Could drinking alcohol be a natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis? According to research by scientists at the University of Sheffield and partly funded by Arthritis Research UK, drinking alcohol eases the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as appearing to reduce its severity too.
In the study, 873 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 1,004 people who did not have it were asked how often they had drunk alcohol in the month prior to the start of the study plus completed a detailed questionnaire, had X-rays and blood tests taken and a nurse examined their joints. It was found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently had symptoms that were less severe than those who had never drunk alcohol or only drank it infrequently. This may possibly be attributed to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol. X-rays further showed that there was less damage to their joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation. Patients reported less joint pain, swelling and disability.
CAUTION: Arthritis Research UK do not recommend rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to take this research to mean that they should go out and start drinking alcohol frequently and in large amounts as this could be detrimental to their health. Some RA treatments, like the immunosuppressant drug methotrexate, could damage the liver when taken with large amounts of alcohol.