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 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 their 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. The side effects, such as gastrointestinal, 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.
On other pages on this site, I answer the following four questions:
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
What are rheumatoid arthritis facts?
What are the symptoms of living with rheumatoid arthritis?
What is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis?
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 natural 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.
Perhaps the two most effective and well researched dietary supplements for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief are Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil):
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.
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.
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, but foods, and therefore no longer had to have FDA approval or pre-market approval. This included rheumatoid arthritis pain relief products and the DSHEA drastically changed the dietary supplement landscape.
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, products are being sold with no proof that they actually work. There are scant few clinical studies performed by manufacturers on new dietary supplements placed into the market.
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.
Dietary supplements have mushroomed into a $37 billion industry, with some 15,000 manufacturers producing an estimated 85,000 different supplements. An FDA interim commissioner in 2016 estimated 200 million Americans are dietary supplement consumers.
Because the FDA did not come up with enforcement rules for supplement makers after 1994, there was no oversight 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. Some were illegally spiked with pharmaceuticals undeclared on labels.
These shortcomings finally brought about new government regulations for the industry's manufacturers, called the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Introduced in 2007. they were fully implemented for all companies, large or small, by 2010.
The new regulations require manufacturers to test the purity and composition of their products to bring more strict control on quality and safety and the FDA was charged to enforce the new rules.
As soon as the cGMPs were announced, critics pounced on the law's weakness for failing to specify or mandate standardized quality testing. Instead, it allows sellers to comply with a minimum of just one cursory test. Some pundits criticized the guidelines for not requiring clinical studies or proof of product efficacy. Others decried that the FDA does not approve a new supplement, or even see the product. Pundits said the regulations are so loose they leave manufacturers on the 'honor system'. The FDA steps in only after consumers experience adverse health events.
"This has been a `buyer beware' market," Dr. Mark B. McClellan, the FDA commissioner, said in the cGMP announcement. "Millions of Americans use dietary supplements every day, and we need to make sure they're getting the products they pay for."
That expectation has proved false in view of the fact that 65% of dietary supplement companies inspected by the FDA for seven years from 2010-2016 were discovered in cGMP non-compliance.
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.
So when you’re considering the latest dietary supplement wonder product for “arthritis cures” (by the way, there is no scientifically-recognized arthritis cure), how do you find out whether what’s in the bottle is safe to take for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief?
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 two very legitimate questions. These are the very two questions that disturb medical doctors.
They are also the same questions my husband and I tried finding answers for nearly 30 years ago when we started using natural nutritional supplements.
To find the best dietary supplement maker.I devised 30 questions regarding standards of manufacturing excellence
The answers that I found led to only one company, the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S., 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 found the company we can trust with our health. And after all, it’s your life, too, 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!
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 since 1956 and is known as a clear-cut industry pioneer and leader. It has invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and has over 100 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals—more than any other nutritional company!
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 'beyond organic' dietary supplement (especially for rheumatoid arthritis pain relief) with ingredient purity, potency, and guaranteed efficacy that the body's cells will happily absorb.
The Shaklee Corporation is the only 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:
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.
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 boswellia 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 boswellia 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 (scroll this linked page for My Arthritis Story) 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.