Ask the Nutritionist
Q: I am seeing a patient on Arimidex that is causing severe joint pain. She is taking naproxen, getting massages, and exercising, but would like to manage side effects from the medication with nutrition, as well. Do you have any good resources you can share?
A: Joint, muscle, and bone pain are common side effects of Arimidex (Anastrozole) due to the effects that Arimidex has on estrogen.
Patients may also face bone fractures and osteoporosis.
That said, foods that help to promote bone growth may lessen the side effects experienced due to depleted estrogen.
The research in this area is not completely conclusive, but some studies have shown that women with lower levels of vitamin D experience greater joint pain when on Arimidex.
Therefore, emphasizing foods high in vitamin D, such as fortified low-fat dairy/almond/hemp/rice milk, salmon, and fortified eggs may help with joint pain.
Dark green, leafy, and other vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and broccoli are also good sources of calcium, which is important for overall bone health.
Many women are already vitamin D deficient prior to starting Arimidex treatment, so they should be encouraged to get their vitamin D level assessed to determine if supplementation is necessary.