Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, gout,
polymyalgia rheumatica, lupus (SLE), bursitis, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.
Everyone knows someone who suffers from the degenerative condition of arthritis. Stiffness, pain in the early morning upon rising, incapacitation, joint swelling, bony fingers, bone spurs, hip and knee problems – those aluminium walkers.
Arthritis in all its manifestations has traditionally been regarded as an old person’s disease, and yet, more and more, children and teenagers are afflicted. Arthritis, as we shall see, is the most treatable of illnesses and extremely easy to prevent. Once again, cultures adhering to proper water and salt intake, plenty of sunshine and exercise, and an adequate plant-based diet full of fresh whole-foods free of pesticides, sugar and other contaminants DO NOT GET ARTHRITIS.
There are several forms of the disease to review. Firstly, the extremely common…
Rheumatoid arthritis: An auto-immune disease in which the immune system attacks the support structures to the joints, leading to pain, deformity and substantial loss of mobility.
Osteoarthritis: A degenerative condition first manifesting with stiffness or pain in the wrist, fingers, knees, hips, etc. Joint crepitus, stiffness after periods of inactivity, narrowed joint spaces, cartilage erosion, bone spurs, etc. Over 45 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, many undergoing joint replacement surgery after many years of pain killers and other drugs.
Primary osteoarthritis is the manifestation that leads one to believe that this form of arthritis is simply a disease of old age. Science believes that a breakdown in the matrix forming the cartilage, the gel-like material that acts as the shock-absorber layer between the joints, provokes an enzyme reaction which destroys further cartilage formation, causing bones to abrase, creating pain and extreme discomfort.
Secondary osteoarthritis is the term usually given to osteoarthritis which has occurred as a result of some primary incident trigger, usually an accident, surgery, hormonal irregularities, gout, previous fractures, etc.
Gout: An inflammatory arthritis-like condition that favours men, caused by the consumption of savoury, high-purine foods such as meats, gravies and certain fish. The condition is the result of uric acid crystals becoming deposited in joint spaces creating pain and inflammation.
Problems with the official treatments
Drs. Murray and Pizzorno report that in many cases, osteoarthritis, if left alone without any nutritional or therapeutic intervention, will clear itself.1 One study catalogued the natural progression of the disease in the hip over a ten-year period with no therapeutic intervention. X-rays were taken to confirm that the disease was in its advanced stages in the subjects to be studied. Later, after the patients were left alone with no therapeutic intervention, X-rays taken later confirmed that improvements did occur over time, with complete recoveries being experienced in fourteen of the thirty-one hips studied.2
Usually, arthritis sufferers are treated with aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen derivatives (Motrin, Advil, etc.). Many of these drugs have side-effects which include gastro-intestinal upsets, headaches, dizziness, ulcers, and a propensity to inhibit cartilage synthesis and promote further cartilage disintegration.3 As Murray and Pizzorno conclude, “NSAIDS appear to suppress the symptoms but accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis.”4 Rheumatoid arthritis drugs, however, especially the TNF-alpha inhibitors, have had pronounced problems, as Medline explains:
“…Simard’s team compiled information on patients with rheumatoid arthritis who began treatment between 2003 and 2008. Of these patients, more than 1,600 started taking adalimumab (Humira), almost 2,700 were prescribed etanercept (Enbrel), and more than 2,000 began treatment with infliximab (Remicade). During the five-year study, 211 of the patients died. However, the researchers found no difference in death rates among the three drugs.” 5
But these drugs don’t cure arthritis, and eventually the patient must either opt for joint-replacement surgery where applicable, or simply ‘put up with it’ and suffer progressive deterioration with the help of a constant diet of painkillers. Dr Joseph Mercola writes:
“Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease afflicting an estimated 1.5 million Americans,1 the majority of which are women. RA affects just over 53 women per 100,000, compared to nearly 28 men per 100,000.
Unlike osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to break itself down – your immune system starts attacking your joints, leading to pain, deformities and a substantial loss of mobility. As a result, RA is generally treated with very aggressive medications. In fact, the drugs used for RA are some of the most dangerous drugs used in medicine. High doses of prednisone are common, as well as immuno-suppressants and anti-cancer agents to treat the severe pain and swelling….
Potentially serious side-effects from these drugs include infection and cancer. With risks like that, maybe it’s time to try more natural and holistic methods of preventing and treating this painful disease?”6
Animal-based diets are known to cause arthritis. Animal-based diets come with a slew of dietary cholesterol, toxins, hormones, bad fats, heavy metals, are cooked, and cause a range of problems for the immune system in particular. Modern, semi-dwarf wheat is also a major implicator in arthritis, both osteo and rheumatoid.7 Switching to a 100% plant-based, organic diet, removing all grains, and ensuring a significant daily intake of fermented vegetables and beneficial fats, including coconut oil, is strongly recommended for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatism in any form. This regimen enables the body to clear itself of toxins fast, normalise insulin, reduce inflammation, re-program the immune system, boost oxygen, toughen bones and cartilage, reduce glycation, increase hydration, and provides the correct nutritive elements such as fine calcium and whole salts with which to repair damage.
Vitamin D connection
Chronic shortage of vitamin D-38 has been linked to various forms of arthritis.9 Vitamin D-3 is now known to be intrinsic to the proper functioning of cells to the extent that this secosteroidal hormone up-regulates around 10% of the human genome. Regular exposure to sunlight is often discouraged by the Authority due to misplaced fears of skin cancer, yet cancer itself is linked to chronic vitamin D deficiency!10 The elderly don’t often put themselves out to get proper sun exposure, so the deficiency deepens.11 Likewise, those from other countries with darker skin are far more vulnerable to developing arthritis in northern-latitude countries.12
The hormone connection
In females, increased incidences of osteoarthritis coincide with estrogen dominance, provoking menopausal symptoms of flushing, mood changes, sweats, etc. (see Menopausal Problems). Tamoxifen, an estrogen suppressor and chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of estrogen-positive breast cancers, appears to decrease the erosion of cartilage, but Tamoxifen brings with it an increased risk of uterine cancer and mortality.13 Osteoarthritis in women is clearly linked to hormonal irregularities, which is why the most effective natural and non-toxic protocols for menopausal problems work so well with arthritis in women. As proof of this, estrogen dominance also coincides with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) (see Hypothyroidism). Those with hypothyroidism are known to have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis as time proceeds.
Causes of primary osteoarthritis
Animal-based diets predominant in sucrose, white flour products and refined processed foods
Modern, semi-dwarf wheat. Also, barley, rye and other gluten grains
Vitamin D deficiency
Chronic long-term dehydration. Acidic metabolic by-products are not washed from the system with a consistent supply of fresh, clean water. In dehydration, the body initiates drought-management procedures designed to create pain to limit function and avoid damage to joint structures
The nightshade family (Solanaceae) of vegetables have been known to trigger osteoarthritis. These include tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. Some speculate that it is not the vegetables themselves but pesticides residues on the plants that are to blame
Lack of beneficial fats
Poor earthing/grounding of the body electrically
Poor melatonin production caused by abuse of white/blue light during the night hours
‘Junk in the joints’. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where excessive wear on the intestinal membranes (usually by gluten and other antagonists), render them permeable to undigested food proteins passing from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, thickening up the blood (a condition known as ‘Rouleau’). The body attempts to stash the ‘junk’, sometimes into the joint area, provoking an immune system reaction. Excess acid is a common by-product of 21st century diets, which inhibits the formation of new cartilage 14
Causes of secondary osteoarthritis
These, as mentioned in the ‘secondary osteoarthritis’ section above, will include ‘primary events’ that trigger the condition. This could be a fall, hormonal problems, or other conditions usually revolving around an overly acidic body system.
Rheumatism involves fever, weakness, swollen and ‘warm’ joints, deformities of the joints in hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis has long been termed an ‘auto-immune disease’, wherein the immune system appears selectively to destroy connective tissue, tendons, joint muscles and bone. Traditional medicine points to a specific genetic marker, HLA-DRw4, which allegedly predisposes the subject to RA. In reality, RA cannot thrive without key environmental factors being present, the chief of these being vitamin D deficiency,15 iodine deficiency, damage by modern wheat and the gluten grains, malnutrition and dehydration.16
A worrying body of evidence has been implicating statins in the cause of rheumatoid arthritis.17 In all auto-immune conditions, the trigger can also be an immune system shock (i.e. viral illness, food poisoning, vaccination, etc.) or an event that took the patient down hard emotionally (family death, separation, relationship issue, financial, etc.). Alternatively, sustained, corrosive, long-term stress such as financial problems, marriage break-up, professional or personal problems can have a severe and debilitating effect on the immune system. It is important to determine whether any of these stress triggers may still be active.
Other related conditions:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): A chronic, inflammatory disease involving connective tissue and other organs of the body. Symptoms include a red, scaly rash on the face, affecting the nose and cheeks. Mouth sores, arthritis, progressive damage to the kidneys and heart, low white cell count and anaemia. The condition is diagnosed by the presence of abnormal antibody activity. Lupus is described as an ‘auto-immune’ condition. Stress, shocks, personal distress are implicated. Fungal involvement producing these antibodies is suspected and should be verified as a secondary factor to the original cause.
Ankylosing spondylitis: An inflammatory disorder of the joint capsules which affects young men, mostly damaging connective tissue around the spine and large joints.
Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis): A chronic disorder affecting skin, internal organs and joints, presenting waxy, scaly skin, ivory in colour, due to blood vessel abnormalities. The illness can extend to other organs of the body, changing the character of tissue and presenting a whole range of symptoms from mild to fatal. Abnormal cell growth in the oesophagus is characteristic of about one third of cases. Again, vitamin D deficiency and secondary fungal involvement are suspected.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR): An auto-immune condition manifesting encroaching pain or stiffness, usually in the neck, shoulders, and hips. The syndrome is usually characterised by chronic inflammation or arteritis.
Bursitis is the inflammation of small sacs of synovial fluid in the body designed to reduce friction and cushion movement in joints between bones, tendons and muscles. Usually caused by repetitive movements creating inflammation. Can also be caused by injury, rheumatism and gout.
Most patients suffering conditions listed in this chapter will have impaired immunity resulting in altered microbial flora and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The severity of RA, for example, in a patient often correlates to the degree of fungal overgrowth in the body.18 Medicine has fixated on the presence of antibodies in RA sufferers without zeroing in on why they are there in the first place. Mycoplasmic microbes are known to infect joints which trigger specific attacks on them by immune factors.
Other causes for RA will be an immune system reaction to foreign proteins (antigens) such as casein in cow’s milk. Also, as previously mentioned, grief, stress, poisoning, a physical blow or accident can trigger the immune reactions comprising conditions covered in this chapter.
Nutritional support for osteoarthritis as well as all auto-immune conditions centres around optimising vitamin D serum concentration, hydration, detoxification, diet changes and exclusions, stress reduction techniques, the ingestion of suitable mineral salts, fungal/parasite-cleansing if applicable, and the ingestion of joint factors such as methylsulphonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate (sulphates have been found to incorporate sulphur into cartilage and promote healing).19 Boron, manganese, chromium and zinc also help.
It is also important for the patient to maximise their melatonin production by reviewing sleeping and lighting arrangements. Earthing the body electrically on a regular basis by spending 5-10 minutes barefoot on conductible surfaces such as (damp) grass or sand is also recommended.
Summary of arthritis
All the evidence from science and practical application in clinics around the world indicates the following:
Those with arthritis are vitamin-D-deficient
They consume the traditional, heavily animal-based, cooked, processed diets of Western cultures
They consume prodigious quantities of modern wheat and other gluten grains such as rye and barley
Many may be taking statins
Patients possess an acidic, dehydrated system for which traditional drug medicine is of little to no help
Patients are almost always iodine-deficient
Dehydration, loss of mineralised salts, diet and lifestyle, poor melatonin production are all primary factors in the development of this group of conditions. Food sensitivity problems and heightened ingestion of toxic, processed omega-6 oils and junk transfats are key areas for investigation
Chronic long-term stress or a one-off social catastrophe/shock can be a trigger to auto-immune conditions
Opportunistic yeast, fungi and associated mycotoxins are implicated in this category of conditions due to impaired immune function and abnormal bowel flora
Impaired bowel flora and/or dysfunctional digestion must be corrected
Patients suffering from any manifestations of arthritis, lupus or PMR may benefit from:
SUPERVISION: Secure the services of an MD or ND knowledgeable in nutritional treatments for arthritis
DIET: Commence hydrating the body to the extent of half the patient’s bodyweight in ounces of water per day (viz: a 160 lb male can drink 80 oz of water a day, which is approximately 10 glasses). Half a teaspoon (tsp) of Himalayan salt is recommended per 10 glasses of water. Maintain over the long term
DIET: THE FOOD FOR THOUGHT LIFESTYLE REGIMEN. High quality, organic food is the key here, as always, eaten four or five times a day. The diet should be 100% plant-based and at least 80% eaten raw to preserve enzyme activity, vitamins and other nutrients. Remember, cooked food is mostly dead food nutritionally. Avoid ALL cow’s milk and dairy products in general. Consume a diet rich in beneficial fats such as olive, avocado, coconut, seeds and nuts, fish and marine oils, including krill oil
DIET: Remove all wheat, barley, rye and oats. While oats are technically free of gluten, much cross-contamination has occurred. For an in-depth treatment of the damage grains do to human health in general, read Dr William Davis’s bestseller, Wheat Belly. 20
DIET: Ensure at least 6 oz (1 cupful) of fermented vegetables is ingested per day to provide trillions of colony-forming bacteria for the bowel.
DIET: Embark on a regular Nutribullet regimen comprising a broad spectrum of vegetables. General smoothies are fine, and so are organic, plant-based soups. Vegetable juices too, but avoid concentrated fruit juices
DRUG THERAPY: Dr Joseph Mercola, a world-recognised physician who has treated over 3,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients, makes a rare drug recommendation:
“Low dose Naltrexone. It is inexpensive and non-toxic, and I have a number of physician reports documenting incredible efficacy in getting people off of all their dangerous arthritis medications using low-dose Naltrexone (LDN).
Naltrexone is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, conventionally used to treat drug and alcohol addiction – normally at doses of 50 mg to 300 mg. As such, it’s been an FDA-approved drug for over two decades. However, researchers have found that at very low dosages (3 to 4.5 mg), Naltrexone has immuno-modulating properties that may be able to successfully treat a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease, just to name a few.” 21
DETOXIFICATION: Magnesium oxide bowel cleanse (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Magnesium oxide)
RESTORE NUTRIENT BALANCE: Commence THE BASIC SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM or ANTI-FUNGAL SUPPLEMENTATION, ensuring:
Vitamin C complex (ascorbates plus bioflavonoids), 10 g per day plus, or to bowel tolerance (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C before taking)
Get vitamin D-3 blood level tested using a simple 25(OH)D serum test kit available by mail order from www.vitamindtest.org.uk (even if you live abroad). Optimise levels to 150 nmol/L via supplementation with D-3 (cholecalciferol). If you live in a country with poor weather, supplement with vitamin D-3, along with periodic checks on D-3 serum concentration with the above test (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin D-3 before taking)
Optimise iodine in the body. An iodine-loading test is advised. Supplementation is via Lugol’s Iodine Solution (15%) or Iodine Plus tablets (12.5 mg). Commence with 12.5 mg per day for adults for one week, then increase to 50 mg per day thereafter for two months, then review. Important: read Lynne Farrow’s excellent book on the subject, The Iodine Crisis (www.credence.org). Also read A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Iodine before taking.
Consume 2-4 tablespoons per day of raw, virgin coconut oil
Vitamin B-6 pyridoxine, 75 mg per day plus, preferably with a B-complex supplement (do not exceed B-6 500 mg/day)
Vitamin B-3 niacin (not sustained release), 200 mg, single, then twice a day, working through the flushes as dosage is increased. For acute cases, niacin may be applied at this dosage up to 6 times a day, but only under medical supervision (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin B-3 (niacin) before taking)
Magnesium citrate, 500 mg, twice per day
Boron (Borax), 15 – 30 mg per day
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), 1 g – 15 g per day
Astaxanthin, 2 – 3 x 4 mg per day
Krill oil, 3 g per day
Digestive enzyme supplement, as directed, taken between meals on an empty stomach
TIP: Pay special attention to foods to be avoided. These will include a precautionary embargo on the nightshade family, e.g. potatoes, peppers, tobacco, eggplant and tomatoes
REST: Maximise melatonin production by reviewing sleeping and lighting arrangements (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Melatonin).
EARTHING: Spend fifteen minutes a day barefoot on grass or a beach to allow a flow of antioxidant-acting free electrons into the body (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Earthing). It’s also worth getting a grounding sheet or bed mat for the patient to earth themselves while they sleep
STRESS MANAGEMENT: See the Credence title, The Little Book of Attitude
1 Murray, M & J Pizzorno, Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine, Little, Brown, UK, p.696
2 Perry, GH, Smith, MJG & CG Whiteside, “Spontaneous recovery of the hip joint space in degenerative hip disease”, Ann Rheum Dis 31 (1972): pp.440-8
3 Shield, MJ, “Anti-inflammatory drugs and their effects on cartilage synthesis and renal function”, Eur J Rheumatol Inflam 13 (1993): pp.7-16
4 Murray, M & Joseph Pizzorno, Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine, op. cit. p.697
5 MedlinePlus, 8th August 2012
7 Davis, William Wheat Belly, Rodales, 2011, available via www.credence.org
8 Vitamin D-3, as opposed to D-2, is the metabolically active form of D used by humans.
9 Studies can be viewed at www.vitamindcouncil.org
11 Breijawi N, Eckardt A, Pitton MB, Hoelzl AJ, Giesa M, von Stechow D, Haid F, Drees P “Bone mineral density and vitamin D status in female and male patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip”, Eur Surg Res. 2009;42(1):1-10. Epub, 2008 Oct 30
12 Goswami R, Mishra SK, Kochupillai N “Prevalence & potential significance of vitamin D deficiency in Asian Indians”, Indian J Med Res. 2008 Mar;127(3):229-38.
13 Ransom, Steven Great News on Cancer in the 21st Century, Credence Publications, 2004; Lavie, O, Barnett-Griness, O, Narod, SA & G Rennert “The risk of developing uterine sarcoma after Tamoxifen use”, International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, vol.18, iss.2, 16 Aug 2007, pp.352-356
14 See index: Molecular mimicry
15 Mouyis M, Ostor AJ, Crisp AJ et al “Hypovitaminosis D among rheumatology outpatients in clinical practice”, Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Sep;47(9):1348-51. Epub 2008 May 22
16 Batmanghelidj F and Phillip Day The Essential Guide to Water and Salt, Credence, 2008
17 “Statin Drugs Linked To Arthritis, Heart Trouble And More”, GreenMedInfo, 30th April 2012, www.greenmedinfo.com; see also http://arthritis-research.com/content/14/2/R90/
18 Henriksson, AEK, et al, “Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with rheumatoid arthritis”, Annals Rheumatic Dis 52 (1993): pp.503-10
19 Karzel, K and R Domenjoz, “Effect of hexosamine derivatives and uronic acid derivatives on glycosaminoglycan metabolism of fibroblast cultures”, Pharmacology 5 (1971): pp. 337-345. Also Vidal, RR y Plana et al, “Articular cartilage pharmacology: In vitro studies on glucosamine and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”, Pharmacol. Res Comm 10 (1978): pp. 557-569. Also Mazieres B et al, “Chondroitin sulphate in the treatment of gonarthritis and coxarthritis. 5 months results of a multicenter double-blind controlled prospective study using placebo”, Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic Vol 59 (7-8) 1992, pp. 466-472.