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Arthritis Treatments Compared -

-Conventional Side Effects  or Natural Alternatives Benefits

Arthritis is a painful condition affecting millions of people throughout the world.

70 million Americans and over 4 million Australians are included among those who suffer with the pain. In Australia, arthritis is the fourth most common cause of missed work.

The conventional treatments for arthritis are drugs, most of which are pain relievers.

Here, we look at the side effects of the conventional treatments and the natural alternatives that have few, if any, unwanted side effects.

Some of the natural alternatives actually have positive side benefits.

Conventional Treatments – Many Unpleasant Side Effects

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the treatment of choice for all forms of arthritis. Even though some studies indicate that inflammation does not play a major role in osteoarthritis, the most common form, people who suffer from the condition usually find that NSAIDs do relieve the pain.

NSAIDs are available over the counter and by prescription. The most popular NSAID drugs are ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.

The common adverse side effects of ibuprofen (Adviltm) is one of the leading brands) include:

  • Nausea 
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding 
  • Raised liver enzymes (indicates damage to the liver) 
  • Diarrhea, constipation and stomach upset 
  • Nosebleed 
  • Dizziness 
  • Headache 
  • Rash 
  • Fluid retention 
  • High blood pressure 

More serious side effects may also occur. Those include ulceration of the esophagus, heart failure, kidney damage, kidney failure, confusion and spasms of the bronchial tubes, which can be fatal in people who also have asthma.

Naproxen, which is sold under the brand name Alevetm, is accompanied by the same side effects as ibuprofen, although some are less severe. None of these drugs should be used by people with a history of ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease without consulting a doctor. Just because they are sold without a prescription does not mean they are safe.

Aspirin was the first NSAID and is still used today by many people. It caused all of the same side effects listed above. The newer drugs were introduced because they were believed to be safer and/or more effective. That does not seem to be the case.

Additional risks of aspirin include:

  • Ringing in the ears 
  • Reye’s syndrome 
  • Salicylate intolerance – results in swelling, hives and headache 
  • Cerebral micro-bleeds – may precede stroke, Alzheimer’s, brain hemorrhage and Binswanger disease 
  • Prolonged bleeding after operations 

Low doses of aspirin are sometimes recommended for keeping the blood thin and reducing the risk of heart attack. Yet, continued use of all NSAIDs and the COX-2 inhibitors has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In this respect, Naproxen seems to be the safest, but cannot be considered completely safe.

Selective COX-2 inhibitors are a newer form of NSAID. They were initially believed to be safer because they do not inhibit COX-1. It is COX-1 inhibition that leads to irritation and bleeding of the stomach lining.

Clinical trials showed that selective COX-2 inhibiting drugs were accompanied by an increased risk of “vascular events”, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and death from one of those events. Because of the results of the clinical trials, some of the early COX-2 inhibitors were pulled from the market, while warning labels were added to others.

Acetaminophen (Tylenoltm) is not classified as an NSAID because its anti-inflammatory properties are weak. It is strictly used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Researchers are still unsure about how it works. The latest theory is that it blocks nerve signals in the spinal column. These signals transmit feelings of pain to the brain. Adverse side effects associated with regular or prolonged acetaminophen use include:

  • Liver damage 
  • Increased risk of certain kinds of cancer 
  • Potentially fatal skin reactions 
  • Increased risk of hearing loss 
  • Glutathione depletion 

Acetaminophen overdoses are very common. The drug is the cause of more calls to poison control centers than any other pharmaceutical. The maximum recommended daily doses are known to cause liver failure and doctors have been asked to reduce the maximum recommended dosage but have yet to do so. Since it is available without a prescription, you could accidentally take a toxic dose just by trying to reduce your pain.

Despite all of the health risks and negative side effects, none of the arthritis drugs address the root cause of the pain. They cannot honestly be called arthritis treatments. They do not improve the condition at all. They only block the pain. They address the symptoms, not the cause. Natural alternatives are different.

Natural Alternatives – Many Pleasant Side Benefits

Natural alternatives may address the causes of arthritis and give you many pleasant side benefits.

The main addressable causes are:

  • Inadequate nutrient intake and/or poor nutrient absorption 
  • Free radical damage 
  • Glycation and Advanced Glycation End-Products or AGEs 
  • Inefficient methylation 
  • Chronic inflammation 
  • Excessive body fat 

Inadequate nutrient intake may seem like a simple thing to address. Practically everyone takes a multi-vitamin but to really get any benefit, you need more than your typical multi-vitamin has to offer.

Poor nutrient absorption is a problem that can accompany the aging process. NSAID use can make the problem worse by irritating and damaging the lining of the digestive tract. Most nutrient absorption occurs in the small intestine where tiny finger-like projections grab nutrients as they pass by and send them directly to the bloodstream.

These projections are easily damaged.

  • A good prebiotic (not probiotic) supplement containing whole kiwifruit can help to heal the digestive system to improve nutrient absorption. 


  • Side benefits include fewer digestive complaints…reduced constipation, reduced symptoms of irritable bowel, less gas, less acid reflux, reduced heartburn, etc. 

Free radical damage is something that most people have heard of, but few understand. It occurs due to a lack of antioxidants in the bloodstream, cells and tissues of the body. Some decrease in the body’s antioxidant capacity occurs with age. This is complicated by the factors of inadequate nutrient intake and poor nutrient absorption.

  • Glutathione is a potent antioxidant. If you have taken Tylenoltm for pain in the past, glutathione depletion could be one of your problems. 


  • Glutathione, lutein, bilberry, l-Carnosine and green tea extract are all antioxidants that can be found in some of the better totally balanced multi-nutritional supplements. 


  • N-acetyl L-cysteine and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) can also be found in these supplements and are known to quickly reverse glutathione depletion. 


  • Side benefits of a supplement containing these ingredients could include better looking skin, reduced risk of cancer, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, better liver function and many others. 

AGEs are produced when you eat too many simple carbohydrates – breads, baked goods, pasta, white rice, sugary beverages and sweet treats. The molecules have the ability to do even more damage than free radicals. If they get inside of a cell they can harden and destroy the cell. AGEs play a role in everything from arthritis to wrinkles.


  • L-Carnosine is the only nutrient known to inhibit the formation of AGEs. 


  • Side benefits of l-Carnosine may include reduced wrinkles by inhibiting the processes that cause collagen and other skin proteins to clump and collapse. 

The body’s methylation processes must be kept in good working order. Inefficient methylation leads to all kinds of degenerative diseases. Degeneration of the joints is the underlying cause of arthritis pain. Supporting your body’s methylation processes may help to reverse existing degeneration and can certainly prevent further degeneration.

  • Nutrients that support efficient methylation include SAMe, the B vitamins, TMG, methionine, ATP and folic acid. 


  • Side benefits of increased intake of these nutrients may include better mood and reduced feelings of depression, better memory and a reduced risk of liver disease, reduced risk of heart disease and a reduced risk of stroke. 

Chronic inflammation is a problem for many people, not just those with arthritis and other painful conditions. Inflammation plays more of a role in Rheumatoid than in osteoarthritis but it is still a problem and we know that blocking inflammation reduces pain in all kinds of arthritis.

  • Reducing free radical damage and glycation will help to reduce inflammation. 


  • Carnosine and glutathione supplementation combined with the potent natural anti-inflammatory resveratrol will practically stop the inflammatory process. 


  • The best multi-nutritional supplements contain all of those ingredients. 


  • The side benefits should include better overall health, an improved sense of well-being and a reduced risk of all kinds of degenerative diseases. 

Excessive body fat contributes to chronic inflammation.

Being overweight or obese puts undue stress on the joints but that’s not the only problem. Research has shown that reducing body fat, specifically, not just weight loss but a loss of body fat, reduced pain in all of the joints of the body, not just the weight bearing joints. It is likely that the chronic inflammation caused by the excess body fat is the main factor in this equation.

While no supplement can honestly be called a magic pill when it comes to fat loss, a totally balanced multi-nutritional supplement designed for your sex (male or female) could help you lose body fat by balancing your hormone levels and improving your nutrient intake to reduce feelings of hunger. Some nutrients such as green tea and resveratrol seem to have “fat-burning” activity. So, those could help too.

Regardless of your weight, your age or your sex, a good multi-nutritional supplement combined with a kiwifruit prebiotic can help you by addressing the causes of arthritis.

If you feel that you need even more help, there are green lipped mussel supplements with proven benefits for arthritis and other specialty supplements designed specifically for arthritis.

Instead of taking the risks, why not enjoy the benefits? 

Give Natural a Go!

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