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Which Vitamins Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week runs 11th-17th September, and with this chronic autoimmune disease affecting millions of people worldwide, we wanted to share some dietary interventions, including key vitamins that can help to manage symptoms.
 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, which develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue, this leads to chronic inflammation and pain. It tends to have a sudden onset, and disease progression can be rapid, affecting multiple joints at once.
 
While there is no cure for RA, various treatments are used to manage symptoms, including medications, physical therapy, and diet and lifestyle changes. Reducing inflammation is critical when it comes to managing symptoms and this is where adopting an ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet’ can be very helpful. Rather than a specific diet plan, it is a set of dietary principles that emphasise foods with anti-inflammatory properties. These include fruit and veg, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, whole grains, healthy fats, spices, lean protein, and dairy alternatives, and steering clear of foods that can encourage inflammation in the body such as processed foods, sugary drinks, trans fats and excessive alcohol.

5 Vitamins that may help manage symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Vitamins are our focus here at GMV, so with that in mind, here’s our list of essential nutrients that feature within an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ which can help to limit inflammation and encourage healthy joints:
 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and a strong immune system and is arguably the most important nutrient when it comes to managing RA as it works on 2 levels – both to build healthy bones and keep inflammation in check.

Vitamin D helps regulate calcium absorption in the intestines and promotes calcium deposition in bones. Without sufficient vitamin D, the body struggles to maintain an adequate level of calcium in the blood, leading to weakened bones, increased bone turnover, and muscle weakness.
 
While vitamin D is well known for its role in bone health, for RA sufferers connecting the dots between vit D, bone health, and inflammation can be life changing. For those with RA, persistent inflammation is the driving force behind many symptoms. Inflammation can cause bone erosion and joint damage, and joint stiffness can lead to reduced physical activity – essential for maintaining bone density.
 
Ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D may help to reduce the inflammatory response in the body, providing relief from pain symptoms and preserving joint health. Optimising vitamin D levels can slow bone erosion and maintain bone density and strength. Vitamin D also supports muscle strength and function, helping to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
 

Research tells us that people with RA often have lower levels of vitamin D, which may worsen joint pain and inflammation. Therefore, getting enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, dietary sources and supplements is essential.

Food sources: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified foods. Get More Vits have a wide range of vitamin D products to choose from, including our best-selling Mango & Passionfruit drink, now available in two new flavours – Raspberry & Pomegranate and Pineapple & Grapefruit, click here to see the full range.

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which can help to combat ‘oxidative stress’ that encourages inflammation and exacerbates RA symptoms. It also plays a crucial role in collagen formation for joint health.

Food sources: citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, brocolli and peppers. Stock up on our refreshing Sparkling Orange Drink, which contains 200% of your RDA.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that may be helpful for reducing inflammation, it too helps to neutralise ‘free radicals’ and minimise damage to joints and tissues.

Food sources: Nuts, seeds, and spinach

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are a key tool for helping to keep inflammation in check, including plenty of omega 3 rich foods in your diet and supplement regime may help to reduce joint stiffness and pain.

Food sources: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, walnuts.

B Vitamins

B Vitamin Complex which includes B1, B6 and B12 (amongst others) plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health and reducing fatigue in RA patients. Fatigue is a common symptom of RA, and B vitamins can help to support the nervous system and boost energy levels.

Food sources: whole grains, lean meats, and leafy greens are rich in B vitamins. Get More Vits Sparkling Apple & Raspberry in a can is a team favourite for good reason, why not try it for yourself?

 
Vitamins can’t cure rheumatoid arthritis, but they can play a role in managing symptoms and improving overall well-being. For those that suffer with RA, incorporating vitamin-rich foods and supplements into your daily routine can provide relief from symptoms and improve quality of life. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, always speak to your GP before making any changes to your diet, lifestyle or supplement regime.

 

Author

Becky Graham

Lead Nutritionist & Communications - Get More Vits