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Arthritis


About
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. Technically, arthro- is Greek for joint; -itis means inflammation. Arthritis is considered to be one of the leading cripplers for people over the age of 65.


Notes
  • Make sure you are taking supplements for overall good health. If you are not taking these basic supplements, we recommend Enfuz from Vitabase. When you take a small packet of pills each day, you get all the basic nutrition you need. Each packet contains a multi-vitamin, CoQ10 (for heart health), Omega 3, Vitamin D-3, a probiotic, and a powerful set of antioxidants to help your body fight off disease.
  • A disease that mainly affects children under five years of age is called Kawasaki syndrome. This is an infectious disease that may cause similar symptoms of arthritis in children. Along with the arthritis symptoms they may have conjunctivitis; fever; a red rash on their body; swollen, red tongue; and/or purplish-red discoloration and swelling of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is unknown what the causes of this disease are. Unfortunately some of the children suffer permanent heart damage, but a larger number do recover.
  • A new drug currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is called Etanercept (Enbrel). It seems to block the infection-fighting protein ( the tumor necrosis factor), associated to inflammation. Immunex, based in Seattle, manufactures Etanercept and has added a warning to the label notifying physician of the possibility of serious infections and even several deaths attributed to the use of this drug.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Datril, etc) may be able to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen. Acetaminophen when taken in recommended doses only is fairly safe and cheap. This drug has been known to cause liver damage when taken in excessive doses or along with alcohol. Use of drugs is not always the answer, some patients using drugs obtain very little relief.
  • Almost half of the women patients that were found to have symptoms of unexplained arthritis, chlamydia was discovered in their joints. Chlamydia is an organism responsible for most cases of urethritis and a known link to arthritis that affects young women. Seventy-five percent of these patients had raised levels of antibodies to chlamydia in their blood.
  • An autoimmune disease that often acts like arthritis is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). For some unknown reason, the body makes antibodies that fight against its own tissues. Another disease that can cause symptoms similar to arthritis is ulcerative colitis. These symptoms usually occur it the diseases early stages. Due to this happening before the abdominal symptoms show up, it has led to wrong diagnosis which then delay proper treatment.
  • Cartilage in the joints can dissolve, if the blood is to acidic. When this happens the joints will lose their smooth sliding motion, the bones will rub together, and the joints be painful and inflamed.
  • Dr. David Pisetsky of the National Arthritis Foundation performed a laboratory study, and found that by injecting a protein called anti-TGF-B, painful joint inflammation in 75 percent of the patients disappeared. The discovery was then that this protein kills TGF-B, which is a chemical that the body produces in answer to infection causing inflammation and swelling in hands and feet.
  • Due to a study done by Charles Dinarello, M.D.., of Tufts University School of Medicine, it was determined that patients consuming deep-sea fish, relieved many of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed this was possible because of these deep sea fish are rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  • Evening primrose oil and borage seed oil contain Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It is believed that GLA suppresses production of prostaglandins that trigger inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and might even ease their symptoms.
  • Health food stores carry Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), a byproduct of wood processing, liquid that when applied topically to affected areas reduces pain, swelling and promotes healing. Usually as soon as the DMSO touches your skin a garlicky body odor and taste in your mouth appear. This is temporary and not a problem. Commercial-grade DMSO found in hardware stores is not to be used for healing purposes.
  • Honeybee venom has been used to treat arthritis pain and swelling and in some cases has been beneficial. Bee venom is known as an immune system stimulant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In some cases the physicians actually place the bees at the affected site and allow the bee to inject the venom and in others the physician uses a hypodermic needle to inject the venom. This venom has been found beneficial to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, may take longer to work when used for rheumatoid arthritis. A Cream by the name of Bee Venom Balm is available from Aerobic Life Industries. Persons allergic to bees should not use this product. More information on this subject can be found from the American Apitherapy Society.
  • It has been known for many years now that high-heeled shoes place greater compressive pressure on the knees that may in later years lead to arthritis in the knees. Chiropractors and osteopaths are even advising women of this fact.
  • Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia researchers have discovered a likely genetic factor of osteoarthritis. They found that some patients have a defect in the gene that directs cartilage cells to make collagen, which is an important protein in connective tissue. Because of this defect, collagen in each of these cell joints is more apt to wear down and deprive the bones of their protective cushion.
  • Lyme disease causes many of the same symptoms as arthritis.
  • Many studies have been done on patients that have rheumatoid arthritis and it was found that by taking large doses of fish oil supplements (2.5 to 5 grams a day) with their meals, they had fewer tender and swollen joint problems and less morning stiffness. It is believed that this is due to the Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish suppress the immune system reaction that causes joint inflammation. A few of the patients were even able to totally discontinue using anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Patients that take the drug Diclofenac sodium (Voltaren) should be monitored very closely as this drug can cause severe liver problems. When prescribed by a physician a blood liver enzyme test should be done within eight weeks of the start of treatment. Drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and gold compound (Ridaura) may be prescribed for some forms of arthritis.
  • Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were studied and it was determined that these patients had lower blood levels of folic acid, protein and zinc than their healthy counterparts. It was therefore concluded that medications prescribed for arthritis brought about biochemical changes in the patients bodies. The researchers came to the conclusion that because of this change, certain nutrients had to be increased.
  • Presently studies are being done on ointments containing the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine. This drug is currently being used on transplant patients to prevent rejection of transplanted organs. It is thought that cyclosporine may be beneficial in treating a variety of autoimmune diseases, which includes rheumatoid arthritis. Cyclosporine taken orally has been found to have severe side effects, such as kidney damage and diminished resistance to infections. Using this drug in the ointment form reduces these side effects.
  • The drug celecoxib (Celebrex) is often prescribed for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis due to it's anti-inflammatory properties. Celecoxib works by blocking the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Cox-2 inhibitors relieve inflammation without the side effects caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS).
  • The following drugs are prescribed for arthritis pain, but can have severe side effects: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, and many other products contain them), indomethacin (Indocin), and piroxicam (Feldene). At least One in one-hundred individuals who use NSAIDs regularly develop stomach ulcers and have even experienced gastrointestinal bleeding. The FDA estimated that gastrointestinal bleeding occurred in about 200,000 cases, and this included 10,000 to 20,000 deaths each year in the United States due to NSAIDS that were prescribed for arthritis. Another side effect of these drugs has been kidney and/or liver damage. The Annals of Internal Medicine stated that using NSAIDS may lead to severe health problems if you have any kidney dysfunctions.
  • The following drugs have been prescribed in place of NSAIDs as they do not have as big a problem with ulcers: Misoprostol (Cytotec), the ulcer drugs ranitidine (Zantac), and sucralfate (Carafate). These drugs also have some side effects and can as much as double the cost of treatment. The ulcer drug sucralfate (Carafate) can be prescribed for some patients as it may give the same relief as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs and not cause damage to the stomach lining.
  • The University of California Davis performed a study on forty-six women with silicone gel breast implants and other silicone prostheses. Sixteen of these women were found to have antibodies that attacked collagen, and in another group of forty-five women without implants, only four had the antibodies. The arthritis symptoms actually disappeared in a few of the women after removal of the breast implants. Unfortunately, this was not true in all of the cases.
  • Two formulas that can be ordered directly from the manufacturers are Mobility from Parametric Associates and Cosamin from Nutramax Laboratories. These two formulas have been found to be beneficial in treating joints and ligaments. At this time health food stores do not carry these formulas.
  • You can obtain more information on these subjects from the Arthritis Foundation.


Advice
  • Be sure to include fiber in your diet.
  • Check allergies
  • Do not take foods that contain solanine.
  • Do not use salt if you take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Eat rice, wheat, and rye for the amino acid histidine.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Going outside for some fresh air is food for bone formation.
  • In your diet you need to reduce the fat and avoid milk, dairy product, and red meat. Also you do not want to consume caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco, and anything that has sugar in it.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Make sure to include more sulfur foods in your diet.
  • Only receive your iron through food. Do not take iron supplements.
  • Take a hair analysis for metal intoxication.
  • To aid the repair of tissue take a free-form amino acid.
  • To ease stiffness take a hot bath or shower.
  • To reduce inflammation eat pineapple.



Helpful nutrients for this condition.

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Good for rheumatoid arthritis. Helps produce steroids in the adrenal gland.


Boron
Importance: Very High
Comments: Trace mineral. Keeps bones healthy.


Bromelain
Importance: Very High
Comments: An enzyme. Enhances production of prostaglandins. Aids in breaking up protein.


Glucosamine or N-Acetylglucosamine
Importance: Very High
Comments: Helps in the composition of bones, tendons, cartilage, synovial (joint) fluid, and ligaments.


Primrose oil or Salmon oil
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides essential fatty acids that boost prostaglandin production, which helps to decrease inflammation. Stabilizes pain and decreases inflammation associated with arthritis.


Sea cucumber (beche-de-mer)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides lubrication for connective tissues, specifically joints and joint fluid. Benefits may take 3-6 weeks to notice.


Silica
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides silicon which is essential for replenishing connective tissue and constructing bones.


Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Antioxidant. Keeps joint fluid safe from free radicals. Best to take sublingual form. May get through injections under physician's care.


Vitamin E
Importance: Very High
Comments: Potent antioxidant. Prevents joint damage by free radicals. Loosens up joints so they are more mobile.


Calcium
Importance: High
Comments: Protects against bone loss. Chelate form is recommended.


Magnesium
Importance: High
Comments: Works well with calcium.


Copper
Importance: High
Comments: Cofactor for lysyl oxidase. Builds up connective tissue.


Zinc
Importance: High
Comments: Promotes bone growth.A lack of zinc is found in those with arthritis. Zinc picolinate form is recommended.


Coenzyme Q10
Importance: High
Comments: Provides more oxygen to tissues. Rebuilds connective tissues.


Dimethylglycine (DMG)
Importance: High
Comments: Protects joint from further injury.


Free-form amino acid complex
Importance: High
Comments: Provides necessary protein for rebuilding tissue.


Kelp or Alfalfa
Importance: High
Comments: Promotes skeletal health by providing essential minerals.


Manganese
Importance: High
Comments: Essential for health bone growth. Note: Calcium and manganese should not be taken together as they work against each other for absorption.


Multienzyme complex
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestive process. Caution: Those who have a history of ulcers should refrain from taking products with HCl.


Selenium
Importance: High
Comments: Potent antioxidant.


Vitamin B complex plus
Importance: High
Comments: B vitamins enhance each other.Hypoallergenic formulas are best. Decreases swelling.


Vitamin B3 (niacin) or niacinamide plus
Importance: High
Comments: Broadens small arteries and enhances blood flow. Caution: Those with gout, liver disorder, or high blood pressure should refrain from taking niacin.


Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Importance: High
Comments: Decreases tissue swelling.


Vitamin B12
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestion. Good for new cells. Helps produce myelin. Protects from nerve damage.


Folic acid
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestion. Good for new cells. Helps produce myelin. Protects from nerve damage.


Vitamin C
Importance: High
Comments: Eliminates free radicals. Pain reliever. Decreases inflammation. Buffered form is recommended.


Bioflavonoids
Importance: High
Comments: Enhances Vitamin C.


Vitamin K
Importance: High
Comments: Places minerals into the bone matrix.



Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.

Alfalfa
Type: Internal
Purposes: In essence, alfalfa can be considered a pain reliever for rheumatism and arthritis. Alfalfa is a storehouse for minerals which can vital for bone formation. Kelp is oftentimes used along with alfalfa. Kelp contains vitamins, minerals, & amino acids. Kelp's primary function is to maintain a healthy thyroid. In addition, kelp is used to treat inflamed joints & tissues caused by arthritis or rheumatism.

Cats Claw
Type: Internal
Purposes: You wouldn't think that a spiny liana vine called Uña de Gato (Cats Claw) would be so beneficial to persons with bursitis or arthritis; however, this herb can remove the pain that these ailments cause.

Feverfew or Ginger
Type: Internal
Purposes: Both of these herbs have been mentioned for their anti-inflammatory capabilities in treating arthritis. Ginger is also an antioxidant with the active ingredient being Gingerol that works to reduce inflammation.
Cautions: If you are pregnant, it is not recommended that you use these two herbs.

Du Huo Jisheng Wan
Type: Internal
Purposes: If we look back over 1000 years, we will find that this herb was used by the Chinese to alleviate the pains that would arise from dampness or wind. In current day, this herb is used for treating severe arthritis.

Stinging nettle
Type: Internal
Purposes: Nettle (or Stinging Nettle) appears to be commonly used throughout many parts of the world. Nettle is a rich source of iron, calcium, & folic acids which also support a person's kidney and adrenals. The Germans use the Nettle Leaf as a treatment for arthritis and current research seems to indicate Nettle is, indeed, useful for this.

Boswellia
Type: Internal/External
Purposes: Boswellia can also be referred to as boswellin or Indian Frankincense. Where is its native home? It can be found in the dry hills of India and comes from the Boswellia serrata tree. Boswellia can be taken internally or used as cream and rubbed on the affected joint. Nature's Herbs has a good product called Boswellin Cream.
Cautions: For internal use, ensure that the product has standardized to contain 150 milligrams of boswellic acids per tablet or capsule.

Cayenne (capsicum)
Type: Internal/External
Purposes: Cayenne is gotten from the dried, ground fruit of the red pepper variety which is native to South America. One of its ingredients is capsaicin which changes the action of the compound P substance that transfers pain to our brain. This in turn reduces pain and inflammation. Since capsaicin can be absorbed into the skin, there are many creams with this ingredient contained in it.
Dosage: Mix cayenne & cayenne oil. Use enough wintergreen oil to make the combination into a paste and rub it on the affected joint. Can also use Cayenne Pepper as a poultice. Cayenne can also be taken in capsule form. Solaray has a good product.
Cautions: When first applied, cayenne tends to make the skin burn and sting. After a time, the pain will subside and actually reduce the inflammation

Noni
Type: Internal
Purposes: Noni is considered to be a shrub or small tree that likes salty soil, drought conditions, & secondary soils. The richest of the soils where Noni is found appears to be in French Polynesia. Multiple parts of the tree, from the roots on up, have been used by various cultures for multiple treatments of ailments. It has been mentioned that even the Polynesians used the leaves to treat arthritis.

Olive Leaf
Type: Internal
Purposes: Olive Oil Extract has been studied for many years in an effort to support the claims that this herb might be beneficial in relieving arthritic pain. This herb has also been said to be a safe and natural antibiotic. There is a natural compound in the leaf called oleuropein that seems to be effective in killing germs that have microbes that can be a contributant to arthritis. To date, there have not been any reports indicating the presence of side effects.

Turmeric (Curcumin)
Type: Internal
Purposes: Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa which is a leafy plant in the same family as Ginger. While India is the largest producer of this herb, one can also find the plant in China and Indonesia. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines have long used turmeric as an anti-inflammatory agent, a digestive and liver treatment, and a skin and wound cleanser. There have been a multitude of research studies that have brought to light the possible benefits of this herb for treatment in osteoarthritis.
Dosage: 600 mg daily

Willow Bark
Type: Internal
Purposes: Willow has been stated to be the original source of Aspirin. Hippocrates was said to have discovered that chewing willow leaves would relieve pain. Herbalists today continue to use willow to treat pain, headache, fever, and arthritis conditions.

Brigham Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: Ephedra Viridis. Known under variety of nomenclatures such as Mormon Tea, Desert Tea, Miner's Tea, Mexican Tea, to name a few. When the whole plant is used, there have not been any reported side effects. This herb is effective as a poultice when applied to the arthritic or rheumatic joint.

Buchu
Type: Internal
Purposes: Buchu comes to us from the Cape of South Africa. Its peppermint flavor is often used in brandies and wines. It has been said to be a treatment for Rheumatism.

Burdock
Type: Internal
Purposes: Burdock root is a common herb all over the world. The herb can be used by itself or mixed with other herbs. It is widely recognized to reduce joint calcification and swelling in arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, & lumbago.

Celery
Type: Internal
Purposes: Celery Seed is useful due to the multiple chemical ingredients in it that relieve inflammation and pain.

Corn Silk
Type: Internal
Purposes: Zea mays. Zea is defined as "cause of life." The mays is defined as "mother." This herb may alleviate painful swelling in some types of arthritis.

Devil's Claw Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: Devil's Claw is also known as grapple plant or wood spider. A person will find that Devil's Claw is native to South Africa. Its shape is the origin of its name. Symptoms of joint pain in osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis may be greatly alleviated by using this herb. Rather than having to boil water and add a measured portion of the herb, a person can purchase tea bags already containing the herb.

Horsetail
Type: Internal
Purposes: Horsetail has an abundance of silicic acid and silicates . In addition, this herb also has potassium, aluminum, and manganese, as well as 15 different bioflavonoids. Research is being conducted to determine the usefulness of the silicone component in treating arthritis.

Parsley Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: Petroselinum crispus. Drinking tea is used for alleviating many ailments, including arthritis and rheumatism. The tea is made from the leaves of the parsley.
Cautions: While seeds can also be used to make tea to treat arthritis and rheumatism, it is not recommended for people that are pregnant.

Yucca
Type: Internal
Purposes: Yucca is mainly found in the Southwestern U.S. & Mexico in the deserts. Native Americans typically use the root and the stalk for treatment for arthritis & rheumatism.