Nutraceuticals of anti-inflammatory activity as complementary therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Sep;30(8):738-49. doi: 10.1177/0748233712462468. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by elevated oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers. The severe side effects of drug used during such disease necessitate the search for new and safe approaches. Food is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory bioactive constituents including phenolic compounds, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, toccopherols, and carotenoids. We have a series of publications dealing with the anti-inflammatory activity of different food extracts (as nutraceuticals) in experimental animals (acute and chronic inflammation model) and in clinical study (RA patients). Fish oil, primrose oil, extracts of black cumin, fenugreek, liquorice, coriander, tomato, carrot, sweet potato, broccoli, green tea, rosemary, hazelnut, walnut, wheat germ, and date in addition to the probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum were the nutraceuticals studied. During these studies, changes in inflammatory biomarkers (erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), seromucoids, fibrinogen, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), prostaglandin E2), oxidative stress (malondialdehyde), antioxidant status (total antioxidant capacity, vitamin C, vitamin E, retinol, β-carotene), the level of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) and colonic microflora in response to the administration of nutraceuticals have been assessed. Results of these studies showed that the majority of nutraceuticals studied possess beneficial effect toward chronic inflammatory diseases, which might be due to the presence of one or more of the above-mentioned phytochemicals.

Conclusion: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutraceuticals may serve as complementary medicine for the management of RA.

Keywords: Inflammation; animal study; biomarkers; clinical study; nutraceuticals; rheumatoid arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers