Vitamin D and Minerals That Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
Eating for RA
Can vitamins and minerals help ease the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), what you eat when you have arthritis is important.
In fact, diet plays a role in any chronic condition. Poor diet may trigger inflammation. Failing to get proper nutrition, including vitamins and minerals, may worsen symptoms for people with arthritis.
Click through the slideshow to learn more about the vitamins and minerals that may help with RA.
A Healthy Dose of D
Everyone needs vitamin D. It helps your bones grow properly and stay strong. Vitamin D also helps your body take in the right amount of calcium.
But it may be even more important for people with RA to get enough vitamin D. That’s because some RA medications can cause deficiencies in patients.
Why RA Patients Need Vitamin D
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that those who take oral steroids for RA have a heightened risk for vitamin D deficiency. In fact, those who take corticosteroids are two times more likely to be short on this crucial vitamin.
Without enough vitamin D, your bones can become soft and brittle. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that vitamin D3 helped prevent bone loss in RA patients who take steroids.
How to Get More D
If you have RA, get your vitamin D levels checked often. This is especially important if you take oral steroids for your condition.
To increase the amount of vitamin D in your diet, the Arthritis Foundation recommends getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight every other day. This can help your body produce enough vitamin D naturally.
Find Fortified Foods
Another way to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin D is to eat certain types of fish, like salmon or mackerel. However, few foods contain vitamin D naturally.
Eating foods that are fortified with vitamin D can help ensure that you get enough of the vitamin. Milk, cheese, and breakfast cereal are foods that are commonly fortified with vitamin D.
Other Helpful Vitamins
Vitamin D isn’t the only important vitamin for RA patients. The UMMC lists vitamin E as a dietary supplement that may help reduce joint pain.
An article published in Nutrition Reviews notes that research has shown RA patients who take vitamin E may experience less pain.
However, UMMC adds that research has been less clear on whether or not vitamin E reduces inflammation from RA.
Compounds for RA: Maybe or Must?
These two compounds may be helpful in relieving joint pain from RA:
Folic acid. (Vitamin B9) If you take an RA treatment called methotrexate (MTX), you may need to take extra folic acid. This is because MTX affects how well your body can absorb folic acid.
Bromelain. The UMMC recommends taking between 500 mg and 2,000 mg of bromelain three times a day to help manage RA pain.
Don’t Decide Alone
Certain vitamins and minerals might cause harmful interactions with RA medicines when they’re taken as supplements. Always check with your doctor before adding any new vitamin or mineral supplements to your diet.
A healthy diet alone can’t make your RA go away. But striking the right balance of nutritious foods and vitamins and minerals may help decrease common symptoms of this painful condition.
- Vitamin D deficiency. (n.d.). Arthritis Today. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d-deficiency.php.
- Calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation prevents bone loss in the spine secondary to low-dose corticosteroids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. (1996, December 15). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8967706.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. (2012, Jan. 15). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. (2013, July 27). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=symptoms.
- Oral corticosteroids can lead to vitamin D deficiency. (2011, Oct. 17). Arthritis Today. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/news/corticosteroids-vitamin-d-deficiency160.php.
- Vitamin D: Health professional fact sheet. (2011, June 24). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.
- Oral steroids linked to severe vitamin D deficiency in nationwide study. (2011, September 29). Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.einstein.yu.edu/news/releases/715/oral-steroids-linked-to-severe-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-nationwide-study/.
- Vitamin D: Why we need it, how to get it (n.d.). Arthritis Today. Retrieved December 31, 2013, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d-deficiency-2.php.