One in three people are likely to get arthritis. Some may experience mild pain, while other may experience pain that is quite severe.
Arthritis most commonly attacks the extremities. You are likely to feel joint pain in your fingers and feet. You may also experience joint pain in your hips, knees, and/or lower back.
Doctors still don’t know exactly what causes arthritis, but they do know that certain things are likely to aggravate it. Doing the same activity over and over again for years can cause chronic joint pain to develop. So can an injury. Sometimes, doctors believe, arthritis is simply hereditary — if your parents had it, you might get it, too.
Treatments for arthritis vary, but by far the most common is to take medication. Pain-killing drugs can give you some relief from symptoms by blocking pain receptors in your body. But they wear off and then you must take some more.
Scientists have been searching for decades for a cure that will offer lasting relief from joint pain. Research has circled back to the issue of diet many times over the past years. Are there foods that aggravate joint pain? Are there foods that soothe joint pain? Can a certain diet actually prevent arthritis from occurring?
Much has been written about omega-3 fatty acids. Recent research reveals that these healthy fats can reduce inflammation in the joints.
Now researchers have discovered that a compound found in vitamin A called retinoic acid may be able to help arthritis suffers.
They did a study on rats, in which the rats were infected with T-cells. T-cells are a type of blood cell that plays an important role in inflammatory diseases in the body. When the rats were given retinoic acid, the number of T-cells they had dropped.
This is an important discovery, the researchers said, because this means inflammation can be controlled. If retinoic acid works the same way in humans, then it can be used to fight arthritis.
The researchers also said retinoic acid may help with autoimmune diseases, such as colitis, as well.
One other possibility is to use retinoic acid to prevent the immune system from attacking skin grafts. Skin grafts are used when someone suffers a burn, injury, or has extensive surgery that damages surrounding tissue.
The findings were published in the June 14 online issue of “Science.”
It is not clear whether vitamin A in its complete form is just as effective. Retinoic acid appears when vitamin A is broken down in the body.
Until further studies have been completed, it certainly doesn’t hurt to make sure you are meeting your RDI for vitamin A (600 mcg).