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Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Are There Safe Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis? continued...

Keep in mind that even natural supplements can interact with other medications. Be sure your doctor is aware of all drugs and supplements you are taking.

Supplements for RA that have the best medical research to back them up include:

Borage. Some studies show that borage seed oil, along with anti-inflammatory painkillers, can reduce RA symptoms. These findings show reduced tender and swollen joints of RA after six weeks. Borage seed oil appears to be safe, but may cause soft stools, diarrhea, and bloating. Borage seeds and other plant parts, such as the leaf or flower, may contain substances that are potentially harmful to the liver. Borage seed oil does not contain these harmful substances. 

Fish oil. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Several studies have shown that fish oil supplements may help reduce morning stiffness with RA. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help protect against heart disease. People with RA are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Fish oil appears to be safe when used appropriately. Doses greater than 3 grams per day may increase the chance of bleeding.

Thunder god vine. A few studies have shown a decrease in pain and tender joints in people with RA taking this supplement. A large government-funded study is under way comparing thunder god vine with traditional medicine for rheumatoid arthritis. Thunder god vine appears to be safe. However, pregnant women should not take this supplement, as it may cause birth defects.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 01, 2012
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