Can a Multivitamin a Day Keep Arthritis Symptoms at Bay?

Getting the proper amount of vitamins is important for everyone, but particularly so for arthritis sufferers or those at risk of arthritis. And since it can be difficult to get enough of certain vitamins and minerals via food and drink alone, a multivitamin is the safest way to get all of your dietary needs met. But what exactly is in that multivitamin that makes it something no arthritis patient should skip? Here's what a quality multi delivers:

  • Vitamin D.  There's significant evidence that a lack of Vitamin D corresponds to an increase in rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers at Boston University's School of Public Health conducted a study that revealed a higher incidence of the disease among women living in northeastern states such as Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. These states experience less sunlight than do climes further south, and sunlight allows your body to make Vitamin D. The scientists aren't positive that the lack of Vitamin D is the cause of the higher levels of rheumatoid arthritis in the northern latitudes, but they note that low levels of D are associated with several other autoimmune diseases. For extra D, rheumatologist Scott Zashin, MD, recommends that people allow themselves to get 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun exposure.
  • Folic acid. We hear a lot about folic acid being important for pregnant women in order to prevent neural-tube defects in their babies, but it's also crucial for rheumatoid arthritis patients who take the drug methotrexate as part of their treatment. Why? Methotrexate is one of several medications that can interfere with the body's metabolization of folic acid. Over time, this may cause anemia as well as other symptoms such as digestive upsets and the accumulation of too much homocysteine (a blood amino acid that's a risk factor for stroke and other cardiovascular problems).
  • Vitamin C. Interestingly, two studies have delivered contradictory results on Vitamin C and arthritis. One showed that osteoarthritis patients taking large amounts of Vitamin C actually made their symptoms worse, while a second study demonstrated a link between low levels of C and the development of rheumatoid arthritis. The takeaway? Get the proper amount of Vitamin C to keep your body its healthiest. Strawberries, oranges, red peppers and citrus fruits are great additions to your diet.


American Heart Association,

Arthritis Today,

Dr. Scott Zashin,

Boston University School of Public Health,