|Bromelain||As directed on label 3 times daily.||An enzyme that helps to stimulate production of prostaglandins. Reduces inflammation when taken between meals. Helps digestion of protein when taken with meals.|
|Chondroitin sulfate||500-1,000 mg daily.||Nutritional support for strengthening joints, ligaments, and tendons.|
|Essential fatty acids (Total EFA from Health From The Sun, omega-3 and omega-6 oil complexes, salmon oil from Carlson Labs, Kyolic-EPA from Wakunaga, or Lyprinol)||As directed on label twice daily. Take with meals.||To supply essential fatty acids that increase production and activity of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Helps to control arthritis pain and inflammation.|
|Glucosamine sulfate (GS-500 from Enzymatic Therapy)||As directed on label.||Very important for the formation of bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and synovial (joint) fluid.|
|Or N-Acetylglucosamine (N-A-G from Source Naturals)||500-1,000 mg daily.|
|Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)||500-1,000 mg 3 times daily.||A sulfur compound needed for reducing inflammation and for joint and tissue repair.|
|S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) (SAMe Rx-Mood from Nature’s Plus)||400 mg twice daily.||A deficiency results in the inability to maintain cartilage properly. Aids in reducing pain and inflammation.
Caution: Do not use if you have bipolar mood disorder or take prescription antidepressants.
|Sea cucumber (bêche-de-mer)||As directed on label.||A rich source of specific lubricating compounds found abundantly in all connective tissues, especially the joints and joint fluid. It may take 3 to 6 weeks to note an improvement.|
|As directed on label.||Supplies silicon, important for formation of apatite crystal, the primary constituent in bone.|
|Superoxide dismutase (SOD)||As directed on label.||An antioxidant that protects fluid in the joints from destruction by free radicals. A sublingual form is recommended. Consider injections (under a doctor’s supervision).|
|Or Cell Guard from Biotec Foods||As directed on label.||An antioxidant complex that contains SOD.|
|Trimethylglycine (TMG)||500-1,000 mg in the morning.||Reduces homocysteine levels.|
|Vitamin E||200 IU daily.||A powerful antioxidant that protects the joints from damage by free radicals. Increases joint mobility. Low levels of vitamin E have been found in people with arthritis and lupus. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.
Caution: If you are taking blood-thinning medication, consult your physician before taking this supplement.
|Boron||3 mg with each meal.||A trace mineral required for healthy bones and uptake of calcium. Also reduces COX-2 and LOX enzymes for anti-inflammatory value.|
|2,000 mg daily.||Needed to prevent bone loss. Use calcium chelate form.|
|and magnesium||1,000 mg daily.||Needed to balance with calcium.|
|plus copper||3 mg daily.||A cofactor for lysyl oxidase, which strengthens connective tissue and bone formation.
Needed for calcium uptake and bone formation.
|and vitamin D||800 IU daily.||Needed for bone growth. Often deficient in those with arthritis.|
|and zinc||50 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements.||Use zinc picolinate form.|
|Cerasomal-cis-9-cetylmyristoleate (CMO)||300 mg morning and night daily.||An anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation in the joints.
Caution: Do not take this supplement if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have liver problems.
|Dimethylglycine (DMG) (Aangamik DMG from FoodScience of Vermont)||125 mg 3 times daily.||Helps to prevent further damage to joints.|
|Free form amino acid (Amino Balance from Anabol Naturals)||As directed on label.||To supply protein, needed for tissue repair. Protein is a major component of bone tissue.|
|Glucosamine/ Chondroitin MSM Ultra Rx-Joint Cream from Nature’s Plus||As directed on label.||Topical cream for relief of inflamed joints.|
|As directed on label.||A rich source of minerals needed for good skeletal health.|
|Multienzyme complex||As directed on label. Take with meals.||To aid digestion.
Caution: If you have a history of ulcers, do not use a product containing HCI.
|Selenium||200 mcg daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 40 mcg daily.||A powerful antioxidant.|
|Vitamin B complex with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)||50 mg of each major B vitamin 3 times daily (amounts of individual vitamins in a complex will vary).||B vitamins work best when taken together. Use a hypoallergenic formula. Good for swelling.|
|plus extra vitamin B3 (niacin)||100 mg 3 times daily. Do not exceed this amount.||Increases blood flow by dilating small arteries. Good for knee pain.|
|or niacinamide||As directed on label.||Caution: Do not take niacin if you have a liver disorder, gout, or high blood pressure.
Caution: Do not substitute niacin for niacinamide. Niacin can be toxic in such high doses.
|plus vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||500-1,000 mg daily.||Especially for rheumatoid arthritis; vital for the production of steroids in the adrenal gland.|
|and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||50 mg daily.||Reduces swelling in tissue.|
|1,000 mcg daily.||Needed for proper digestion, the formation of cells, and the production of myelin, and the protective coating surrounding the nerves. Prevents nerve damage.|
|and folic acid||400 mcg daily.|
|Vitamin C||3,000-10,000 mg daily, in divided doses.||Powerful free radical destroyer that also aids in pain relief because of its anti-inflammatory effect. Use a buffered form.|
|plus bioflavonoids||500 mg daily.||Boosts the activity of vitamin C.|
|Vitamin K||As directed on label.||Helps deposit minerals into the bone matrix.|
|Bone Defense from KAL||As directed on label.||Contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other valuable bone-reinforcing nutrients.|
|DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA)||500 mg daily every other week.||Good for pain relief.
Caution: Do not take this supplement if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you suffer from panic attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, or PKU.
|Garlic (Kyolic from Wakunaga)||2 capsules 3 times daily, with meals.||Inhibits the formation of free radicals, which can damage the joints.|
|Healthy Joint Image from Coenzyme-A Technologies||As directed on label.||Contains pantothenic acid, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, cerasomal-cis-9- cetylmyristoleate, methylfsulfonylmethane (MSM), and other nutrients to support healthy bone, joint, ligament, and cartilage function.|
|500 mg twice daily, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption.||A detoxifier essential for immune function; a source of sulfur and a component of collagenous tissue.|
|L-histidine||As directed on label.||Aids in building joints and connective tissue.|
|MSM Lotion from Aerobic Life Industries||Apply topically as directed on label.||Good for stiffness and pain.|
|Multivitamin complex||All nutrients are needed to aid in repairing tissues and cartilage.|
|with vitamin A||10,000 IU daily.|
|and natural beta-carotene||15,000 IU daily.|
|Pregnenolone||As directed on label.||Good for pain and inflammation.|
|Proteolytic enzymes||As directed on label. Take between meals.||To protect the joints from free radical damage.|
|or Inf-zyme Forte from American Biologics||As directed on label.|
|Pycnogenol||As directed on label.||Improves joint flexibility, repairs. connective tissue by reducing the prostaglandins that cause inflammation, and inhibits histamine release responsible for tissue damage.|
|or grape seed extract||As directed on label.|
|Shark cartilage||Start with 1 gram per 15 lbs of body weight daily, divided into 3 doses. When relief is achieved, reduce the dosage to 1 gm per 40 lbs of body weight daily.||Treats pain and inflammation. Aids in repairing joints and bones.|
See also: “Asthma“
- Alfalfa contains all the minerals essential for bone formation, and may be helpful for arthritis. It can be taken in capsules or in whole, natural form. Kelp also contains essential minerals and is good for thyroid function.
- Boswellia, an Ayurvedic herb, is important for reducing inflammation. It is made from frankincense (Boswellia serrata). It also helps to restore blood vessels around inflamed connective tissue. Choose a product standardized to contain 150 milligrams of boswellic acids per tablet or capsule. Boswellia can also be used topically, in cream form, to relieve pain.
- The boswellic acids, a group of acids associated with Boswellia serrata resin, work to inhibit an enzyme called 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), which is instrumental in the synthesis of leukotrienes. The herbal preparation 5-Loxin contains AKBA, the most potent of the boswellic acids. It is a potent anti-inflammatory agent used successfully in the treatment of arthritis pain.
- Cat’s claw is helpful for relieving arthritis pain. Feverfew and ginger also are good for pain and soreness.
Caution: Do not use cat’s claw during pregnancy. Do not use feverfew when pregnant or nursing. People who take prescription blood-thinning medications should consult a health care provider before using feverfew, as the combination can result in internal bleeding.
More herbs to relieve arthritis
- Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects. The active component is gingerol. Ginger inhibits pain-producing prostaglandins.
- The hot peppers known as cayenne (capsicum) contain a compound called capsaicin that relieves pain, apparently by inhibiting the release of substance P, a neurotransmitter responsible for communicating pain sensations. Capsaicin can be absorbed through the skin. Mix cayenne powder with enough wintergreen oil to make a paste and apply it to painful joints, or use cayenne peppers in a poultice. This may cause a stinging sensation at first, but with repeated use, pain should diminish markedly. Cayenne can also be taken in capsule form (Cool Cayenne from Solaray is a good source).
- Du Huo Jisheng Wan is an herbal Chinese patent medicine that has proven to be beneficial for arthritis sufferers.
- Joint Care from Himalaya Herbal Healthcare is an Ayurvedic herbal combination formula designed to support joint health.
- Nettle leaf is used in Germany for its anti-inflammatory properties. Nettle leaf extract inhibits TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta, which are pro-inflammatory signaling molecules. TNF is prominent in triggering inflammation, and IL is involved in cartilage and bone destruction. The prescription drug etanercept (Enbrel), prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, acts by suppressing the TNF-alpha.
All herbs for arthritis
- Nexrutine is an herbal extract of the phellodendron tree (Phellodendron amurense). This tree has been a resource in traditional Asian medicine for more than 1,500 years. Developed by Next Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Nexrutine is an anti-inflammatory used for natural pain management. It is uniquely suited for the treatment of arthritis pain due to its operational mechanisms. The COX-2 enzyme is inhibited, thus blocking one of the main pain pathways at the source. Additionally, its use does not cause blood platelets to stick together, thus reducing the cardiovascular risk associated with popular COX-2 inhibitors. No stomach problems were observed in trials. The usual dosage is 250 to 500 milligrams three times daily.
Caution: Do not use Nexrutine while pregnant or lactating. It is not intended for use by children.
- Noni, known as “the sacred plant” to Polynesian peoples in the South Pacific, has been used for more than 2,000 years for pain, arthritis, and other health problems.
More and better herbs
- Olive leaf extract is good for infectious arthritis. Used for thousands of years by people living in the Mediterranean, it is said to be nature’s safe and effective antibiotic. Natural compounds such as oleuropein in the leaf act as powerful germ killers capable of destroying microbes that can cause arthritis. There are reportedly no adverse side effects.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It is good for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. The recommended dose is 600 milligrams daily.
- Willow bark is also good for pain and inflammation.
- Borage seed oil in a dosage of 1,800 milligrams per day may be effective in pain control. However, fish oil has a better mix of fatty acids to reduce TNF and COX-2.
- Other beneficial herbs include brigham tea, buchu leaves, burdock root, celery seed, corn silk, devil’s claw tea, parsley tea, and yucca.