July 2018

Resveratrol: relief for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

It’s still too soon to know for sure, but initial results show resveratrol might be beneficial for some RA patients. New research shows that taking resveratrol 1 gram by mouth daily for 2 months along with medicines that slow the progression of joint damage reduces the number of painful and swollen joints in people with RA. The specific drugs taken with resveratrol in this study were disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which include leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, and methotrexate. It’s not clear which combination of resveratrol and DMARDs works best for reducing RA symptoms. Also, it’s important to note that RA patients taking biologic drugs were excluded from this study. That’s because lab research shows that resveratrol can inhibit TNF-alpha. Therefore, it might have additive effects with biologics such as anti-TNF-alpha drugs and might increase the risk of complications such as serious infection. While this interaction has not been clinically documented, RA patients taking biologics should steer away from taking resveratrol in medicinal amounts until more is known.

Many other natural medicines have been studied for use in RA, including fish oil, Lactobacillus, and thunder god vine. To find out which might work, and which might not, check out our Comparative Effectiveness Chart.

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