Have you ever visited the supplement aisle of your local health store looking for anti-inflammatories to help with your arthritis only to promptly leave feeling completely overwhelmed by all the claims on the bottles' labels? You're not alone. To help you navigate the slew of products currently on the market, we tapped Dr. Susan Blum, author of Healing Arthritis ($18.99, amazon.com) and founder of BlumHealth MD, to help us curate the ultimate guide to anti-inflammatory supplements for arthritis sufferers. Dr. Blum recommends a two-pronged approach: She advises her patients to use a combination of anti-inflammatories and gut-healing supplements to tackle arthritis. She also encourages people suffering from chronic inflammation to eat a Mediterranean diet (this includes sticking to a plant-based diet). Ahead, Dr. Blum shares exactly what to look for when you head back to the vitamin aisle.
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Omega Threes and Sixes
Dr. Blum always starts her arthritis patients on high-dose omega-threes and sixes. "The fat you eat goes directly into a whole separate inflammation pathway in the body, and we can really shut off inflammation by taking high doses of omega threes." She recommends 2,000-3,000 milligrams per day of ETA and DHA (found in fish oil), as well as 400-500 milligrams per day of GLA (found in primrose oil). She encourages patients to make sure the fish oil they select is high quality and labeled as purity certified so they don't accidentally introduce more contaminants to the body.
Dr. Blum advises taking 500-1,500 milligrams of curcumin (found in turmeric) daily for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is typically combined with an additional ingredient to help with absorption—usually piperine (black pepper) or choline.
The third pathway to targeting inflammation is antioxidants. Antioxidants help tackle oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. For this, Dr. Blum recommends a daily dose of vitamin C (vitamin D should also be taken every day to help boost the immune system).
Dr. Blum begins tackling gastrointestinal microbial balance (dysbiosis) using an herbal antimicrobial blend like GI Microb-X ($52.90, amazon.com) with berberine, black walnut, oregano, and other herbs. This can be taken for one to two months to heal the gut. She also recommends taking glutamine powder or tablets for one to two years to address a leaky gut; start at seven to 10 grams per day for the first six months, then switch to one teaspoon daily for the rest of the leaky gut healing phase. For patients who have or have had cancer, be sure to check with a doctor first before introducing these supplements into your regimen.
Probiotics influence your microbiome, help treat dysbiosis, boost the immune system, and heal the barrier in your gut lining—certain strains have also been shown to reduce inflammation on their own. Dr. Blum suggests taking probiotics for the duration of the gut healing period in doses of 25-50 billion CFU.
Fiber and Polyphenols
Consuming foods that are rich in soluble fiber and polyphenols, which you'll find in colorful plants, is key to healing your gut and reducing the inflammation in your body, says Dr. Blum. "This should be a permanent change, because the polyphenols go into your gut and have major influence. Food is the number one most powerful influencer to your gut, and stress is number two. Eat mostly plants, and a lot of fiber, and you'll heal your gut long-term."