Treating Arthritis Naturally – Part 1

The majority of people over thirty have begun developing arthritis.  This has been found to be because of lack of physical activity.  Sitting in a car, at a desk, or some other kind of machine has caused us to use our joints minimally.  When our joints are not used everyday they begin to tighten or “rust up” as you would say on a vehicle that hasn’t been driven in a while.  If you don’t use the moving parts very regularly they will begin to fail.  Remember the saying “use it or lose it”? That goes for all parts of the human body, including the brain.  The best prevention for arthritis is to keep moving.  This means you have to keep moving all of your life.  If you are a sedentary person who decides to be an active person you can cause more damage to your joints by not working them slowly into activity.  Unused joints must be trained to be active, especially when you are over thirty. Yes we all get stiff as we get older, that’s normal aging, but developing arthritis is not normal aging until you’re in your seventies or eighties, at least. Arthritis can still be minimized if an active and nutrient dense lifestyle is maintained into the senior years.

It’s not just our lack of activity though, it is also our chemical based diets.  The processed foods we eat leave many chemicals behind that build up in sensitive tissues like tendons, joint cartilage, and synovial fluid that fills joint cavities and provides lubrication.  These chemicals left behind are not needed by the body for normal cellular function so they are not processed or utilized and build up in the tissues.  The more chemicals left behind the more damage there is to the tissues because of the chemical reactions occuring with these man-made chemicals.  They often create acidic environments that lead to the breakdown of tissues thus leading to the failure or destruction of the joint.  Also highly processed diets do not provide necessary nutrients for bone and joint maintenance.  Taking nutritional supplements can help some but they are not as easily assimilated into the tissues as natural nutrients found in foods.  The constituents in fresh, unprocessed foods are what the body needs.  They are easily broken down and utilized by the body while vitamin pills are not easily digested or are provided in forms that are easily assimilated.  The body has its own processes for extracting and creating nutrients from foods that are digested and the vitamin supplement bypasses those natural processes thus leaving the body with unused excesses that can also build up and lead to damage.

Many people believe that arthritis is hereditary, it is not.  Like osteoporosis the predisposition to develop it does come from previous generations but that does not mean that you have to develop it.  It simply means you have to take better care of yourself than someone without the predisposition to avoid the development of the disease.  Someone with cancer running through their family should definitely avoid cancer causing agents because they are more likely to develop a tumor.  This is much the same with arthritis.  If your parents are suffereing from arthritis then you should take action to eat better and be more active to prevent or hold back the development of the disease.

Joint replacement and Cortizone shots are common medical treatments for arthritis and the resulting joint damage.  But do you really want to be cut open and have plastic parts put in that are guaranteed to wear out and must be replaced every ten years? Or have an injection with a huge needle into your joint? I wouldn’t. Most people don’t realize that Cortisone, a steroid, is a precursor to Cortisol in the body.

Cortisol is the fat building, stress hormone that makes it difficult for stress filled people to lose excess body fat.  So you already have high amounts of Cortisol in your body because you are stressed from daily life and now your adding more just to alleviate the pain of arthritis.  What do you think will happen? Yeah, excess weight gain through increased fat retention.  Which also leads to high blood pressure (hypertension), blood clots (thromboses) that can lead to stroke or limb amputation, increased heart rate to pump the blood through fat restricted vessels, the development of diabetes through metabolism derangement because of excess Cortisol, and osteoporosis through minimized calcium absorption due to excess body fat accumulation. Now does that sound like an improvement? I think not.

Excess Cortisol in the system also leads to increased inflammation of tissues, leading to edema or water retention, and inflammation of the joints, leading to the development of arthritis. Now the injection itself does make the patient feel improvement in the joint for a time but once it is dissolved and utilized by the body the joint often experiences more pain and inflammation.  And the body suffers from excess Cortisol in the blood.

As for treating the problem naturally the first thing you must eliminate from your diet is soda (pop).  The carbonation in carbonated drinks actually reduces calcium absorption and hinders bone and joint maintenance thus leading to damage.  Also many of these drinks are so acidic that they lead to an acidic environment in the body which leads to the breakdown of joint tissues and supporting fluids.

Also the high fructose corn (HFC) syrup used to sweeten these drinks has been found to increase inflammation throughout the body leading to joint, hormone, and metabolism dysfunction.  Now sugar free drinks are no better.  The “fake” sweeteners are often more detrimental than the corn syrup.  Even though they have “0” calories they still raise the blood sugar levels thus making the body think it is getting calories and thus causing it to retain the excess calories it thinks it is getting. So the body gains weight by holding on to excess fat.  They also cause inflammation, especially of the brain, which leads to the development of migraine headaches and brain tumors.  Another problem with soda, diet or not, is that it provides no nutrition to the body at all, meaning it is useless to the body.  Now you don’t have to cut out all the soda if you love it but an individual should not consume more than 24 ounces of carbonated drinks per week to avoid most of the damaging effects.  If you really need the caffeine switch to coffee or tea because they both provide many essential nutrients even with the use of non-dairy creamer and artificial sweeteners.

To supplement your joints with foods you should consume all types of nuts and seeds on a regular basis because they contain essential fatty acids and oils that promote joint health.  Cold water, fatty fish, like catfish, are also very high in Omega fatty acids and very beneficial for reducing inflammation. Onions, garlic, and strong spices like pepper, turmeric, or curry are also very useful anti-inflammatory spices and should be worked into your diet as much as possible.

In the next blog I will cover herbs and essential oils that I have found to be beneficial for reducing arthritis pain and inflammation.

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