Dietary supplements often get bad press, but there’s no need to fear them – just don’t expect them to work miracles! Speak to your doctor before adding them to your diet, as some supplements may interact with your prescribed medication.
In addition to a well-balanced diet, Arthritis Research UK says it’s worth having a good intake of the following nutrients:
Inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid, may be helped by omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, found naturally in oil-rich fish. Experts recommend two portions a week, but you may want to take a supplement containing 3g each of EPA and DHA, especially if you’re vegetarian (omega-3 oils are found in ground flaxseeds and their oil, rapeseed oil and walnuts, although it’s less available to the body). Promising research at Bristol University has, for the first time, linked omega-3 intake to the slowing or prevention of osteoarthritis, too.
Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin
These supplements are commonly taken for arthritis. Both are found in the body: glucosamine is one of the building blocks for cartilage, while chondroitin is a substance that helps keep cartilage spongy and healthy by drawing in water.
The role of vitamin D in arthritis is still being evaluated, but it’s certainly important for good bone health. We get it from sunlight, but as many people in the UK have a deficiency, make sure you eat plenty of vitamin-D-rich foods, such as eggs and fortified foods, and consider a supplement, especially in winter.