better than placebos in reducing osteoarthritis pain. Take: 400–1,200 mg daily.
VITAMIN B3. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, William Kaufman, MD, reported that more than 600 of his patients with osteoarthritis benefited from taking the niacinamide (nonflushing) form of vitamin B3. Dosages ranged from 900–4,000 mg daily, depending on the severity of the patients’ osteoarthritis; benefits became noticeable after three to four weeks. Take: 1,000 mg daily; slowly increase the amount to 4,000 mg daily if needed.
VITAMIN C. This essential nutrient is needed for the body to make collagen and cartilage, so some glucosamine and chondroitin supplements contain it. In a U.S. Navy study, such a combination (along with manganese) led to less osteoarthritic pain. Meanwhile, Danish researchers found that taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for two weeks led to less osteoarthritic pain of the hip and knees. In some instances, a severe lack of vitamin C can lead to arthritic-like joints. The disease is not a true form of arthritis but is instead related to blood seeping from weak blood In contrast to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune cells attack joints and surrounding tissues. It causes pain and, over many years, joints may become stiff and deformed. People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have low levels of vitamin D, so supplements of this nutrient may help. Considerable research points to the benefits of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which the body can convert to anti-inflammatory prostaglandin E3. Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, found that 1.4 to 2.8 grams daily of GLA significantly reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Adding up to 5,500 mg of fish oil might increase the benefits. vessels into the joints. mg daily.
PYCNOGENOL. This extract of French maritime pine bark contains more than 40 antioxidants. Researchers gave either 150 mg of Pycnogenol or placebos daily for three months to 100 people with osteoarthritis. People taking Pycnogenol were able to walk longer distances and had less foot edema compared with those taking placebos. In a separate study of 156 people, 100 mg of Pycnogenol daily also led to improvements. Take: 150 mg or more daily.
ASU. The acronym is for the awkward “avocado/soybean unsaponifiables” name, which refers to anti-inflammatory oils extracted from those foods. Several human studies have found that ASU benefits people with osteoarthritis. Take: 300 mg daily.
Jack Challem, aka “The Nutrition Reporter,” is the best-selling author of more than 20 books on health and nutrition, including The Inflammation Syndrome and Feed Your Genes Right. He is also a fine-art photographer. Visit him on the Web at nutritionreporter.com and jackchallem.com/photography.