Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK. The two most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The condition causes pain, inflammation and stiffness of joints in the body, including in the hands, feet, hips and knees. Arthritis is generally lifelong and there is no direct cure, but certain vitamins and minerals can help improve the condition. These five vitamins and minerals, as noted by Versus Arthritis, may help to reduce inflammation and pain in people with arthritis:
Some evidence has shown vitamin E can help treat arthritis by preventing damage in the cells of the bones and joints, while it may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin E can be found in plant oils, wheatgerm, sunflower seeds, nuts and avocados. It can also be taken in supplement form if you don’t get enough vitamin E from food.
A deficiency in selenium has shown it may result in arthritis progressing more quickly, although there is some doubt about this.
Selenium is usually derived from yeast for medicinal purposes. It is often included in vitamin and mineral supplements, or can be taken on its own in capsule form.
Vitamin D is essential for the maintenance of strong and healthy bones, by regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
Vitamin D can be sourced from sunlight during the spring and summer, but UK health officials advise everyone take supplements in the autumn and winter when there is not enough sunlight to provide adequate levels.
Studies have shown omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can help reduce inflammation in people with arthritis.
Omega 3 can be found in oily fish, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil and walnuts. However, quite large amounts are needed for the best effects, so you may want to consider taking a concentrated fish oil supplement, advises Versus Arthritis.
Many people take glucosamine sulphate tablets, with or without added chondroitin, for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Cartilage contains substances related to glucosamine and chondroitin, and taking supplements of these ingredients may nourish damaged cartilage, although research results are mixed.
“As well as having a healthy, balanced diet, getting additional nutrients from food supplements may help if you have arthritis,” said Versus Arthritis.
Speak to your GP if you considering taking supplements, and don’t take more than the recommended doses.