Are you sick of the side effects of pain killers you take? do you have inflammation? (we all do to some extent!)
NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Voltaren, Naproxen etc) can cause stomach aches, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, increased blood pressure etc.
NSAIDS can cause kidney failure when they are combined with ACE inhibitors (medicines used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure).
Paracetamol (panadol) can cause liver damage if used inappropriately. Aspirin can have adverse consequences like inducing stomach bleeding.
Fortunately Naturopathic medicines offer effective low risk options to help both with pain relief as well as treating underlying causes of the inflammation. All chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancers, dementias, gut issues etc all have some degree of associated excess inflammation.
Both osteo arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are inflammatory diseases and there are a number of supplements and naturopathic remedies that can help you improve your quality of life.
(As all medications interact with each other and with your body, get expert advice from your friendly Naturopath – but these are possibilities to consider)
Boswellia serrata and Turmeric
The gum resin from the herb Boswellia serrata has demonstrable anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic and analgesic properties and a long history of use in the treatment of osteoarthritis .
It can be particularly useful when combined with curcumin supplements (extracts of tumeric). Turmeric is so useful some say we should add it to the water supply – a bit too bright yellow for me!!
Omega 3, Fish oil and Flaxseed oil
Fish oil is effective for the reduction in the pain associated with inflammatory arthritis conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis, and can help with pain control for osteoarthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Studies indicate that when taken in the long term, omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to reduce the requirement for mainstream pharmaceutical painkillers such as paracetamol (NSAID).
Separate studies show that fish oil supplementation for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has demonstrated a reduction in specific measurements such as the C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) associated with inflammation. Symptoms such as morning stiffness, pain, and the reliance on NSAIDs are also reduced.
How much is useful?
Reducing joint inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may require 2.7grams of omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) daily.
It should be noted that 1000 mg fish oil capsules will usually only contain between 300 mg and 400 mg of omega 3 fats (EPA + DHA). Always check the label first but if this is the case the dose usually requires approximately either:
- 9 to 14 standard 1000mg fish oil capsules or five to seven capsules of a fish oil concentrate per day, or
- 15ml of bottled fish oil or five to seven mL of concentrated bottled fish oil per day.
Flaxseed oil at 3grams per day in a recent trial showed better results than Fish oils for RA (see below reference).
Osteoarthritis patients can benefit from 0.45grams of omega-3 fats daily to reduce pain.
The dose of herbal medicines depends on the way the herb has been extracted, it’s quality and your unique requirements.
It’s important to remember that supplements provide your system with additional nutrients – they take time to do their work. So you can expect them to generate symptom improvements in weeks rather than days.
Complementary medicine can improve your quality of life
The right supplements for your body, your medication regime and your challenges can make a big difference to your experience – so get expert advice from your naturopath.
Science, not hearsay
Herbal and naturopathic treatments have been proven through centuries of development. Today there’s research-based evidence confirming their efficacy with refined specifics on what helps and how much – so here are some useful references for you to check out:
Fish Oils article from Arthritis Australia, available from: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/managing-arthritis/living-with-arthritis/complementary-treatments-and-therapies/fish-oils/
Flax seed and fish oils research 2022 by Amjad et al https://doi.org/10.47391/JPMA.02-290
Remember that the quality and dosage of supplements is crucial to their effectiveness. You as an individual have unique requirements based on many factors. Naturopaths are specifically trained to help determine the most appropriate regime for you.