damage). Here is where nutritional supplements can help arthritis sufferers. Using nutritional supplements it is possible to revert (at least partially) the underlying cause for arthritis.

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    Nutritional Supplements for Arthritis

    There is a lot of information about nutritional supplements to fight arthritis. Here are some some of the nutritional supplements recommended by reputable sources (1, 2).

    Glucosamine

    Glucosamine is increasingly being recognized as a major promoter of cartilage growth, which is the cause for arthritis. Pharmacist James Lavalle recommends in his books taking 500 mg of this nutritional supplement (sulfate or hydrochloride) three to fourtimes a day. Glucosamine is a natural occurring substance so no toxicity effects are reported at this dosage level. There is plenty of scientific evidence (more than 14 trials) that glucosamine is efficient in reducing joint stiffness and pain.

    Vitamins A, C and E

    Taking these vitamins is being recommended in the fight against arthritis. Why these vitamins help is not completely understood, but vitamin C is directly involved in collagen synthesis, and vitamin E is involved in the mechanism of collagen repair. La Valle recommends 200-400 IU of vitamin E for arthritis patients and says 600 IU won’t hurt anybody. Daily doses of vitamin C up to 3000 mg are also recommended for alleviating arthritis symptoms

    Methy Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)

    According to this article, MSM received much attention after the late James Coburn, Hollywood film star, promoted it intensely. Coburn claimed that a complete reversal of his rheumatoid arthritis was cured by a combination of MSM and sulfur tablets. MSM is a source of bioactive sulfur and pharmacist Lavalle recommends it (2) at a level of 2000 to 6000 mg per day without side effects.

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    Arthritis is a complicated disease that needs to be attacked from different angles. A change in the diet and lifestyle will help enormously in relieving its symptoms. Also, taking certain nutritional supplements for arthritis (as the ones recommended here) may be helpful. As always check with your doctor (preferably one with naturopathic training) before taking any new nutritional supplement for arthritis.

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    Sources and Disclaimer:

    Sources:

    1) Challem, J. 2003. User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Become an Expert on What Nutritional Supplements Can Do for Your Health. Basic Health Publications.

    2) Lavalle, James B.2001. The Cox-2 Connection: Natural Breakthrough Treatment for Arthritis, Alzheimer's and Cancer. Traditions / Bear & Company. pages 101-103

    3) Arthritis: Nutritional supplements

    The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any or following any advice you have read on Brighthub.com. Always consult your doctor before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your doctor before use