Saul Yudelowitz BSc (Hons)
In 1999 arthritis was reported as the leading cause of disability in the US 1. One of the most common causes of aging are at least two diseases, gout and osteoarthritis 2,3. In osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis the dominant clinical finding may be joint deformity, loss of range of motion and degeneration of cartilage. Inflammation and elevated levels of TNF are used to distinguish between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis however this depends on the timing of the test making the analysis of usual medical tests difficult. The typical treatment of arthritis today is no different from 100 years ago. In a study of over 20 years it was shown that long term use of aspirin and NSAI prevents the body from repairing cartilage and therefore accelerates the progression of arthritis 4,5. Research in the correct direction is aimed at restoration of the cellular matrix of membrane, cartilage and bone. Cellular integrity is dependent on a continuing supply of materials to build new cells 6. Diet, gastrointestinal health and joint health have an intimate relationship. Rheumatoid arthritis is almost non existent in societies that eat an ancestral diet of organic whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, essential fats, little meat, low amounts of saturated fats, low amounts of sugar, low amounts of refined carbohydrates and few man made chemicals 7,8. Saturated fats worsen rheumatoid arthritis 9. Plain water increases purine and urate excretion thereby reducing the build up of urate crystals that contribute to gout. Folic acid lowers uric acid. It should be combined with B12. Omega 3 works to reduce the affects of arthritis but it is needed in doses of 60-130 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day 10. Flax oil at equivalent doses to fish oil reduces inflammation, tenderness and morning stiffness 11,12. GLA reduces arthritic symptoms of morning stiffness, joint pain, swelling and tenderness by 25-50% 13,14. GLA also directly inhibits TNF attack and this is why it has been seen to help in the auto-immune condition of rheumatoid arthritis. Glucosamine determines the rate that cartilage can be replaced. Glucosamine is made from glucose and glutamine. As we age the ability to produce glucosamine decreases. Glutamine is made from isoleucine, leucine and valine, it is a conditionally essential amino acid and a key component for the immune system. Glucosamine sulfate of five grams per day has beneficial effects 15. Chondroitin is also important but it has a difficult time getting through the intestinal wall 16,17. SAMe increases proteoglycans production by chondrocytes in human cartilage with no toxicity 18. SAMe restores synovial cells after they have been damaged by TNF as well as aid in reducing depression in arthritic conditions via reduction of elevated homocysteine levels. So from the nutritional approach to dealing with arthritis getting the gastrointestinal track healthy is imperative. A stool analysis will allow you to do this and then using the supplements suggested above is the order in which to approach arthritis. After your gastrointestinal track health is addressed, musculoskeletal health must be addressed. Please not that we recommend first addressing gastrointestinal health and then musculoskeletal health.
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