Vitamin B is not only essential if you suffer from arthritis, but it is also vital for general health. It is involved in hundreds of bodily functions. Amongst other benefits, it is involved in energy production, a healthy nervous system, good skin, hormone production and balance and prostaglandin production- a function that makes it key in controlling the inflammation in arthritis. Another key link is its involvement in keeping homocysteine levels under control. Homocysteine plays a vital role in your general health. Let us look at the different types of vitamin B and how it will benefit you if you suffer from arthritis:
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
For about 60 years now, it is known that a vitamin B5 deficiency in animals causes osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. When animals deficient in B5 received supplements, their arthritis improved and their inflammation levels (ESR levels) dropped. Since then, it has been confirmed that people with rheumatoid arthritis are nearly always lacking in B5. Studies show that when deficient patients receive B5 injections, their symptoms improve in about seven days. When the injections stop, their symptoms return. Also, when rheumatoid arthritis patients received 500mg of pantothenic acid four times a day, they experience a reduction in morning stiffness and pain after about two months.
So how does it work to improve your joint pain? There are a few theories as to how exactly it works, but the one that makes the most sense is that B5 is required for the body to make its own corticosteroids. That will explain why it improves rheumatoid arthritis. As for its benefits for osteoarthritis, it might improve the body's calcium balance. Calcium is essential for joint health. You could probably benefit by taking about 500-1000mg per day for a trial period of two months.
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or niacinamide, has been used to successfully treat arthritis for many years. Its beneficial effect for arthritis was discovered when niacin was used to treat schizophrenia and cholesterol. Patients receiving this treatment reported improvements in their arthritis. More recent studies conclusively show that B3 supplementation reduces inflammation and improved range of motion. Most patients supplementing with B3 are able to reduce their pain medication. Vit B3 is also very effective in controlling high cholesterol. Note that the niacin form of B3 causes a blushing and a feeling of pins and needles. This reaction is normal and actually shows the power of this nutrient. If the blushing reaction is too severe, you can opt for the niacinamide form, which doesn't cause blushing. Some companies also have a non-blushing form of niacin. Taking more than 2000mg of any B3 is pushing the limit. Take between 500mg-100mg vitamin B3 for arthritis and cholesterol.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 benefits arthritis patients by controlling pain and improving joint mobility. It works by shrinking the synovial membranes of weight bearing joints. It is also involved in the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Studies have found that when the body is an inflammatory state, as with rheumatoid arthritis, the body uses up more B6 and overall levels drop. This indicates that the body uses this nutrient to fight inflammation. B6 is also used very successfully to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Often, surgery is avoided after sustained B6 supplementation. 50mg can be taken to improve joint pain.
Folic Acid and Vitamin B12
In a study of 26 people that suffered from osteoarthritis in their hands, most patients showed less pain in their hand joints after supplementing with a combination of folic acid and vitamin B12. The study reported that the patients experienced no side-effects like those associated with taking pain medication. You probable need about 200mcg of folic acid and 10mcg of B12 to benefit the most.