I’m going to be turning 70 this summer, yikes! I’m now considered “old” by my kids and grandkids, but I don’t feel old. I’m very fortunate to have taken care of myself since I was in my thirties with good food, exercise, and paying attention to stress levels and sleep (though I’m far from perfect.)
One of the signs of old age is arthritis. We are seeing younger and younger people developing it now as well. I’m fortunate to have only a few joints that bother me, my thumbs and wrists when I do Yoga definitely talk to me. But I know many of you deal with the pain of arthritis in many joints of your body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans now suffer from osteoarthritis. That equates to one in five people over 18 having some form of arthritis!
What’s going on???
The first area to look at is diet, weight, and inflammation. I constantly talk about all three because they affect so much of the body and its aging process. Excess fat on the body creates inflammation, inflammation creates excess fat, it’s a vicious cycle. Inflammation “eats” away at tissues and ligaments surrounding your joints. Conventional therapies consist of anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and opioids, but long-term use of these drugs is associated with cardiovascular and gastrointestinal complications.
This is the foundation of any healing program. When I splurge, like when we are on vacation, and eat gluten for more than two days, I hurt everywhere. It flares up in my hands, wrists, neck, and lower back. I’ve challenged this several times, and yep, gluten makes me inflamed!
When I take folks through my 10 Day detox and they go off of gluten, dairy, and sugar, that is the first thing many of them report, inflammation has gone down. Food challenges work. Take out one of the top inflammatory foods such as gluten for two weeks, then add it back in and “listen” to your body, is it screaming at you?
Another group of foods that can flare up arthritis is the night-shade family. This includes peppers (all of them), tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, paprika, and tobacco. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “This food group can aggravate the pain and inflammation of arthritis.”
You can get my anti-inflammatory food list, plus some recipes Here to help you get started on lowering inflammation from foods. If you need to take excess fat off your body don’t wait, commit to a plan and get it done, it will extend your life and you will feel so much better!
Sometimes we forget that what we put in our mouths travels 22 feet along our small intestine as it’s broken down, taken in through the gut lining, and into the bloodstream where it heads to a cell for assimilation. This journey starts in the stomach. As we age we lose hydrochloric acid and pepsin, these start the digestive process in the stomach. These digestive enzymes help us break down minerals, protein and make vitamin B-12.
Millions of people take antacids because they develop heartburn as they age. I did a deep-dive article on Why You Want to Stop Your Antacids that gives you a great look at how damaging these medications can be. If you are not breaking down and assimilating your minerals, you have no raw materials to prevent degeneration of the tissue and ligaments in your body.
If you have a “leaky gut”, indicated by IBS, Colitis, Diverticulosis, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, your gut will allow large protein molecules to enter the blood stream that creates an inflammatory response. Healing the gut is of first importance to slow down or prevent arthritis.
There are hundreds of clinical studies on natural anti-inflammatory herbs and plants that help with arthritis. Let’s look at some of these.
Boswellia is also known as Indian Frankincense, has been used for medicinal, cosmetic, and religious purposes since ancient times. In India, Boswellia serrata is tapped from the trunk of the Boswelia tree and used medicinally to treat arthritis, ringworm, diarrhea, asthma, and a variety of other illnesses. It is considered a potent anti-inflammatory agent and has been studied for its promising effects in patients with osteoarthritis and various cardiovascular diseases. The recommended dosage is 750mg daily. Douglas Labs makes a product that has Boswellia and Turmeric.
Bromelain extract may stop the formation of pannus. Pannus, an abnormal tissue growth that forms in later stages of arthritis, forms when pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines to cause new tissue to form around joints. That tissue, or pannus, releases enzymes and acids that damage cartilage and bone. 80mg daily of Bromelain was used in clinical trials with good results. My favorite product is called Wobenzym Plus.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has hundreds of clinical studies to back it up. It’s great to use in foods, but for the best results, supplements are more concentrated. It’s been suggested that adding pepper to turmeric makes it absorb better, but if you are eliminating the night-shade family I would avoid those formulas. 1,000mg daily is suggested for arthritis pain and inflammation, but also prevention. Douglas Labs makes a Boswellia and Turmeric product combined.
Many studies have shown fish oil to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory. Along with being helpful for arthritis, it lowers overall body inflammation that is preventive for heart disease and Alzheimer’s. I usually suggest a minimum of 1,000mg daily of high-quality, pure fish oil. Carlson’s Fish oil is a brand you can trust for purity.
MSM is a sulfur compound found in many cruciferous vegetables. Numerous clinical trials are verifying that it is beneficial for arthritis pain. One study used 3grams a day for 12 weeks and saw a significant reduction of pain and increase of physical function.
Glucosamine chondroitin, or glucosamine sulfate, is very effective at actually giving your body the nutrients and things it needs for rebuilding healthy joints. Glucosamine is found in bone broth (which also heals the gut). If using a supplement, the liquid is easier for the body to absorb than a powder. 500mg 3 X daily is a good place to start or a liquid that contains 1,500mg per serving. Often you will find glucosamine and chondroitin in the same formula.
Let me finish by saying, we are a deficient population when it comes to minerals. We’ve been told to take large quantities of calcium, and no mention of all the other minerals. Take a good quality multi-mineral along with a moderate amount of calcium (800mg max) and 1/2 the calcium dosage in magnesium (400mg) if your bowels get loose, back off the magnesium. Also, don’t forget, we need vitamin D and K to put all these minerals into bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments, get your vitamin D tested!
All of the recommended products are available in my online dispensary Wellevate. You can quickly register Here to access my top brands at a significant discount!
Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee, 2006 Mar;14(3):286-94. Epub 2005 Nov 23. PMID: 16309928
Boswellia Serrata and Bromelain Extracts Useful in Mitigating OsteoarthritisSymptoms, January 11th 2020, https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/boswellia-serrata-and-bromelain-extracts-useful-mitigating-osteoarthritis-symptom