The best vitamins for arthritis

Written by tracii hanes
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Arthritis is a condition that causes joint damage, often resulting in pain and deformity. Certain vitamins play a vital role in controlling inflammation and regulating immune response and can be helpful in treating arthritis. While some vitamins may be more beneficial for this purpose than others, all 40 essential nutrients are needed daily to ensure proper absorption of individual vitamins and minerals.

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant with inflammation-fighting properties. According to HolisticOnline.com, vitamin E supports collagen production, which can help damaged connective tissue repair itself. It halts the production of chemicals called prostaglandins responsible for causing pain and inflammation, and is essential in helping the body remove toxins.

Vitamin E is also needed for cellular respiration and aids in fighting free-radical damage in joints. Whole wheat products, almonds and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin E, or it may be taken in supplement form in daily doses of 200 IU.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and immune stimulant vital for the protection of joints. It works by offering its own electrons to free radicals, thereby preventing electron loss in cells.

Vitamin C appears to be most beneficial to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, as an excess of the vitamin can lead to bone spurs that hasten the onset of osteoarthritis. The amount of vitamin C taken daily can make the difference between an effective dose and a harmful one. Those with osteoarthritis shouldn't exceed 300 mg. each day, while 500 mg. is the recommended daily dose for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are beneficial fats that cannot be produced by the body. Omega 3 acids and Omega 6 acids work together to reduce inflammation and lubricate painful joints. According to Nih.gov, essential fatty acids act directly on T-cells, thereby regulating immune response and reducing inflammation in those with dysfunctional immune systems.

EFAs are especially helpful for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by a faulty immune response to one's own joints. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish like krill and salmon, as well as almonds and various nut oils, while Omega 6 acids are present in vegetable and evening primrose oils.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is an amino sugar present in joints. While conclusive evidence is lacking, glucosamine shows promise as a possible adjunct to other forms of arthritis treatment. Some arthritis sufferers find that taking a glucosamine supplement with chondroitin and other minerals helps increase range of motion and decrease joint pain, especially in those with osteoarthritis.

The recommended dosage of glucosamine is based on weight. Those weighing under 81.6 Kilogram should take 1500 mg. per day, while people over 81.6 Kilogram can take up to 2000 mg. Glucosamine is not without side effects and should be avoided by those with diabetes or severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Lifestyle and Arthritis

The main goal in treating any type of arthritis is to reduce inflammation and prevent further joint destruction. Low-impact weight-bearing exercises like yoga, swimming and weightlifting are excellent for improving range of motion and maintaining fitness, while high-impact exercise, like running and contact sports, should be avoided.

Mineral supplements work with vitamins to correct deficiencies and may have a beneficial effect on arthritis. A daily multivitamin plus extra calcium, magnesium and selenium can be especially helpful for those dealing with the pain of arthritis.

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