Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most painful ailments experienced by people today. Some resort to drugs or even surgery to deal with the pain. However, there are safer and more effective pain relief options you can try, such as using pomegranate extract.
A pilot study published in the Israeli Medical Association Journal revealed the effects of pomegranate extract on eight patients. For 12 weeks, the patients consumed 10 ml of pomegranate extract every day. The researchers took note of the joint status and serum oxidative status of the patients before and after the study, and found out that pomegranate extract:
- Reduced the tender joint count by 62 percent
- Reduced the composite Disease Activity Index (DAS28) of arthritis by 17 percent
- Reduced serum oxidative status significantly, indicating a reduction in the inflammatory response
“Dietary supplementation with pomegranates may be a useful complementary strategy to attenuate clinical symptoms in RA patients,” the researchers concluded. (link)
The Benefits of Pomegranate
The pulp and juice of pomegranates have been studied for their potential benefits for joint and heart health. This is because they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help slow down the aging process by fighting free radicals, which are one of the main causes of age-related deterioration. Free radicals are a main component of chronic inflammation and related ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis. These are caused by factors like environmental toxins, cigarette smoke, chemicals, sunlight, cosmic and manmade radiation, and pharmaceutical drugs.
Pomegranates are rich in free radical-fighting antioxidants, particularly ellagitannin compounds like punicalagins and punicalins. These potent antioxidants make up about half of the pomegranate’s antioxidant power.
In a 2008 study that compared the potency of 10 different polyphenol-rich beverages, pomegranate juice bested them all. Its potency was 20 percent greater than the other beverages tested. It even beat well-known antioxidant-rich drinks, like acai, Concord grape juice, and blueberry juice! Dr. Mercola says pomegranates contain the most of every type of antioxidant.
The only drawback when consuming pomegranate juice or extract is that it may contain excessive fructose, which may potentially worsen your arthritis. Too much fructose will increase your insulin levels, which causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the root of almost every disease known to man, including RA.
Fructose may also induce weight gain and lead to other health problems like:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Yeast infections
Other Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Options
Dr. Joseph Mercola says that aside from pomegranate extract or juice, you can also get antioxidants from other healthyful foods like fresh, organic vegetables. These contain potent phytochemicals that act as antioxidants that can help you deal with arthritis pain. Dr. Mercola also recommends supplements that can help give you pain relief:
- Astaxanthin can help reduce pain effectively. A study revealed that people with RA who took astaxanthin for only eight weeks experienced a 35 percent improvement in pain levels and a 40 percent improvement in their ability to perform daily activities.
- Turmeric helps alleviate acute and chronic pain. In rat experiments, turmeric was able to block inflammatory pathways associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Boswellia or Indian frankincense is also useful against arthritic inflammation and associated pain.
- Ginger can offer pain relief because of its anti-inflammatory properties. You can steep it in boiling water and make ginger tea or add it to your vegetable juice.
Dr. Mercola’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Protocol
Dr. Mercola also advises you to follow his treatment protocol for rheumatoid arthritis. This method deals with more basic factors that can severely impact your disease, like dietary modification. With this protocol, thousands of RA patients have already gone into remission.
The main aspects of Dr. Mercola’s dietary principle for treating RA include:
- Eliminating sugar and most grains
- Eating your food as close to raw as possible
- Eating unprocessed, high-quality, and locally-grown organic foods
- Getting plenty of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil
Low-dose naltrexone is another essential part of Dr. Mercola’s rheumatoid arthritis protocol. This is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist that is conventionally used to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. According to researchers, when given at very low dosages (3 to 4.5 mg) naltrexone has immunomodulating properties that may help successfully treat autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Crohn’s disease.