Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board
Arthritis natural remedy treatments are becoming increasing popular. The Arthritis Foundation reports that approximately two thirds of arthritis sufferers have tried alternative home remedies for arthritis.
Here, we will look at which ones are most effective and how to use them safely.
When opting for natural remedies for arthritis, people are generally looking for help relieving pain, stiffness, depression, anxiety, stress and poor sleep that often accompany arthritis.
Some natural arthritis remedies can work really well and more research is being done to look into their effectiveness. However, many more don’t work or haven’t been studied enough. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else.
Arthritis is unpredictable and arthritis symptoms can vary massively from day to day which can make it hard to evaluate the effect of treatments. There are three main options when looking at arthritis natural remedy are:
Here, we will look at some of the most popular natural arthritis relief options, starting with supplements and what evidence there is behind them. We will also look at the safety issues associated with using a natural arthritis remedy.
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Supplements are one of the most popular types of arthritis natural remedy. They are commonly available now from supermarkets, health shops and online.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are thought to reduce inflammation and
are one of the most commonly used arthritis natural remedy.
Several studies have shown a decrease in pain and fatigue for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) sufferers, which returned when the supplements were stopped. Other studies have shown a reduction in the morning stiffness associated with RA*.
However, conclusive evidence is lacking, and benefits tend to be short lived. Possible side effects include prolonged bleeding and an increased risk of stroke so always talk to your doctor before taking them. Some fish oil supplements contain high levels of mercury or vitamin A which can be toxic so always check before you buy.
A good alternative is to eat more foods rich in omega-3 such as oily fish, broccoli, flaxseed (ground or oil), wheat germ, tofu, soy milk, Chinese greens, legumes, beans and walnuts. LEARN MORE >
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Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance found in joints and connective tissue. Its main functions are to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility and it claims to slow the deterioration of cartilage*.
There are two different types of glucosamine supplements you can take as an arthritis natural remedy, glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine sulfate tends to have better results when taking 1,500mg daily. LEARN MORE >
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Chondroitin claims to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint function and slow the progression of arthritis. It can take about a month to notice the effects from taking this natural arthritis relief supplement. A review of over a dozen studies showed significant improvement in pain and function*.
Another good thing about chondroitin is that there aren’t really any major side effects so it may be worth trying this arthritis natural remedy. LEARN MORE >
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Combining glucosamine and chondroitin may be more effective than taking them in isolation, and can reduce pain more than taking painkillers. It has therefore become an extremely popular arthritis natural remedy.
A large study was carried out by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) looking at the effect of Glucosamine and chondroitin taken in isolation or together compared to an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) or placebo pill, tracking results over 2 years. They looked at the effects on pain levels, and progression of the disease.
The study of 1,583 people with knee osteoarthritis showed that the combined supplements were more effective than when taken in isolation, however in people suffering from mild-moderate pain, they were not statistically better than placebo or the NSAID celecoxib (Celebrex). However, people who reported moderate to severe pain did show significant benefit, even more than with the NSAID. The results showed that there was no difference in the structural damage between the groups*. LEARN MORE >
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SAM-e (S-Adenosyl-L-methionine), sometimes known as Ademetionine is another popular arthritis natural remedy. SAM-e is a natural chemical found in the body that supposedly increases blood levels of proteoglycans—molecules that seem to play a key role in preserving cartilage by helping to keep it “plumped up” and well oxygenated”*.
Over the last two decades, multiple clinical trials involving thousands of people have shown that SAM-e is comparable to NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories) in terms of the effect on pain relief and inflammation in osteoarthritis sufferers, but with fewer side effects*. LEARN MORE >
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Any arthritis nautral remedy that does provide relief tends to work to reduce symptoms, rather than stopping the progression of the disease. Many alternative therapies, whilst having little research behind them, also have very few side effects, so whilst the scientific evidence may not be there, they may be worth a try.
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Usually there is no harm in trying natural arthritis relief, but this is not always the case – don’t just assume that because they are “natural” there won’t be side effects.
You should never turn down proven conventional therapy in favor of natural arthritis remedies.
Always check with your doctor before taking any arthritis natural remedy, be it supplements or herbs, especially if you are on any medication. Herbal supplements can have strong side effects and they could have unknown and potentially dangerous interactions with medication.
Here we have concentrated on supplements as an arthritis natural remedy to reduce arthritic symptoms. Other natural arthritis remedies include
If you would like to find out about more conventional treatments, visit the Knee Arthritis Treatment section.
You can also check out our book Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control. It is the top rated book on Knee Arthritis on Amazon with an average user review rating of 4.4/5. It's packed full of great information from exercises to knee replacements and everything in between. A perfect guide for anyone who is having a knee joint replacement
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Page Last Updated: 11/01/23
Next Review Due: 11/01/25
January 8, 2023
Top 15 Treatments
November 10, 2022
January 11, 2023
1. WebMD: Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. Arthritis Today: Glucosamine
3. Arthritis Today: Chondroitin Sulfate
4. NIH: GAIT Trial
5. NIH: SAMe
6. Arthritis Today: SAMe