Rheumatoid Arthritis: Fighting Inflammation

When discussing arthritis, it is important to discern what type of arthritis is relevant and not to intertwine information of the two. Osteoarthritis is the deterioration of the joints from wear and tear. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease regarding a come-and-go inflammation of the joints. Inflammation is a common and much needed response to fight foreign antigens such as pollen, bacteria, infections, etc. Yet unto many, the exact reasoning behind inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis may still be unknown.

Typically in a time of invasion, our bodies immediately attack or devour the invaders with leukocytes (white blood cells). During this moment in RA, our bodies release specific leukocytes called neutrophils that rush to the affected area. These neutrophils defend the host by releasing a chemical, tumor neurosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). This signals more leukocytes to help fight off the threat, causing slight inflammation until resolved. Because this chronic disease is caused domestically, there is no foreign agent to be found resulting in a perpetual storm of immune cells attacking the body’s healthy cells. Thus, blood may leak into the connective tissue of the joint causing an unfathomable pain, swelling, deformity, and destruction. In many cases, RA has gone on to affect others in many non-joint areas, due to blood flow.

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory properties either by prescription or over-the-counter. However, many individuals choose to steer toward a more natural steward. In many cohorts, patients with RA have undergone observations concluding that conventional combination therapy and treatment should not be ignored. Nonetheless, millions still are in search for natural remedies and means of consumption to eradicate this chronic pain. Many who are troubled with the discomfort are encouraged to try the essentials of mother Earth, known to possess a higher concentration of medicinal means. These means consist of nutrients such as:

Vitamin C

kakaduplum
7 Best Kakadu Plums Benefits & Uses — John Staughton

Vitamin C fights molecules which trigger rheumatoid inflammation. It also serves a role as a co-factor in collagen synthesis, the main protein in joint tissue and bone. Fights infection and may work to control inflammation.

  • Recommended daily intake 75-90 mg.
  • Found in foods such as Acerola, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Chili Pepper, Grapefruit, Guava, Kakudu Plum, Kale, Kiwi, Lemon, Lychee, Orange, Papaya, Pomegranate, and Rose HipFruits tend to lose potency of Vitamin C when stored in cold areas. Herbs can be a great alternative, although they are highly perishable. It is important to dry them as soon as possible.
  • Found in plants and herbs such as Amla, Common Mallow, Dandelion, Echinacea, Fireweed, Forsythia, Ginger, Garlic, Goldenseal, Honeysuckle, Lamb’s Quarters, Mullein, Parsley, Thyme, Violet, and Wood Sorrel
  • Orange peel is also essential concerning Vitamin C.

Vitamin E

vitamin-e-oil
10 Benefits of Vitamin E Oil — Medical News Today

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant which fights free radicals, highly reactive compounds which damage cells in oxidation. This antioxidant may also aid in reducing pain levels along with other nutrients.

  • Recommended daily intake 15 mg.
  • Found in foods such as Almonds, Avocado, Broccoli, Chard, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Hazelnut, Hemp Seed Oil, Kale, Mustard Greens, Olives, Olives, Olive Oil, Papaya, Pine Nut, Pomegranate, Safflower Oil, Spinach, Sunflower Oil, Sunflower seeds, Turnip Greens,  and Wheat Germ Oil
  • Found in plants and herbs such as Alfalfa and Parsley

Calcium

Calcium food sources, top view
Keeping Your Bones Strong: Calcium for Lifelong Bone Health — Montclair Breast Center

According to the Arthritis Foundation, Calcium helps release essential hormones and slows RA-related joint damage.¹ If you seek corticosteroids to treat symptoms, this will restrict your intake of calcium causing osteoporosis, or bone deterioration. When taking in calcium, it is also important to find a great source of vitamin D, which promotes calcium consumption. You may also consider avoiding carbonated drinks.

  • Recommended daily intake 1,000 mg.
  • Found in foods such as Almonds, Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Blackstrap Molasses, Brazil Nuts, Broccoli, Chia Seeds, Collard Greens, Figs, Kale, Lemon, Lentils, Oatmeal, Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Spinach, Oatmeal, Seaweed, Turnip Greens, and White Beans
  • Found in plants and herbs such as Alfalfa, Bok Choy, Horsetail, Oat Straw, Red Clover, and Stinging Nettle

Omega 3

Omega 3 Source
What works better than low-fat for a healthy heart? — Virginia Tims-Lawson

Omega 3 which may be prevalent unto fish oil, are thought work together in reducing inflammation by docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentoaenoic acid (EPA). These fatty acids have been said to only minimally help reduce tenderness, morning stiffness, and fatigue.³

  • Recommended daily intake 200-600 mg.
  • Found in Avocado, Chia Seeds, Green Peas, Hemp Seeds, Kale, Perilla Seed Oil, Spinach, Tomato, and WalnutsMost fish and other seafood may be the best sources of Omega 3.

Fiber

IMG_5551

Soluble fiber mixes with water to form a gel, slowing digestion to help the body consume nutrients more efficiently.4 Fiber is known to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in the blood, “a marker of inflammation that’s been linked to RA.” Fiber-packed foods also benefit the body by aiding bacteria in the small intestines promoting proper physiology, and less inflammation.

  • Recommended daily intake 35 g.
  • Found in foods such as Almonds, Apples, Avocado, Banana, Blackberry, Black Turtle Beans, Beets, Bran, Broccoli, Brown Rice, Carrot, Chickpea, Dark Chocolate, Flour, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Oats, Pears, Quinoa, Raspberries, Strawberries, Whole Wheat, and Zucchini
  • Found in the Psyllium plant

Antioxidants

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Antioxidants have been argued to be beneficial concerning Rheumatoid Arthritis. In many findings, it has been proven that they possess powerful characteristics and may prevent RA but not cure it for they may possess little to no significant results. Though not completely supported, antioxidants do serve a great purpose. They aid the body by fighting off oxidants, which damage cells by looting atoms of their electrons. Oxidants, or free radicals, are produced by the body from foods high in fats, oils, meat, and also supplements. The National Cancer Institute suggests caution when using supplements as they are not nutrients in their natural form.² The government agency also proposes that alcohol may increase risks of cancer, by creating free radicals. Antioxidants come in many different varieties and are found in:

  • Artichoke, Blueberries, Cherries, Collards, Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Green Tea, Goji Berries, Kale, Oregano, Pecans, Spirulina, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes, and Wild Berries and many, many more.
    • Foods that produce free radicals are usually refined, fried, processed, or high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Arjuana, Cinnamoni Cortex, Clove, Cocoa, Curcumin, triphula, cinnamomi cortex, genistein, resveratrol, scutellariae radix  are a few listed phytochemicals found with high content of antioxidants. Phytochemicals are simply active compounds naturally found in plants.

Curcumin/Piperine

Ginger-Turmeric-Tea-3
Ginger Turmeric Tea for a Quick Immunity Boost — The Awesome Green

Curcumin has been studied and is proven to be more effective at prevention rather than reducing joint inflammation. It is the biological compound found in turmeric, the ground root of the turmeric plant. Curcumin is another compound suggested to also have antioxidant properties to aid in inflammation. Curcumin paired with piperine, another compound with anti-inflammatory properties, is a powerful combination. Peperine works to enhance absorption of curcumin. Piperine is the alkaloid found in black pepper.

  • Recommended daily intake 65-100 mg.

Sulforaphane

Kreuzblu__tler_Kopie
What is Sulforaphane and in which foods does it occur? — Heidelberg University Hospital

Sulforaphane is another phytochemical, and may have therapeutic value in treating RA. They also promote Nrf2 signaling, which is a cell protecting pathway for your cells against oxidation. It is produced after an enzyme is released when the plant is damaged. Sulforphane is not to be consumed in large quantities as it can be toxic.

  • Recommended daily intake ranges from 5-60 mg.
  • Bok Choy, Broccoli Sprouts, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Collards, Kale, and Spinach are all sulforaphane-possessing greens.

Conclusion

Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause disfigurement or dislocation and may arise from inflammation within the joint. Inflammation is a response to attack foreign bodies which cause cellular deterioration. When harmful foods are consumed, our bodies produce unstable molecules which raid our biological cells of electrons, ultimately activating our immune system and a rush of red and white blood cells. Making the lifestyle change to lean on a plant-based diet with varieties of fruits and vegetables may aid in prevention of RA, but is not known to treat it. Selectively eating may result in a deduction of free radicals, and may also constitute change unto an individual’s livelihood and dynamics of inflammation.


  1. “Calcium.” Www.arthritis.org, http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/vitamins-minerals/guide/calcium.php.

  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Foods That Fight Inflammation.” Harvard Health, http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.
  3. Miles, Elizabeth A., and Philip C. Calder. “Influence of Marine n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Immune Function and a Systematic Review of Their Effects on Clinical Outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis | British Journal of Nutrition.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 17 May 2012, http://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/div-classtitleinfluence-of-marine-span-classitalicnspan-3-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids-on-immune-function-and-a-systematic-review-of-their-effects-on-clinical-outcomes-in-rheumatoid-arthritisdiv/0F3DAA86B29B4D942B8381AA3F599D1

  4. “More Fiber, Less Inflammation?” Www.arthritis.org, http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/fiber-inflammation.php

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