Researchers at the University of Londrina, Brazil have come up with a promising study that finds a natural pain relief for joint pain linked with rheumatoid arthritis. It states that cranberries can effectively relieve the pain in joints during the condition. The research team has identified a compound found in cranberries and other wild foods to alleviate genes causing inflammation. As a result, it effectively works for joint pain.
Around 2 million people in the U.S. and approximately 400,000 in the U.K. are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues and causes inflammation and pain in the joints. This inflammatory condition is typically observed in females and can be felt in the hands, feet, wrists, and in twenty-five other joints.
The study follow up continued for over ninety days, employing forty-one women. All of them were asked to consume a half liter of cranberry juice daily which showed lower levels of antibodies that attack the immune system. After ninety days of the low-calorie cranberry juice diet, the women reported less swollen joints and less tender joints.
These reports were backed up by blood samples, measuring the women’s anti-CCP antibody levels. These antibodies cause damage to the joints and are produced by an overactive immune system. The women, who drank cranberry juice every day, exhibited lower levels of anti-CCP antibodies than the women who stayed with their normal diet.
How is cranberry juice effective?
The pain relief secret of cranberries is accredited to a compound called quercetin. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that dials down the inflammation-causing genes in the joints. In addition, cranberries also contain myricetin. It is a polyphenol antioxidant that contributes to the overall anti-inflammatory effect of cranberries. Furthermore, the fruit also contains ursolic acid i.e. another strong anti-inflammatory compound.
All of these reported anti-inflammatory compounds protect, not only the musculoskeletal system but also the cardiovascular system and reduce the stiffness in the vesicles. Most importantly, cranberries reserve A-type proanthocyanidins. They are condensed tannins that give cranberries their antibacterial properties. They potentially prevent a kind of bad bacteria called H. pylori from attaching to the lining of the stomach. Therefore, they are effective against stomach cancer.
According to the researchers, a half-liter of raw cranberry juice contains approximately 82 units of quercetin. On the other hand, elderberry concentrate contains 108.16 units of quercetin per 3.5 ounces. In addition, raw onions, peppers, capers, bee pollen, fennel leaves, okra, cocoa powder, buckwheat, radish leaves, lovage leaves, St. Johns’ wort flowers, and coriander leaves serve as rich sources of quercetin.
Adding to your information, quercetin is found in lesser amounts in kale, asparagus, blueberries, watercress, oregano, cabbage, black currants, apples, and spinach.
According to the researchers, this study indicates that cranberry juice alleviates disease activity. Therefore, it has advantageous effects for rheumatoid arthritis patients. There is still a need for larger and long-term studies to definitely probe this effect and clarify the mechanisms involved.
This study is significant because it presents one of the natural treatments for a condition like arthritis. Medicines used for such diseases often come with various side effects. Thus, these natural compounds are better as they offer minimal side effects.