Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nutritional Management of Arthritis article in Dockline Magazine

The role that diet plays on both RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and OA (Osteoarthritis) has been studied for over 80 years. Up to this point there is little consensus among researchers as to the role of nutrition and supplementation regarding both of these conditions. In this article I will list some of the most recommended and effective approaches.

In all the research that has been done on arthritis and nutrition, two things are clear. First, for osteoarthritis, consuming a diet that allows you to maintain a healthy weight is paramount. As I have mentioned before, each pound of body weight increases exponentially the stress on weight bearing joints, thus increasing the risk of developing OA. For both conditions, maintaining a balanced healthy diet is important. Remember the golden rule in nutrition, if you put garbage in you should expect to get garbage out. You can’t expect to consume poor quality foods and expect your body to turn a Twinkie into high quality tissue…

From here on dietary approaches diverge a little. So first, here is a list of popular supplement options for OA:

* Glucosamine (1500 mg daily) - believed to support formation and repair of joint cartilage.

* Chondroitin Sulfate (1200 mg daily) - naturally occurring in the body; lends elasticity to cartilage.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are routinely combined into one supplement.

* Vitamins A, B6, C, and E help to support healthy cartilage

* Herbs, botanicals, and spices: blueberries, cayenne pepper, cherries, cinnamon, devil’s claw, ginger, hawthorn berries, turmeric and yucca have all been shown to reduce inflammation and/or support healthy joint cartilage.

* Inflammatone from Designs for Health - combination of enzymes and herbal extracts shown to promote a healthy inflammatory response.

Popular RA management options include the following:

* Some evidence suggests that limiting meat consumption or eating a vegan diet may reduce the symptoms of RA.

* Switching to an Omega 3 rich cooking oil such as canola, flaxseed, or olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammation.

* Fish Oil (1-2 teaspoons daily) - Good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are shown to reduce inflammation.

* Black currant oil, borage oil, and evening primrose oil (200-300 mg daily) are all high in gamma-linoleic acid which has been shown to reduce inflammation.

* Herbs, botanicals, and spices: ashwaganda, boswellia, ginger, turmeric, and green tea have been shown to reduce inflammation.

* Inflammatone from Designs for Health - may also be helpful in the regulation of inflammation in RA.

As you can see, the common theme for dietary therapy of both RA and OA revolves around reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy weight, both of which are necessities in maintaining healthy joints. I hope you found this article informative and helpful. As always, please contact our office if you have questions. Also, if you are taking a medication it is a good idea to consult your doctor or pharmacist about any possible interactions any of the above recommendations may have.