Arthritis is a common disease that affects millions of people in North America. This disease is complicated and is typically categorized into several groups. Arthritis means inflammation of a joint from any cause, but what do you think of when you see the word or hear it? Do you think of swelling, redness, crippling pain, and joint deformity?
I think that this is the common interpretation of the disorder of arthritis, a disease that can have many different causes. The description I have provided is typical of inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that, in comparison to other types, is rather uncommon, but can be quite severe. Degenerative arthritis, which is directly associated with the aging process, is the most common form of arthritis, but also the most misunderstood. This is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis people acquire as they age and a type that responds well to nutritional management.
Here are the top five supplements to battle arthritis:
1. Fish Oil
Capsules containing these omega-3 fatty acids are very important to take, because these fats can actually lower the inflammatory chemicals produced within the cartilage and bone lining your joints. Capsules containing seal oil, krill oil, salmon oil, or herring oil are all good sources. I recommend 2,000-3,000 mg of omega-3 taken with food on a daily basis.
2. Antioxidant Vitamins
Antioxidant nutrients are important to consider because the process of inflammation causes free radical production, which causes cellular damage. Ingesting these nutrients can help decrease the amount of free radical activity in the cartilage within your joints. Vitamin C and vitamin E are important to consider, as they provide protection inside and outside the cartilage cells. I advise taking 500 mg of vitamin C, three times per day, and 400 IU of natural vitamin E daily with food.
3. Antioxidant Minerals
In my opinion, antioxidant minerals are just as important as vitamins because they are involved in the production of key enzymes, which are very potent free-radical scavengers. Zinc is a supplement that you should consider taking if you have arthritis. Selenium is another option. Supplements containing 10-20 mg of zinc citrate or picolinate are best taken daily with food. Supplements that contain 200 mcg of selenium in the form of selenomethionine are also useful when taken daily.
This is a supplement I frequently recommend for arthritis because it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties if used continually over a number of months. It has a very high sulfur content, which decreases the levels of circulating chemicals that encourage cartilage destruction. This supplement is water-soluble and non-toxic even at large dosages. I recommend taking one gram three times per day.
This is a product found in the root herb known as turmeric. This substance has been used in India and in the Middle East as a spice and as a medicinal medicine. Curcumin is actually the yellow pigment found in this root, which has been shown to have very important and influential in the process of decreasing inflammation. This product decreases the concentration of inflammatory chemicals that cause the damage to your joint cartilage. Standardized extracts containing 400 mg of curcumin can be safely taken three times per day. The supplement is much more absorbable if consumed in a fat-soluble form or ingested with a fatty meal.
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Barrie, S.A., et al., “Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans,” Agents Actions June 1987; 21(1-2): 223-8.