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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, if not treated.

Traditional treatments to reduce joint swelling include:

  • medication
  • physical therapy
  • surgery

But what about alternative treatments such as drinking cherry or mangosteen juice?

Keep reading to discover the latest research on alternative therapies to relieve RA pain.

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Research uncertainties

Research uncertainties

Some research suggests that certain types of juice may 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

Promising, but not definite

Mangosteen is often promoted to improve joint flexibility and immune system function. The Mayo Clinic reports that research on drinking mangosteen juice to soothe arthritis pain and swelling is encouraging, though not definitive. The FDA has not approved mangosteen juice as safe or effective.

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Cherries

Cherry picking?

Researchers have studied cherries for their possible anti-inflammatory properties. The research has focused mostly on osteoarthritis (OA), rather than RA.

In a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage, cherry juice was found to help knee pain in patients with OA. Researchers noted that these results weren’t “significantly greater” than those seen with patients taking placebo.

Helping with OA

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 ages 40 to 70 who drank cherry juice had a statistically significant decrease in pain and inflammation than those who received a placebo.

Researchers emphasize the importance of evaluating alternative treatments such as cherry juice in managing arthritis.

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The jury is out

The jury is out

There’s not enough conclusive evidence to advise drinking cherry juice as a treatment for arthritis pain.

Cherry juice does appear to be beneficial in easing certain symptoms, such as stiffness. This is particularly true for OA.

According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), studies have also found that cherry juice may help control flares of gout, a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis.

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Apple cider vinegar

What about apple cider vinegar?

Some proponents of juicing to relieve arthritis pain recommend apple cider vinegar. The AF warns that this suggestion is scientifically unfounded, as apple cider vinegar doesn’t contain enough beta carotene to ease RA. Beta carotene converts into vitamin A in the body, and it is thought to help reduce pain and other symptoms.

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Takeaway

The skinny on juice

Some research suggests that certain types of juice reduce arthritis pain. Many of these studies are inconclusive or haven’t been conducted on people with RA, and the claim that juicing contains pain-reducing properties has not been proven. It’s best to ask your doctor if you want to explore alternative treatments for RA.

Johns Hopkins Medicine does encourage people who are living with RA to include fruit in their diet. Fruits contain important vitamins and minerals that promote overall health.

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