Many women suffer from arthritis aches and pains that linger for hours or stay for days. The pain and stiffness can really inhibit daily activities such as putting on shoes, opening jars, and even walking.
Osteoarthritis is commonly known as degenerative arthritis and is due to repetitive use, injury, aging, genetics and certain diseases.
Treatment can be difficult as many of the causes are not curable such as aging (sorry, ladies) or genetics. However these five natural tips may be helpful in reducing your inflammation.
The spice that is also known as curcumin has pain-reducing qualities as it inhibits the inflammatory pathway known as COX-2. One cannot eat enough of the spice. Therefore it's a good idea to take a good quality supplement at 1500-2000 mg one to two times per day. Side effects can include gastrointestinal upset, so start with a lower dose and build up.
2) Green Lipped Mussels
These mussels from New Zealand have anti-inflammatory properties for those with arthritis. The typical dose is 500-1000 mg one to three times per day. It can take four to six weeks to take effect, however research is promising. Be very careful if you are allergic to mussels. Side effects may include nausea or diarrhea, so start with a lower dose and increase gradually.
3) Devil’s Claw
Also known as Harpagophytum procumbens, devil's claw is an herbal plant that comes from Africa and contains the active ingredient, harpagosides to lower pain and inflammation. The typical dose is about 1000 mg per day (totalling 50-60 mg harpagosides -- read the label) in divided doses.
Those with ulcers or gallbladder disease should use this plant cautiously. Those with blood sugar problems need to monitor their levels as devil’s claw has been known to lower glucose levels.
4) Krill oil
Everyone knows about the vast importance of fish oil but krill oil is quickly making a name for itself when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation (especially C-reactive protein) of arthritis. The typical dose is 300 mg per day (along with your normal fish oil supplement) for joint protection.
As with fish oil, side effects can include "fish burps" especially in poorer quality supplements, along with heartburn and nausea. Those who have allergies to certain seafood such as shrimp should avoid it. Krill oil, like fish oil, can potentially act as a blood thinner so be aware of this if you take blood thinner medications or if you will soon be having surgery.
5) Glucosamine and Chondroitin
These supplements are the most commonly used for arthritis and joint pain. However they must be used at the appropriate dose and can take up to eight weeks to have an effect. If they are stopped, then the beneficial effect goes away.
Glucosamine and chondroitin have both been shown to lower C-reactive protein and lowers inflammatory cytokines. Glucosamine must be taken at doses of 1500 mg per day and chondroitin at 400-500 mg per day.
Some supplements are from a seafood source therefore those with allergies need to be aware. Side effects may be gastrointestinal in nature, such as diarrhea or nausea.
Krill oil is safe for pregnant women but the other four natural supplements should not be used during pregnancy.
Remember to discuss all supplements with your health care provider.
1)Lev-Ari, S., Strier, L., Kazanov, D., Elkayam, O., Lichtenberg, D., Caspi, D., and Arber, N. Curcumin synergistically potentiates the growth-inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects of celecoxib in osteoarthritis synovial adherent cells. Web. 7 May, 2013.
2)De Silva, V., El-Metwally, A., Ernst, E., Lewith, G., and MacFarlane, G. Evidence for the Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicines in the Management of Osteoarthritis. Web. 7 May, 2013.
3)Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Feb;26(1):39-48.
4)Kelly, J. Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Fish Oil May Reduce Inflammation. Web. 7 May, 2013.
5)Rovati, L., Girolami, F., and Persiani, S. Crystalline Glucosamine Sulfate in the Management of Knee Osteoarthritis. Web. 7 May, 2013.
Reviewed May 8, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith