More news on the arthritis front: a compound found in vitamin A could help ease painful inflammation. It’s called retinoic acid. If you’re not familiar with retinoic acid, it’s a nutrient that comes from vitamin A and that your body needs, in small amounts, to stay healthy.
All-trans retinoic acid (to use its full name) helps your cells grow and develop into healthy, mature cells. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has made headlines for its potential to fight cancer.
It’s been used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow).
RECOMMENDED: Healing benefits of vitamin A
As far as inflammation goes, researchers from the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul think they have tracked down exactly how retinoic acid helps.
They conducted an animal study and found that ATRA significantly suppressed arthritis in mice. ATRA did this by reducing the expression of IL-17 in arthritic joints. IL-17 isn’t all bad—it’s a proinflammatory cytokine that destroys pathogens invading your immune system.
However, when it comes to arthritis, IL-17 is responsible for triggering the inflammatory response that makes your joints hurt.
If you would like to explore taking ATRA for arthritis symptoms, check with your doctor first.
In the meantime, make sure you’re getting the recommended daily intake of vitamin A: 625 ug/day for adult men; and 500 ug/day for adult women.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Kwok, S.K., et al., “Retinoic acid attenuates rheumatoid inflammation in mice,” J Immunol. July 15, 2012; 189(2): 1,062–71.
National Academy of Sciences, Instiute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, “Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements,” Institute of Medicine of the National Academies web site, last accessed March 7, 2013.