Background

Rheumatoid arthritis is inflammatory and results in hot swollen joints. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints. Infections are likely common triggers for this attack.

Diagnosing

The American College of Rheumatology has defined the following criteria for rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Morning stiffness lasting over 1 hour
  • Arthritis and soft-tissue swelling in over 3 of 14 joints or joint groups
  • Arthritis of hand joints
  • Symmetric arthritis
  • Subcutaneous nodules
  • Rheumatoid factor at a level above the 95th percentile
  • Radiological changes suggestive of joint erosion

At least four of these criteria need to be met for a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, although patients are sometimes treated despite the criteria not being met.

The childhood form of this disease is called "Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis."

Treatment

The treatments discussed in the section on arthritis apply to rheumatoid arthritis as well. In addition to those, add the following:

General Diet Advice

Anti-inflammatory diet

It is worth considering dietary changes. Diet can play a major role in inflammatory arthritis. A recent study tested the role of diet in 60 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 30 patients were given a standard American diet and the other 30 an anti-inflammatory diet low in meat and high in fish oil for eight months, with supplements given to supply high levels of omega 3 fish oils daily. The patients on an anti-inflammatory diet had a 28% decrease in the number of tender joints. In addition, decreasing inflammation by giving borage seed oil (supplying 1.4 g of Gamma Linolenic Acid, or "GLA") decreased the swollen joint score by 41% in the active group vs. a 40% worsening in the placebo group.

Recommended Supplements

Multi-nutrient powder

Many other nutrients, including pantothenic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, boron, copper, zinc, and selenium have been found to be deficient in those with rheumatoid arthritis, and supplementation with these can be helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. These can be found in a good multi-nutrient powder.

Fish oil

Fish oil: 2 Vectomega tablets a day, or 16 fish oil capsules, or 2-3 tsp of fish oil daily.

Willow Bark and Boswellia

Willow Bark and Boswellia 1-2 tabs 3 times a day.

Curcumin

Take Curamin, a highly absorbed Curcumin that contains Boswellia (1 tablet 3x day).

MSM

MSM 3,000+ mg a day.

Medications

Antibiotics

Long term antibiotic therapy with minocycline can be very helpful in rheumatoid arthritis.

Contributor

About Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes. Dr.

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