Arthritis symptoms: Supplement containing an active ingredient to help reduce inflammation

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Arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. The foods you eat can make flare-ups more likely and more severe, but certain supplements help to dispel painful symptoms.

In 2002, a study published in Phytomedicine looked at 227 people with non-specific low back pain or osteoarthritis of the knee or hip treated with devil’s claw extract.

After eight weeks of taking 60mg daily, between 50 and 70 percent of people reported improvement in pain, mobility and flexibility.

Another study found that patients with hip or knee arthritis taking a supplement containing devil’s claw over eight weeks saw a 54 percent and 39 percent improvement respectively in their pain levels.

Commenting on the impressive results from clinical studies, Versus Arthritis, the UK’s leading arthritis research charity, said: “Evidence suggests that devil’s claw may be as effective as conventional medicines for osteoarthritis.”

Harpagoside – the active ingredient in devil’s claw – appears to reduce pain and inflammation in joints, said Arthritis Foundation.

The health charity continued: “Some studies suggest stomach acid may counteract benefits, so take the supplement between meals when less stomach acid is released. 

“Evidence shows that devil’s claw extract can help with non-specific low back pain, or osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip.”

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Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury and infection.

If suffering with a wound such as a cut on the finger, banging your knee or coming down with the flu, the body responds by activating the immune system.

While some inflammation is necessary to defend the body against harm, chronic inflammation can be detrimental to health. In fact, ongoing research has linked chronic inflammation to heart disease, diabetes and brain disorders.

Devil’s claw has been proposed as a potential remedy for inflammatory conditions because it contains plant compounds called iridoid glycosides, particularly harpagoside.

In test tube and animal studies, harpagoside has curbed inflammatory responses.

Devil’s claw can be found in teas, tablets and capsules.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, people that are pregnant, have gallstones or ulcers, or are taking an antacid or blood thinners should rule out taking the supplement.

“It can affect heart rate and may interfere with cardiac, blood-thinning and diabetes medication. It may also cause diarrhoea,” warned the health body.

“While there is no set upper limit, the European Medicines Agency guidelines do not advise exceeding 800mcg to 1g of devil’s claw a day,” added Holland and Barrett.

Reduce risk

Dietary changes could help to reduce inflammation in some patients, according to dietitian Jillian Kubala.

You’ll need to combine your diet swaps with a regular workout routine, however.

While some foods are beneficial for relieving arthritis symptoms, others could actually make symptoms worse.

You’d be better avoiding any foods with added sugar, gluten, or added salt, it claimed.
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