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Nutrition & Healing - Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, diet changes, improvements in digestion, and supplemental minerals, vitamins, herbs can all lessen symptoms, from a little to a lot, and can allow you to decrease the number and quantities of drugs you've been taking. None of the therapies you'll be reading about interfere with any drugs you may be taking, an din some cases may actually make them more efficient.
Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the mainstay of "mainstream" treatment. In addition, powerful synthetic forms of cortisone such as prednisone, as well as gold injections, anti-malarial drugs, penicillamine, and immunosuppressive drugs are sometimes used. When joint deterioration is severe, surgical joint replacement is done.
For the best outcome in rheumatoid arthritis, food and environmental allergies must be identified and eliminated. In the long run, desensitization and re-introduction of offending foods is possible, but in the short run, food allergy elimination can make a major difference in the degree of pain and swelling. The most common soy, but individuals with rheumatoid arthritis ordinarily have the longest lists of food allergies.
Symptom-creating environmental allergies and sensitivities are common, too. Frequent offenders include burning natural gas and other petrochemical emissions, molds, formaldehyde, phenol, and insecticides. Working carefully and accurately with both food and chemical allergies and sensitivities requires very specialized knowledge and skill. For a referral to physician near you, you might want to contact the American Association of Environmental Medicine at 913-642-6062, or the International Federation of Electrodermal Screeners at 1-800-258-2172.
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis very frequently have incomplete digestion and assimilation. With careful, precise testing, I've found moderate to severe stomach malfunction, with underproduction of bydrochloric acid and pepsin, in nearly all individuals with this problem. Other malfunctions are frequently found as well. Correcting and compensating for these problems enables better nutrition in general, as well as better assimilation of various nutritional and herbal therapies. it also slows the formation of new food allergies and sensitivities. To contact a health care professional near you who can do precise testing and careful treatment of digestive function, you might call 1-800-241-7517.
Fish oil and other sources of essential fatty acids can reduce inflammation in a wide range of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. I usually recommend 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil twice daily, along with 2 capsules twice daily of any oil containing gamma-linoleic acid, also called 'GLA', 40 milligrams per capsule.
Whenever you take extra quantities of essential fatty acids, vitamin E should be taken also. I usually recommend 400 to 800 units of Vitamin E daily, depending on the severity of the arthritis. Vitamin E also has its own anti-inflammatory effect against rheumatoid arthritis, especially when used along with selenium, 200 to 300 micrograms daily.
Copper and zinc can be helpful for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Copper supplements also improve the effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, enabling those who need them to take less with the same degree of pain relief. I usually recommend 8 to 12 milligrams of copper sebacate [seb-ah-kate] daily, taken at a different time of day than zinc picolinate, 60 milligrams daily. Elevated serum copper levels common to rheumatoid arthritis do not reflect overall copper excess in our bodies.
Over several months time, niacinamide can help immobile or very restricted joints become more mobile. To achieve this, I usually recommend 500 milligrams of niacinamide, not niacin, three times daily. Higher quantities of niacinamide can be associated with unwanted effects, usually heralded by nausea or queasiness. If either of these should occur while you're taking niacinamide, please stop. It's wisest to work with a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in nutrient and nutritional therapies if you're taking niacinamide. To find one near you, you might contact the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 1-800-532-3688.
Vitamin C helps to maintain the integrity of connective tissue in rheumatoid arthritis, but only the buffered forms such as calcium or sodium ascorbate should be used. I ordinarily recommend 2 grams twice daily.
Ginger, bromelain, the pineapple enzyme, and cucurmin, specific component of the spice turmeric, can all help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. I usually recommend 1000 milligrams of ginger three times daily, but people who've taken more tell me they think they've done even better. I also recommend 400 milligrams of bromelain three times daily, and cucurmin 600 milligrams, three times daily.
Recently, researchers have reported that a type of chicken cartilage called "chicken cartilage II" can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It's already available in natural food stores. The few people I've recommended it to have told me they think it's been helpful. So far, I've been recommending 2 capsules three times daily.
Since individuals with rheumatoid arthritis have so many allergies and sensitivities, I always recommend that any new therapies be screened for allergic potential, or introduced singly, so that adverse reactions can be minimized.
Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism, or potential allergy, these die3t and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.


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