Here are nine supplements that are backed by science and confirmed to be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and arthritis-related conditions.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors. In a 2012 research, a specialized ginger extract decreased inflammatory reactions in RA as effectively as steroids did.
Earlier researches showed that taking a certain extract four times daily decreased osteoarthritis pain in the knee after three months of treatment, and another used twice daily worked about as well as ibuprofen is taken three times daily for hip and knee OA pain.
Boswellia Serrate (Indian frankincense)
The active elements (Boswellic acids) have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process.
Indian frankincense is an Ayurvedic remedy that can be bought over the counter in capsule form. It can prevent the creation of inflammatory substances in the joints.
Current proof, based on four RCTs, suggests that it might possess some beneficial effects in treating participants with osteoarthritis of the knee which might last for some time after treatment is stopped.
Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens)
Capsaicin is the main active constituent of the cayenne pepper, and Capsicum annuum. Capsaicin temporarily reduces substance P, a pain transmitter.
Its pain-relieving qualities have been shown in many studies, including a 2010 study published in Phytotherapy Research, which revealed a 50 percent decrease in joint pain after three weeks of use.
It is mainly applied topically, either in patches or in ointment form.
SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine, SAMe)
SAM-e operates as an analgesic (pain reliever) and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may stimulate cartilage growth and also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which decrease pain perception. SAM-e is a compound that’s formed naturally in the body and performs an important role in normal bodily function.
Its scientific name is S-adenosylmethionine. SAM-e is also recognized as ademetionine and SAMe. SAM-e has great evidence as a treatment for osteoarthritis pain. Some researches have found that oral SAM-e is as efficient as NSAID painkillers, such as ibuprofen and Celebrex. SAM-e takes longer to act than drugs do, but it also has fewer side effects than NSAIDs.
How much SAM-e should you take?
There is no established perfect dose of SAM-e. For depression, numerous studies have used between 800 -1,600 milligrams daily. For osteoarthritis, 600-1,200 milligrams daily of SAM-e divided into three doses is common. Ask your doctor for a consultation. Sometimes, the dose of SAM-e is increased slowly over a few weeks. This can help reduce side effects such as restlessness or anxiety.
Tumeric/Curcumin (Curcuma longa)
Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that can decrease joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. Curcumin is the central active ingredient in turmeric. It has potent anti-inflammatory effects and is a very powerful antioxidant.
Most of the studies on this herb are applying turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages ordinarily exceeding 1 gram per day. Therefore, if you want to experience the entire effects, you need to use a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Cat’s claw is a power anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a target of powerful RA drugs. It also carries compounds that may benefit the immune system.
The two most frequent varieties are Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. The former is the type often used in supplements in the United States. Cat’s claw supplements can be taken as a liquid extract, capsule, powder, or tea.
Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA)
Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are turned by the body into strong anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins.
EPA and DHA have been widely studied for RA and dozens of other inflammatory conditions. Fish oil essentially contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are quite known for their heart health and skin benefits.
Because people oftentimes fall short of their recommended fish intake, fish oil supplements may be a useful alternative to give you the health benefits of omega-3s.
Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, blocks deterioration of synovial cells, which line joints, and may help regenerate healthy connective tissue. ASU has been studied widely in Europe, where it is routinely used to treat OA.
A 2008 meta-analysis found that ASU improved symptoms of hip and knee OA and decreased or eliminated the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NDAIDs). Dosage: Softgel; take 300 mg daily.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that the body turns into anti-inflammatory chemicals. Gamma linolenic acid is a fatty substance. It’s discovered in numerous plant seed oils such as borage oil and evening primrose oil.
People use gamma linolenic acid (GLA) for conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage due to diabetes, eczema, high blood pressure, and other conditions.