Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that leads to joint deformities and an excruciating pain in the affected joints. Even though, there is no dearth of medications available to treat this disorder, the long-term effects associated with the usage of analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), have led scientists to explore the various natural alternatives for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Scientific evidence collected from multiple studies conducted all over the world, have proven the increase in the intake of certain vitamins to be a promising way of treating rheumatoid arthritis, besides promoting an overall healthy lifestyle. Unlike the conventional medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, natural alternatives like vitamins deal with arthritic joint pains by targeting the underlying mechanism responsible for causing the condition, thereby enabling a patient to control both the progression and the symptoms of this chronic disorder. Include the following list of vitamins in your diet and see the difference in your joint aches.
Vitamins for Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to John Hopkin’s Arthritic Center, the most common vitamins found to be deficient in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are vitamin B-6, B-9, B-12, C, D and E. Let’s look into how each of these vitamins can help in mitigating the joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritic joints.
Comprising a range of vitamins essential for treating arthritic joint aches, foods fortified with B vitamins like whole grain cereals, milk, liver, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, etc. play a key role in promoting the growth and repair of cartilage surrounding the joints besides boosting your energy levels to overcome this debilitating condition.
Vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine plays a role in eliminating toxic substances from the body, thus reducing inflammation in arthritic joins. It also promotes a healthy immune system by aiding in the formation of red blood cells and antibodies for preventing prolonged joint inflammation associated with arthritic joints.
To avoid pyridoxine deficiency, include foods like meat, fish, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, nuts, beans, wholegrain, etc. These dietary sources supply you with about 0.1-2 mg of vitamin B-6, which is the daily recommended dosage for improving joint function in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Folate or vitamin B-9 deficiency is the most common form of B-vitamin deficiency, since it is not stored in the body and needs to be taken solely through external food sources like green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, turnips, beef liver, etc. In fact, a study published in “British Medical Journal”, has reported that most people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis suffer from a deficiency of folic acid.
Folate stimulated the production of leukocytes and erythrocytes, thus strengthening the immune system and also aids in maintaining and repairing the cartilage surrounding the inflamed joints. A daily dosage of 400 mcg of folic acid is recommended for an overall health improvement. However, your physician may recommend a higher dose depending on the severity of your condition.
Found mostly in foods like fish, meat and dairy products, vitamin B-12 strengthens the immune system by recruiting more number of immune cells for symptomatically dealing with arthritic joint aches. It also reduces arthritic joint pains by protecting nerves by stimulating the production of myelin sheath around the nerves. A recommended daily dosage of 2.4 mcg can be obtained from dietary sources like organ meat, egg yolk, salmon, wheat, cereals, etc. for reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Additionally a daily intake of 100-200mg of vitamin B-3 or niacin and 500 mg of vitamin B-5 have shown to improve the strength and flexibility of arthritic joints by dilating blood vessels and improving blood circulation.
A study published in the journal “Annals of rheumatic diseases”, have reported that patients who have lower levels of vitamin C in their diet were three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who consumed adequate levels of vitamin C. Its anti-oxidant properties aids in mopping all the harmful free radicals from the inflamed joints, thereby relieving arthritic joint pains. It also fights inflammation through its anti-bacterial action, thus eliminating inflammation that arises due to joint infections.
Acting as a co-factor of collagen protein, it strengthens the cartilage and the tissues that form a protective lining around the joints. Hence, increase your intake of vitamin C by supplementing your diet with foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc. for obtaining a daily intake of 75mg of vitamin C for women and 90mg of vitamin C for men. However, bear in mind that moderation is advised in terms of vitamin C usage, since excess levels of vitamin C can aggravate your joint aches by making you more prone to yet another form of arthritis, osteoarthritis in the knees.
Mostly synthesized by the skin cells, on being exposed to sunlight, vitamin D promotes the growth of healthy bones and joints by promoting the rapid absorption of calcium and phosphorous by the bones. The stronger the bone, the lesser is the strain experienced by the surrounding joints and the lesser is its susceptibility to damage caused by injury or inflammation. In order to obtain a 200-400mg of a daily recommended dosage of vitamin D, include vitamin D rich foods like dairy products, green vegetables, cereals, wheat grain, cod liver oil, etc., in your diet.
Even though, the role of vitamin E is not as strong as vitamin C in suppressing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, sufficient amount of scientific evidence supports its role in beating the symptoms of arthritis by acting as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It aids in enhancing the strength of immune system through its anti-oxidant properties that help in flushing out damaging free radicals, which otherwise accumulate in the joints causing inflammation.
A daily intake of 15 mg of vitamin E can be obtained from food sources like eggs, whole grains, avocados, nuts, etc., for alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Before making vitamins a part of your treatment regimen, you should bear in mind that vitamin requirements need not be the same for every individual and the treatment needs to be tailored according to your requirements.
Despite the fact that these vitamins are crucial for treating chronic joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to understand that a successful treatment for minimizing joint damage entails a wide range of therapies like medical interventions, exercise and a well balanced diet for maintaining healthy bones and joints.
Furthermore, too much of a good thing can also be bad! This applies to vitamins too, since exceeding the recommended dosage of vitamins can lead to liver damage, hair loss, diarrheas, etc. Hence, it is always recommended to seek advice from a health practitioner before resorting to multivitamins or incorporating any of the aforementioned vitamins into your diet, to avoid unexpected consequences.