I’m one of the lucky (sarcasm) people who have both an auto-immune arthritis and IBD diagnosis but having arthritis is not uncommon for people with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. Having some kind of digestive issue is not uncommon for those who have auto-immune arthritis. Both are systemic diseases.
So when you are told that you can no longer take any NSAID’s, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, just what the heck are you supposed to do? They are incredibly hard on the digestive track but feel oh, so great for those aching joints.
Many of us suck it up and switch to acetaminophen even though it doesn’t reduce the inflammation like ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac. Now, the FDA has issued new warnings on the amount of acetaminophen we should be taking, too.
What about supplements? Can they really reduce inflammation? Now I’m not talking about eating five gin soaked golden raisin or cherries a day. We’ve all been told to try something like that at one point or another. I wish it were that simple. Hey, five bourbon cherries might not hurt me. No, I’m talking about supplements like fish oil, glucosamine, curcumin, capcaisin and Sam-E. Can they really be helpful in reducing inflammation?
Some studies say they can and do. The Arthritis Foundation has a whole Supplement Guide listing what the studies say, the recommended amount and those who should avoid certain supplements. You can find it here
The CCFA also discusses supplements and their benefits in this article.
It’s important to remember that supplements need to be treated just like any other medication. Before trying a new supplement you need to discuss it with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure it is safe for you and doesn’t interact with any of your other medications. You need to pay attention and watch for side effects or allergic reactions. It may take a little longer to see the benefit from supplements but they can be for some people safely. Some people, check with your doctor first, of course.
I checked with my doctor and besides my vitamins I have added flax oil and evening primrose oil to my daily routine for the anti-inflammatory benefit. I am allergic to all fish and nuts so I get very little Omegas and can’t take any of the supplements derived from those products. It took me a little bit to see some benefit but I am noticing that my joints are not as stiff and morning stiffness doesn’t last quite as long. If I can see some improvement, then maybe my insides are showing it, too.