Q: What are the best vitamins and dietary habits for people with rheumatoid arthritis?
A: Diet is linked to arthritis in two ways. First food components might provide allergic responses and second, diet can alter immune and inflammatory responses. Although diet is only one factor in the development, progression, and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RH), there are some habits that might help. People with RH often consume inadequate amounts of vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, copper, selenium, and zinc. Whether these deficiencies are a cause or result from the disease is unclear. However, a few studies have found that increasing intake of nutrients, such as folic acid, alleviates some symptoms such as joint tenderness. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium, reduce free radical damage to joint linings. Finally, fish oils found in salmon and other fatty fish or taken as capsules have shown promise in reducing symptoms of morning stiffness. -Elizabeth Somer