Do your knees creak and pop when you get up from sitting?
Are your joints achy for the first 30 minutes of every day?
Do your hands hurt with activity?
Are you prone to joint swelling?
Have you been diagnosed with arthritis?
Do you take NSAID’s or OTC pain meds on a daily basis?
Does arthritis run in your family?
Does someone you know have osteoporosis?
Did you know osteoporosis or osteopenia puts you at risk for arthritis?
Have you been told you need a joint replaced?
Do you have Lupus or Psoriasis related arthritis?
Are you tired of hurting all the time?
Did you know diet and dietary supplements can affect your arthritis and joint pain? …………………………………….
If joint pain is part of your daily life I have some good news.
Even if you are taking pain medications regularly you can benefit by improving your diet.
There are nutrient and vita-nutrient supplements that can help reduce and even eliminate joint pain.
These supplements are non-toxic, inexpensive and generally effective within a few weeks.
Vita-Nutrients are compounds that occur naturally in healthy people. Although vita-nutrients are not considered “essential” in the standard sense they give benefit and can optimize function – Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM are examples of Vita-Nutrients.
Most people have heard of glucosamine and many have had some success in reducing symptoms. But the average person is confused about where to start, after all – a lot is at stake.
Our joints [and bodies] deserve a thorough approach. In my estimation there are three functional types of arthritis.
Wear and Tear Calcium Deficiency Inflammatory
I divide them by their underlying problems. In my experience people have a blend of all three types. Most have a majority of one category or the other but also elements of the other two. Evidence of this is seen when people with RA or rheumatoid arthritis respond, in some cases dramatically, to glucosamine supplements. People with documented wear and tear arthritis often will benefit when their calcium balance is optimized. You get the idea.
1) Wear and tear variety – It presents as transient stiffness in the AM for 30 minutes or so. It will usually respond to a quality Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM product within 14-21 days.
2) Calcium deficiency/Osteoporosis variety – this type manifests more gradually with joint popping/creaking/cracking and grinding and finally pain that is worse as the day goes on with exacerbation with increasing usage. This includes low back pain, neck pain and various aches/pains.
Proper Calcium balance can alleviate these symptoms including pain, usually within 3 weeks. This “balance” includes avoiding Calcium detractors like phosphoric acid found in dark colas – one 12 ounce cola contains one gram of phosphorus that will negate two grams of Calcium; the amount found in SEVEN 8 ounce glasses of milk.
The proper/best Calcium is derived from bovine sources [actually cows from Australia -No Mad Cow disease there]
Side note here: Herniated discs, for the most part, do not cause pain in joint area but in the “down stream” nerves – arms or legs – where sensation loss and ultimately weakness may also occur. In one study they found 30% of people have a herniated disc while experiencing NO pain. So, MRI results need to be taken in context of other symptoms, in particular – evidence of nerve impingement. Plenty of patients get back or neck surgery that is un-necessary and join the group known as “surgical failures” as they have persistent symptoms of localized pain.
Remember the less invasive our approach the lower the chance of side effects or bad outcomes – Diet/Nutrition, Activity modification, various physical therapies, medications and surgery are the choices.
3) Inflammatory Arthritis variety – this includes RA, Lupus and Psoriatic arthritis. There are many lab tests, clinical criteria and certainly many clinical presentations that are used to categorize this type of arthritis into its apparent overwhelming complexity. However, if we consider the common thread here is inflammation and then try to address why the inflammation occurred in the first place we are on a more logical path.
Strong medications are needed in some cases to avoid irreversible joint damage and deformity. Medical supervision, assessment and follow up is VERY important. But, diet and dietary supplements are essentially an extension of your diet – everyone can benefit – even those on the strongest medicines.
Most of us are familiar with fish oil [and other oils krill and flax oil] being rich in the Omega 3 oils. But few have an understanding of the Omega 3’s purposes and uses throughout the body which include structural as well as biochemical functions.
The Omega 3 oils get the spotlight nowadays and are very important.
α-Linolenic acid or ALA eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA docosahexaenoic acid or DHA
Dietary sources include cold water fish like tuna, sardines or salmon as well as fresh vegetables, but it is difficult to get enough from diet alone, unless you are an Eskimo.
Other fats or oils are also instrumental to good health; saturated fats found in animal products [including butter] and coconut oil, some Omega 6 oils [Linoleic acid or LA and gamma-linolenic acid or GLA] and the Omega 9’s are all part of the healthy team of good dietary fats.
Omega 3’s should comprise around 3% of your daily calories – or 7-10 grams. The Omega 3’s come from animal and plant sources; fish oil, krill oil and flax oil supplements.
I take a concentrated fish oil capsule along with flax oil capsules.
You can also get liquid versions or combination products.
Saturated fats are rendered harmless when adequate amounts of the omega 3 oils are present. Also, a proper omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is vital to avoid an inflammatory environment in the body. The omega 6:3 ratio is an interesting topic; Omega 9 oils, although not essential, help out by displacing the plentiful Omega 6 oils [corn, sunflower and safflower are loaded with Omega 6’s] and Olive oil is good for cooking being heat stable.
If the proper ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 oils is not maintained there will be inflammation. The ratio would ideally be 1:1 but our American diet gives some awful numbers!! I’ve seen a report of 50:1
[remember 3’s are soothing where 6’s are inflammatory]
Here’s a quick excerpt from an abstract – on the topic of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios….
Here is the link www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
An Omega 6:3 “ratio of 2-3/1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and a ratio of 5/1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10/1 had adverse consequences.”
One of the benefits of using Olive oil [Omega 9] is that the Omega 6:3 ratio is improved where using other vegetable oils loaded with Omega 6’s worsen the balance. [Elegantly simple when you think about it]
Modern medical technology has given us medications, procedures and surgery [including the near “miraculous” joint replacement] that provide relief and comfort. We are fortunate to live in these times.
The “diet first” approach is the most logical route.
All arthritis patients are encouraged to exercise and eat right, but supplements are rarely mentioned.
I have seen arthritis of ALL varieties benefit from dietary modification and nutritional supplementation.
In addition to the supplements I have mentioned above there are other key nutrients to consider. Vitamin C is probably one of the best nutrients to take for optimal joint function.
As I frequently tell people – It is advisable to pursue full spectrum nutrition – not only for joint pain but for general health purposes. Our health [or lack of health] is proportional to our nutrition – good or bad.
As I always Remind you…
To achieve full spectrum nutrition we all need to supplement our diets.
Supplements to consider:
1) Get a good multiple vitamin/mineral product. Versions with “Chelated” minerals are best. I also like those with some plant based vitamins.
2) Take a quality Calcium product. Look for MCHA as the calcium source and one that includes Magnesium, vitamin D and some assorted trace minerals.
3) Take Omega 3 oils. Flax oil is the best to start. Adding Krill or fish oil later [BTW – Krill oil in the container has a distinctive odor – if you place 3-4 desiccant packs in the bottle and refrigerate it, the odor is gone in 12 hours]
4) Find a good Colloidal mineral product for trace minerals. Make sure it’s from Humic shale and NOT ionic minerals. Humic shale is the “fossilized” remains of the dinosaur days. Plant based colloidal minerals are 98% absorbed.
5) Find a quality Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM product [bovine source is best].
As always, feel free to comment or message questions or concerns.