Unfortunately, there’s a 50-50 chance that you’ll develop osteoarthritis at some point in your life. This painful joint condition can put a serious damper on your lifestyle and activity levels, even leading to limited mobility in some severe cases.
Whether you’re looking to prevent the onset of the disease or you’re hoping to reduce the severity of symptoms, increasing your levels of antioxidants, in particular Vitamin E, may be beneficial. Here’s what you need to know about the link between osteoarthritis and Vitamin E.
Arthritis and inflammation go hand-in-hand
Inflammation plays a leading role in the development and severity of arthritis. In fact, arthritis is an umbrella term that describes inflammation in the joints. Inflammation is characterized by joint paint and stiffness and, in some cases, full loss of joint function.
Scientists are exploring the link between inflammation and osteoarthritis. This painful condition involves joint and cartilage degeneration. While research is ongoing, studies show that reducing oxidative stress and inflammation of the joint can improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis. In other words, addressing inflammation could relieve the pain associated with this debilitating disease.
Inflammation is the product of oxidation
Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals scavenge and damage healthy cells as they search for stable molecules to bond to. Free radicals occur naturally in your body from diet, exercise, exposure to environmental pollution and other factors. As they work their way through the body, they can cause serious damage to cells and tissue in a process called oxidation.
When left unaddressed, oxidation can cause inflammation, which scientists link to the development of serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes and arthritis.
Antioxidants are the first line of defense against these harmful free radicals and oxidative stress, preventing the tissue damage that leads to the development of inflammation.
Vitamin E reduces oxidative stress and inflammation
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells throughout the body from the damaging effects of oxidative stress and inflammation. Antioxidants like Vitamin E defend the cells against harmful free radicals that seek out healthy cells to bond with. As antioxidants detect the presence of free radicals, they work to neutralize them before they can accumulate and cause oxidative damage to healthy cells.
Keeping free radicals in check has a direct impact on inflammation throughout the body. For those suffering from osteoarthritis, reducing inflammation is essential for relieving the painful symptoms that accompany the disease. For decades, treatments have focused on the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen to minimize pain and steroidal injections to reduce inflammation.
Today, the approach to treating osteoarthritis is changing, with some medical experts recommending dietary modifications to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. In particular, they’re proposing a shift toward an antioxidant-rich diet in which Vitamin E takes center stage.
Osteoarthritis and Vitamin E deficiency
Researchers are beginning to notice a link between symptoms of osteoarthritis and Vitamin E deficiency. While studies are ongoing, scientists are exploring the role of Vitamin E as a potential agent to prevent or treat the disease due to its antioxidant effects, potentially even altering the biological process that leads to cartilage degeneration.
One study that focused on measuring synovial fluid in osteoarthritis patients also noted that Vitamin E deficiency was associated with the condition. This conclusion also prompted researchers to explore the inverse: Vitamin E’s ability to dampen the effects of osteoarthritis. While research is ongoing, there are highly encouraging signs based on the beneficial effects of antioxidant supplements for knee osteoarthritis.
Vitamin E needs to be a priority for arthritis patients
So, why is Vitamin E supplementation gaining support for the treatment of osteoarthritis? While doctors recommend a shift in diet toward foods rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E, it’s difficult for many people to follow such diets. In reality, most people don’t receive their recommended daily intake of Vitamin E—15mg per day for healthy adults, and it can simply be more effective to supplement.
Interested in learning more about the role of Vitamin E in the treatment of osteoarthritis? If you’re considering supplementing with Vitamin E, always talk to your doctor first. Only a medical expert can determine whether supplementation is the best course of action for your situation.
Also keep in mind that if you receive approval from your doctor, always choose an all-natural option that allows your body to absorb the maximum benefits from this important inflammation-fighting nutrient.