There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and they all involve pain and inflammation in your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a special case because it means your immune system has gone haywire and mistakenly believes your joint tissue is a foreign body.
Scientists still aren’t sure why this happens and haven’t yet developed a cure, but we know that inflammation is a huge factor and that oxidative stress is often the culprit. Our expert team at Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, has decades of experience diagnosing and treating complex health conditions, and we have hopeful news for folks living with rheumatoid arthritis — glutathione.
You know rheumatoid arthritis gives you painful, swollen, stiff joints, but do you know why? Once you understand the science behind the disease, you’ll better understand the treatments.
Like all autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis sets in when your immune system becomes confused and malfunctions. In this case, it targets the tissue surrounding your joints called the synovium. Its offensive team is an army of inflammatory chemicals that zero in on your synovium and cause them to thicken.
It’s easy to see how thickened tissues in your joints can cause pain and immobility, but there’s another problem at play, too. Your synovium typically produces the fluid that lubricates your joints, allowing them to bend and twist smoothly. When rheumatoid arthritis damages and changes the synovium, your joints lose that vital lubricating fluid, leading to further pain, damage, and loss of mobility.
If you‘ve never heard the phrase oxidative stress, it’s time to get familiar because it’s a big problem when you have rheumatoid arthritis.
Put simply, oxidative stress is when you have more free radicals than antioxidants in your system. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have an odd number of electrons, which means that they can interact with other molecules when they’re not supposed to, causing a condition called oxidation.
Antioxidants are the heroes in this scenario because they come along and donate one of their electrons to the free radicals (also called reactive oxygen species) and stabilize them.
So, how does oxidative stress relate to rheumatoid arthritis?
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, you not only have an immune system problem, but you also have way too many free radicals, and that’s bad news for your already painful, swollen joints. Each condition feeds off the other, and your inflammation and oxidative stress create a cycle that keeps inflammation constant and thriving.
In addition to too many free radicals, you have too few antioxidants, further exacerbating the problem. This vicious cycle leads to cell death, immune problems, and joint damage.
Finally, oxidative stress can lead to synovial hyperplasia — science-speak for too many cells growing in the joints — and cause bone and cartilage damage.
We’ve explained that people with rheumatoid arthritis produce a lot of inflammatory molecules and often suffer from oxidative stress, but there’s an upside to the problem — oxidative stress can make your tissues more porous, making it easier to deliver beneficial medications and supplements into them.
Here’s where glutathione comes in. It’s one of the most potent antioxidants your body produces, and its superpowers are neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation. Once again, science explains this process. Technically, glutathione lowers your levels of two biomarkers we often find in folks with rheumatoid arthritis: rheumatoid factor and malondialdehyde.
Our experienced Advanced Medical Care team takes the time to assess your condition, discuss your symptoms, and determine if you’re a good candidate for glutathione injections for rheumatoid arthritis.
You can’t cure rheumatoid arthritis, but you can significantly reduce the inflammation and ease your symptoms with glutathione. Call us in Brooklyn or Queens, or book an appointment online and find out if glutathione can help.