âA Pain in Your Jointsâ
If you have arthritis, you know the score. In severe cases, it feels like battery acid is lubricating your joints, and when attempting even the simplest of motions, itâs like someone injected you with crazy glue.
Even mild arthritis can really put a damper on your daily life â the constant nagging pains and stiffness that never truly seem to go away.
But what is arthritis, and most importantlyâ¦ what can you do to either prevent it or reverse it?
Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more of your joints. As you read, the main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which can and usually does worsen with age.
Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis. Left untreated, the wear-and-tear damage to cartilage due to osteoarthritis can result in bone grinding directly on bone, causing pain and greatly restricting movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection. If you ever known someone with advanced osteoarthritis, you know how debilitating this disease can be. Just getting up from a chair or out of bed can be a nightmare.
Rheumatoid arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, your body's immune system attacks joints and inflames the synovium, causing swelling, redness and pain.
Your synovium is the smooth lining found inside the joint. This tissue produces a fluid (called appropriately enough synovial fluid) which lubricates and nourishes the cartilage lining your joints.
Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone around and within the joint. This not only causes pain in and of itself, but eventually the ligaments, tendons and muscles surrounding the joint start to weaken because of all the extra stress put on them, and start to fail as well.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms may include:
- Swelling & Soreness
- Redness (more common with rheumatoid arthritis)
- Decreased range of motion
Arthritis Risk Factors
Are you at risk for arthritis? Letâs take a look at the most common risk factors for this disease.
Family history: Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have this disease. Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.
Age: The risk of many types of arthritis â including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout â increases with age. But âageâ is really related to accumulated poor life style habits and the lack of corrective measures (see below) when the first warning sighs occur.
Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while gout affects mostly men.
Previous joint injury: People who have injured a joint, either through an accident or while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in the damaged area. (Many former professional football players are plagued with severe arthritis.) Again, there are actions you can take to stop and sometimes even reverse some of the damage before it gets worse.
Obesity: Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Arthritis Treatment vs. Arthritis Prevention
This seems to be the elephant in the room for many in mainstream medicine.
Treatments vary, depending upon the type of arthritis involved. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improving joint function and quality of life. However, in some cases, a change in lifestyle can facilitate healing of the joints.
You may need to try several different treatments, or combinations of treatments, before you determine what works best for you.
Some of the more common treatments include:
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) - Prescription medications used for treating arthritis. These drugs typically do not prevent joint deformity, nor do they help much in alleviating the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDS can also cause stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- COX-2 selective inhibitors, a newer class of NSAIDS, directly targets an enzyme responsible for arthritis inflammation and pain. However, there is evidence these may cause cardiovascular problems, such as a higher risk of heart attacks, as we saw with two of these drugs withdrawn from the market a few years ago.
- DMARDS (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are yet another type of arthritis drugs, which are prescribed to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent joint deformities. Side effects can be severe.
- Biologic DMARDS - Acting directly on the human immune system, this drug is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Benefits can be almost miraculous, but also side effects can be severe.
- Corticosteroids â Prescribed for quickly reducing severe inflammation, corticosteroids can also cause many serious and permanent side effects, and should be used only for short periods of time.
- Analgesics - Like Tylenol, and prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Morphine and Oxycodone, are prescribed to temporarily reduce or eliminate pain. These medications do nothing to halt the progression of the disorder - they only mask the pain.
- Antibiotics â Some antibiotics appear to suppress enzymes involved with the inflammatory process.
- Heat and cold: Heating pads or ice packs may help relieve arthritis pain. Each person has to find which works better. Sometimes a combination works best, first applying a heat pack to the afflicted area, then following up with an ice pack.
There are dozens and dozens of pain reducing drugs and procedures for those already suffering with arthritis, but when it comes to preventing it in the first placeâ¦ well thatâs a different story.
I like to think of it like something as simple as changing the oil in your car. Do it every 3,000 miles, and your vehicle is going to be running smoothly for a long, long time. Do it sporadically, or not at all â and youâre guaranteed to have problems down the roadâ¦ and a huge bill to boot.
I firmly believe prevention is your first - and best â line of defense. Simply put, you wonât have to fix what isnât broke. This goes for machines, and equally so for the human body.
Proven Prevention Methods
So, how do we prevent arthritis from forming in the first place? Letâs take a lookâ¦
Diet: I put this at the top because it is crucially important - and usually ignored by mainstream medicine. The 2 most common foods causing osteoarthritis are dairy (particularly non-fermented dairy) and wheat. Any food which we donât completely digest will be absorbed into the blood stream and can settle in an organ or joint - causing inflammation.
For example, the gluten found in bread and other flour products has been associated with arthritis, along with migraines, brain inflammation, depression, neuropathy and celiac disease. Whatâs truly startling is that documented cases of rheumatoid arthritis have reportedly become inactive when eliminating wheat and gluten from the diet.
Weight loss: If you're obese, losing weight will reduce the stress on your weight-bearing joints. This may increase your mobility and limit future joint injury.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help keep your joints flexible. Swimming or water aerobics is often a good choice because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on weight-bearing joints. Bicycling is also a great choice for keeping your knees and ankles flexible.
Yoga or tai chi: The slow, stretching movements associated with yoga and tai chi may help improve joint flexibility and range of motion in people with some types of arthritis. Remember that our muscles become tighter with inactivity (think about stiffness after lying in bed all night). Thatâs why yoga and tai chi have been practiced for thousands of years. Stretching takes the pressure off the joints, thus promoting good joint health.
Natural Supplements For Natural Arthritis Relief
If you are currently suffering from arthritis, or if you want to improve your chances of avoiding it as you age, then here are the 4 supplements I personally recommend as part of your daily nutritional routine.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Glucosamine & chondroitin give you the same building blocks Mother Nature uses to make your own natural cartilage. Joint cartilage is constantly being broken down and repaired or replaced. Problems arise when the rate of repair doesnât keep up with the rate of break down.
Glucosamine & chondroitin have been shown to help ease joint discomfort and help you rebuild new cartilage. But please be aware, glucosamine & chondroitin are not instant fixes. It will take many months or more likely years to rebuild worn cartilage.
Vital Nutrients offers an all natural and balanced blend of glucosamine & chondroitin sulfates for building and supporting collagen, the basic substance of your cartilage and joints. Both nutrients support your bodyâs ability to create and re-create the connective tissue necessary for maintaining healthy joint function.
Each bottle contains 120 easy to swallow capsules.
Joint Ease™ is a powerful combination of herbs which are mainly used for reducing the discomfort and pain often occurring with arthritis. These herbs have long been known to moderate inflammation and support healthy cartilage and good joint function. This herbal combination, with its powerful antioxidants, reduces substance P levels - a neurotransmitter related to the sensation of pain - in the body.
Specially blended to help against the joint pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, each capsule is free of coatings, binders, fillers, dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, yeast, corn, sugar, starch, preservatives or hydrogenated oil, and contains the following ingredients:
- Devilâs Claw
Devil's claw grows in its natural habitat in the Kalahari Desert and places of southwest Africa, and used traditionally for easing the effects of rheumatisms. French and German studies report this herb to be effective as an antiinflammatory agent. Devilâs claw helps your joints regain their flexibility.
Boswellia serrata, in use for several thousand years is commonly known as Indian frankincense or Salai. It is reported to have strong analgesic (pain-relieving) effects (Kar, A. & Menon, M.K. Life Sci. 1969;8:1023), along with antiinflammatory and antiarthritic activity. Clinical trials in India report beneficial results on arthritic patients.
Bromelain therapy has become quite popular for use in rheumatoid arthritis for decreasing joint inflammation. The journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (1992;24(l):20-25) reports a study on bromelain having therapeutic effects in the treatment of inflammation and soft tissue injuries, indicating bromelain can be helpful for a quick recovery from injury. The Merck Index lists it as an excellent anti-inflammatory enzyme (Merck Index, 11th ed. 1989. Merck & Co. Inc., Rahway, NJ, p. 1382).
- Turmeric (curcumin 95%)
Turmeric, a root belonging to the ginger family, is the spice noticeably present in curry powder. Research has demonstrated the excellent antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric, and especially of curcumin, which is the active component of turmeric responsible for its distinct yellow pigment (Reddy AP & Lokesh, BR. Mol Cell Biochem. 1992;111-117).
Historically used for reducing fevers and other inflammatory conditions since antiquity, Feverfew has an inhibiting effect on the production of pro-inflammatory by-products of arachidonic acid - one of the main mechanisms producing arthritic pain and inflammation.
- Licorice Root
Licorice has been shown to inhibit synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins in a manner similar to cortisone (Okinasa E, et al, Inhibition of phopholipase A2 by glycyrrhizin, an anti-inflammatory drug. Acta med Okayama 1983;37:385-91).
- Nettle Leaf
Nettle leaf has been used for rheumatic complaints, with its extract producing subjective improvement in 70% of 152 arthritic patients enrolled in a multicenter study (ESCOP, European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, Volume 2: 1996, Monograph on Devilâs Claw and Nettle Leaf Extract).
Take 2 capsules two to four times a day, or as directed by your healthcare professional.
NOTE: Do not take this supplement during pregnancy. Beware of hypertensive mineral-corticoid effects of long-term use of licorice. Hypertensive patients should be monitored.
True Botanicaâ¢ AKBA Plus
The Most Active Formula Of Frankincense
(Boswellia) Available Anywhere!
AKBA Plus is the richest, full spectrum, frankincense (boswellia, AKBA) formula available on the planet. Its main active ingredient â AKBA at 90% concentration - is the most potent natural 5-lipoxygenase enzyme inhibitor, crucial in maintaining a normal inflammatory response.
In addition to joint health, AKBA Plus is effective for inflammation in other areas of the body, such as the sinuses, lungs (asthma and similar conditions), and the intestines.
Compare this to the 2-3%. AKBA normally found in other preparations! Rhythmical and proprietary manufacturing processes insure the highest bio-available plasma level possible.
Ingredients: Each True Botanica AKBA Plus Capsule Contains:
- AKBA 90 (Boswellia serrata) 60 mg (resin) [std. for 90% AKBA (Acetyl-11-Keto-beta-Boswellic acid (54 mg)
- AKBA True Pentas 20 mg, (a proprietary, rhythmically prepared blend of Raftilose-Synergy-1 FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), Sipernat Silica, AKBA 90 (Boswellia serrata) (resin) [std. for 90% AKBA (Acetyl-11-Keto-beta-Boswellic acid)
- Fenugreek seed powder (Trigonella foenum graecum) 1 mg
- Bioperine (Piper nigrum) (fruit) [Standardized for 95% piperine (0.950 mg)] 1 mg
- Other Ingredients: Raftilose-Synergy-1, vegetable cellulose, vegetable magnesium stearate.
True Botanica AKBA Plus comes in 90 caps to the bottle.
Suggested Usage: One to three capsules daily, or as suggested by your health care provider.
Omax3™ Fish Oil
The Finest Source of Omega 3
Essential Fatty Acids
Joint Pain? Try This PATENTED Form Of Omega 3!
Numerous studies have revealed omega-3s help to:
- Reduce joint swelling and tenderness
- Improve grip strength
- Decrease anti-inflammatory drug use, such as over-the-counter and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Other Inflammatory Disorders
Recent research suggests that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and low in omega-6 fatty acids) may help people reduce inflammation.
In fact, several laboratory studies have already confirmed that omega-3s decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of the enzymes that break down cartilage.
Guaranteed free of mercury, PCBS, dioxins & other heavy metals, this unique Omax3 supplement developed by scientists affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine, was designed to be more effective than regular standard fish oil. In standard testing Omax3 was proven superior in increasing brain function. In fact, itâs so unique, the scientists formulating it were awarded a patent!
Start Today, For A Lifetime Of Optimal Joint Health!
Weâve all experienced aches and pains. But debilitating arthritis doesnât have to be a part of your life. Itâs imperative you take the necessary steps now to keep your joints strong and supple.
After all, we have this body for life â treat it well.
Dr. Robert Lang, MD
P.S. Did you know arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States? More than 21% of American adults (over 45 million people) have a diagnosed arthritis or another rheumatic condition. In 20 years, this number is expected to soar to over 67 million adults.
These are statistics I truly hope none of you will be counted in.
P.P.S. Most of us are deficient in a variety of core nutrients. Find out which ones are lacking, and how you can start recharging and optimizing your health and your energy. Find out more here: Nutrition and core vitamins.