Arthritis – treating inflamed joints with flavonoids

Dr Paul Clayton 2003

Most anti-arthritis drugs, from oldies such as ibuprofen (eg. Nurofen) to newer ones such as Celebrex and Zyflo, work by blocking two key enzymes which help to drive the process of inflammation: cyclo-oxygenase (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO). These drugs, however, are linked to serious side effects such as peptic ulceration and blood disorders.

Certain foods contain compounds called flavonoids (formerly known as Vitamin P), which can also block these enzymes. Ginger, turmeric and cherry extracts, which contain high levels of flavonoids, have all been shown to exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Doctors are notoriously reluctant to take folk medicine seriously – but now a major new double-blind, placebocontrolled study has shown that daily doses of flavonoids provide significant relief of pain in patients with arthritis(1). At 500 mg/day, the flavonoids were more effective than the standard drugs at relieving pain and stiffness, and improving mobility at 30 days into the trial; and remained effective throughout the full 90 days.

There were no side effects – unless, that is, you count the protection against heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer that have been strongly linked to these valuable compounds. Other food sources include citrus and berry fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, cocoa, chocolate and beverages such as tea, coffee or wine.


Univestin: A New Treatment for Arthritis, 1st International Conference on Polyphenols, Vichy, France, Oct ’03.