There are over 10 million people in the UK with arthritis, according to the NHS. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis. The condition causes pain, inflammation and stiffness of joints such as the hands, feet, knees and hips. There is no cure for arthritis, but symptoms can be improved by taking anti-inflammatory medicines or supplements. Here are five of the best supplements to reduce arthritis pain, as recommended by the Arthritis Foundation:
The omega-3 found in fish oil blocks certain inflammatory compunds and is converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals, called resolvins.
A 2010 meta-analysis found fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which can reduce pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, a clinical trial using a turmeric supplement in 2010 showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
A small study in 2012 using a curcumin product also showed more reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, when compared to diclofenac sodium.
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors.
In a 2012 study, a specialised ginger extract reduced inflammatory reactions in rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as steroids did.
Earlier studies showed taking a certain extract four times daily reduced osteoarthritis pain in the knee after three months of treatment, and another taken twice daily worked about as well as ibuprofen taken three times daily for hip and knee osteoarthritis pain.
Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumour necrosis factor, which is a target of powerful rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
A small 2002 trial showed cat’s claw reduced joint pain and swelling by more than 50 per cent compared with placebo.
Capsaicin temporarily reduces substance P, a pain transmitter. Its pain-relieving properties have been shown in “many studies”, including a 2010 study revealing a 50 per cent reduction in joint pain after three weeks of use.
“Talk to your doctor before taking a supplement so you understand the potential side effects and interactions with your medication,” said the Arthritis Foundation.