- Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 19:21
- Written by Judd Handler
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Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults, according to the CDC. Those with arthritis, though, don’t have to be slaves to their genetics or gym injuries; there are several natural arthritis remedies to help heal joint pain and inflammation.
What is arthritis and what causes it?
The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid (RA) and osteoarthritis. The latter is often associated with the wearing down and tearing of the cartilage, or simply not having enough cartilage after a while in a particular joint.
RA is an autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks itself. In addition, “-myalgia” diseases like fibro- and poly-, could be considered varieties of arthritis as they both share similar painful symptoms in joints and muscles.
All forms of arthritis have one major root cause in common: inflammation.
One major cause of inflammation: poor diet
From a natural, holistic perspective, the foods we eat play a significant role in inflammatory responses. David Getoff, Vice President of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation and a certified clinical nutritionist believes that frequent consumption of allergy-inducing foods like wheat or soy, as well as anything loaded with sugar, or quickly converts into sugar (alcohol, most grains) can promote inflammation and wreak havoc on the body’s joints.
The inflammation can be so bad that it could trigger a storm of cytokines—protein molecules, secreted by cells—that attack the immune system protector cells and tissue. This is the case in RA.
“We are living organisms that contain a masterful, self-healing ability,” says Getoff. “If we feed our bodies’ the right foods and additional nutrients, our bodies can begin to heal on their own, perhaps without having to take potentially-harmful drugs.”
Getoff advises eating healthy and free of allergy-promoting foods, for at least two months. According to him, it takes six weeks for wheat to clear out of the system. Perhaps due to its modern, stripped-of-nutrition, hybridized ubiquity, wheat may trigger an auto-immune reaction in many people. Make sure to cut out foods that may seem more innocuous than regular table sugar, but also may promote inflammation, like fruit, honey, molasses and agave.
Supplements for arthritis
A good brand of Glucosamine/Chondroitin sulfate, at the right dose, may help some arthritis sufferers. The same goes for hyaluronic acid, which is used in beauty treatments much for the same reason it may help some with arthritis, due to its hydrating properties. The fatty acid, Cetyl myristoleate, also seems to be an effective joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. It was isolated in Swiss albino mice, which for some Darwinian wonder, never develop arthritis.
Reduce exposure to pollutants and help purge your body of poisons
Even if you eat a wholesome diet loaded with antioxidants, if you are exposed to high levels of environmental pollutants such as mercury, lead, aluminum and inorganic plastic compounds, you may still develop arthritis. Various lab tests can analyze the amount of chemicals in your body. Your cookware can also be a common source of poisons entering your body. High blood levels of a man-made chemical (Teflon) used in non-stick coatings are associated with a raised risk of arthritis.
You need lots of friendly bugs in your gut
The billions and billions of bacteria in our guts are like an army, defending our immune system from constant bombardment. If you’ve taken several doses of antibiotics over the years and haven’t eaten healthy, take a probiotic that contains several billion micro-organisms per capsule to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Perhaps you’ll keep autoimmune diseases such as RA at bay.
What other natural arthritis remedies can I try?
Holistic options such as acupuncture, chiropractic medicine and rehabilitative therapy may help alleviate joint or muscle pain, even in pets.
Ice or heat?
Ice seems to be more effective for arthritis pain than heat. Especially when symptoms appear in the first 24-48 hours, use ice.
To exercise or not exercise?
If you can go through a range of motion without feeling pain in a particular joint, then exercise, cautiously. When in doubt, visit a physical therapist.