Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that attacks the joints via an autoimmune dysfunction. It can also damage your skin, eyes, lungs, and even your heart.
While osteoarthritis is usually due to wear and tear on the joint, RA attacks the lining of the joints from the inside, causing chronic inflammation. The usual treatment involves using immunosuppressive drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
But, those treatments also come with a slew of side effects, which in some cases can be severe.
Flavonoids—an alternative treatment?
Flavonoids are a phenolic compound, and they exist is many plants and fruits. As the name implies, these compounds are what give plants their colors and flavors. Flavonoids are known to have many beneficial properties.
- Many have strong anti-inflammatory effects;
- They have protective anti-oxidant properties;
- They exhibit immunomodulatory properties.
To date, only a few have actually been tested or used in a clinical environment when it comes to RA. The study is still new, but the signs are encouraging.
Hesperidin, a citrus flavonoid
Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in lemons, oranges, (including blood oranges), grapefruits, and limes, along with peppermint. A 2008 study by Chinese researchers looked at using hesperidin with rats who have AA, the rat equivalent of human RA.
- Joint swelling was reduced;
- Arthritic responses were reduced;
- Pathological changes due to arthritis were improved;
- The extent of changes depended on the dose given.
Blood work confirmed beneficial changes, including suppressing the T-lymphocytes and other cells that work to attack the joint linings.
While none of the results are conclusive as yet, other studies point to the way hespiridin’s anti-inflammatory properties can help in treating and maintaining joint health.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Inflammation looked at using hesperidin to enhance the effects of stems cells in repairing cartilage tissue.
The results pointed to the potential for using hesperidin to inhibit inflammation, which helps the body repair cartilage tissue. As the study notes, RA, OA, trauma, and many other degenerative diseases affect the joints, and about 15% of the population in North America. A treatment option with such good potential is worthy of further exploration.