There are literally more than 100 types of arthritis. That means that there’s no treatment that’s going to work across the board for people suffering from these conditions. There are definitely a lot of options out there, including self-care, therapies, medications, and so on. Supplements are often complementary to whatever treatment options you use. But there are several choices, so we thought we’d tackle just a few of them.
Supplements for Arthritis
S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e is a naturally occurring compound in the body and one of the best supplements for arthritis. It helps form, activate, and break down other chemicals in the body. As it pertains to arthritis, researchers think that SAM-e may not only stimulate cartilage growth but also affect neurotransmitters to reduce one’s perception of pain. Indeed, it is so valuable and helpful in the body, that it has been used to treat everything from depression, fibromyalgia, and dementia to Parkinson’s, seizures, and even slowing the aging process. While it may not be helpful in all kinds of arthritis, SAM-e has been extensively studied and actually proven to help with osteoarthritis. Regarding its efficacy and dosage, the Mayo Clinic says, “Results suggest that SAMe may be more effective than placebo and as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs. Doses have ranged from 600 to 1,200 milligrams taken by mouth daily, but the optimal dose still needs to be determined.”
Turmeric is an herb in the ginger family and one of the coolest supplements for arthritis. In fact, you can buy it raw at some grocery stores and it is often found right in the same vicinity as fresh ginger. Turmeric is the main spice in curry. As such, it should not surprise you to know that it is very important in both Indian and Chinese medicine systems. The chemical found in turmeric that gives it healing power is curcumin. Sometimes you will see that name on the spice label instead of turmeric. Like SAMe, it’s somewhat of a wonder treatment in that its benefits are sweeping. Because, in addition to directly treating inflammation, it is used to treat everything from parasites, diabetes, and skin diseases to cancer, mental disorders and so much more.
A study of osteoarthritis patients in Italy yielded excellent results when patients included turmeric in combination with their physician’s treatment. Furthermore, the turmeric patients showed a 300% improvement in emotional well-being compared to those who did not take the supplement. Other studies have shown that turmeric also reduces pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis. You can buy turmeric as a capsule, powder, or even raw from your grocer. There are definitely varying degrees of quality, however. It is important to do your research and check reviews to find the best option or brand for you.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You’re most familiar with seeing omega-3 fatty acids in relation to fish oil, and they are wonderful supplements for arthritis. That’s because fish oil contains two types of fatty acids: EPA and DHA, both of which reduce inflammation. In fact, omega-3s are converted into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals. Apparently, some studies have even indicated that the acids seem to suppress the body’s immune system. That explains why fish oils have been so effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease. In that case, the immune system turns against the body. For rheumatoid arthritis, it attacks the joints and other parts of the body. In other words, the immune system is overactive in a person with an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis. That’s why suppressing it through omega-3s found in fish oil is probably so helpful.
A nutritionist once told me that when it comes to fish oils, the best quality comes from the tiniest of fish. So, before I stopped eating meat, I made a point of buying krill oil. If, however, you’re vegan or vegetarian, there are non-fish options for us too. In addition to supplements in capsule form, you may wish to consider incorporating alternatives such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds, as well as berries, wild rice, and winter squash into your diet.
Like many supplements, you can find these at most drugstores and retail outlets, such as Walgreens, Target, and Vitamin Shoppe. You are likely to find higher quality versions at your local health food or nutrition store. In fact, I usually get the best advice and direction from my local privately owned nutrition store. They tend to get into the business because they have a great knowledge and passion for natural remedies. You can also find these supplements online. But it is best to do some checking and find out which brands offer the highest quality. As with most conditions that don’t have a cure, you’ll probably have to go through some trial and error. That may include trying different brands or versions before you get to the one that works best for you.