Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Overview:

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory and autoimmune condition affecting the joints. it is much more frequent in females than males (3:1), and has genetic, hormonal, viral, and environmental risk factors.



Onset tends to be gradual, and will affect the smaller joints first in the hands, wrists, and feet (compared to osteoarthritis).

  • Genetic factors

  • Hormonal factors

  • Environmental factors

  • Viral factors

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Gradually increasing pain in the hands, wrist and feet

Most painful in the morning

Nodules around the joints

Joint swelling (usually symetrical)

Skin changes

Deformity of the joint

Warmth of affected area


Systemic Effects:

Rheumatoid granulomas near affected joints

Systemic vasculitis

Skin ulcers

Scleritis (eyes)


Heart valve dysfunctions

Kidney infarction




Diagnostic Considerations

  • Rheumatoid factor (RF)
  • Antinuclear antibodies (ANA)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Anti-DNA antibodies
  • IgA, IgM, IgG
  • Anticyclic-citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP)
  • Cardiolipin autoantibodies
  • Antiscleroderma antibodies (anti-SCL-70)
  • Anti-Sjogren’s syndrome A (anti-SSA)

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Alleviate the symptoms of inflammation and pain


  • ...

2. Repair and normalise gut function


  • ...
  • ...

3. Improve stress adaptation


  • Nervines
  • Adaptogens

4. Support primary immunity


  • ...
  • ...

5. Reduce allergenic load


  • ...

Differential Diagnosis:

  • Osteoarthritis


Herbs For Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Apium graveolens

  • Harpagophytum procumbens

  • Bupleurum falcatum

  • Echinacea spp.

  • Eschscholzia californica

  • Guaiacum officinale

  • Hemidesmus indicus

  • Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

  • Salix spp.

  • Panax ginseng

  • Valeriana officinalis

  • Iris versicolor

  • Dioscorea villosa

  • Smilax spp

  • Withania somnifera

  • Centella asiatica

  • Acetaea racemosa

  • Corydalis ambigua

  • Phytolacca decandra


Nutritional Considerations For Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Se, Zn

  • Vitamin A, C, D, E

  • EFAs

  • Manganese

  • Bromelain, Quercetin

  • Bs

  • Digestive enzymes

  • Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Green-Lipped Mussel


Dietary Considerations For Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Avoid allergenic foods – inc. lectins

  • High flavonoids

  • Avoid salicylates

  • Avoid sugar, caffeine, OH, red meat, SFA, trans fat, processed foods, chemical additives

  • EFAs

  • Vegetarian sources of protein



Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018


  1. Arnett, F. C., Edworthy, S. M., Bloch, D. A., Mcshane, D. J., Fries, J. F., Cooper, N. S., ... & Medsger Jr, T. A. (1988). The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, 31(3), 315-324.

  2. Steinbrocker, O., Traeger, C. H., & Batterman, R. C. (1949). Therapeutic criteria in rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 140(8), 659-662.

  3. Prevoo, M. L. L., Van'T Hof, M., Kuper, H. H., Van Leeuwen, M. A., Van De Putte, L. B. A., & Van Riel, P. L. C. M. (1995). Modified disease activity scores that include twenty‐eight‐joint counts development and validation in a prospective longitudinal study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, 38(1), 44-48.

  4. Kremer, J. M. (2000). n− 3 Fatty acid supplements in rheumatoid arthritis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(1), 349s-351s.

  5. Rennie, K. L., Hughes, J., Lang, R., & Jebb, S. A. (2003). Nutritional management of rheumatoid arthritis: a review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 16(2), 97-109.