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Top Five Supplements for Seniors with Arthritis

Turmeric Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that seniors struggle with -- according to the Centers for Disease Control, just under 50 percent of people aged 65 or older have been diagnosed with arthritis by their doctor.  Arthritis comes with a number of symptoms, including joint pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, muscle weakness, and fatigue.  These symptoms are often debilitating and can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, there a number of supplements available that can prevent them from occurring or minimize their severity.  Five of the best supplements for seniors with arthritis are listed below:

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. In addition to being known for its bright yellow color, turmeric is also known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

People with arthritis can get some benefits of turmeric by simply adding the powdered spice to their food or drinks. But, in order to see real improvement, it may be better to take a more concentrated curcumin supplement -- curcumin is the compound in turmeric that has the greatest anti-inflammatory benefits.

2. Ginger

Ginger is another spice that can also serve as an anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, ginger has been shown to be just as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen when it comes to relieving pain.

Freshly grated ginger can be steeped in hot water to make a tea, or dried ginger can be added to food or beverages. There are also ginger capsules available for those who don’t particularly enjoy the taste of ginger but still want to enjoy its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ginger is a great option for seniors with arthritis, but those who are taking blood thinners or suffer from gallbladder disease should avoid it -- it can interact badly with these medications and aggravate gallbladder issues.

3. Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in cold-water fish like salmon and are known to have anti-inflammatory benefits that are great for people with arthritis.

Two types of omega-3 fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid (also known as DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (also known as EPA) -- are particularly beneficial for reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain.

Generally, it’s best to get these fatty acids from fish, or from plant sources like flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. However, for seniors with arthritis who don’t consume any of these foods on a regular basis, a high-quality fish oil supplement can help you experience all the benefits of omega-3s.

4. Cayenne

Cayenne pepper isn’t just for adding heat to foods -- this hot spice is also a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Cayenne stimulates the body’s pain receptors and then reduces substance P, which is a chemical that is necessary for the nerves to send pain signals to the brain.

While the other supplements on this list are used orally, you can also reap the benefits of cayenne by applying it topically.

Many arthritis creams contain capsaicin, the component of cayenne that has the great pain-relieving and inflammation-fighting benefits. It’s also easy to make a homemade capsaicin cream by mixing cayenne powder with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil.

5. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

While the other supplements on this list help people with arthritis by reducing inflammation and pain, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements actually encourage the formation and repair of cartilage.

Arthritis pain and inflammation are caused by the wearing down of cartilage over time. By using glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help repair the cartilage, people with arthritis can minimize the pain and stiffness that comes with their condition.

Studies show that people who benefit most from supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are those who are suffering from severe pain --those with mild or moderate pain typically do not notice as much of a difference.

Final Thoughts

These five supplements can help minimize pain and other unpleasant symptoms that come with arthritis. While they’re not a substitute for doctor-prescribed medications, exercise, and a healthy diet, they can definitely be beneficial, especially during flare-ups when pain is particularly intense.

Seniors with arthritis should keep the supplements that work best for them on hand so they’re always prepared when joint pain strikes.

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