Multiple approaches to fighting rheumatoid arthritis

– Jonathan Wright,MD

Q: I’ve been trying to research treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, but am just getting overwhelmed. Can you help steer me in the right direction?

Dr. Wright: I’ve observed improvement in every case of rheumatoid arthritis with elimination and desensitization of food allergy. Milk and dairy are almost always major allergens in people with this form of arthritis and have even been the subject of mainstream medical research into RA (which showed that eliminating milk and dairy worked to alleviate symptoms). But even though dairy is usually a primary culprit, there are always multiple allergens aggravating rheumatoid arthritis.


Find and work with a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in food allergy as well as nutritional medicine; a good place to start is with a member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM). To find one near you visit

But while food allergy elimination and desensitization improve rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes dramatically and always noticeably, it doesn’t cure the problem.

Over the years, multiple studies have also reported a high incidence of stomach malfunction (specifically, low levels of hydrochloric acid and pepsin) in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. These reports also revealed that just replacing the “missing” hydrochloric acid and pepsin — without making any other changes — can significantly improve many cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

So with this in mind, I always ask individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to have a gastric analysis done. In the majority of instances, the test discloses low stomach function (low acid).

If this is the case for you, consider supplementing with either betaine hydrochloride-pepsin or glutamic-acid hydrochloride-pepsin before meals.

I usually recommend starting out by taking one capsule (5, 7 1/2, or 10 grains). After two or three days, if there are no problems, use two capsules in the early part of the meal; then, several days later, increase the amount to three capsules. The dose is gradually increased in this steplike fashion until it equals 40 to 70 grains per meal.

You’ll probably need to work with a doctor on this aspect of rheumatoid arthritis, too. On rare occasion treatment with hydrochloric acid can be dangerous, so it should only be used when testing indicates a need. Though problems occur rarely, they can be bad ones.

Hydrochloric acid should never be used at the same time as aspirin, Butazolidin, Inodicin, Motrin, or any other anti-inflammatory medication. These medications themselves can cause stomach bleeding and ulcers, so using hydrochloric acid with them increases the risk.

And last but not least, many research studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil significantly reduce the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Generally, I recommend taking 1 tablespoonful of cod liver oil with 400 I.U. of vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) twice daily.

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