Antioxidants ease arthritis symptoms

Antioxidants are now known to benefit several “aging conditions,” including heart disease, cataracts and poor immunity. According to two recent studies, people with arthritis may also benefit from these free radical-fighting nutrients, which include selenium, an essential trace element, and vitamins A, C and E.

At Alexandria University in Egypt, researchers added antioxidants to the standard medical treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In this trial, 30 people were divided into three groups of 10. Group I received standard medical treatment only. Groups II and III received standard treatment plus either an antioxidant combination or 400 mg of vitamin E. Within the first month, the antioxidant groups showed noticeable improvements in their symptoms. The control group, taking the standard medication, only began to show improvements by the end of the second month. By the end of the trial, test results for groups II and III indicated better control of the disease. These clinical improvements indicated to the researchers that complementing standard treatment with antioxidants is worthwhile.

In Kiel, Germany, a group of researchers studied the impact of vitamins A, C, E and selenium on osteoarthritis in mice. The mice were fed a diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, B-2, B-6 and selenium, while a control group was not supplemented. After one year, the mice were tested for changes in the disease. The control group still had osteoarthritis lesions while the supplemented test mice had decreased osteoarthritis incidence by 65%. The researchers concluded that supplementing with vitamins and selenium may be important in the prevention or therapy of osteoarthritis.

Sources: Arzneimittelforschung 2001;51(4):293-8; Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2002 Feb;10(2):119-26; The Super Antioxidants by J Balch, Evans:1998