Many Faces of Arthritis and How to Address it Naturally
(The Best Years in Life)
Arthritis is an often-debilitating disease that causes pain and loss of movement of the joints and it has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, striking an estimated one in three adults. Tino Mantella, President of the Arthritis Foundation, says that “Arthritis is the number one cause of disability and affects more people than ever imagined.”
At its heart, arthritis is usually due to inflammation - most often prolonged inflammation. The word arthritis itself literally means joint inflammation (arth=joint, ritis=inflammation), and refers to more than 100 different diseases. Arthritis is a degenerative disease affecting the joints that causes pain and limits mobility. Depending on the type of arthritis, the joints can lose their flexibility in different ways. For example, loss of flexibility could be due to inflammation, loss of cartilage elasticity, a lack of synovial fluid, autoimmunity (when the body attacks itself), or an infection. Although uncommon, juveniles and young adults may are also affected.
Although we associate arthritis with aging, almost two-thirds of people suffering from arthritis have not yet reached the age of 65. In many instances there are natural treatments that stop arthritis or can be effective in lessening the condition and its pain, even when mainstream drugs and treatments have failed.
Some common types of arthritis
Osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis and is associated with aging. However, osteoarthritis can also occur after an injury. This type of arthritis involves cartilage losing its elasticity. Cartilage acts as a shock absorber and when it becomes damaged, tendons and ligaments stretch. This can become pronounced enough that the bones of the joint rub against each other, causing severe pain. The onset of osteoarthritis is gradual. Besides pain, other symptoms include stiffness, especially in the morning, and loss of flexibility.
Rheumatoid arthritis is believed to be an autoimmune response. This type of arthritis involves the attack of the synovium (the synovial membrane) which causes swelling, inflammation, and pain. Deformity can occur if left untreated. Although this type of arthritis is also associated with age, in rare instances, it can affect young adults and children. There are three types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA):
1. Pauciarticular JRA is the most common and mildest form. With this type of arthritis, the child experiences pain in a maximum of four joints.
2. Polyarticular JRA is more severe and affects five or more joints. Polyarticular JRA can worsen in time.
3. Systemic JRA is the least common but it can be the most serious. Many joints are affected and it can also spread to the organs.
A child with JRA may experience intermittent fevers, anemia and poor appetite, which can result in weight loss.
Septic arthritis (infectious arthritis) is caused by an infection in the synovial fluid and joint tissues. Fever, inflammation, and swelling, may be present.
The role of diet in arthritis
If you have arthritis, what you eat is very important. Raw fruits and vegetables, together with foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids should be the main focus. Foods rich in Omega 3s include sardines, herring, trout, tuna and salmon. Fatty foods such as red meats should be avoided. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet is crucial for a person with arthritis. Keep in mind that excess weight puts additional pressure on the affected joints. Many have found relief from arthritis simply by forsaking unhealthy foods and shedding those unwanted pounds.
Bones and joints can degenerate due to a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. A best quality full spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement will help to give joints the necessary nutrients to maintain themselves. Minerals are as important as vitamins because they are the building blocks of enzymes that are necessary in the utilization of vitamins. Good digestion is critical for the proper absorption of vitamins and minerals.
The importance of magnesium
In particular, deficiency in magnesium has been strongly associated with arthritis. Magnesium has been called the master mineral for good reason. As Dr. Carolyn Dean, who literally wrote the book on magnesium, reports magnesium plays an important role in more than 1300 body processes. Alarmingly, it is variously estimated that anywhere from a minimum of 75% of us to over 95% of us are deficient in magnesium.
Notably, magnesium is well absorbed through the skin and transdermal magnesium oil is widely available. A bonus of applying magnesium to the skin in and around affected areas is that it often brings pain relief and greater flexibility. Epsom salt baths can also bring relief and are a great way to add magnesium to the body. When it comes to oral supplementation, one excellent product is the Dr. Hans Neiper formula Membrane Complex, which also includes calcium and potassium - both of which are vital co-factors for magnesium.
Digestive enzymes may provide significant relief for arthritis
Many people report that digestive enzymes provide significant relief from arthritis. Digestive enzymes, especially when taken in quantity on an empty stomach, dissolve fibrin - the substance that makes up scar tissue and lesions. This author suggests using a top quality all-around digestive enzyme product plus added serrapeptase (perhaps the most effective enzyme of all when it comes to dissolving fibrin). Some examples of the best digestive enzyme products are: Garden of Lifes Omegazymes, Univase Forte (20% stronger than the highly regarded Woebenzyme product) and RecoveryZymes (which is the author's personal choice due to a combination of quality, effectiveness and reasonable cost).
Other items which combat arthritis naturally
Many juices have been used effectively against arthritis, especially pure black cherry juice - which is also a very successful natural remedy for gout. Beet juice is another good one and it is wonderfully healthy in many ways. People with rheumatoid arthritis should include juices that are high in anti-inflammatory nutrients such as beta-carotene (found in parsley, broccoli and spinach) and copper (found in carrots, apples, and ginger).
Herbs such as boswellia, cayenne, devil’s claw, horsetail, licorice root, turmeric, white willow, and yucca, are also effective in relieving arthritis symptoms.
Hot castor oil packs applied to the affected joints also bring relief.
A proven supplementation protocol for arthritis
Ben Taylor, the author's lifelong friend and the owner of the Utopial Silver Supplements company (www.utopiasilver.com), reports that the following combination has been very effective against arthritis for himself as well as family members and others:
1) Plant Minerals- minerals are the building blocks of the enzymes necessary for the utilization of all other vitamins, etc. (rock minerals are a waste of money since only 5-15% can be broken down by the body before being eliminated. Minerals already digested by plants are potentially 100% absorbable.)
2) Colloidal Gold - gold has even been used by mainstream medicine to treat severe Arthritis.
3) MSM, Glucosamine, Chondrotin, Collagen - in some instances, most or all of these products can be found in a single supplement product, such Liquid Life Joint Care, which also contains aloe.
4) Silica (from horsetail and/or shavegrass). Silica is vital for bone formation and connective tissue. Silica helps to maintain healthy joints and eases the pain of arthritis.
5) GTF Chromium (GTF Chromium is a complex known as Glucose Tolerance Factor and is made by fermenting the nutritional yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae with chromium.)
5) Colloidal Silver- some arthritis is believed to be viral related and colloidal silver is an extremely good anti-viral agent. Colloidal silver also helps bone, tissue and nerve regeneration.
6) Digestive enzymes. See the above information about digestive enzymes.
Don't forget exercise
Though it may be painful at times, especially when one first begins an exercise program, exercise is very important in order to maintain flexibility and mobility. Moderate exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints and increases mobility, flexibility, and endurance. Water exercises are highly recommended for people with arthritis. Other forms of recommended exercise are walking, yoga, or even playing a round of golf.
A final note
Since there are so many different forms of arthritis and since we are all unique individuals, what works for one person may not work for another - even if they have been diagnosed with the same form of arthritis. In most instances, the best results will come when a person mounts an attack against arthritis on every front.
Tony Isaacs is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including Cancer's Natural Enemy. Mr. Isaacs articles are featured at Natural News, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador online, AlignLife, the Cancer Tutor, the New Zealand Journal of Natural Health and several other venues. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 3500 members and the CureZoneAsk Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum. Mr. Isaacs and his partner Luella May host The Best Years in Life Radio Show every Wednesday evening on Blogtalk Radio.