10 Natural Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

While supplements for rheumatoid arthritis are popular, not all have been thoroughly researched. Many are yet to be confirmed for their potential and effectiveness to treat the inflammation and pain. Some supplements have significant positive results for some people yet may have no result at all on someone else. However, sr

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1. Boswellia Serrate (Indian Frankincense)

Boswellia serrate is an Indian herb whose active ingredients, such as boswellic acids, have anti-inflammatory and pain-relief properties. It might also slow down cartilage damage and the progression of autoimmune diseases. Studies have shown that Boswellia extract can significantly reduce knee pain and improve movement within a week in OA patients. One of the first clinical trials found how a combination of curcuma longa (Turmeric) and Boswellia Serrate relieved symptoms in patients with hand osteoarthritis

2. Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory that targets tumor necrosis factor or TNF, which is also addressed by some powerful RA drugs. Cat’s claw also contains substances that could help the immune system. A small study showed that it reduced joint pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis by over 50% compared to a placebo. If considering cats claw, choose a brand that does not contain tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids which may inhibit the beneficial effects of the other alkaloids.

3. Turmeric/Curcumin (Curcuma longa)

Curcumin in turmeric helps reduce joint pain and swelling by stopping certain inflammatory substances. A clinical trial found that a turmeric supplement significantly helped with pain and function in knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Another study used a curcumin product, BCM-95, and found it more effective than a common medication in reducing joint pain and swelling in active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

4. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, comparable to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors. A study found a specialized ginger extract to be as effective as steroids in reducing inflammation in RA. Other research revealed a specific ginger extract, taken four times daily, lessened knee osteoarthritis pain over three months. Another ginger-based product, taken twice daily, was as effective as ibuprofen for hip and knee osteoarthritis pain.

5. Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens)

Capsaicin temporarily reduces a pain signal called substance P. Various studies have backed its effectiveness in reducing pain, including one that showed a 50% reduction in joint pain after three weeks. Some studies have also found capsaicin to be a useful treatment for pin in fibromyalgia. Capsaicin is available in topical forms like creams, gels, or patches, besides being widely available in foods like peppers/chilies, bell peppers/capsicums, and more.

6. Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)

ASU works by stopping chemicals that cause inflammation. It also helps protect joint-lining cells and might aid in regrowing normal connective tissue. An extensive 3-year study showed that ASU significantly slowed down the progression of hip OA compared to a placebo. Other research found ASU improved hip and knee OA symptoms and reduced or eliminated the need for certain painkillers.

7. Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA)

Among supplements for rheumatoid arthritis, fish oil is rich in omega-3s that help reduce inflammation by blocking certain inflammatory substances. The body also turns omega-3s into powerful anti-inflammatory agents called resolvins. Extensive research on fish oil for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory conditions shows it can significantly reduce joint pain and stiffness and decrease the need for painkillers.

8. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

The body transforms GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid, into chemicals that fight inflammation. One study of 56 active RA patients found significant improvement in joint pain, stiffness, and grip strength after six months, with ongoing improvements over a year. Another study indicated that combining GLA and fish oil significantly reduced the necessity for traditional pain relief.

9. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine)

SAM-e works as a painkiller and has anti-inflammatory effects. It can stimulate cartilage growth and influence brain chemicals like serotonin to reduce pain perception. Research has shown it can ease OA symptoms as effectively as some common pain-relief medications, but with fewer side effects and more lasting benefits. Sam-e has been helpful in fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

Vitamin D

Several studies have associated vitamin D deficiencies with several health concerns including RA. This could be due to how the vitamin plays a major role in immunity, cell function, and reducing inflammation. Preliminary research has found how vitamin D can help improve certain RA therapies and be a possible player in supplements for rheumatoid arthritis . Consult with your doctor for a suitable dose, especially if you have found to be vitamin D deficient in which case you might require a higher dose than the RDA of 600-800IU.

Additional Options to Consider

Some supplements have shown potential in treating osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), though research is less extensive or still in early stages compared to other more established options:

Pine Bark extract


Green lipped mussel extract


B vitamins

Before starting supplement for rheumatoid arthritis, consult your doctor to understand the possible side effects and how they might affect your medications. While supplements aren’t regulated and strictly tested as pharmaceutical medications, private companies often test their products before launching them. It’s essential to research these products thoroughly and share your findings with your healthcare provider to better understand and know for certain if you should take them.