Osteoarthritis, (OA) is by far the most prevalent form of arthritis. The disease affects an estimated 20.7 million Americans. Under the age of 45, more men than women are diagnosed with OA, often due to accidents and injuries. The disease becomes three times more prevalent in women than in men after the age of 45. About a third of adults in the U.S. have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in the hand, foot, knee, or hip, and by age 65 as many as 75% of the population has evidence of the disease in at least one of these sites.
Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage, the smooth, gelatinous tissue that protects the ends of bones from rubbing against each other. Healthy cartilage shields bones against being worn down by friction, but in OA the cartilage is worn away, allowing bone ends to make direct contact. As the disease progresses, direct contact creates bone spurs and abnormal bone hardening, and leads to inflammation and severe pain as bones continue to rub together without proper cushioning. As a result, bones may become more brittle and are subject to fracture.
Types of Osteoarthritis
There are two types of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary. Primary OA is arthritis due to an unhealthy aging process. The onset of primary OA is gradual as the disease usually progresses over the course of many years.
Secondary osteoarthritis is less common, but has a more apparent, direct cause: trauma, injury, previous inflammation (even from rheumatoid arthritis), congenital joint misalignment, infection, surgery, or prolonged use of medications.
Mild early-morning stiffness, stiffness following periods of rest, pain that worsens on joint use, loss of joint function, local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, creaking and cracking of joints on movement, bony swelling, and restricted mobility.
Osteoarthritis is considered by many to be a natural result of the aging process. Nearly everyone over the age of 60 shows some signs of the disease. Excess weight, general wear and tear, and a lifetime of inadequate diet and exercise are the chief causes of osteoarthritis. Additional causes can be skeletal defects, genetic factors, and hormonal deficiencies (as evidenced by the many women who get osteoarthritis after menopause).
The degenerative form of arthritis involves ongoing biochemical processes that negatively alter the structure and regeneration of cartilage and joint tissue. These biochemical processes include free-radical damage, nutritional deficiencies, poor dietary and lifestyle choices, food or environmental allergies, genetic predisposition, and even drug treatments prescribed for pain relief. In various combinations, these factors often cause or contribute to changes in the biomechanics of the joints and muscles.
In some individuals, a defect in the gene that instructs cartilage cells to manufacture collagen (the structural protein of the connective tissue) breaks down. This leads to degenerative joint problems.
Patients with osteoarthritis often display insulin resistance or deficiency. Insulin resistance, considered a precursor to adult-onset diabetes, is a blood sugar disorder that occurs when the body fails to react to the effects of insulin in the blood. This makes it more difficult for the body to use sugar (glucose) for energy. Changes in insulin production can also stimulate the body to produce more inflammatory prostaglandins, which adversely affect joints.
Biomechanical changes, especially excessive tissue acidity, can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. When joints lose their full range of motion due to stress, injury or lack of activity, the cartilage is decreased and breakdown follows. As a result, balanced motion is hindered and the surrounding cartilage starves. The body replaces the deterioration in the joints with calcium, resulting in the formation of hard, inflexible deposits, which cause joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis may also develop from any traumatic injury to cartilage caused by playing sports, accidents, or activity involving repetitive motion.
Diet plays an integral part in reducing or preventing the onset of all types of arthritic conditions. A diet that includes excess consumption of fatty meats, hydrogenated fats such as margarine or shortening, and conventionally produced dairy products generates highly acidic conditions in the blood. For healing to occur, these foods should be minimized if not eliminated from the diet. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and all refined sugars, should be eliminated. Replace processed sugars with alternative natural sweeteners or naturally sweet fruits. An occasional green tea is okay if caffeine is desired, and alcohol should be had in moderation, such as a glass of wine for special events only.
Soft drinks are high in phosphoric acid, which can dangerously elevate phosphorus levels in the blood. The normal ratio of calcium to phosphorus in bones is approximately two to one, although a one-to-one ratio is adequate to maintain skeletal growth. However, in the average American diet, this ratio is extremely skewed, with high amounts of phosphorus relative to calcium. This causes the body to pull calcium from the bones to supplement blood calcium levels, which can exacerbate arthritic conditions.
An important step in treating arthritis lies in achieving normal body weight, as excess weight puts increased stress on weight-bearing joints affected with arthritis. A diet rich in an abundant selection of fresh vegetables, and a wide variety of sweet and non-sweet fruits, nuts, and whole grains is recommended for maximum nutritional benefit. Whole (unprocessed) foods are rich in the nutrients needed to fight destructive free radicals, promote skin and tissue health, repair bones, muscles, and tendons, and promote bowel regularity. Additionally, eating a whole foods diet will gently and slowly detoxify the system, ultimately leading to higher energy levels and inspiration to eat better, exercise, and follow through with necessary lifestyle changes on your road to health and healing.
Dietary fats are an important consideration for anyone with arthritis. The wrong kind of fats can increase inflammation in joints, while the “good” fats will help reduce inflammation. Hydrogenated fats and trans-fatty acids can directly contribute to inflammation and the destruction of joint tissues. Avoid foods that contain these fats, such as margarine, vegetable shortening, mayonnaise, crackers and chips, cookies, cakes, pastries, packaged breads, candy, and most refined foods. Read all food labels, and do not buy or eat food that contains partially hydrogenated oils, canola oil or any artificial, chemically generated fats.
Whole foods are typically high in healthy fats, including the essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3 and omega-6 oils). Cold-water fish are good sources of essential fatty acids, as are flax and hemp seed oils and seeds. All are valuable for the prevention of arthritis because of their anti-inflammatory characteristics. Arthritis patients showed major clinical improvement when supplementing their diets with cod liver oil, which may also reduce the inflammatory process.
Also strongly recommended for arthritic conditions are the whole or juiced goji and/or acai berries, and Noni juice, which is especially good for counteracting excess inflammation and for strong antioxidant action. Pomegranate fruit extracts have been shown to block enzymes that contribute to cartilage degradation, especially in cases of osteoarthritis.
As mentioned above, arthritis sufferers commonly have high levels of acidity, which increases the potential for developing inflammatory conditions. Reduce your intake of acid-forming foods and increase intake of alkaline-forming foods to decrease acidity. (See our pH section for detailed information, at home testing, and diet protocols.) The most acid-forming foods are sugar, alcohol, vinegar, coffee, meat, trans fats and dairy products. Foods known to increase the alkalinity of the body include all vegetables, especially large amounts of fresh raw leafy salad greens, kale, chard, collards, aloe vera, and green power powder foods, such as chlorella, algae, barley grass, wheat grass, parsley, and alfalfa.
Undergo testing for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods to which you test positive. Consider a rotation diet or elimination diet in order to further reduce the likelihood of food allergies.
Nutrition and diet are key players in the healing and elimination of imbalance and disease.
Nutritional deficiencies are one of the 4 major causes of disease, so let’s address that here. You should be doing all or at least some of these nutritional essentials:
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef www.grasslandbeef.com – the second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
The Raw Food Diet – The raw food diet is a food plan that can have great benefits. After a few months of following our recommended basic whole foods diet, one can then transition into a high level raw or 100% raw food diet, as desired. This diet is composed of raw and live foods only, and includes a wide selection of raw fruits, vegetables, soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds and sea vegetables, in a wide variety of creative combinations. If choosing a raw food plan, we highly recommend daily consumption of fresh green juices, made from an array of green vegetables, such as celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrot, kale, parsley, with an ever rotating seasonal selection of other organic veggies. Daily salad meals, dehydrated flax crackers, seed and nut pates, blended soups, smoothies and marinated vegetable salads, often mixed with soaked sea vegetables are the base for the raw diet. Since little to no cooked food is consumed, a raw diet has the advantage of instant elimination of many common allergens. No cooked wheat, wheat byproducts or grains (generally) are consumed, and very little, if any, dairy products. Raw foodists may include small quantities of dairy, typically as cultured raw goat or sheep’s milk yogurt or kefir, usually homemade (these products can occasionally be found online or from local sources).
- Raw food generates rapid results because of its ability to thoroughly detoxify and liberate your body’s previously untapped energy. Dr. Gabriel Cousins, at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia Arizona, endorses the raw food plan as the ultimate healing diet, and offers delicious 100% raw food meals at both the café and all of the healing retreats he offers.
- We recommend the raw food diet for long term cleansing and detoxification. Eating primarily raw food for three to twelve months can be an incredible experience to help increase energy, detoxify your body, support you in letting go of long time food addictions, and throughout your diet you will naturally be a major sponsor for organic produce. Most of us eat a variety of addictive foods, from sugar to pasta. The addictive nature of these foods is often overlooked, even in the healthiest of food plans. When eating raw, these items are automatically eliminated, hence freeing up energy the body can use to heal.
- What is important to note when choosing a raw food diet is the issue of trade-offs. You might miss cooked foods, though you will not miss your disease, and more times than not the raw food diet is an incredible tool that can be used to help shift serious health challenges into greater health and well being.
Eat alfalfa rich in minerals for bones
Nutritional Supplements: Many researchers believe a proper balance of vitamins and minerals is essential in the treatment of arthritis. The following have proved beneficial:
- Vitamin C – Large quantities of vitamin C are often recommended. Acting both as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, vitamin C helps repair and maintain healthy connective tissue. It is essential for collagen production and the maintenance of joint lining, helps tissue repair, and reduces the bruising and swelling often associated with arthritis.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1, B6,
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been shown to be a key factor in aiding arthritis. Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
All of these supplements have also proven effective in treating and preventing arthritis. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, considered to be both a vitamin and a hormone. It controls the absorption of calcium and phosphorus used in bone formation.
Other dietary supplements that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects important for arthritis prevention and treatment include: boron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, pantothenic acid, and sulfur. Bee pollen, royal jelly (another bee product rich in pantothenic acid), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and evening primrose oil are also beneficial in alleviating arthritis symptoms, especially among rheumatoid arthritics. All these supplements, though, should be taken only under supervision by a qualified health professional.
Manganese has many functions in the body, including normal growth and metabolism. It helps to activate enzymes, is used for normal bone development, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are usually significantly deficient in manganese and supplementation is recommended.
Cetyl myristoleate, a rare anti-arthritis substance now created synthetically, acts as a lubricant for joints and muscles, modulates immune system function, and has anti-inflammatory effects. Cetyl myristoleate is usually given orally for one-month period, at a 10-15g dosage. It is also available as a cream. This fatty substance should be taken in conjunction with 100mg of lipase, an enzyme that digests fat.
- Omega ssuch as the following
MSM – ( methyl sulfonyl methane)
This is a compound found naturally in foods such as organic milk, meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables. It is thought to work by contributing sulphur. It’s found in capsule or tablet forms. MSM is also available as a cream or lotion, although evidence suggests it can’t be absorbed through skin. It is particularly beneficial for osteoarthritis – studies suggest MSM may reduce osteoarthritis pain. MSM is often combined with glucosamine in commercial arthritis products. It’s thought to work because of the sulphur, which is believed to strengthen collagen.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Able Heel
- Deer Antler Velvet royalvelvetforlife.com
- CMO – Cetyl Myristoleate
- MMS1 and MMS2 – Miracle Mineral Solution
- Vitamin C can help repair and maintain healthy connective tissue, and is essential for collagen production and the maintenance of joint lining.
- Vitamins A, B1, B6, E, and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) have also proven effective in treating and preventing arthritis. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, considered to be both a vitamin and a hormone. It controls the absorption of calcium and phosphorus used in bone formation.
- Cartilage-building supplements provide the raw materials to rebuild damaged cartilage and stop the unnecessary destruction of healthy cells. Glucosamine sulfate supplementation can be especially effective in helping reversing arthritis. Glucosamine plays an integral part in stimulating the production of connective tissue and new cartilage growth essential to the repair of arthritis damage.
- In a study in Milan, Italy, 80 osteoarthritis patients treated with glucoasamine sulfate experienced reduction in pain, tenderness, and overall symptoms. Examination of cartilage samples from the patients treated with glucosamine sulfate shared many structural aspects of healthy cartilage. The researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate rebuilt damaged cartilage, thereby reducing pain and other symptoms. Chondroitin sulfate is another supplement, often taken in conjunction with glucosamine, which seems to protect joints from breaking down.
- Calcium and magnesium (in the form of citrate for both of these nutrients) are also vital nutrients in the fight against arthritis. Calcium is essential for bone, joint, muscle, and ligament health, while magnesium is necessary for calcium’s proper incorporation into bone, by preventing a buildup of calcium in the soft tissues and joints. Most people, though, consume too much calcium and not enough magnesium. High protein diets, which are common for many Americans, contain a lot of phosphorus, which binds up magnesium and makes it unavailable for the body’s use.
- Boron helps maintain bone and joint function and activates the metabolism of vitamin D. Low levels of boron in the soil – and thus in foods grown in that soil – have been linked in many countries to increased osteoarthritis levels. Boron supplementation helps to reduce the excretion of calcium and magnesium, both important minerals in bone structure and muscle function.
- Cetyl myristoleate, a rare anti-arthritis substance now created synthetically, acts as a lubricant for joints and muscles and has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Sulfur-containing compounds are used by the body to regenerate cartilage cells, maintain cellular functions, and produce the peptide L-glutathione, which is an antioxidant and is used by the liver to process toxins. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a natural substance produced by the human body. In one double-blind study, SAMe reduced pain in osteoarthritis patients as effectively as the drug ibuprofen, and produced fewer side effects.
- Apply topically and take internally, Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) cetylmyristoleate.com
- Apply DMSO once or twice a day to the affected area: Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)* is a source of sulfur (derived from wood pulp, garlic oil, or as a byproduct of petroleum) and is thought to be a free-radical scavenger with anti-inflammatory properties. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sister compound of DMSO derived from food sources. MSM is naturally produced in the body, but levels decrease with age and in degenerative illnesses such as arthritis. These supplements can reduce inflammation and scar tissue, relieve pain, and increase blood flow for improved exchange of nutrients. Of special relevance in rheumatoid arthritis, MSM can help normalize the immune system and reduce the autoimmune response.
*Caution: When applying DMSO on the body use thoroughly clean hands and clean cotton swabs. Take care to be impeccable because whatever substance comes in contact with DMSO gel is absorbed quickly and driven deeply into the body. Avoid contact with dirt until the area is completely dry.
Shark cartilage in capsule form is now being used to combat the pain of arthritis. Shark cartilage contains large amounts of mucopolysaccharides (carbohydrates that form chemical bonds with water), which stimulate the immune system and reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Shark cartilage is orally administered at least 30 minutes before meals. Enzymes, especially Wobenzyme, a pancreatic enzyme formula, are also important for helping to reduce symptoms of inflammation.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
Alternative treatments for arthritis: www.onlymyhealth.com/top-alternative-treatment-arthritis-1280919428
5 Tips for Natural Relief from Pain: blog.seattlepi.com/naturalmedicine/2012/06/25/5-tips-for-natural-relief-from-osteoarthritis-pain
Ayurvedic remedies for arthritis : www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ravKEdhltE
Acupuncture for Arthritis: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1529-0131(200104)44:4%3C819::AID-ANR138%3E3.0.CO;2-P/full
Depression and Anxiety linked to Arthritis www.prweb.com/releases/2012/6/prweb9621656.htm
Further Information (links and books)
Osteoarthritis (Natural Health Guide) (Alive Natural Health Guides) by Zoltan P. Rona; How to Eat Away Arthritis: Gain Relief from the Pain and Discomfort of Arthritis Through Nature’s Remedies by Lauri M. Aesoph;
Arthritis Diet : The Rheumatoid Arthritis Cure Relieve Osteoarthritis by Anna Gracey; Arthritis – The Botanical Solution: Nature’s Answer to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Gout and Other Forms of Arthritis by Case Adams; Arthritis Relief At Your Fingertips, Michael Reed; Arthritis: An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, Eugene Zampieron; The Arthritis Helpbook, Kale Lorig.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.