Orthomolecular medicine uses megavitamin therapy for treating ailments. According to this complementary and alternative therapy, non-optimal levels of certain nutrients trigger inflammation and pain of the joints. Orthomolecular medicine for arthritis comprises of dietary supplements for correcting molecular balance of the body.
However, the exact supplements vary from person to person. The appropriate orthomolecular medicine for a person suffering from arthritis depends on the biochemistry of the patient.
Orthomolecular Medicine for Arthritis
Supplements for Arthritis
Vitamin B3 or niacin is widely recommended in orthomolecular treatment of arthritis for improving the health of the joints. Niacin is essential for metabolism of foods. It is involved in numerous activities of the body including regulation of blood sugar, detoxification and antioxidant activity and strengthening the immune system.
Dr. William Kaufman extensively studied the role of niacin in treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. His findings revealed that high doses of niacin could help to repair joints severely damaged by arthritis. According to orthomolecular physicians, arthritis patients can take 300 mg or higher doses of vitamin B3 daily. In some cases, they prescribe 4000 mg of niacin daily. The large doses are divided into several smaller doses and taken at specific intervals throughout the day.
Vitamin C supplements are beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Researchers have found that people who consumed small amounts of vitamin C, less than 40 mg daily, had almost four times higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidant effect of vitamin C is believed to prevent inflammatory arthritis by arresting harmful activities of free radicals in the joints.
Although the maximum recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C is 120 mg per day, orthomolecular physicians recommend daily intake of 2000 mg or higher doses of vitamin C each day to keep rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups under control and arrest progression of the ailment. However, taking too much vitamin C may not be suitable for osteoarthritis patients. According to a Duke University Medical Center study, consuming high doses of vitamin C supplements for a prolonged period aggravates osteoarthritis.
Chronic inflammation tends to reduce the vitamin B6 level in the body. Some researches suggest that rheumatoid arthritis patients need higher amounts of vitamin B6 than people with healthy joints.
In a study, researchers in Taiwan found that vitamin B6 supplements significantly lowered the levels of pro-inflammatory substances called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and interleukin-6 within twelve weeks in rheumatoid arthritis patients. These pro-inflammatory substances released by the immune system are associated with inflammation and destruction of joints. Orthomolecular therapists recommend intake of 25 mg or higher doses of vitamin B6 daily for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Zinc is needed for the synthesis of superoxide dismutase, an inflammation-fighting enzyme. Orthomolecular physicians recommend daily intake of 50 mg of zinc citrate to treat inflammatory arthritis.
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Consuming 1 gram of Omega-3 essential fatty acids thrice daily is beneficial for arthritis patients. These essential fats help to suppress production of pro-inflammatory immune substances that trigger joint inflammation.
Eggplant, potato, tomato and pepper are believed to be responsible for triggering inflammatory arthritis flare-ups. Orthomolecular therapists recommend an elimination diet to identify the toxins or allergens in diet that induce arthritis inflammation.