This article is based on the information in a webinar presented by Jo Clarke, a Naturopath at Blackmores. The views in this article may not be those held by Arthritis New Zealand.

First of all, it might be useful to know what naturopathy is. Naturopaths look at signs and symptoms or ailments, which can help determine underlying imbalances in the body. If they know what type of arthritis you have, it will help them determine what might be happening in the body and help with naturopathic recommendations.

What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)?

  • Complementary medicine – natural therapies and products used in addition to conventional medicine.
  • Alternative medicine – natural therapies and products not traditionally used in conventional medicine.

CAM can include nutrition, osteopathy, massage, chiropractor, aromatherapy, naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal medicine, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

Recommendations for people with osteoarthritis (OA)

It is important to see your health professional so they can ensure no interactions with your medications and that any of the following recommendations are right for you: glucosamine (1,500 mg per day) and chondroitin (800-1,200 mg per day), fish oils (2.7g omega 3 per day), turmeric (curcumin 80mg or Longvida® 400 mg) twice a day, Vitamin D, exercise and weight loss (if needed), and a healthy Mediterranean diet may all be helpful to people with OA.

Glucosamine helps to stop the degeneration of cartilage, and it is recommended that it is taken for at least three months. Chondroitin helps to moisturise the joint and get nutrients to the joint. Glucosamine and chondroitin work well together. Glucosamine can be taken by itself, and there is a vegetarian option available if sensitive to shellfish.

Fish oils are an essential source of omega 3 fatty acids and help reduce inflammation in the body. The curcumin found in turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb. To help the body absorb the curcumin, scientists designed Longvida, a formula that enhances curcumin absorption.

Vitamin D can be low in people with OA. It is needed for bone health, immune system regulation and to support good mood. The dose depends on the level of deficiency.

The need for weight management in people with OA stems from the fact that most people with OA have it in the weight-bearing joints, like knees and hips. Carrying less weight can help ease pain levels.

Recommendations for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Some risk factors of developing RA include leaky gut syndrome, a history of poor nutrition, a diet that’s high in red meat, and even food sensitivities such as gluten and dairy can be risk factors for developing RA.

Naturopathy recommendations for people with RA include fish oils (2.7 g per day of omega 3) to help with inflammation. There is an option to take in a triple strength formula to reduce the number of capsules needed per day to get this dose. Curcumin can be offered to reduce inflammation (80mg or Longvida® 400 mg twice a day). Selenium (50-75 mcg per day) and Vitamin E are good antioxidants, and increasing fruit and vegetable intake is an excellent idea. Having a smoothie or raw juice in the morning can help the liver and kidneys manage the toxic loads from other medications.

It is important to be cautious with the nightshade family, which include peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and white potatoes. If your pain increases when you eat these foods, then it might be worth avoiding them.

You can support your digestive system by having one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in warm water in the morning. Among other benefits, apple cider vinegar helps clean out the system and prevent constipation.

Avoid processed foods, increase wholefoods.

Recommendations for people with gout arthritis

Increase your vegetable intake. Take celery seed (3-6 g per day) to reduce uric acid levels and eliminate toxins. It is a diuretic, so it helps the kidneys and to decrease fluid retention. Fish oil (2.7 g per day) gives you the omega 3 without the purines you get from eating seafood. Curcumin helps reduce inflammation, while an antioxidant formula with bilberries and grapeseed reduces the oxidation that can occur with this condition.

Increase water and herbal tea to two litres per day to flush out the kidneys. Eat plenty of cherries or berries (250 g per day) to help reduce uric acid. Take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in warm water in the morning. Avoid excessive salicylate intake – alcohol, especially beer, soft drinks, and most processed foods.

Please note that the guidelines in this article are those of a Blackmores Naturopath and are for general information only. It is essential to see your health professional or an integrated practitioner so they can assess your case and ensure no interactions with your medications.

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