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Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/22/2006 | Self Improvement
Many arthritis sufferers have tried unusual and rather nasty cures for their disease like enduring bee-stings or covering themselves in cow-manure. The benefits must have been rather less spectacular than the cures or else everyone else would have done the same.

One arthritis cure suggests that half a glass of raw potato juice followed by chewing two or three juniper berries will do the trick! While this may be so, many doctors and scientists researching arthritis have studied the benefits of taking nutritional substances like vitamins. In fact, studies have shown that people with arthritis are mostly deficient in the B group of vitamins, though whether this is due to the disease or to the fact that taking aspirin depletes the bodys stores of this vitamin is not clear.

Vitamin C, E and beta-carotenes are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. These oxygen-reactive free radical molecules are thought to contribute significantly to disease and tissue damage. It has been found that cells from damaged knee cartilage can release great amounts of free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a high Vitamin C intake have a two-thirds reduction in the risk of further damage to their knees. Well-known scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends 18 grams of V-C per day as an arthritis preventative measure.

Osteoarthritis can cause thinning of the bones, and so can prednisone, often given to treat it. It makes sense then to increase the amount of Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are bone-builders. As far back as 1974, British scientists found that lack of vitamin D contributed to bone fractures in the elderly with arthritis. Lack of sunlight and an unhealthy diet both contributed to the lack. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 400 IU or 600 IU if for those over the age of 60. A daily dose of 1200 IU is the limit as this vitamin is toxic if too much is taken.

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant; working in a similar way to vitamin C. Studies in Germany have proven that it can help to reduce pain. Good sources of this vitamin can be found in wheat germ, sunflower seed, corn oil, legumes and whole grains.

While some people swear by the arthritis cure that their copper bracelet brought, there is no scientific link to copper as being an aid to arthritis. In fact the opposite is true. Those with RA often have higher levels of copper in their blood. Too much copper can make you sick.

Selenium deficiency can cause a particular type of arthritis called Kashin-Bek disease, but it is more common where the soil is deficient in selenium, though sufferers of RA have less in their blood than others. Fish, organ meats, whole grains, nuts and beans will provide selenium.

Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling. Some trials showed this was true, though others gave conflicting results. Oysters, cheese and tofu are all good sources of zinc.

The pain of arthritis can also be relieved by hot-packs, deliberately focusing on something else like pleasant music, humor, gentle exercise and losing weight.