4 Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published on September 18, 2012 by Dr. Cameron Mcintyre

In my second blog this month in relation to Arthritis and Joint Health, I will look at the condition rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that primarily attacks peripheral joints (eg. hands, feet) and surrounding muscles, connective tissues and ligaments.  RA affects approximately 1% of Canadians and strikes three times more women than men. Disease onset happens sometime between the ages of 20 and 50, although it can strike at any age. The immune system attacks healthy joint tissues, causing inflammation which produces stiffness, swelling and pain in and around the joints.  Over time the inflammation can lead to damage and deformities in the joints (especially hands and feet) which can severely limit function and mobility. (Source – www.statcan.gc.ca)

In looking at the composition of AOR's Advanced Joint Support formula, principally utilized as an osteoarthritis formula, I want to suggest its consideration for rheumatoid arthritis as well.

  • Boswellia serrata – as mentioned in the previous blog, Boswellia is a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain) effects.  It works by blocking the 5-LOX enzyme which prevents the development inflammatory chemicals known as leukotrienes and human leukocyte elastase (HLE).  Both of these chemicals are markedly increased in inflammatory and allergic reactions.  To date, Boswellia is the only known herbal to block both of these inflammatory markers.
  • Sodium Hyaluronateaka hyaluronic acid.  An essential component of joint fluid required for proper lubrication and function, this key ingredient also demonstrates anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune modulating effects.  In arthritic conditions, it seems to inhibit the release of enzymes that contribute to breakdown of cartilage.
  • Harpagophytum procumbens – known conventionally as “devil’s claw”, this plant packs a three way punch with its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antirheumatic properties.  Shown to reduce inflammation by blocking key enzymes (COX-2), it has also been shown to inhibit signaling molecules and enzymes that break down collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).  It actually increases GAG synthesis, promoting the formation of new cartilage.  In a large open study of 630 patients with various rheumatic illnesses, 42-85% of patients showed significant improvement after 6 months of treatment with devils claw. (Source – Mills, Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy.2000;347.)

In addition I want to address immune system support with rheumatoid arthritis.  For several years, there have been reports of a high frequency of infections complicating RA.  In particular, high prevalence rates of pulmonary infections and septic arthritis. (Source – jrheum.com/subscribers/01/09/1942.html)

One newer product in the AOR line up for consideration in helping to boost immune status is ImmuNOx.  This product combines the circulatory and immune enhancing capacity of nitric oxide with the antimicrobial effects of olive leaf extract.  This formula works synergistically to defend against and manage both viral and bacterial infections.

With management of all disease, it is important that you are under the care of a trusted health care practitioner to help you facilitate the appropriate choices for your individual needs.

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