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The Natural Way to Deal With Arthritis


In Health & Wellness

There are over 100 types of arthritis. The most common, affecting over 10% of the population, is a degenerative arthritis also known as osteoarthritis (OA). Due to hormonal imbalances which make the joints more vulnerable to injury, women suffer from this painful and debilitating disorder three times as often as men. Osteoarthritis rarely develops before the age of forty, but it affects nearly everyone over the age of sixty.

Osteroarthritis involves deterioration of the cartilage protecting the end of the bones; it is sometimes caused by injury or an inherited defect in the protein that forms cartilage. More often than not, it is a result of the wear and tear or aging, diet and lifestyle. Joints that are most often affected are the hands, knees, hips and spine. Symptoms are characterized by pain, swelling and stiffness, especially in the morning or at the end of the day. Some sufferers find that damp weather and cold intensify their symptoms and simple activities that one would take for granted such as dressing or walking can be a challenge as the joints are inflamed and distorted.

Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often recommended for pain and swelling, their long term use can cause stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. According to a study reported in Annals of Internal Medicine, the use of NSAIDS can lead to serious health problems if you have even mild kidney dysfunction. Employing a natural approach incorporating, diet, lifestyle and supplements can enhance the repair and processes within the joints, with no side effects.

Diet – eat an alkalinizing diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains and that is low is sugar and saturated fat. Fruits and vegetables are highly alkalinizing and contain antioxidants which protect against cellular damage, including damage to the joints. Be sure to include foods that are rich in sulfur such as eggs, garlic, onions, cabbage, brussel sprouts and asparagus. Sulfur helps with the absorption of calcium into the bones, which help to repair and rebuild the bone, the cartilage and connective tissue. Berries (blueberries, cherries, blackberries) are sources of anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins. These compounds are very helpful in relieving pain and inflammation.

Nightshades – some people are sensitive to the alkaloids found in the nightshade family also known as solanaceae. According to Dr. Childers, these alkaloids inhibit normal cartilage repair in the joints or promote the inflammatory degeneration of the joints. He conducted an informal study with over 5,000 arthritis suffers and reported a 70% improvement from aches and pains when not ingesting any nightshades which include: white potatoes, eggplant; tomatoe , peppers. Tobacco, although not a food, is part of the nightshade family.

Food allergies – allergies or sensitivities to certain food can trigger inflammation and make symptoms worse. It is best to work with a qualified nutritionist or natural health care provider who can help you with an elimination diet. They might also recommend you go for food sensitivity testing.

Exercise – walking, swimming and bicycle riding are the best choices as they put the least amount of strain on joints. It is important to exercise daily as it strengthens the bones, muscles and cartilage and helps with pain.

Helpful Supplements (blueberries, cherries, blackberries) are sources of anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins. These compounds are very helpful in reliving pain and inflammation.

Type

Recommended Dose

What it does

Contraindications

Glucosamine Sulphate

500 mg, 3 times per day.

Improves joint motility and slows deterioration of cartilage.

None.

Essential Fatty Acids

1 Tbps per day.

Can take capsules as well. Preferably fish oil. If vegan or vegetarian opt for flax oil. Decreases joint tenderness, enhances effects of anti-inflammatory meds.

Do not take if you are taking blood thinners such as Warfin.

Vitamin D

400-1000IU

Increase enzymes that destroy cartilage especially in the hips.

None.

Antioxidant with Vitamin C

As recommended on the bottle. Prevents further deterioration and reduces the risk of cartilage loss.

Too much Vitamin C can cause diarrhea.

Alternative therapies such as chiropractors, acupuncture and hydrotherapy are beneficial and seem to improve joint function.

Arthritis does not have to take over your life. Employing a healthy lifestyle and pain management techniques, will help you lead a healthy, happy life.


About The Author

Dini Cohen

Dini Cohen BA, RHN holds a degree in Psychology from York University and is Registered Holistic Nutritionist from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She began her career in advertising and migrated into various IT Channel Marketing roles with large Vendors and Marketing organizations. Her career took a change when she decided to go back to school and chase her dreams as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Today, she is busy running corporate wellness programs, is a contributing writer to several leading health magazines, is a corporate presenter and school Ambassador for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and does one on one consultations. She is the owner of KickStart Nutrition, co-founder of Kick Start4Life and Hockey4Life. Dini's passion is to educate and inspire people to make healthy life style changes and to be the best that they can be. She co-runs the Trusted Business Advisor Healthy Living Column. Dini can be reached at dini@kickstartnutrition.com

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This post has 3 comments.
Want to leave one?
Susan Brandt
March 13th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

~Hi Dini!! I have a question, you say do not eat peppers..but you do not say which ones, i.e. Red/Green sweet peppers, and chilies etc? I would really appreciate you comment as I have just been diagnosed with SPINAL STENOSIS… and I am loooking for alternative ways to help myself and do not want to resort to surgery which is being suggested to me at this time! love and light Susan~

Dini
March 15th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi Susan
It is best to avoid all peppers as they are part of the nightshade family and tend to increase inflammation in those individuals who have arthritis. Some people find that it is quite helpful to remove them. I would suggest you keep a diary to monitor a change in your symptoms. Hope this helps. All the best. Dini

Ron tabata
May 12th, 2012 at 3:19 am

I like your fantastic web site. Just what I was searching for!
Best regards,
Ron

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