Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the lining of the joints, most commonly the joints in the hands and feet. It primarily affects older women. In addition to causing joint pain and dysfunction, victims may experience fever, fatigue, and weight loss. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis.
Conventional treatment revolves around relieving symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease with drugs that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids and methotrexate. Biological agents that modify the immune system’s activity are also used. Most patients are currently treated with a combination of different types of agents.
Many victims of rheumatoid arthritis wonder if they can improve their symptoms by taking supplements, herbs, and other natural remedies. Because rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition, natural anti-inflammatory agents may help relieve symptoms.
Fish oil has been shown to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in randomized controlled trials. Borage oil, alone or in combination with fish oil, has also been shown to be beneficial. Other common anti-inflammatory supplements such as green tea extract, turmeric, boswellia, cat’s claw, and ginger may also help relieve symptoms. SAM-e has been shown in clinical trials to relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as well as Celebrex, but with fewer side effects.
Supplements to Avoid
Many people mistakenly believe that “natural” means “safe.” However, this is false. Many plants are highly toxic or can cause serious adverse effects. There are several popular supplements sold to treat arthritis that should be avoided.
Arnica, which is often applied topically to treat bruises and pain, should never be taken internally because it is toxic.
Kombucha tea preparations, touted as a cure for arthritis, should be avoided because they are often contaminated with toxic molds, fungi, and mycotoxins that can cause severe illness and even death.
Colloidal silver, reputed to be good for arthritis, not only has no known efficacy against arthritis but it is also extremely toxic. If taken regularly it can build up in the body and cause permanent skin discoloration. It can also cause neurological and kidney problems.
Thunder god vine has actually been proven to improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but it causes serious side effects. Some of its side effects include infertility, decreased bone density, skin reactions, and stomach upset. Some parts of the plant are extremely toxic.
Before taking any herbs or supplements, discuss them with your doctor. Some supplements can interact badly with medications. For best results, take supplements in addition to continuing with the medications prescribed by your doctor.
At Doctors Supplement Store, we can manage the sale of safe and healthy dietary supplements for medical practices, so doctors and staff can spend more time helping patients. Contact Doctors Supplement Store today to find out how we can help maximize your practice by removing the daunting task associated with operating an in-house supplement store in your office.