Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the medical conditions that you don’t want to experience, especially if you are fond of typing on your computer.
RA attacks your immune system. It causes pain in various parts of your body.
There’s no cure for RA, unfortunately. Thankfully, some treatments can help you manage its symptoms.
One of the treatments being scrutinized now is cord blood. But can cord blood help rheumatoid arthritis?
That’s what we’re going to find out in this post.
How Can Cord Blood Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The umbilical cord used to be discarded as waste material. Scientists found that it’s a useful source of stem cells.
With that discovery, doctors have been using it since 1989.
A stem cell has the unique ability to develop into various types of cells. Our body has over 200 types of cells. Each type has specific characteristics to perform a certain role.
Scientists manipulate the cells to develop into certain types before injecting them into the recipient’s tissue or blood.
Now, in treating RA, researchers are looking for ways on how to use stem cells in controlling inflammation and encourage regeneration of damaged tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects joints causing a loss of cartilage. Cartilage loss damages joints and bone.
One type of stem cell that can develop into cartilage and bone is a mesenchymal stem cell or MSC. That’s why in synovial MSC therapy, scientists inject these cells into the tissues around the affected joints.
The MSC can also suppress the immune system and mitigate inflammatory responses.
With these benefits, MSC therapy has become a promising treatment option that can treat autoimmune disorders, like RA.
Unfortunately, MSC therapy isn’t a standard practice yet. Thus, not all clinics can use it to treat their patients with arthritis.
Stem cell research is still in the early stage. Thus, it requires more analysis to know what its side effects are and how safe it is to humans.
Is MSC Therapy FDA Regulated?
FDA has only approved the use of umbilical hematopoietic stem cells. They come from umbilical cords that develop into various types of blood cells.
In that case, FDA hasn’t approved the use of MSCs and other types of stem cells. The FDA, however, oversees clinical trials that use MSCs.
What Diseases Can Cord Blood Cure?
The FDA only approved hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It’s done to patients with disorders that affect the blood-forming system.
Cord blood that has these stem cells can be used to treat patients suffering from blood cancers, like lymphomas and leukemias.
This type of treatment can also be used in sickle cell disease and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
In many blood cancer patients, cancer cells are in the blood cells. Although they can undergo chemotherapy, this treatment kills cancer cells and those healthy stem cells.
By translating stem cells derived from cord blood, the cells can help in regrowing healthy blood cells after receiving chemotherapy.
Although stem cell transplant is effective, it isn’t a cure-all.
Cord blood contains stem cells. Unfortunately, stem cell fraud cases are rampant.
Consumers think that stem cell therapy can cure any disease. But science doesn’t confirm it.
For that reason, you should be skeptical when someone promotes cord blood as a cure-all.
What is the Safest and Best Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Your doctor may prescribe different medicines. But they won’t cure your RA. Rather, they are used to just treat your symptoms.
Unfortunately, no one drug is considered the safest and best treatment for RA.
What Foods You Must Avoid If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Diets may or may not treat RA. But certain foods don’t trigger inflammation.
To reduce inflammation and avoid or mitigate joint pain, you must avoid these foods:
Meats and Fried Foods
Meat has high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). It is a toxin that can cause inflammatory reactions. It can also lead to tissue damages in the body.
When you cook meat at high heat levels, it forms more AGEs, thereby, triggering an inflammatory response.
Should you want to eat meat, make sure to steam, simmer or braise it. And opt for lean proteins.
Avoid fatty foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. They are found in packaged goods, vegetable oils, and margarine.
These fatty acids are added to reduce food spoilage. They also increase shelf life.
However, consumption of trans fat can increase inflammation. They also increase your risk of insulin resistance.
Refined carbs, for instance, can trigger cytokine release. That’s why if you have RA, make sure to avoid pastries, sodas, and juices as they contain a high amount of sugars that can trigger inflammation.
You may still eat cookies or cakes. But you must only have them on occasion.
Gluten, preservatives, and flavor enhancers
Gluten is one ingredient that you must avoid when you have RA. This substance can easily trigger inflammation.
Moreover, you must prohibit yourself from eating food containing monosodium glutamate as it can also trigger inflammation. When you buy food, you must read its label first.
Although your doctor may say that you can drink alcohol in moderation, you may want to avoid it altogether.
However, drinking red wine may be fine because of its resveratrol content. Resveratrol is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Then again, too much of it can still cause liver damage, which may cause inflammation.
You may still drink a glass of wine per day, nothing more.
But never drink alcohol if you take NSAIDs as alcohol can increase the risk of liver problems and stomach bleeding.
Can I Live a Normal Life When I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Of course, you can still live a normal life with RA. But you need to follow your doctor’s instructions.
You should also avoid those prohibited foods to avoid triggering the symptoms that can increase further inflammation in your body.
Can cord blood help rheumatoid arthritis? It may help. However, the stem cell treatment for RA hasn’t been approved yet by the FDA. Thus, be cautious about clinics that offer such type of treatment for your RA.
Speak to your doctor before you wish to start a new treatment. You may also take part in clinical trials that involve the use of stem cells for rheumatoid arthritis.
For further reading about cord blood, please visit our Cord Blood Banking Page here.