What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Unlike osteoarthritis, which results from wear and tear on the joint, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is caused by our own immune system running amok. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and inflames joint tissue. “Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body's immune system, which normally fights against disease and infection, attacks itself. Unlike osteoarthritis, which only affects the bones and cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis may also cause swelling in other areas of the body, including the tear ducts, salivary glands, the lining of the heart, the lungs, and occasionally, blood vessels.”
There is no cure. Besides anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS, corticosteroids, and analgesics) patients with rheumatoid arthritis may take prescription drugs called immunosuppressants. These medications weaken the body's immune system, which limits the amount of joint or tissue damage. These medications may have serious side effects, including increased risk of infections, kidney problems, high blood pressure, and decreased levels of red blood cells. Other side effects may include increased hair growth, loss of appetite, vomiting, and upset stomach.
There is some interesting new research on natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis. One study looks at quercetin and the other looks at pomegranate, a flavonoid rich phtyoantioxidant.
Quercetin Eases RA Symptoms in Women
In this first study of quercetin and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 50 women with RA took a placebo or 500 mg of quercetin per day. After eight weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, women taking quercetin had less morning pain and stiffness, less pain after activity, and fewer tender joints, compared to the start of the study.
Doctors also measured quality of life and sense of well-being, which improved for the quercetin group, with the disease in remission in a significant number of these women.
(Reference: Journal of the American College of Nutrition; 2017, Vol. 36, No. 1, 9-15)
Pomegranate Reduces RA Activity in Men and Women
Earlier studies showed vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables are able to slow the progress of RA, but this is one of the first to test pomegranate extract as a supplement. Pomegranate is rich in polyphenolic compounds that are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
In this study, 55 men and women with RA took a placebo or 500 mg of pomegranate extract, in two 250 mg capsules per day. After eight weeks, those taking pomegranate had significantly lower disease-activity scores in joint swelling, tenderness, pain, and morning stiffness, compared to placebo. Signs of inflammation were also lower, and levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione were higher for those taking pomegranate.
Discussing the findings, doctors said pomegranate demonstrated beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in men and women with rheumatoid arthritis.
(Reference: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2017, Vol. 71, 92-6)
Additional Comments by Don Goldberg
Pomegranate is a polyphenol-rich, phytoantioxidant. It is one of the ingredients in the following blend, and for those looking for a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory mixture of flavonoid-rich botanicals, I suggest the following product:
Antiox Phyto Complex II
Some of the most powerful, broad-spectrum antioxidants are those found in plants. This supplement contains a blend of several of the most potent plant-derived phyto-antioxidants available, in a high potency, professional strength veggi cap.
New, High Potency 375 mg Veggie Caps
90 Veggie Caps - Prod Code 63745
Ingredients: Acai Berry Extract 4:1, 75 mg; Mangosteen Fruit Extract, 75 mg (10% Mangostin); Goji Berry Extract 75 mg (40% Polysaccharides); Pomegranate 75 mg, (40% Ellagic Acid); Green Tea Leaf Extract 30 mg (98% Polyphenols, 50% EGCG); Grape Skin Extract, 30 mg (50% Polyphenols); Grape Seed Extract,15 mg (95% Proanthocyanidin)