There are a lot of articles about different vitamins or supplements that can help people suffering from an autoimmune disease. Although no one supplement is a magic bullet there are a few that may be helpful. As always it is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medication. If you have any specific questions please feel free to message me directly.
Fish oil supplements have some of the best evidence for use. Fish oil alters the body’s production of prostaglandins, which subsequently decreases inflammation. This leads to a reduction in pain for RA patients but not an improvement in joint function. When taking fish oil the recommended dosage is EPA 30mg/kg/day and DHA 50mg/kg/day, so plan on taking 2 high potency capsules twice a day. Due to it’s effects on blood clotting use caution when combining with blood thinners and discontinue taking before any surgeries.
Curcumin, which is the active substance in the spice tumeric may also be helpful. Since curcumin is poorly absorbed in its natural state make sure to choose a supplement that has been modified to enhance the absorption and increase bioavailability. Curcumin supplements that are better absorbed will be labeled BCM-95, or have added Meriva or Bioperine. Dosage should be 1000mg/day, so plan on taking a 500 mg capsule twice a day. Curcumin may thin the blood so be careful when combining with blood thinner medications.
It has been suggested that ginger may be helpful in the management of certain autoimmune diseases because of its inhibitory effects on certain inflammatory prostaglandins. The suggested dosage is 1gm 2-3 times daily. Ginger may also inhibit blood clotting so it should not be combined with blood thinners.
Other recommended supplements include calcium, taken in a dosage of 1000-1200mg/day. This should be combined with magnesium in a dosage of 400-700 mg/day and vitamin D 2000 iu/day. Many manufacturers make a combination tablet that contains all three of these but make sure to check the label to see the amount of magnesium and D, you may have to buy these separately to get an adequate dosage.
Echinacea should be avoided because of anecdotal reports of increased auto immune disease symptoms in patients.
In summary, supplements are not a cure-all for any auto immune disease but is evidence that supports the use of certain ones. I would consider adding a fish oil supplement, curcumin and a calcium supplement that contains Vitamin D and magnesium. As always, it is best to obtain these nutrients from a heathy diet but a good quality supplement can be helpful as an insurance policy. If you need specific product recommendations please get in touch with me directly, remember that vitamins are regulated as food and not medications so it is important to make sure that the brand you are taking is independently tested for content, impurities and absorption.