Arthritis is a painful condition that effects more than 54 million Americans. There is no cure for arthritis – but promising new research offers hope that there can be.

Hope on the horizon

Though making these lifestyle adjustments have been shown to curtail the symptoms of arthritis, they are not cures. While there are medications available with a prescription from a doctor, they work to manage symptoms. There are currently no known cures for arthritis.

However, a study released in July of 2020 offered hope for the future. Researchers at the University of Glasgow believe they’ve identified a specific cell that seems to play an important role in the outcomes of arthritis patients. More specifically, this mysterious cell appears to function differently in patients with active arthritis compared to patients with arthritis in remission.

The team’s findings could be a critical turning point in the development of arthritis treatments, particularly for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which is triggered by a patient’s immune system.

“This new study is remarkable in showing us how natural resolution of inflammation occurs,” noted Professor Iain B McInnes, Director of the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow. “This gives us new clues as to how we can best design new treatments to achieve remission – our long-standing goal.”

While researchers dig more into these promising results, here are some arthritis remedies that can help in the meantime.

Turmeric

Good news: Some relief to the symptoms of arthritis might already be in your spice cabinet.

Turmeric’s healing properties have been championed in medicinal practices for thousands of years. For good reason: Numerous studies published by the National Institute of Health and other scientific research institutes suggested that arthritis patients who consumed turmeric daily for the duration of the trial (generally, 90 days) reported less morning muscle stiffness and improvement joint mobility.

Scientists believe this is due to a naturally occurring chemical compound found in turmeric called curcumin. Curcumin is believed to neutralize free radicals in the body, which have been linked to inflammation. However, curcumin is not easily and readily absorbed into the bloodstream. According to the Arthritis Foundation, pairing curcumin with pepper (notably, black pepper) can significantly improve the absorption rate of curcumin in the body, amplifying its effects.

Best of all, turmeric is widely considered to be safe to ingest – no prescription required.

Exercise – the right way

Yup – exercise is pretty much on every list relating to improving your overall physical wellbeing. That holds true for arthritis symptom alleviation – but with a caveat.

Considering osteoarthritis is the byproduct of wear and tear causing inflammation of the joints (whereas rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an immune system disorder), some high impact exercises can actually worsen arthritis symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, those with arthritis should opt for gentler forms of exercise that offer support for joints such as walking, swimming, yoga, or biking.

Not only does exercise strengthen muscles and improve flexibility – both of which curtail the type of inflammation that trigger and escalate arthritic flare up – it also helps with weight control. Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis because excess weight chronically puts more pressure on the joints, aggravating inflammation.

Add these to your diet

There are several foods with known anti-inflammatory properties, backed by scientific research. Given that arthritis is a condition caused by inflammation, these foods can help fight the symptoms – and sometimes progression – of arthritis.

  • Fish: According to WebMD, numerous studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a 2017 study published by Arthritis Care & Research, the medical journal of the American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, found that rheumatoid arthritis patients who ate fish twice a week experienced measurably less muscle tenderness and swelling compared to those who didn’t. Interestingly, the study also found that the healing benefits increased with higher fish consumption – so no reason to stop at twice a week.
  • Green tea: Green tea is packed with oxidants researchers believe block the production of chemicals naturally produced by the body that aggravate arthritis. Early research cited in an article released by ivy league Penn University suggests that one of the antioxidant compounds found in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, may play a role in preserving the cartilage that gives joints their mobility (the breakdown of which is an underlying cause of osteoarthritis).
  • Garlic: Like green tea, garlic contains a chemical compound that scientists believe block enzymes that damage cartilage around joints. A 2010 study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information reported that garlic not only had a protective effect on joint cartilage, but also called for further research into garlic as a possible dietary intervention for early stage hip osteoarthritis.

But cut these from your diet

Just as some food have properties that can reduce inflammation, other foods do just the opposite. That list contains some of the usual suspects on the medical community’s list of frowned-upon foods, including:

  • Foods high in salt and preservatives: That includes chips and many pre-made frozen meals.
  • Foods high in trans fats: That pretty much means fried anything.
  • Refined carbohydrates: When it comes to carbohydrates, ‘refined’ is a of bit a misleading word. It usually means higher quality, or stripped of impurities. But in the case of carbohydrates, it means quite the opposite – stripped of anything good. Instead, all that’s left once all the nutrition is removed is processed grains and sugars – both of which can spike inflammation and escalate arthritis symptoms. That bucket includes white bread, pasta, and most baked desserts.

Hope on the horizon

Though making these lifestyle adjustments have been shown to curtail the symptoms of arthritis, they are not cures. While there are medications available with a prescription from a doctor, they work to manage symptoms. There are currently no known cures for arthritis.

However, a study released in July of 2020 offered hope for the future. Researchers at the University of Glasgow believe they’ve identified a specific cell that seems to play an important role in the outcomes of arthritis patients. More specifically, this mysterious cell appears to function differently in patients with active arthritis compared to patients with arthritis in remission.

The team’s findings could be a critical turning point in the development of arthritis treatments, particularly for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which is triggered by a patient’s immune system.

“This new study is remarkable in showing us how natural resolution of inflammation occurs,” noted Professor Iain B McInnes, Director of the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow. “This gives us new clues as to how we can best design new treatments to achieve remission – our long-standing goal.”