Natural Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief Shows Promise
Are you frustrated with your level of rheumatoid arthritis pain relief?
More people today are disappointed in the results of their conventional rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Many turn to alternative drug-free natural therapies. Dietary supplements are the most common alternative method. Studies show that the use of supplements for pain control show promise, and with fewer side effects.
In fact, some pain associated with conventional drug treatment is from the side effects of the drug itself. Stomach pain and nausea are typical examples. Since pain is your body's warning system, it's important to try to safely reduce its cause.
Most patients don't tell the doctor that they're trying supplements as an alternative natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Many believe their doctor would be opposed. Most doctors, however, will allow and approve the patient's decision as long as it remains complementary to his prescribed conventional treatments.
If the supplement is deemed safe and appears to be working, most doctor's do not object. Gastrointestinal and other side effects the patient experiences from pharmaceuticals is a major concern of every doctor.
In conventional rheumatoid arthritis medication, drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-rheumatics, corticosteroids, and biological response modifiers are typically prescribed. They are used for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, improved joint function and reduction in swelling and damage to joints.
In addition to dietary supplements, alternative (non-drug) treatments include controlled exercise programs, physical therapy, devices (such as canes, special shoes, splints) and lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, losing weight, rest and stress reduction.
My husband and I both suffer from osteoarthritis. We have been successfully using a dietary supplement program to reduce our arthritis symptoms and improve our overall health. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. On other pages on this site, I answer the following four questions:
See your doctor concerning alternative rheumatoid arthritis treatment
This website provides an information platform for non-conventional arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis dietary supplement therapy. As a reminder, it’s important for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to have their condition diagnosed and followed by a rheumatologist (medical doctor), who specializes in more than 100 types of arthritis. Early diagnosis helps prevent or minimize further damage to the joints, or possible disability, which can occur if RA is left untreated.
The main objective of your doctor is to reduce your symptoms while trying to slow disease progression. If you’re interested in trying complementary or alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief discuss this with your doctor first.
Mainstream physicians are becoming more open to considering these options. However, they want to make sure you use high quality rheumatoid arthritis pain relief supplements from respected companies, plus they want to know the dosage you’re taking because of possible drug interaction.
GLA and fish oil supplements provide natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
GLA—GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found in the oils of some plant seeds, including borage (Borago officinalis L.). The human body produces its own GLA from linoleic acid (LA) however, lack of GLA occurs when people grow older, have rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases, or have specific dietary deficiencies.
The Mayo Clinic reported online that some studies indicate GLA may provide rheumatoid arthritis pain relief and help with morning stiffness and grip strength.
Fish oil—Fish oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). As with GLA, the body can use omega 3’s to make substances that reduce inflammation.
Some preliminary studies have found that fish oil may reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness but more study is needed Omega-3 fatty acids are also noted by Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass., as an effective tool for lessening the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Other natural supplements for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief
Three other plant-based ingredients that are helpful for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief include valerian as a sleep aid, boswellia for inflammation, and glucosamine hydrochloride to make and repair joint cartilage. (See also herbs for arthritis).
Valerian--Valerian (valeriana officinalis) root has a history of use for promoting a calm, restful sleep and helps relieve anxiety disorders by maintaining a relaxed state naturally. Disrupted sleep has been called a common and often neglected symptom of arthritis.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a large, nationally representative survey of people over 65 with arthritis in 2000 found that disruption of sleep, among all the disruptions of arthritis, was the main reason that people sought the addition of alternative rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
Boswellia—Boswellia (boswellia serrata), also known as Indian frankincense, is a tree found in India known for its gum resin which is effective as an anti-inflammatory. Boswellia has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions caused by inflammation. The boswellic acids contained within the resin inhibit leukotrienes—harmful inflammatory eicosanoids responsible for inflammation in the body—which are thought to directly influence the disease process in rheumatoid arthritis.
A study published in Phytomedicine in January, 2003 examined thirty patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The conclusions were: “Boswellia serrata extract is recommended in the patients of osteoarthritis of the knee with possible therapeutic use in other arthritis.”
Other boswellia studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Disease studies with good reports include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and bursitis.
Glucosamine hydrochloride-- Glucosamine is a substance found in the fluid around the joints, which the body uses to make and repair cartilage. It’s a sugar compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine.
The body’s natural production of glucosamine slows with aging--when people need it the most. Glucosamine can also be produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs, or made in the laboratory. The body uses glucosamine to make and repair cartilage, the flexible tissue covering the ends of bones to keep them from rubbing against each other.
A 2007 Japanese study of rheumatoid arthritis patients published in Rheumatology International by Nakamura, H., et al. showed that taking 1500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride daily for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief significantly improved symptoms according to patient self-evaluation and physician global evaluation. This treatment did not alter measures of inflammation as determined through blood tests. Glucosamine hydrochloride is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.
Not all dietary supplement companies are equal
Unlike the drug industry where Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations make the playing field equal, dietary supplement companies are not equal. Nor are their products.
Prior to 1990, all dietary supplements were tightly regulated by the FDA, the same as pharmaceuticals. Dietary supplements, like pharmaceutical drugs, could not be marketed without FDA approval.
However, in 1994, a landmark Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed that interpreted dietary supplements were not drugs and therefore no longer had to have pre-market approval. This included rheumatoid arthritis pain relief products and the law drastically changed the dietary supplement landscape.
Between 1994 and the present, the lack of FDA control over dietary supplements is decried from many quarters. In the minds of health officials, physicians and others, the DSHEA law created what is considered a virtually unregulated industry for product efficacy.
In most instances, there haven’t been clinical studies performed by the manufacturer on new dietary supplements placed into the market. Products are being sold with no proof that they actually work.
Can you imagine what would happen if the FDA allowed pharmaceutical drugs to be treated so lightly? Yet drugs and dietary supplements are both used by consumers to treat the same symptoms—rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, for example.
After the DSHEA passed, it opened a wide door to the dietary supplement industry by opportunistic entrepreneurs. The market has been flooded by a dizzying array of dietary supplements of all kinds, each claiming to be better than the rest. And almost all have no scientific foundation on which to base their claim.
Some dietary supplements have been contaminated and sub-potent
Because the FDA did not come up with regulations for the dietary supplement industry after 1994, there were no regulations to prevent the marketing of formulations containing wrong ingredients, heavy metals, glass or pesticides. Some products were marketed without any active ingredient, period, much less a different amount than listed on its label.
It’s a known fact that a high percentage of dietary supplement raw materials originate in China, a country openly criticized from many U.S. and worldwide quarters for lack of safety and health controls.
For these reasons, the dietary supplement industry has been the target of widespread criticism for selling products with contaminated and undeclared ingredients, or with sub-potency. This includes products available for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief. The media has characterized the industry as being largely unregulated and allowing unscrupulous companies to flourish.
The FDA said the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) announced in 2007 is their response to quality problems within the dietary supplement industry, including mislabeling, ingredient contamination, incorrect ingredient, insufficient ingredient dosage, and improper packaging.
The new regulations require manufacturers to test the purity and composition of their products to bring more strict control on quality and safety. However, they do not address the question of efficacy, which will remain unregulated for dietary supplements sold in the U.S.
"This has been a `buyer beware' market," Dr. Mark B. McClellan, the FDA commissioner, said in the cGMP announcement, in which he estimated that 1,000 domestic and foreign companies make supplements sold here. "Millions of Americans use dietary supplements every day, and we need to make sure they're getting the products they pay for."
The cGMPs of 2007 will be fully enforced by June, 2010
When the cGMP was announced it ended 13 years without regulation of the dietary supplement industry, however the regulations will not be finally in place until June, 2010. Until then, you must be exercise caution in buying a rheumatoid arthritis pain relief supplement or supplements for any other purpose.
Only large companies with 500 or more employees were required to comply with the new rules by June, 2008. The regulations are being phased in based on size of companies. Small companies between 20 and 499 employees have until June, 2009 to comply, while very small companies (less than 20 employees) have until June, 2010.
“This rule helps to ensure the quality of dietary supplements so that consumers can be confident that the products they purchase contain what is on the label,” FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said in a statement.
But some experts are not satisfied because the new regulations have nothing to do with the efficacy of the products as pre-market testing will still not be required to prove the effectiveness of the supplement. If you’re looking for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, do you really want to take that chance?
Who can you trust as an herbal dietary supplement company?
So when you’re considering the latest dietary supplement wonder product for “arthritis cures” (by the way, there is no scientifically-recognized arthritis cure), for example, or simply for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, how do you find out whether what’s in the bottle is safe to take? How do you find out whether science has proven that the product does what it claims? The government isn't going to help you on this one.
These are legitimate questions. They’re the same questions my husband and I tried finding answers for twenty-plus years ago when we started using natural nutritional supplements. I devised 30 questions regarding standards of excellence to find the best dietary supplement maker.
I found one natural health company that stood out compared to its competitors when the determining factor is solid science and double-blind placebo-controlled clinical studies of its nutritional and personal care products.
We think it’s important that you find a company you can trust with your health. After all, it’s your life we’re talking about. Why take a chance? It’s comforting when you find a company that’s as concerned about your rheumatoid arthritis pain relief treatment and your health as much as you are!
Placebo-controlled testing is the gold standard
Double-blind clinical trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of each plant ingredient before they can be recommended for medical use.
If you’re currently using an herbal dietary supplement for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief or symptom control, ask the manufacturer if they conduct randomized double-blind placebo controlled testing on any of their products.
The gold standard for clinical testing is to have your studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Cardiology, etc.
The herbal dietary supplement company that my husband and I use has been in business for 50-plus years and is known as the #1 natural nutrition company in the United States. It has invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and has over 90 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company!
Only one dietary supplement company has a 20-year landmark study
When investing in dietary supplements, consider it first as an investment in your health. This way, you won't want to waste your money on poorly formulated or synthetic supplements containing artificial colors, sweeteners, binders, and fillers that will not be readily absorbed into your bloodstream.
Instead, you'll want a high quality dietary supplement (especially for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief) with ingredient purity, potency, and guaranteed efficacy that the body's cells will happily absorb.
There's only one natural supplement company that can claim a 20-year clinical dietary supplement landmark study on its consumers that verifies from blood samples that its supplement users retained normal levels of blood pressure, HDL, cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and homocysteine.
The 2006 study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health, comparing one company's supplement users to people who took either no supplements or other brands of multivitamins from different companies. For details go to:
Recommended supplements for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief
GLA--My husband and I take a high quality GLA supplement complex consisting of GLA from borage seed oil, linoleic acid (LA) from sunflower seed oil/borage seed oil, and Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol concentrate). This combination of ingredients has helped both of us with the inflammatory issues from arthritis and they’re also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.
Fish oil-- The fish oil supplement my husband and I take has been formulated to minimize odor and fishy aftertaste, and contains higher levels of EPA and DHA than leading brands. It’s a safe high quality, high potency, triple molecular distillation pharmaceutical grade pure fish oil supplement considered by the science behind it as the finest fish oil supplement in the world. Fish oil is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.
Valerian-- We’re very happy with the valerian-based sleep supplement we’ve used for many years. Its formulation contains 225 mg daily of valerian extract, and a combined 410 mg in passion flower and chamomile extracts.
Boswellia-- My husband and I use a boswellia and safflower complex that gives us natural pain relief for my husband’s osteoarthritis (both knees) and my neck arthritis. We’ve both experienced comfortable movement and improved flexibility. The boswellia and safflower supplement is gentle on the stomach and contains no aspirin. It’s also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief.
Glucosamine-- My husband and I use a glucosamine and cat’s claw complex that successfully improves joint function and flexibility. This product is all natural, contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. Three capsules daily provide 1500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride along with 100 mg of cat’s claw extract. We are very happy with the results because we are getting our money’s worth. It’s also recommended as a rheumatoid arthritis pain relief and symptoms treatment.
Three of the above products were designed as a pain trio for symptoms of arthritis and other joint disorders. I highly recommend this trio of natural products for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief and control of inflammation, swelling and other symptoms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief Disclaimer: Health statements for this rheumatoid arthritis pain relief page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. The patient is trying to obtain the same or improved relief from rheumatoid arthritis without gastrointestinal and other side effects related to drugs. Click here for RA natural treatment options
What is rheumatoid arthritis? It’s not the “wear and tear” disease of aging. Instead, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune systemic disease that affects the joints by causing inflammation. In addition to conventional drug treatment, some patients also successfully use complementary medicine or alternative natural dietary supplements. Click here for more
Rheumatoid arthritis facts. 1.3 million Americans are affected by rheumatoid arthritis according to latest figures by the Arthritis Foundation. Natural RA pain relief treatment is increasing.Click here for additional RA facts
Living with rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to come and go. Periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups) will be followed by periods when the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are nearly gone. The main symptom is pain, and the major sign of the disease is tenderness in nearly all inflamed joints. Click here for more on symptoms of living with RA
What is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis? Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and related forms of juvenile arthritis affects nearly 300,000 children in the U.S. The main difference between juvenile and adult rheumatoid arthritis is that more than half of all JRA children outgrow the illness, while adults usually have lifelong.... Click here for details on juvenile RA
Joint Pain Relief. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a drug-free future with no harmful side effects and have complete control over your joint pain? And wouldn't it be great if the natural joint pain supplement you used was guaranteed to be completely safe for your health? It's not a dream--all of this is possible.... Click here for more on natural joint pain relief
Herbal Pain Relief. In the last twenty years in the United States, the public has become increasingly dissatisfied with the cost and side effect risks of prescription medications. This, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has lifted herbal supplements and alternative medicines to higher popularity in the United States than ever before for treatment of arthritis pain. Click here for background on herbal medicine
Osteoarthritis Relief. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It affects joints of the knees, hips, fingers, lower spine and neck. Symptoms typically develop gradually. A joint is swollen, sore or stiff at first. Click here for more on osteoarthritis
Knee Pain Relief. During their lifetimes, an estimated 45 per cent of Americans will develop knee osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis. Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief and help the body build cartilage and promote comfortable movement of the knee. Click here for more knee joint information.
Neck Pain Relief. Usually, everyday activities are the cause of neck pain. Some can be altered or eliminated to relieve common symptoms such as neck pain and a stiff neck and perhaps forestall the onset of arthritis. Natural supplements can be helpful. Click here for more information
Hand Pain Relief. Wrist, finger, and thumb joint pain are all symptoms of arthritis of the hand. Increasing numbers of arthritis patients are seeking alternative natural products that provide pain relief and help to regenerate cartilage in the hand joints. Hand arthritis most often occurs in three places...Click here to find out more
Elbow Pain Relief. Early symptoms of elbow joint pain are often controlled with a combination of natural anti-inflammatory treatment and home self care. Tennis elbow is not arthritis--it is a typical elbow pain condition. Click here for more
Ankle Pain Relief. If the pain you’re feeling is getting worse, it may be timely to consider dietary supplements for ankle pain relief naturally. Untreated ankle pain and repeated bouts of swelling and stiffness will result in reduced mobility and restricted quality of life as the years go by. Click here for more on ankle pain
Hip Pain Relief. Hip arthritis studies show glucosamine hydrochloride dietary supplements provide pain relief similar to drug therapy without risk of side effects for those with moderate to severe arthritis symptoms. Click here for more information on hip pain