The medical fraternity is still debating about the effect of diet on arthritis and how controlling diet can be used to alleviate the condition.  For a long while now, it has been clear that diet plays a direct role in the case of gout.  However, no clear conclusion has been drawn regarding the connection between diet and other forms of arthritis such as OA and RA.

In any case, eating healthy is important and does have a definite part to play in managing the condition.  For instance, having extra weight can force additional stress on joints leading to overuse or wear and tear and pain as in the case of OA.  Getting health providers to create a well-balanced diet plan, and ensuring arthritis sufferers follow it goes a long way in managing arthritis.

Let’s take a look at some vitamins, minerals, nutrients and herbal applications and see how they work.


Vitamin Bs– This group of vitamins work towards reducing swelling.  They perform at their peak when grouped together and consumed.  

-  Vitamin B5 is specifically effective at reducing swelling. 

-    Vitamin B3 is effective in reducing swelling in the tissues by dilating
    small arteries and increasing the flow of blood.  Please note that
    Vitamin B3 is NOT advised for those suffering from high blood
    pressure, liver disorders or gout.

-     Vitamin B6, also effective in reducing swelling in the tissues.

-   Vitamin B12 is multi-functional.  Helps with digestion, production of
     myelin, cell formation and protection of nerves.  

-   Vitamin C operates as an anti-inflammatory, relieves pain and rids
     the body of free radicals.

-   Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant, increases flexibility of the joints
    and protects them from free radicals.

-   Vitamin K assists with mineral deposits into the bone matrix.


Boron – a trace mineral that assists in maintaining bone health.

Calcium – a vital mineral for maintaining healthy bones.

Magnesium – the mineral that maintains the right balance between calcium and the rest of the system.
Zinc – is required for bone growth, but is often found to be lacking in arthritic patients.

Manganese – also required for bone growth. However, it is not advised to take manganese along with calcium as they work against each other.

Copper – works to strengthen connective tissue.

Germanium – an antioxidant that helps with pain relief.

Sulfur – works to avoid deterioration of ligaments, cartilage, collagen and tendons.


Chondroitin Sulfate – provides lubrication in joints, joint fluid and connective tissue and can be found in the sea cucumber.

Gelatin – a cheap source that helps replenish raw cartilage. 

Glucosamine Sulfate – For tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, and synovial (joint) fluid formation, this combo is necessary.

Quercetin – helps reduce inflammation.

Type II Collagen – Used for repair and growth of joints, articular cartilage and connective tissue.


Many factors come into play when dealing with arthritic diets and nutritional care. These must be carefully considered as each individual has his or her specific requirements. Generalizations are not advisable. For example, allergies to specific foods can worsen arthritic conditions in people who are allergic to those foods.  RA can be worsened by consuming foods that contain sodium nitrate or tartrazine while consumption of food containing a substance called hydrazine can contribute to systemic lupus erythematosus. Eating black walnuts can cause a flare-up in those suffering from a rare form of Arthritis known as Behcet's Disease.

As you can see, there is quite a variety of arthritic conditions and different foods can act as triggers to the condition. It is always advisable to examine each arthritic condition and cater specifically to it in terms of diet and nutritional healing.

As there are more than 100 forms of arthritis, and as it would be impossible to address all of them in this piece of work, we shall concentrate our energies on the most common forms i.e. OA, RA, and Fibromyalgia and study their relationship with diet.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – A number of those suffering from RA seem to have an abnormally low level of zinc in their blood.  From independent studies conducted on RA patients, it was observed that giving an increased dosage of zinc to such patients showed a marginal improvement in their condition.  Yet, there were not extensive enough tests conducted to come to a definite conclusion on this finding.

Copper is another substance that has been studied for some time now with regard to RA.  Results have been varied but there seems to be some case to encourage use of copper to aid in improving the plight of RA sufferers.  Copper therapy has been dismissed by most of the medical profession as not effective enough.  However, it is suggested that it may make some difference for some individuals if imbibed vide food sources and that one should eat copper-rich foods rather than opt for copper supplements. Why? Because copper supplements can have side effects like nausea, vomiting, change in sense of smell and taste, appetite loss, formation of abnormal blood clots, anemia, kidney problems and increased pain in the joints.  Copper can also cause cirrhosis of the liver in those suffering from Wilson’s disease so it is imperative to take medical advice on whether one is prone to storing excessive copper in the body before embarking on such a course.

If the doctor gives the go-ahead, there is an extensive array of foods one can eat to increase copper intake – lamb, pork, pheasant, quail, duck, goose, organ meats like liver, kidney, brain, heart; shellfish like oysters, shrimp, lobster, scallops, clams, crabs; squid, salmon, ,meat gelatin, soy protein meat substitutes, tofu, soy milk, nuts and seeds, chocolate milk, cocoa etc.

Naturopaths and many nutritionists suggest avoiding dairy products altogether for those suffering from RA, as they believe these products promote RA flare-ups.
The amount of vitamins and minerals taken should always be under the recommendation of your medical practitioner.   There is the very real risk of overdosing which can lead to a worsening of the condition and in some cases (vitamins), high concentrations can prove dangerous.  It is always better to increase vitamin or mineral rich intake by eating foods that are rich in those substances.

Osteoarthritis (OA) – Food supplements Glucosamine and chondroitin have been found to have some level of success in relieving stiffness and pain for some OA sufferers.  These supplements are available in health food stores and pharmacies easily enough.  OA patients taking blood thinners should be careful about chondroitin as it can increase thinning of the blood, leading to excessive bleeding.

While the dose of the active ingredients or the purity of the products cannot be verified as they are not monitored by the FDA, the good news is that the National Institute of Health is studying the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin and hopefully, in the near future, there will be a better understanding of these with regard to their efficacy in aiding OA patients.

Fish oil supplements have been observed to contain some anti-inflammatory properties.  Increasing fish intake or fish oil capsules (omega 3 capsules) can sometimes, reduce inflammation brought on by arthritis.  But remember, always consult the doctor first.

In OA patients, there is cause for concern regarding deterioration of cartilage.  Large doses of Vitamin A should be avoided by OA sufferers as there is some evidence that it can contribute to deterioration of cartilage.        

Fibromyalgia – According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of The Total Health Program, 9 out of every 10 fibromyalgia patients are female and of those who followed recommended dietary rules, 76% experienced significant reduction in pain.

While there is not a lot of clinical proof, many patients have had the personal experience of relief from this condition on account of following certain dietary practices.  Elimination of wheat, dairy products, citrus, sugar, Aspartame, alcohol, tobacco and caffeine from the diet seems to have been universally successful among all those who tried to use dietary methods to treat the disease.         

Fibromyalgia, unlike other common forms of arthritis, can be reversed as it is less of a disease and more of a syndrome. Reducing stress, getting plenty of rest and making the necessary changes in diet can lead to a full recovery.

Hope this article provide you information of arthritic diets and nutritional healing.



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