Lifestyle Basics for RA

Hey warriors!

 

We’ve recently been conducting a lot of research into various alternative treatments and homeopathic remedies for symptoms of arthritis. In particular, we came across a lot of tips and testimonials regarding symptom relief through natural means, such as diet, lifestyle, and pain management changes. A lot of the information that we came across was interesting and potentially helpful for those struggling with arthritis, so we’ve decided to include some of the most important for you to read below:

 

  • Reach and Sustain a Healthy Weight

 

 

To start, it is important to recognize that additional body fat strains joints further. That being said, accumulated fat content itself can also cause joint problems beyond this strain. Rather than just sitting on your frame, fat functions as an active tissue that continuously stimulates and releases hormone production. Some of these hormones may promote inflammation and trigger a worsening of arthritis throughout the body. Overall, an increase in stored body fat can accelerate the progression of arthritis as well as cause increased pain for patients. This effect is why it is crucial for people suffering with arthritis to try and maintain a healthy weight.

 

  • Diet Improvement

 

To get a guide on foods not to eat with Rheumatoid Arthritis, refer to our previous article. That being said, it is recommended that patients consume foods that are high in: Omega-3,sulfur,anti-oxidants, and fiber. Across the board, incorporating foods high in these factors drastically lowers inflammation and subsequent paint or discomfort.

 

  • Activity

 

 

In the long run, physical activity is both important for joint health and essential to treating arthritis. The core benefit of regular exercise is that the muscles surrounding affected joints are strengthened, ultimately providing more support and strain-reduction. Regular physical activity has been shown to help lower inflammation as well as aid in hormone regulation. We suggest creating a goal  of reaching 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise every week.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Flare-Ups

Hey Warriors!

 

In this week’s blog we’d like to discuss one of the most dreaded aspects of living with chronic illness: flare-ups. A flare-up is essentially a period of increased illness activity where common symptoms like fatigue, inflammation, and pain are heightened. When it comes to Rheumatoid Arthritis, this often manifests in swelling of the joints as well as pain that makes it difficult to move. Let’s talk more in depth about these flares.

Generally, flares are considered to have two varieties. The first kind is known as a “predictable” flare. These flares have known triggers and usually involve a temporary period where you feel worse, but are eventually resolved on their own. Examples of known triggers are overexertion, lack of sleep, poor sleep quality, stress, or infections such as the flu. The second variety of flares is known as the “unpredictable” kind. These flares have no discernable trigger or cause.

The next question in your mind is most likely: How do I manage or cope with these flares? Aside from self-care measures such as resting and minimizing points of stress in your life, there are various other small things you can do to directly combat some symptoms of a flare-up. Our strong recommendation is to begin doing gentle stretches daily. By stretching, you can keep stiff joints moving while also increasing your range of motion. Next, we recommend wrapping any affected joints for increased support and immobility. After taking these measures, you may also apply heat or cold therapy directly onto the affected area.

That being said, these measures are not by any means a cure-all for flare-ups. In some instances, these actions may not be enough and symptoms may require medical attention. As a result, our final and most important tip to you is to maintain a good relationship with your doctor, so that you can fully understand the specifics of your flare-ups as well as adjust your medication and treatment plan as needed.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips

Hi Warriors!

As a multivitamin company, we are constantly reading up on the relationship between nutrients and bodily health. But all this focus on supplementation tends to take away from the most crucial source of nutrients: your everyday diet. Studies show that having an adequate intake of various nutrients can significantly reduce inflammation and various fatigue symptoms associated specifically with Rheumatoid Arthritis. That being said, we know that it can be an arduous process trying to compile a list of foods or a diet plan tailored for this purpose. Well look no further warriors, we will be detailing potential anti-inflammatory diet additions and laying out their individual benefits for your body in this article.

Before we go any further, it is important to understand that there is no “super diet” that will miraculously work for everyone, as every body is different and may respond differently to nutrient stimuli. No one diet is perfect, and shifting between a variety of foods is highly recommended in order to ensure optimal health benefits and nutrient intake.That being said, many of the foods that may help with inflammation are in the mediterranean diet; consisting mainly of fish, vegetables, and a few other foods that we will detail further.

 

First, let’s talk protein. Certain types of fish are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their ability to reduce two main inflammatory proteins in your body( C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. Considering this, these fatty acids are essentially inflammation-fighting powerhouse nutrients that definitely should be incorporated into your diet. We recommend a bi-weekly allotment of at least 3-4 ounces of fish, with best sources of fatty acids being: salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and other cold-water fish. Meat not your thing? A great substitute is adding beans such as blackbeans, lentils, or chickpeas into your meals. They’re a handy source of protein as well as several anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

 

Next, if you’re anything like us you have a bit of a chronic sweet-tooth. To satisfy your sugar cravings, we recommend incorporating more colorful fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and strawberries into your every diet. Paired with our recommendation of  at least 1.5 -2 cups of fruit per meal, an added 2-3 cups of veggies will significantly increase the likelihood that your body will have what it needs to not only operate properly, but fight fatigue and inflammation.  We know the whole fruit and veggie suggestion sounds generic, but the associated benefits really can’t be ignored. Colorful fruits and veggies(spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.) are packed with natural antioxidants that serve to support and boost your body’s immune system, with the added benefit of making your everyday plate just a little more lively and visually entertaining.

 

Building upon this, we highly suggest that you have about 1.5 ounces of nuts per day. Foods like walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds are rich in inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat. Small tip from us to you: there’s no need to strictly adhere to measuring out 1.5 ounces, just a handful of nuts is about the right amount for the warrior on the go.

 

While we’re on the subject of convenient small additions to your diet, adding just 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil per day into any of your meals is an easy way to combat some typical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Besides containing heart healthy monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, this oil also holds oleocanthal, a compound known to lower inflammation and pain. Nutrient tip: extra virgin olive oil is less processed, meaning that it retains more of these nutrients and potential health benefits than it’s more refined, definitively less “virgin” counterpart (creepy way to classify an ingredient, we know).

 

Next tip is for any warriors that also happen to be winos. You may have heard Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, may have anti-inflammatory effects. While this has been found in clinical studies, people with RA should limit overall alcoholic intake, especially when taking medications like methotrexate. That being said, there’s no shame in winding down with a glass of Cabernet or Merlot. We recommend asking your doctor what amount of alchohol, if any, is appropriate for you and your body.

We hope this brief article helped out in creating a basic diet addition plan for easing symptoms, and rest assured that we will continue compiling information for more useful diet tips. If you have any questions or ideas for more content that you’d like from us, please feel free to contact us through our social media or email!

Our Vitamin Guide

Hey Warriors,

Shopping for the right vitamin that works for you and your body can be a difficult and daunting process. Upon searching, you’re flooded with information about a multitude of different vitamins, potential health benefits, clinical studies, and varying recommendations. This process becomes even more difficult when your goal is to supplement deficiencies stemming from an illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis. To make the process easier for you, we have gathered information from sources such as the  Arthritis Foundation and compacted it into a single article. The information that follows will detail information on each vitamin within our product. This information will include the bodily function of these vitamins, the recommended daily amounts compared to our dosages, as well as some special considerations and notes on recent research studies. We hope that this mini-guide will help you understand our vitamins a bit better and pave the way to you being a happier, healthier person. That being said, every human body and case of illness is different and may require different inputs. We recommend that you contact your doctor to discuss if RheumaRelief is right for you.

 

 

Vitamin D

-builds and maintains strong bones

-aids with calcium absorption

-helps prevent osteoporosis

– helps regulate cells responsible for autoimmune functions

-Adequate amounts are linked to improved heart health

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 600 international units (IU) daily for adults age 70 and younger; 800 IU daily for adults 71 and older.

Our special considerations:

-Some experts think higher doses are needed. Catherine Peterson, PhD, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Missouri, recommends 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily to maintain healthy levels and at least 4,000 IU to correct deficiencies – common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

-Peterson also recommends that those interested in Vitamin D supplements should search specifically for vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This form of the vitamin happens to be the same form the body makes from sunlight. It is better absorbed and more effective than its’ counterpart, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). With this knowledge in hand, we have incorporated the more effective Vitamin D3 form in our RheumaRelief supplement.

Tolerable upper limit (UL) = 4,000 IU per day.

VS.

Our dosage: 4000 IU

 

 

 

Zinc

Zinc is involved in:

-wound healing

-cell reproduction

-tissue growth

-associated with more than 100 enzymatic reactions in the body.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 11 mg daily for men; 8 mg daily for women.

Tolerable upper limit (UL) = 40 mg daily.

  VS.

Our dosage: 4 mg

Too Little: Hair loss, eye and skin sores, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Our Special Considerations: Studies demonstrate significantly lower zinc levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared to those without it, with lowest reported levels being associated with more severe disease. Researchers say zinc may help improve RA symptoms by supporting the immune system and cartilage.

 

 

 

Calcium

-maintains strong bones and teeth

-regulates muscle contractions

-transmits nerve impulses

-helps release essential hormones and enzymes.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 1,000 milligrams (mg) daily for adults age 50 and younger; 1,200 mg for those 51 and older. Taking calcium with vitamin D boosts absorption as much as 65 percent.

Tolerable upper limit (UL) = 2,500 mg.

VS.

Our dosage: 100 mg

Too Little: Contributes to bone loss, tooth loss, muscle cramps and hypertension.

Our Special Considerations: Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis – the loss of bone density. Getting enough calcium is crucial for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and those taking corticosteroids – each of which significantly increases osteoporosis risk. Some research suggests calcium supplements may also slow RA-related joint damage.

 

 

 

 

Vitamin B6

-needed in more than 100 chemical reactions in the body

-forms amino acids, red blood cells, vitamin B-3 and antibodies.

-important for nerve and brain function, as well as energy production.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 1.3 milligrams (mg) for all adults up to age 50; age 50 and older, 1.7 mg for men, 1.5 mg for women.

Tolerable upper limit (UL) = 80 mg for adults up to age 50; age 50 and older, 100 mg.

VS.

Our dosage: 10 mg

Too Little: Rare; symptoms include skin inflammation, swollen tongue, depression, confusion and convulsions. Lower than optimal levels are linked to high levels of homocysteine, which can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Research Note:  Low vitamin B-6 levels are common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); levels drop as inflammation increases. In one study, taking 100 mg of vitamin B-6 and 5 mg folic acid daily for 12 weeks reduced inflammatory markers in the blood, but other studies don’t support this finding.

 

 

 

Vitamin B12

-essential for normal brain and nervous system function

-helps make red blood cells and DNA

-forms the genetic material in cells

-involved in energy production

-converts folate to its active form.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 2.4 mcg (micrograms) daily.

There is no tolerable upper limit (UL) for vitamin B-12.

VS.

Our dosage: 500 mcg

Too Little: Too little vitamin B-12 can cause exhaustion, cognitive difficulties, nerve damage and anemia. The ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from food decreases with age. Most experts recommend older adults get this vitamin from supplements or fortified foods.

Research Note: Vitamin B12 reduces homocysteine, an amino acid found at high levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Even moderately elevated homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of fractures in older adults.

 

 

 

Magnesium

-strengthens bones

-maintains nerve and muscle function

-regulates heart rhythm and blood sugar levels

-helps maintain joint cartilage.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 420 milligrams (mg) daily for men 31 and older; 320 mg for women.

Tolerable upper limit (UL) = 350 mg.

VS.

Our dosage: 100 mg

Too Little: Rare, but early symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.

Research Note: Many studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, have found that eating foods high in magnesium and potassium increases bone density and may help prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis. Given its’ role in healthy bone growth and maintenance, we couldn’t help but incorporate this mineral into our vitamin.

 

 

 

Selenium

-Functions as an antioxidant, helping to prevent free-radical damage.

-Essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland and immune system.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 55 mcg daily.

VS.

Our dosage: 0.04 mg

Too Little: Rare; impaired immunity and heart disease.

Research Note: Some research suggests selenium may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While it has not been shown in clinical studies to relieve pain or stiffness in people with established disease, we have decided to include this antioxidant into our blend.

Basics of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks cells and tissues around the joints specifically. The immune system fails to recognize self-cells. This can result to swelling and paint to occur at the joints.

Who is affected by RA?

According to (source), approximately 1.5 million people United States have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Women are at a higher risk than men, as they are 3 times more likely to develop RA more than men.

Who is affected by RA?

RA is more commonly seen amongst individuals between the ages of 30-60 years old. Researchers believe that having a family member with RA increases the chances of developing. RA. However, there is no exact causation, as people can develop RA with no family history of disease.

What are the Risk Factors of RA?

Risk Factors includes:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetic Makeup
  • Smoking

What is the cause of RA?

The exact cause of RA is not fully understood, however, research supports that the abnormal response of the immune system is due to both environmental triggers and hormones.

 

According to Arthritis.org , people with the specific gene marker called HLA share epitope have a greater chance of developing RA than those without the genetic marker. The HLA genetic site controls immune responses. However, not all people with this gene develop RA, and not all RA patients have this gene.

What are the Symptoms of RA?

Common Symptoms of RA include:

  • Joint Pain, tenderness, or swelling/stiffness for six weeks or longer
  • Morning Stiffness (30 minutes or longer)
  • Small joints (wrists, certain joints of hands and feet)
  • Same joints on each side of body are affected (Symmetrical)

How is RA diagnosed?

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be difficult to diagnose, because early signs and symptoms are similar to other diseases and conditions. In other words, there is no specific test for RA.

Your doctor may give you a physical exam to check your joints for tenderness and swelling, as well as inflammation.

A strong support group is amazing

Rheumatoid Factor (RF) is an antibody found in about 80% of people with Rhuematoid Arhtitis. Your doctor may give you a blood test check for these antibodies. However, because RF can be found in other inflammatory diseases, it is not an entirely sure sign to check for RA.

 

Treatment:

There is no cure for RA, however, treatment is given to alleviate common RA symptoms. This includes inflammation and prevent joint and organ damage.

Your doctor may have you take Nonsterodial Anti-inflammatory Drugs NSAIDs, which can be prescribed or bought over-the-counter. A common NSAID is ibuprofen.

In addition, corticosteroid medications (such as prednisone) can be used as an anti-inflammatory medication. However, according to Mayo Clinic, side effects of steroidal medicine can cause thinning of bones and weight gain. This is used sparingly by doctors and at a lowest dosage as possible.

Alternative Treatment:

In addition, your doctor may have you treat your condition through physical and occupational therapy. These session will teach you exercises to keep your joints flexible and alleviate the pain.

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Managing your Arthritis Flares

Managing your Arthritis Flares

When you think of a pain or something flaring up — you may think of a temporary allergic reaction— is a small annoyance that may last a short time.  For anyone with Arthritis, a flare can be much more serious and is a reminder that the disease is still with them, no matter how long in the past it has remained dormant. 

Understanding your Flares and Triggers is a journey, not a race!

What causes a flare?

An Arthritis flare is caused by something that may elevate your immune system response known as triggers.  Every person with Arthritis may have different triggers, but some of the most common are:

  • stress
  • exercise-related injuries
  • repetitive movements
  • cold weather
  • a drop in barometric pressure
  • infections
  • weight gain

These triggers are almost unpredictable, but there can be warning signs when a flare may happen.

Flares can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. For example: A mild flare could perhaps be signaled by just pain and severe flares could have fatigue, and major joint and tissue pain.

Finding balance of what your triggers may be.

What are the Signs of being in a Arthritis Flare:

Prior to the onset of a flare, arthritis patients may notice a number of indicative signs:

  • Out of proportion and persistent fatigue
  • Persistent weakness
  • Aching all over
  • Slight to high fever
  • Persistent loss of appetite
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Reduced range of motion at the location of the joint
  • Painful, stiff or swollen joints
  • Chest pain which increases with breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent unusual headache

 

Can Anything Prevent a Arthritis flare:

Treatment plans for arthritis help may lessen the onset of symptoms and flares. Those plans may include:

  • acupuncture
  • diet:  vitamin intake
  • heat therapy to ease stiffness
  • cold compresses and ice for pain relief
  • massage therapy, though be sure your therapist is familiar with OA
  • breathing exercises to reduce stress
  • lots of rest between activities

Flares are to be treated seriously, however, as they are a sign that of increased disease activity. That is why it is imperative for arthritis patients to take care of themselves, as well as understand and follow their treatment plan.

At RheumaRelief, we recommend that anyone to diagnosed should take a step back and be aware of what their triggers might be.  Supplementing your medication with a healthy diet based around anti-oxidants has been shown to help with Arthritis Flares.

Sometimes, despite you and your medical caregiver’s best attempts, you may still experience a arthritis flare. If you suspect that you are having a flare, please contact your physician immediately so that any adjustments to your treatment plan and medications can be made.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.