Health

Best supplements for arthritis: The top three supplements to help ease painful joints

Arthritis can be a painful condition, thought to affect around 10 million people in the UK – as reported by Versus Arthritis. Here are three pills you can pop to reduce inflammation.

There are various types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis (to name a few).

There are key differences to note between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Versus Arthritis explained osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

This type of arthritis begins with the roughening of cartilage, which the body tries to repair... causing its own problems.

Tiny bits of extra bone (called osteophytes) can grow at the ends of a bone within a joint.

The amount of thick fluid inside the joint can increase, and the joint capsule can stretch causing it to lose its shape.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This is a type of inflammatory arthritis, considered to be an autoimmune condition.

This is because the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the body's healthy tissues, such as the joints.

Inflammation leads to extra fluid and blood being sent to the joint, which can cause an array of issues.

Firstly, it can make moving the joint difficult and painful; secondly, chemicals in the fluid can damage the bone and joint.

In addition, the chemicals in the fluid can irritate nerve endings, furthering the painful symptoms.

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Extra fluid in the joint capsule can also stretch it, causing it to lose its original position.

The first pill to consider popping is best used for osteoarthritis, but can also be effective for rheumatoid arthritis.

Known as Curcuma longa (colloquially called curcumin), the Arthritis Foundation stated it can "reduce joint pain and swelling".

Research shows it does this by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.


The charity briefly noted how a 2010 clinical trial demonstrated how curcumin (found in turmeric) "showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis".

Another trial performed in 2012 supported this finding when a curcumin supplement "reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active rheumatoid".

The second pill worth popping is Uncaria tomentosa, also known as cat's claw.

It's said to be an "anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF)" – a target of powerful rheumatoid arthritis drugs.


Citing a small 2002 trial, Arthritis Foundation stated that cat's claw "reduced joint pain and swelling" compared to a placebo.

As a side note, the charity recommended looking for a cat's claw supplement that is free from "tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids".

Another supplement suggested by the charity is "Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)" – an omega-6 fatty acid.

The body is able to turn it into an anti-inflammatory chemical (best for rheumatoid arthritis).



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