Step 1 : Reduce Inflammation
Reversing arthritis is a two-step dance. First you have to deal with what is contributing to your problem, while simultaneously reducing inflammation naturally, because inflammation not only causes you pain but continues to damage the joint. Then you rebuild the joint.
Here are four common contributors
- Overweight, injury and bad posture
You can put undue stress on your joints if you spend too much time sitting, have bad posture, put your back out of alignment, or you are overweight. It’s a vicious circle because once you develop aching joints you don’t want to exercise, and then weight gain is just around the corner. Some experts estimate that every single pound of weight loss lessens the amount of pressure exerted on the knee joints by three to five pounds. My low GL diet really works to help shed those pounds.
- Hidden Food Allergy
Sometimes inflammation happens because you are eating something you’re allergic to. Most painkillers damage the gut, making it more permeable, which increases your risk of allergy. Some people benefit tremendously from testing then avoiding identified food allergens.
John is a case in point – he developed arthritis at the age of 23. When he turned 40, he couldn’t sleep at night from the pain and had to go upstairs on hands and knees. Walking just 100 metres was painful. Then John heard about food allergy testing. Although his doctor actively discouraged it, saying that there was “absolutely no clinical evidence” that altering diet would improve such a condition, John went ahead and discovered he was allergic to three different foods. He cut them all out. Here’s what he told me: “Life is now pain and tablet-free and I have complete mobility. I am amazed at the difference in my quality of life simply by making such simple adjustments.” John reacted to red kidney beans. Some people react to wheat or milk, others to vegetables in the nightshade family (aubergine, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers). It’s worth being tested to find out - click here for more details.
- Lack of Omega 3s
It’s a popular misconception that fish oils lubricate your joints. What they actually do is reduce pain and inflammation by counteracting the inflammatory chemicals in the body that NSAID drugs suppress. There’s plenty of research to conclusively show that fish oil supplementation can reduce the inflammation of arthritis. A recent analysis of 17 high quality trials showed that supplementing omega-3s for three to four months substantially reduced joint pain intensity, morning stiffness, and number of painful and/or tender joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain. NSAID consumption was also reduced by 40%., An effective amount is the equivalent of 1,000mg of combined EPA and DHA a day, which means two to four of most fish oil capsules.
- Lack of antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help reduce inflammation, so if you’re arthritic or experience a lot of pain, eat plenty of fruit (especially berries) and vegetables, or consider supplementing an antioxidant formula. A 2005 study in the UK involving 25,000 people, showed that a low intake of the vitamin antioxidants found in fruit and veg significantly increased the risk of arthritis.
The Inside Story on Pain
The experience we call pain is triggered by certain chemicals called ‘inflammatory mediators’, which our bodies produce in response to some sort of damage. These cause swelling, redness and pain. Most of these are made from a kind of fat, called arachidonic acid, which is very high in meat and milk – a good reason to go light on these foods if you’re in pain.
There are three critical enzymes that turn harmless arachidonic acid into harmful inflammatory mediators. These are called Cox-1, Cox-2 and 5-Lox. Blocking Cox-1, eg with aspirin, reduces pain, but damages the gut and thins the blood. Blocking Cox-2, eg with Vioxx, reduces pain but increases blood clotting. Vioxx is now withdrawn due to increased risk of heart attacks. Certain drugs combine COX and 5-LOX inhibitors and are more effective than single inhibitors. Some food extracts naturally dampen down these enzymes, such as curcumin from turmeric and an extract from hops called IsoOxygene. Combinations can be particularly effective.
Here are my favourites:
Hydroxytyrosol – an extract from olives, is incredibly rich in certain polyphenols. Red grapes and red onions (both of which also contain the natural anti-inflammatory quercetin) contain polyphenols, as does green tea. But with an antioxidant content over ten times greater than vitamin C, none of these are as powerful as hydroxytyrosol. You need 400mg of it a day for it to work as an anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric – this bright yellow spice contains the active compound curcumin, which has a variety of powerful anti-inflammatory actions. Studies show it works as well as anti-inflammatory drugs but without ......
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