Getting optimal levels of several nutrients should also be a part of your prevention programme. The most important of these are:
* Vitamin C. This prevents cartilage damage and can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis threefold (Arthritis Rheum, 1996; 39: 648-56). Consider taking 1-3 g daily.
* Vitamin D. This protects bones and can slow the progression of the disease and possibly prevent it (Ann Intern Med, 1996; 125: 353-9; Arthritis Rheum, 1999; 42: 854-60). Daily doses of 50 mcg (2000 IU) are considered safe.
Other potentially helpful nutrients include:
* Vitamin B3 or niacinamide. This helps maintain supple joints and has been used successfully as a treatment for osteoarthritis in doses of 250-500 mg daily.
* Vitamin E. Taking 1200 to 1800 IU per day of this vitamin can significantly decrease joint pain (Arthritis Rheum, 1991; 34: 1205-6; Ann Rheum Dis, 1997; 56: 649-55). As vitamin E is an antioxidant, it may also help prevent joint damage.
* SAMe. S-adenosyl-L-methionine is an anti-inflammatory and painreliever, and may possess tissue-healing properties to help protect the joints (Am J Med, 1987; 83 [Suppl 5A]: 1-4). Suggested intake is 1200 mg daily.
* Copper. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis tend to be deficient in copper. But first, consult a qualified nutritionist to discuss your supplementation needs.