Any effective supplements to reduce inflammation/reduce pain

louisarm
louisarm Member Posts: 52
edited 27. Jul 2013, 15:50 in Living with Arthritis archive
Dear All,

Do any supplements really work? Can fish oil make a difference?

Has anybody slowed down their arthritis or even reversed it???

Sorry if this subject has been done before and I realise I am clutching at straws here, still in early stages of accepting an osteoarthritis diagnosis.

Thank you

Louisa

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This topic is covered every time a new person joins. :wink: There is a search function on each forum, if you put in the right key words all the threads about it will pop up for you perusal. My feeling is that those who swear by their supplements don't actually have arthritis, more just the general aches and pains of ageing. Before I knew what was wrong with me I tried glucosamine and cod liver oil but they did not help at all which wasn't surprising as I was producing an excess of joint lubricant :) . I also tried dietary aspects and magnets but again no true or lasting benefits were gained.

    Arthritis is a progressive and degenerative disease, surely if these things were effective none of us would be here, the forum wouldn't exist. By all means try them, plus the copper insoles, bangles, magnets, cider vinegar etc etc etc and try not to expect too much; mind you, you could be exception to the rule and find something that works for you. Now wouldn't that be good? DD
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    neat cod liver oil is about the only thing that will help , is what I was told by my consultant

    all the rest you are just wasting money on
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,934
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This is one of the few areas on which DD and I differ :) I have a husband with extremely mild OA ie he plays golf twice a week and goes to the gym or walks up hills on other days. He doesn't consider he has OA just 'a spot of wear and tear'. But he does get hip and knee pain from time to time and he does wince occasionally when getting up from a chair. He takes cod liver oil tablets daily and also glucosamine. If he goes without for a few weeks he soon starts them up again because he feels they make a difference.

    It seems like they do help in some way, maybe because his is so mild. He's not over fond of fish, especially oily fish, so the chances of him getting enough fish oil from diet alone are not very high whereas I like it and eat much more.

    If you enter 'diet' into the search engine at the top of the page you'll find, on the left, a reference to AC's booklet on Healthy Eating & Arthritis. It has a whole section on supplements and which might be effective. It does also warn, though, that we should always check with the GP before trying any if we're on prescription meds.
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    Yes....I've tried {like most of us :lol: } lots of different things and had no result. But I wouldn't say they don't help. They don't help ME but its possible they could help someone else.
    I've talked to lots of people who take capsicum and things like that and it does help them....doesn't cure them :wink: but helps.
    That's the main thing......even if it is a placebo affect ......so what???? If it eases any pain I'm all for it.
    Love
    Hileena
  • AlanWatson1958
    AlanWatson1958 Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi again Louisa,

    We already ‘met’ in your forum post about osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. You already know that I am not a doctor or a sufferer with years of experience to share, but like you I want to know more about my OA, what is causing it and my various other problems. The doctors say my problems unrelated, but the coincidence seems too unlikely, so I have been reading all I can. Here is what I have found out.

    The traditional view is that OA is caused by wear and tear. The newest research seems to show that it is caused by inflammation. There is a good summary here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638313/. The most influential piece of research was published in Nature Medicine in 2011, summary here http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v17/n12/full/nm.2543.html.

    Unfortunately, although this science is very interesting, it doesn't provide us with a cure: people have known for years that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation, and they still can’t cure that. There have been some mixed results in recent drug trials. A TNF blocker helped in one trial for OA in the hips and not in another for the knee. (Broccoli is high in TNF-blockers, as are cauliflower and cabbage. They might help and they aren't likely to do you any harm.) Anti-bacterial/anti-inflammatory drug Doxycycline also seemed to work in one trial and not in another.

    People with gout (another form of arthritis) are routinely treated to reduce a substance called uric acid. This causes crystals that injure the cartilage and more general inflammation and damage. Some people with OA have high levels of this too and can benefit from the same medication or changes in diet to reduce it. I plan to ask my doctor about it.

    No one knows whether most inflammation in OA starts spontaneously, or is triggered by factors elsewhere. A test for C-reactive protein can find high levels of inflammation. A high result could simply mean that you are recovering from flu or an injury, or it could show chronic inflammation, which has been linked to heart attack and OA. Despite my heart problems I had not previously had the test but I have now and will get the results on Tuesday. Even it is high, we won’t know what is causing it. It could be the OA itself, or something as simple as a gut infection. (Many people are infected with a thing called Heliobacter Pylori; most show no ill-effects, but some get irritable bowel disease and systemic inflammation.) There is a simple test for this too, and if you have it and high inflammation you should probably get rid of it, and then see whether the inflammation goes down.

    It used to be thought that diabetes went with OA just because the same people were at risk for the two diseases, but now some studies have shown that diabetes makes you more prone to OA. If you haven’t had your blood sugar tested, you should. Similarly, people used to think that losing weight helped OA just by reducing joint strain, but it now seems that it can have other benefits in some people – perhaps by reducing the risk of diabetes. Even very slim people like me can have too much fat stored in their livers. This adds to risk of inflammation, diabetes and other problems. I plan to have mine checked. People also used to think that the benefit of exercise to OA sufferers was only in strengthening muscles, but some studies seem to show other benefits too, perhaps by the same route. (Different studies don’t find any benefit.)

    As well as inflammation, it seems likely that OA can be triggered by shortages of various nutrients – some of which are the same as those which can lead to osteoporosis. There is a good review of this on http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/diet-and-arthritis.aspx. Making sure that we have enough calcium and vitamin d seems important for our OA as well as our bone strength. Shortages of selenium (common in the UK according to Arthritis research and easily fixed with Brazil nuts) can have a particularly bad effect. If you haven’t had your vitamin d checked, you should, and if you have a cooperative doctor, you may be able to check for other nutrient/mineral deficiencies too.

    I have been told that my homocysteine is so high that I must have inherited a genetic defect. The most common of these mean that the body can’t convert the forms of vitamins B6, B12 or folic acid that we eat into the final forms that the body needs to use. I understand that shortages in these final forms of B vitamins can cause bone deiseases too, and I hope to get myself checked out for them. The final forms of the vitamins can be taken as supplements.

    There is also some scientific evidence that omega-3 fatty acids (in fish oil and walnuts) and COX-2 inhibitors (in turmeric, ginger, rosemary, green tea) help to reduce inflammation, and may or may not reduce pain from OA. (They work in the same way as some of the common OA drugs.)

    So, it might be worth getting yourself checked for uric acid, for deficiencies in nutrients including vitamin d and selenium, for high blood sugar and for chronic inflammation. Whether or not you have any of these problems, there may be benefits in eating more oily fish (especially sardines or salmon with their bones in – lots of calcium), walnuts, Brazil nuts, broccoli or cabbage, ginger and green tea. Fruit is good too for vitamin C. Losing weight (if you have any to lose), getting more exercise, giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol are unlikely to do any harm. These things could all help your OP and general health as well as OA.

    When I was told that my homocysteine level was 45 compared with a normal range of 4-10, and that it was a risk factor for everything from heart attack and Alzheimer's to fractures and cancer, the endocrinologist said that he was pretty sure that taking folic acid would bring the level down. He didn't know whether that would reduce any of the underlying risks, but it might do, there was nothing better on offer, and it wouldn't do any harm so I might as well try. That's how I feel about the broccoli and sardines too.

    Best wishes,

    Alan
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,934
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Crikey, Alan, you've done your homework! I do hope you can reap some benefits from it. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you, Alan, for sharing your research. Some very helpful information there I think.

    Anna
  • louisarm
    louisarm Member Posts: 52
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Alan,

    What can I say. What a wonderful post. Loads to digest. I think you have hit the nail on the head with the inflammation theory.

    I recently had my ESR checked and it was 19 (normal 0-15) so I have inflammation somewhere. My Vit D level is ok.

    I am a naturally anxious person and have drunk too much alcohol in my time to quell anxiety and perhaps that is a contributing factor to arthritis. I know it is for bones. I no longer drink alcohol and have stopped coffee.

    This inflammation theory makes so much sense to me. So all I have to do is break a lifetime habit of being stressed as stress apparently causes inflammation too.

    I cannot thank you enough for this post. Loads to work on and it has given me a bit of hope that at the very least my general health should improve if I can reduce inflammation.

    To All the others who have replied,

    Thank you very much for your replies, much appreciated. However, I think we would all agree Alan has set the bar very high with the information he has supplied.

    Louisa
  • phoenixoxo
    phoenixoxo Member Posts: 625
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Louisa,

    Sorry I'm a bit late to this :)

    Just a flying visit, one thing to add to all the helpful responses above: for anyone interested in taking fish oil to combat inflammation, check out Arthritis Care's Inspire magazine, page 5, via http://portfolio.cpl.co.uk/inspire/2013-spring/1/

    Aspirin can be rough on the stomach, of course, but a good proton pump inhibitor might help with this. (I'll check with my doc.)

    And many thanks to DD, by the way, for mentioning the magazine on another thread :)

    Best wishes,
    Phee
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    He certainly has been thorough but there's nowt in there that most of us don't know already. Dont forget we're old hands at this and an inflammation level of 15 is not that wondrously high (I've hit 160 - 170 before now but then that wasn't with osteo, that was an auto-immune form which has a different root). Why did you have your CRP or ESA checked, louisarm? That's not the usual process with OA, even a bruise will bump up the figures.

    Yes, the old 'wear and tear' definition is coming under increasing scrutiny, especially as people in their twenties (or a tad younger ) are starting osteo; given that the general modern diet was based on convenience foods (thank whoever that is now changing) it's hardly surprising that people were lacking in basic vitamins and nutrients. My husband has blasts of gout from time to time and he takes the same anti-inflammatory as me, diclofenac. The difference is his gout clears up, leaving him in peace for months at a time. I know that prurines play a part in triggering gout so we rarely eat pork or turkey now, but he does drink an over-abundance of fruit juice. He doesn't believe that this can cause trouble - he'll find out the hard way. :wink:

    Right, cheffing duties beckon - quiche, new potatoes and sugar snap peas. It's only 25 degrees here, the kitchen needs warming up. :lol: DD
  • lizzieuk1
    lizzieuk1 Member Posts: 302
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Glucosamine has been researched and shown to be beneficial at 1500mg + it has also been shown that taking it with chondroitin and msm increases its benefit, I won't go into the detail why its beneficial but Google has plenty of info!
    Omega 3 has also been researched as beneficial and basically is recommended because the nature of the western diet means we consume too much omega 6 and the balance of the two gets distorted which has various detrimental health effects.

    From personal experience when I got diagnosed with ra my hands were scanned and I had some small erosion s in a couple of joints, I took a glucosamine supplement and omega 3 as well as the mainstream meds. I improved loads which I mostly attribute to the meds but on my follow up scan a year later the erosions had healed.
    I can add I know several dogs with oa who have responded v well to glucosamine without any other meds, since they can't imagine getting better etc I'd say that's a genuinely positive sign.
  • shandy4greenday
    shandy4greenday Member Posts: 344
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    In my early days of arthritis before I was officially diagnosed I also tried Glucosamine and the Bangle,I had used a bangle before for a bad back when I was working in care a few years ago and it was a great help so I thought it would work well.The Glucosamine was recommended to me by an Aunt, after a few days of taking the Glucosamine I began to feel sick so immediately stopped taking them, I later discovered it was due to my Naproxen but I have since not dared to try them again.The bangle I also found to not be effective this time most likely due to the fact I have RA, so for me I have had no effect from any of them .
  • AlanWatson1958
    AlanWatson1958 Member Posts: 15
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My understanding from the scientific studies, is that glucosamine has not been shown to have any beneficial effect. There is a 2010 review of the trials on up until then on patients with OA of the knee/hip in the British Medical Journal available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941572/

    Conclusions Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged

    Alan
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Glucosamine did nothing for me except make my purse lighter. I know that it does help some people as my friends husband was sorry when he could no longer get it on prescription. He has since had a TKR so is good now.

    Presumably the results of trials were not anywhere near good enough for the medical profession to continue dishing them out on the NHS.

    Elna x
  • lizzieuk1
    lizzieuk1 Member Posts: 302
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Just to be cynical it is the pharmaceutical firms that pay for pretty much all the trials appearing in the bmj! There certainly are studies showing a positive effect but it was some time ago I read them so I can't give u the details they're in my copious uni notes somewhere!

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