Taking supplements of any kind is not an effective way to treat rheumatoid arthritis or any other chronic disease and in fact, can often be quite dangerous. There are very few supplements that are therapeutically beneficial or health promoting and these few exceptions should only be used to prevent or correct deficiencies, or to help improve gut health (for example: probiotics, glutamine and possibly low-dose zinc carnosine for a short period).
Supplements such as minerals, vitamins and protein powders can be quite damaging to health both acutely and chronically. The manufacture of supplements is not regulated or standardised like pharmaceutical drugs (still only a very small plus for pharmaceutical drug safety!) and as such the contents of supplements can vary wildly from one manufacturer to the next (even from batch to batch). Also, supplements are often contaminated with toxins such as heavy metals or aflatoxin.
It’s sometimes the case that supplements contain little or no active ingredients, and are merely made up of fillers and colourings etc. Since it’s hard enough to assess the effect of a supplement in the first place, even if it’s potency and purity are established, the outcome is completely unpredictable if the active ingredients are not as stated and are not consistent. Even worse, sometimes the potency is much higher than the stated level and in these cases the supplement can be extremely dangerous.
Supplements such as protein powders are not recommended in any case because concentrated protein can have a damaging effect on the kidneys, but aside from this, protein powders are sometimes contaminated with heavy metals. Other supplements to be wary of include zinc, large doses of vitamin C, selenium, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin E, iodine, spirulina, folic acid, calcium, and hormone-related supplements – but there are many more.
Another reason for avoiding the majority of supplements (including most (non-whole) herbal remedies, most (non-whole) ‘superfoods’, and anything claiming to be a miracle cure) is that it diverts attention away from dealing with the real causes of rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases, and from making the diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary to bring about remission/cure. Although some will help, no single supplement or drug will effect permanent remission or cure without first removing the causes of the chronic disease in question.
A whole food plant-based diet low in added salt, oil and sugar is the best way to supply all of the nutrients required for optimal health. Under certain circumstances and for specific groups of people, it may be necessary to supplement with specific nutrients such as; omega-3 (EPA DHA), vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and one or two others under very specific circumstances. For example, it can be useful to take a lysine supplement at the onset of a cold sore outbreak (herpes simplex), this can reduce the severity of the outbreak and increase the recovery time.
Apart from the few supplements mentioned above and one or two more that can be helpful under very special circumstances, it’s best to obtain all nutrients from a whole food plant-based diet and then use additional more focused and specific whole foods to supply extra nutrients to help with healing certain conditions and for relieving pain etc. For example, at the onset of a cold it can be very helpful to peel, remove and eat the white part of lemons from just underneath the yellow skin, and also make a nice blended lemon juice from the rest of the whole lemon (remove the seeds first). Another example is using fresh ginger (to make a tea for example) and pineapple to relieve nausea. There are many more examples where supplementing with additional more focused whole foods can assist in relieving and healing many common ailments and also helping in the recovery from chronic diseases.
Please consider moving closer to a whole food plant-based diet to not only help prevent the development of chronic diseases, but aid in healing and reversing existing chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. A whole food plant-based diet and other healthful lifestyle changes are the most important tools in achieving good health and freedom from chronic disease, the majority of individual supplements and so-called ‘superfoods’ will not provide any benefit in your search for good health and many of them can seriously damage your health.
“Lemon, table & vitamins” images (modified) are public domain