Natural cure arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

An increasing number of arthritis sufferers are seeking relief through alternative approaches.

Information from the Arthritis Foundation

According to the Arthritis Foundation, 64% of Arthritis Today (the journal of the Arthritis Foundation) readers have used a dietary supplement in the past six months, as compared with 49% of the general population.

With the negative publicity surrounding a number of past conventional arthritis treatments such as Vioxx, Bextra, Celebrex, and so on, arthritis sufferers are looking beyond conventional drugs. What is fairly certain is that dietary supplements often can provide effective pain relief, and sometimes even more benefits, such as reduced joint inflammation.

There are a variety of supplements for the relief of arthritis pain and inflammation. Since you may have to mix and match remedies to find the combination that meets your individual needs -- and because even supplements can have side effects -- it is best to consult your physician before going on these remedies. Even better is to consult a naturopathic physician.

Here are some recommendations:

• Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) comes from the Boswellia serrata tree that grows in the dry hills of India. It can ease pain and improve function in people with arthritis. Take 1,200 to 1,500 mg of a standardized extract containing 60% to 65% boswellic acids two to three times daily.

• Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, has a natural anti-inflammatory effect. Take 500 mg three times daily between meals. Products standardized to 2,000 MCU (milk clotting units) per 1,000 mg or 1,200 GDU (gelatin dissolving units) per 1,000 mg may be the best choice. Check the label.

• Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) cream works by depleting the nerves of substance P, a neurotransmitter that transmits pain messages. For symptomatic relief, apply a cream standardized to 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin to the affected area two to four times daily. Multiple choices are out there.

• Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) is an oil commonly found in fish and dairy butter. Preliminary studies have shown promise for treating arthritis. The dose is 540 mg daily.

• Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) improved knee and hip pain when taken in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs in a recent study. Take 1,500 to 2,500 mg of the standardized powdered herb in capsule or tablet form daily, or use 1 milliliter (ml) to 2 ml of the tincture three times a day. Do not take devil's claw or anti-inflammatory drugs if you have a history of gallstones, heartburn or ulcers.

• Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which reduces joint inflammation. Adding good oils like these to your body -- and eliminating your intake of bad ones such as saturated oils -- can help you feel better overall. Take up to 2.8 g of GLA daily.

• Fish oils contain a direct source of the omega-3 fatty acids that reduce joint inflammation and promote joint lubrication. A daily dose of at least 1.8 mg of DHA and 1.2 mg of EPA is recommended. Be patient -- improvement may take up to 12 weeks.

• Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a popular choice for inflammation and pain relief. Pour boiling water over the grated root to make a tea, or add fresh ginger to your meals. If you want a stronger remedy, take 1 g to 2 g of the dried powder in capsule form two or three times daily, or use 1 ml to 2 ml of the tincture three times daily.

• Glucosamine sulfate from the tissues of shellfish and

chondroitin sulfate from animal cartilage are good basic supplements for those with arthritis. Taken for four to eight weeks, they help decrease pain and inflammation. Recent evidence from two European studies suggests that glucosamine even may halt or reverse disease progression, and some people taking it may be able to reduce their use of antinflammatory drugs. The recommended dosage is 1,500 mg daily of glucosamine and up to 1,200 mg daily of chondroitin.

• MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) -- organic sulfur -- has natural anti-inflammatory benefits because sulfur is an integral component of cartilage. Take 2,000 mg to 8,000 mg daily. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.

• SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is an excellent supplement to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. A naturally occurring substance in the cells of the body that activates chemical reactions, it is required for methylation reactions, meaning that it makes available a carbon-hydrogen molecule for crucial chemical reactions to take place. As far as joints, SAM-e's methylation helps prevent the loss of water in cartilage, which keeps the joint more flexible. Take 600 mg to 1,200 mg daily for two months, followed by 400 mg to 800 mg daily as a maintenance dosage.

One word of caution…many arthritis supplements (including devil's claw, fish oil, GLA oils and ginger) thin the blood, which means you may be at a higher risk for bleeding if you also are taking antiinflammatory drugs, blood-thinning medications or other dietary supplements that slow clotting, or if you have a blood-clotting disorder.

Dietary supplements are just the beginning when it comes to natural treatments for the relief of arthritis pain and inflammation. Other options you may wish to explore are diet, exercise, physical therapy, stress management, massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure and yoga.

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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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