Help Your Arthritis with Food and Supplements


How much can diet affect arthritis? In some cases, quite a bit. Help prevent or ease it with foods and supplements that curb inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Eat fish. Omega-3 fish oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Recent Danish research shows that people who ate an extra ounce of fatty fish a day, like salmon, cut their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 49%.

Cut meat. In other research, meat promoted inflammation and RA, while vegetables helped deter it, and a vegetarian diet reduced symptoms.

Take fish oil and olive oil. High doses of fish oil, or fish oil and olive oil, cut joint pain, morning stiffness and fatigue, and added handgrip strength, a recent study says. Daily doses: 3,000 mg fish oil (EPA and DHA types) and 2 teaspoons olive oil. See a doctor before taking megadoses of fish oil.


Lose weight. In obese arthritics, a 10% weight loss boosted knee joint function by 28%.

Get antioxidants. The Arthritis Foundation says that antioxidants and vitamins may fight OA, although evidence is mixed. In one study, high intake of vitamin-C-rich foods cut the risk of cartilage loss and progressive knee pain by 70%.

Take supplements. The best bet for relieving moderate to severe knee pain, says a recent National Institutes of Health study: glucosamine-chondroitin. It helped 80% of patients; a placebo helped 54%. Daily dose: 1,500 mg glucosamine hydrochloride and 1,200 mg chondroitin sulfate. Contrary to some reports, it didn’t raise blood glucose, cholesterol or pressure.


Rheumatoid arthritis and fish: — Pedersen M., J. of Rheumatol, 2005 Jul;32(7): 1249-52 –Rheumatoid arthritis and meat: Ê — Grant WB. Br J Nutr 2000 Nov; 84(5): 589-95 Ê –Hailu A. J Nutr Health Aging 2006 Jan-Feb;10(1): 7-14 –Rheumatoid arthritis and vegetarian diet: — Linos A. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6): 1077-82–Rheumatoid arthritis and fish oil and olive oil: — Berbert AA. Nutrition, 2005 Feb; 21(2): 131-6 –Osteoarthritis and weight loss: — Christensen R. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2005 Jan, 13 (1): 20-7–Osteoarthritis and antioxidants: — Arthritis Foundation — McAlindon TE. Arthritis Rheum 1996 Apr; 39(4): 648-56 –Osteoarthritis and Êfish oil: — Curtis CL. Arthritis Rheum 2002 Jun; 46(6): 1544-53 –Osteoarthritis and supplements: — Clegg DO. N Eng J Med 2006 Feb 23;354(8): 795-808.

This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.

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