Treat RA naturally?: My liver is NOT liking RA meds... - NRAS

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Treat RA naturally?


My liver is NOT liking RA meds. How can I treat RA naturally? I'm looking for diet and/supplement suggestions. What options are there when my liver enzymes elevate? I'm only in my 4th year of RA and am only 51.

19 Replies

Hi ddmc,

I am sorry to read you are having a rough time right now....when our liver kicks off we simply feel so unwell and that on top of the RA makes life quite unpleasant

I have accepted that I need to have medical intervention to try and get my RA into remission and I do however understand your desire to treat naturally

I do not have a great deal of experience in what else is out there....I did do the usual google searches and I could only find different diet gluten free, nightshade food free, Mediterranean diets, etc etc. and all will have followers who swear by them

Each of us is individual and reacts differently to our medications and alternative options so I think you should explore and see if one works for you.

I know there are a few people on this site who have/do follow particular diets and hopefully they will see your post and give you more information than I can

Regarding your treatment now you do not say what medication you are on, however if your rheumatology team are really worried they would change your medication, perhaps you can request an appointment to discuss your medication and its current side effects....again there are many different treatment options available

I do hope you can get this issue resolved


Arthritis Research UK has just published a book called Complementary and Alternative Medicines for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. The only thing it lists as have much effect on RA is fish body oil. It seems you have to take quite a lot over many months but some people reported noticeable improvement. Rosehips had a small effect but everything else they tried didn't have much of an effect on RA. I've heard a very simple raw vegetable diet can have an effect too. xxx

Hi Ddmc, sorry to hear you're having such a lot of problems with RA meds, it must be a very worrying time for you. Is it just Dmards you've been given or have you had problems with biologics too? In my case mtx has had an enormous impact on my quality of life and I must admit I dread the day when I have to say goodbye to it. I take fish oil capsules daily and eat oily fish at least twice a week. I try to eat a natural "clean" diet which cuts out processed foods as much as possible. My esr is now down to 5!!! I can hardly believe it but it makes me very happy. I like to think the diet has an impact but in reality it's more than likely the mtx. I'm going to speak to my rheumatologist about stepping down my drugs in the near future to see what happens as I suppose that's the only way to know for sure. Has your rheumatologist advised what the next step will be for you if you can't tolerate RA meds?

Paula x

in reply to paulywoo

ESR down to 5????!!!! Oh, you must be over the moon! mtx is great for me too. Good for you! xx

in reply to lynn-bel

Thanks Lynn :-) It's great when it works and fingers crossed it continues to work for us both x

Hi I'm also sorry to hear you're having a tough time.

I'm newly diagnosed and started mtx last week. For the past 4 years myself and my children have been seeing a homeopath with good results. Now whilst I'm not silly enough to think that she can treat my RA I will take homeopathic remedies prescribed by her to help with the side effects of the RA meds. For instance last week I had quite severe nausea and the remedies I took really helped with this. I had some anti sickness pills from my GP too but only want to take GP prescribed meds if I really have too as u feel I take enough drugs, other than the mtx etc. I'm seeing her on Wednesday and I know she will look to prescribe remedies to help with my liver function and also for my immune system.

Now I know that its not for everyone and I was certainly extremely sceptical before I first saw her which was for chronic sinusitis. Since seeing her over 4 years ago none of my family have needed antibiotics for anything. My children were always getting throat n ear infections and they are fine now.

For me Homeopathy can work really well alongside conventional meds seeing someone that is properly qualified and has been recommended to me.

I know it may not be for you and we are all different but it does work well for me. Just a suggestion as you asked for alternatives. I'm feeling quite anxious posting this as I know it might be a bit controversial but I'm just sharing my experiences.

Thanks Rosie x

in reply to Rosie_rabbit

Hi Rosie, I do not think your post is controversial and you actually have me thinking about homeopathic remedies.

It is strange that before i got this disease I would always consider alternative options and suddenly all of that stopped. I do not know why....maybe it was the shock and grief of my life changing from everything i it is more under control maybe it is now time to start looking at other options, that will assist with the disease rather than cure which was possibly the thought process in my head

thank you


in reply to Hidden

Thank you Katie and I'm really glad you've found it helpful. I'll let you know how I get on with the homeopathy helping the RA. Rx

in reply to Rosie_rabbit

Oh please do Rosie...shall look forward to hearing about it

Katie x

in reply to Hidden

Rosie and Katie - I was v. interested to read about the homeopathy too. Often thought about it - I think anything is worth investigating. x

Will do Katie and Lyn. Took mtx last night, nausea started this afternoon, took remedy and feeling better. Will let you know what the homeopath says tomorrow xx

Ginger really helps me when nauseous -either ginger tea or sprinkling ginger on something you eat. Keep the faith and good luck. xxx

I will be v. interested to know what the homeopath says.

in reply to Hidden

Hi Katie, I'm having trouble PMing you about this as it says you don't exist which I'm sure you do!! Can you try sending me a message and then I can reply to you, thanks Rx

in reply to Hidden

I just tried to reply to this post and it stuck my response lower down ... Don't know what's occurring tonight!! ... Katie can you PM me please as I don't seem to be able to find you....!! Rx

Thank you, all, who have responded to my question! I really appreciate your comments! When I was first diagnosed, I was started on Plaquenil. It worked well for a couple of years, but then I broke out with a rash and had to come off of it. Next, I went on sulfasalazine. After a week of severe stomach cramps, I had to stop taking it. Next, I took Methorexate with frolic acid. It wasn't very effective, so I was switched to leflunomide with Oxyprozin. This combination worked great for allow two years. I was actually pain free most of the time! That is, until my liver enzymes elevated last winter. We tried cutting the dose in half, but that didn't work. The enzymes dropped after I went totally off Leflunomide. (I confess, up until this summer, I questioned the RA diagnosis! the pain I've had this summer, well, I no longer question it!). The rheumy wants me to go on Enbrel, but 1) the co-pay is $1200 a month, which is impossible for me and 2) I just am not wanting to move to TNF-alpha inhibitors yet. I realize that is most likely in the future, if I can get financial assistance, but I feel like I need to go there as a last result. We are trying Mtx with Oxyprozin together (and frolic acid) to see if the liver can handle it. Maybe it can and maybe it can't. I don't know. Like I said, Mtx wasn't effective before, so I am searching for other options in the meantime.

Thank you again for your suggestions!!!!! You have given me some ideas to research.


Sorry about your problems with meds - I am quite lucky with MTX. However, I do take (and swear by) the following - and yes, I do rattle!!!

Fish Oil, Starflower Oil, Vit. E, Vit. C, Green Lip Mussel Extract, MSM (a sulphur supplement also good for hair and nails) and something called Osteofood (has Vit D, calcium and soya to guard against osteoperosis).

I cut back on the nightshade family - tomatoes, peppers, aubergines (but can't face cutting back on my beloved potatoes I'm afraid). My pain was relieved quite a bit when I stopped eating tomatoes, so I keep them to a minimum. Love rhubarb but it doesnt love me - the acid I think!

Spices like turmeric, cinammon and ginger also help with inflammation and pain. Rose hip apparently is a fairly recent treatment for RA inflammation.

Having said all of the above - you prob. should speak with your RA consultant about it as you should get proper meds and I'm sure they can come up with something for you.

Alternative medicines and therapies can be very helpful and effective - some swear by them, some not. I do feel my supplements help me, been taking them for years. I am very open to all avenues of healthcare - my husband went to a Chinese doctor many years ago for his psoraisis after trying conventional treatments and what they prescribed for him worked a treat!

Before you try anything, research it well and of course talk with your GP because they should be aware of anything you are taking (some pooh pooh supplements, some don't).

Good luck with whatever avenue you go down and I'm sure you will get some great advice on this site.

Lynn x

I can understand only too well your wish to find a simpler, less dangerous way of treating RA. Please don't take this the wrong way - but "natural" does not equal "free from harm". Natural includes things like foxglove - containing digitalis, used for treating heart conditions, but needing very careful control of the dosage. Natural includes cannabis which can be used to relax muscles and relieve pain - but can also trigger serious mental illness in susceptible people.

Evaluate "natural" treatments in the same way as you are obviously having to evaluate "conventional". Many alternative treatments are also very costly, as well as having dangers. The only treatments that don't have side effects or risks of harm are those that don't work either!

I always check that the people treated are like me - that they have the same conditions, etc. That the effects of the treatment could not have been produced by something else (time, natural variations, placebo response, etc.). And what the possible harms are - this is often not clear in reports about alternative or complementary treatments unfortunately.

Best of luck with finding things that help.


Sorry yo hear that you have been suffering. I use ginger as in a drink form (ginger beer) non alcoholic of course..this relly helps me.

I do take cider vinegar too,strange taste but you do get used to it.

Good luck and always infom your health professionals before commencing any new treatments.


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