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Evidence for a Nondrug Approach to Ease Arthritis

Achy arthritis can be incredibly debilitating. Pharmaceutical drugs can have negative effects. Try natural alternatives to avoid those negative side effects so you can get back to life.

Doctors often prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of arthritis. However, with long term use, these drugs can have dangerous side effects [1]. Let’s look in the medical literature from published studies and see what non-prescription natural alternatives have been proven to help alleviate the symptoms without negative side effects. These studies will cover both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

There are numerous studies concluding that probiotics help alleviate arthritic symptoms [2]. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in our intestines that make up our microbiome and can be taken orally as a nutritional supplement.

Several studies on a particular probiotic strain called Lactobacillus casei (L. casei) have shown to bring improvement to arthritis sufferers. One study concluded that supplementing L. casei reduces pain, inflammatory responses, and articular cartilage degradation [3].

Another study concluded that probiotic supplementation may be an appropriate adjunct therapy for RA patients to help alleviate symptoms and improve inflammatory cytokines [4].

A 2010 study on a probiotic strain called Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 was published. When this strain was given to arthritis patients, they experienced borderline statistically significant improvement in the patient pain-assessment score and statistically significantly higher improvement in pain scale than the placebo group [5].

A randomized double-blind crossover study was done to determine the efficacy of using tart cherry juice to treat osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The conclusion was that tart cherry juice provided symptom relief for patients with mild to moderate knee OA and that tart cherry juice lowered C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a marker of inflammation [6].

In the 1990’s, an elderly woman told me her secret to help ease her arthritic symptoms. She cut fresh ginger root into about six coin sized slices and made tea with them. She said that it really helped.

There was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted on 120 people with moderately painful knee osteoarthritis to determine the efficacy of ginger. The study concluded that ginger powder supplements at a dose of 1 gram per day can reduce inflammatory markers in people with knee osteoarthritis, and it can be recommended as a suitable supplement [7].

Bromelain is an enzyme rich substance extracted from pineapple. There was a review of numerous clinical trials, some recent and one going as far back as 1964 where bromelain was used to treat osteoarthritis symptoms. These studies concluded that bromelain shows anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and may provide a safer alternative or adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritis [8].

Numerous studies have concluded that turmeric is effective for treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis. One study concluded that turmeric (curcuma domestica) extract is as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis but with fewer gastrointestinal upsets [9].

There was a study done in 1999 to determine if rheumatoid arthritis could be treated with a vegetarian diet. The conclusion was that some people with RA can benefit from a fasting period followed by a vegetarian diet [10].

In one interesting study, a 63 year old woman who had osteoarthritis of a finger had her symptoms completely go away after 6 months on a gluten-free diet [11].

Numerous studies have been done to determine if a gluten free vegan diet would help. One study that had sixty-six people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was conducted over a period of one year. The study concluded that a gluten-free vegan diet in people with RA induces changes that are potentially atheroprotective and anti-inflammatory [12].

A study done in 2001 concluded that a vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis [13].

Another interesting study found that insufficient vitamin D intake is linked to increased susceptibility to the development of rheumatoid arthritis and is also associated with disease activity in people with RA [14].

There are many other dietary changes and nutraceutical supplements that have been shown to help. One example of a dietary change that can help is avoiding all nightshade vegetables. Another is the avoidance of omega-6 fats while supplementing with omega-3 fats. Other supplements that can help include glucosamine, MSM, and boswellia. And there are more.

To sum it up, numerous clinical studies have been published in medical journals and are available for doctors to view. However, when my 84 year old mother went to an arthritis specialist in 2016 and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knees, the doctor told her that her only option was pharmaceutical drugs to kill the pain. My question is why don’t most doctors know about these other options if they appear in published medical journals?

















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