Arthritis is an umbrella name given to all kinds of joint diseases or joint pains. Arthritis since it is a not a particular disease manifest in about 100 forms affecting people across age, gender and races. This is the major cause of disabilities as it places restriction on the individuals due to the pain it causes. In America alone about 300,000 children and 50 million adults are affected with a form of arthritis or the other. It is more associated with women and the elderly. The symptoms induced on the joints by arthritis include pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and inflammations or swellings. The manifestation of these symptoms could be intermittent, or periodical, they could also be mild or moderate or could progress and become more complicated with severe consequences.
Apart from the symptoms, arthritis could induce some possible changes on the joint some of which are conspicuous like knobby finger joints while others are seen only with the X-ray. There different types of arthritis and they affect the body in a different manners and are managed and treated differently. Some affect the kidneys, lungs, skin, the heart and of course the joints. The different types of the arthritis include the inflammatory arthritis (Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis), infectious arthritis (chronic arthritis caused by pathogenic microorganisms), metabolic arthritis, and degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). The diagnosis of arthritis starts with physical examinations, then blood tests, and image scans to know exactly the type of arthritis. Arthritis keeps thriving and causes pain because of the misconceptions about it.
Therefore, to curtail this disease it is necessary to start with enlightenment, encourage physical activity and healthy eating. Research findings have revealed that people living with arthritic conditions are on diet deficient in certain important vitamins and minerals. Vitamin supplementation in such cases have been proven not only to handle such situations but also to alleviate the effects of contraindications due to the use of certain medications.
Some vitamins which are crucial in handling arthritis include the following:
Low levels of vitamin B6 has been associated with severe inflammatory arthritis and abnormal immune responses. It has been proven that this B vitamin brings about pain relief and reduction in some inflammatory parameters in rheumatoid arthritis .to obtain this results, it is recommended to take 100mg of vitamins B6 in combination with 5mg of folic acid daily for 12 weeks. Dietary sources of vitamin B6 include sea foods, meat, chicken breast, sunflower seeds, bananas, spinach, and fruits excluding citrus fruits.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Vitamin B9 has been proven to have a role it plays in alleviating the pain induced by arthritis. It is very beneficial and equally protective when taken as supplements during treatment with methotrexate. It also relieves the side effects that manifest as gastric disturbance. Aside supplementation, folic acid can be obtained from natural sources such as asparagus, lentils, broccoli, garbanzo beans, black beans, spinach etc.
Known for its ant oxidative properties and also numerous benefits it confers on the body, this vitamin plays equally a huge role in the management of arthritic condition in patients. It maintains the balance of anti-oxidative enzymes in the body thereby increasing the efficiency of medications used in handling osteoarthritis. It is implicated in the reduction of painful sensation in the back and reducing the size of bone wounds. It is also has been proven to be helpful in the prevention of osteoarthritis. It also helps in the prevention of gout by lowering the levels of uric acids which usually leads to the metabolic arthritis. This was proven in research that reveals that taking about 30 oranges per day (1500mg of vitamin C) could reduce the risk of gout by 50%.
Citrus fruits like oranges, grape fruits tangerine, and lemon are excellent source of this vitamin. Also other sources include kiwi fruits, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, strawberries and green vegetables
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant vitamin. Therefore, it prevents the occurrence of some kind of arthritis which is associated by the dangerous oxidation of free radicals which causes imbalance between prooxidants and anti-oxidants. It also lowers the effects of inflammation and aid in the regulation of immune responses. However, when used as supplements studies have proven that it has no effects in the therapy of arthritis in patients. Vitamin E can be found in whole foods like almonds spinach, avocadoes, spinach peanuts, sunflower seeds etc.
Regarding the treatment of arthritis, vitamin B12 has been proven to reduce homocysteine, which is usually high in Rheumatoid arthritis patients. This is a very crucial role as moderate amounts of homocysteine could increase the risk of bone fractures in older adults. It is also important in anemia especially during arthritis. Regardless of these benefits when used as supplements, it has no effects. Individuals can increase the vitaminB12 level in the body by consuming the following foods like salmon, sardines, lamb, milk cheese, and yoghurt.
This has been highly recommended in the treatment of arthritis, as it plays a huge role in the regulation of immune responses in arthritis which is characterized by dangerous auto immune responses. Increased vitamin D levels in the body have been shown to reduce the risk of suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and spondylo arthritis. Also when this vitamin is administered as supplements it reduces the pain and other disease symptoms associated with arthritis. Exposure to sunlight helps to increases the vitamin d levels in the blood.
A form of this vitamin known as trans-retinoic acid is used to cure acne and some cancer. This form has also been indicted by studies in the control and management of rheumatoid arthritis by inducing inflammatory cytokines suppression. Good sources of vitamin are eggs, fortified milk, liver, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Also Known as Thiamine, only a few studies are available to link with management of arthritis even though not directly. The findings suggest that is beneficial in preventing heart failure and prevention of cataract. These are conditions associated with arthritis.
Also called Niacin, it has been proven via research that the use of niacin in a form known as niacin amide replaces non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and improves osteoarthritis as it suppresses inflammation. Another B vitamin, Riboflavin (vitamin B2) ensures the conversion of vitamin B6 and B9 forms that are readily absorbed in the body to ensure proper management of arthritis
Vitamin k destroys inflammatory cells that cause rheumatoid arthritis. It has been shown to reduce fracture risks like hip fractures as well as prevent knee osteoarthritis when in adequate amounts in the body. This vitamin can be obtained in foods like romaine, kale, parsley, fermented soy foods, and spinach.
The role vitamins play in controlling arthritis cannot be undermined. Therefore, it is very important to take whole foods which can supply these vitamins in adequate amounts to ensure quick recovery or maximum protection from arthritis.