In the last two posts we viewed osteoarthritis through the lens of inflammation, poor circulation, and calcification as dominant and overlapping disease processes. A genetic predisposition (family history) or arthritis can accentuate these causes, but like most all chronic disease, it takes lifestyle and environmental factors to express arthritis in its most painful and debilitating form.
Remedying poor circulation is perhaps the most straightforward. You can control proper circulation from the outside in and from the inside out. Outwardly, being active on a daily basis is of the upmost importance. Regular physical exercise drives fresh blood into the muscles and joints and encourages a regular turnover of cells. Deep joint cartilage is reliant on the proper functioning of small blood vessels to carry nutrients to and waste products away. Patients with a history of cardiovascular disease will be predisposed to arthritis as the clogging of the arteries around the heart seen overtly is happening discreetly in these small vessels everywhere else within systemic circulation. Thus, the steps you might take to thin the blood and remove cellular debris will have a long-term healing effect on the vasculature feeding the joint spaces. Regular exercise ignites that process but it also takes careful dietary scrutiny to remove inflammatory and artery clogging agents from circulation.
This brings us to the treatment of inflammation. By far, the biggest inflammatory offender to the body is dietary. Sugar takes first place in being a universal inflammatory and immunosuppressive substance. Small amounts of natural sugar are likely negligible in a healthy individual but processed white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and a daily influx of junky carbs (breads, pasta, cakes, cookies, crackers, etc.) all break down into sugar which causes a spike in insulin and the stress hormone cortisol. The worst of the worst and the strongest correlation, clinically, comes from patients drinking soda on a regular basis. This practice all but ensures the formation of arthritis pain.
The other well-known inflammatory and artery clogging substance is vegetable oils, particularly hydrogenated vegetable oils which are a source of trans-fats. Strict elimination of corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc. is critical to successful reversal of arthritic conditions. Eliminating processed foods all together is the sure bet considering you would also be eliminating numerous artificial ingredients, chemicals, and dyes, all of which have a deleterious effect on the body
A third and somewhat variable dietary source of inflammation are food sensitivities, namely to wheat (or gluten), corn, soy and/or dairy. These four are the most common, but as we discussed in the last post, nightshade vegetables are highly suspect in cases of chronic arthritis. An elimination diet is the gold standard to diagnose one or more food sensitivities. Even without evidence of a food sensitivity, strict elimination of nightshade vegetables and pasteurized dairy will typically produce positive outcomes for an arthritic patient.
Supplementing for soft tissue degeneration should be implemented and need not be expensive. Although great benefit can be achieved through a high-quality whole-food based glucosamine supplement, regularly consumed dietary sources of soft tissue building compounds will often produce positive results in weeks to months. Including bone broths into your diet on a daily basis or supplementing with gelatin (or a couple of packets a day of old-fashioned Knox gelatin) will jumpstart the repair process. Circulatory stimulants such as Gingko biloba, as well as magnesium, Vitamin K2, and high doses of niacinamide can also be very helpful for the ongoing treatment of osteoarthritis.