Juicing to Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: Does It Work?
Juice the Pain Away?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that causes joint pain and stiffness. It can deform the hands and feet and erode the bones over time.
Traditional treatments to reduce joint swelling include medicine, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery. But what about alternative treatments, like drinking cherry or mangosteen juice?
Click through the slideshow to discover the latest research on alternative therapies to relieve RA pain.
Some research suggests that certain types of juice may help reduce arthritis swelling. Mangosteen is a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia. Researchers have studied it for its effects on inflammation.
A study published in Nutrition Journal found that mangosteen juice reduced inflammation in people who were overweight or obese. But, this study wasn’t conducted on people with RA.
Promising, But Not Definite
Mangosteen is often promoted to improve joint flexibility and immune system function. The Mayo Clinic states that the research on drinking mangosteen juice to soothe arthritis pain and swelling is encouraging.
But, researchers can’t yet draw conclusions on its effects. And the FDA hasn’t deemed mangosteen juice as either safe or effective.
Cherries have been studied for possible anti-inflammatory properties. However, research has focused mostly on osteoarthritis (OA), and not on RA.
In a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage, cherry juice was found to help knee pain in patients with OA. But researchers noted that these results weren’t “significantly greater” than those seen with patients on a placebo.
Helping with OA
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Food Studies reported that tart cherry juice may help reduce inflammation from OA.
The study found that women aged 40 to 70 who drank cherry juice had a statistically significant difference in pain and inflammation than those who received a placebo.
Researchers concluded that the study helps emphasize the importance of evaluating alternative treatments like cherry juice in managing arthritis.
The Jury Is Out
There’s not enough conclusive evidence to advise drinking cherry juice as a cure for arthritis pain.
But, cherry juice appears to be beneficial in easing certain symptoms, such as stiffness. This is particularly true for OA.
Studies have also found that cherry juice may help control flares of gout, a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis.
What About Apple Cider Vinegar?
Some proponents of juicing to relieve arthritis pain recommend apple cider vinegar. But, the Arthritis Foundation (AF) warns that this suggestion is scientifically unfounded. Apple cider vinegar doesn’t contain enough beta-carotene, the vitamin that may reduce pain and other symptoms, to affect RA.
The Skinny on Juice
Some research suggests that certain types of juice may help reduce arthritis pain. But many studies are inconclusive or haven’t been conducted on patients with RA. It’s best to ask your doctor if want to explore alternative treatments for RA.
Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages RA patients to include fruits in their diet. Fruits contain important vitamins and minerals that promote overall health. Beyond that, the claim that juicing contains pain-reducing properties has not been proven medically.
- Mangosteen juice: Can it relieve arthritis pain? (2011, October 7). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mangosteen/AN01197.
- Rheumatoid arthritis definition. (2013, July 27). Definition. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 28, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020.
- Benefits of cherries. (n.d.). Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/arthritis-diet/cherries.php.
- Inflammation foods: Foods for arthritis. (n.d.). Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/arthritis-diet/food-myths-arthritis-2.php.
- Mangosteen juice. (2008, November 01). American Cancer Society. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/pharmacologicalandbiologicaltreatment/mangosteen-juice.
- Arthritis on alternative remedies for arthritis pain. (2008, February 18). Johns Hopkins Health Alerts. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/arthritis/JohnsHopkinsArthritisHealthAlert_1872-1.html.
- Keuhl, Kerry S., Elliot, Diane L., Sleigh, Adriana E., Smith, Jennifer L. (2012, December 01). Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA) Journal of Food Studies, 1 (1). Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.macrothink.org/journal/index.php/jfs/article/view/1927/1790.
- Udani, Jay K. (2009, October 20). Evaluation of mangosteen juice blend on biomarkers of inflammation in obese subjects: a pilot, dose finding study. Nutrition Journal, 8 (48). Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://www.nutritionj.com/content/8/1/48.
- Schumacher, HR., Pullman-Mooar, S., Gupta, SR, Dinella, JE, Kim, R., McHugh, MP. (2013, August). Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 21 (8): 1035-1041. Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23727631.
- Gout. (2012, September). American College of Rheumatology. Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/gout.asp.