Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Degenerative wear & tear changes occur over years of use. Damage to the cartilage results in the release of enzymes that destroy the collagen matrix. This results in pain, swelling, stiffness & restricted mobility.
Conventional treatment often results in a reduction of pain but has little effect on the arthritic process. There are side effects associated with the use of these medications such as gastrointestinal upsets, headaches and dizziness. An important and unmentioned side effect is that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen inhibit collagen matrix synthesis. This means that taking these drugs inhibits cartilage formation and accelerates cartilage destruction therefore accelerates the progression of osteoarthritis. Certain changes in the diet and nutritional supplements and herbal medicine is effective to reduce pain and inflammation and even halt or reverse the progression of the disease.
Naturopathic treatment of osteoarthritis
- Conduct a solinaceae challenge
- Reducing inflammatory foods
- Promoting anti-inflammatory foods.
- Losing weight
The Solanaceae Challenge
The Solanaceous family has been shown to also inhibit collagen matrix synthesis, thereby preventing the cartilage from regenerating. Give up potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chilli for 2 weeks. On day 13 have three glasses of tomato juice. If your joints get worse then continue to avoid tomatoes. Test the other foods in this family, one each day.
Eventually you may need to either completely avoid these foods or not consume these foods on a daily basis. For example have tomatoes only once a week and have sweet potato instead of potato. Please consult a naturopath for more details.
Foods to avoid
Reduce foods rich in arachidonic acid such as red meat, milk and cheese. These foods will increase inflammation and pain in the joints. Reduce consumption of processed food. Avoid foods from the solanaceae or nightshade family such as potato, tomato, eggplant, chilli, and capsicum. Reduce intake of tea, coffee and alcohol
Foods to increase
Increase consumption of tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel, whole grains, tofu and fruit and vegetables. Ginger and tumeric are both strongly anti-inflammatory. Increase consumption of alkalising foods such as green leafy vegetables, millet, and brazil nuts. Increase filtered water consumption. see also Carahealth Eco Water Filter
Nutritional supplements for osteoarthritis
Omega 3 essential fatty acids – decrease inflammation and pain.
Glucosamine – Is a precursor to proteoglycans, which is like the mortar of the collagen that the calcium, magnesium and phosphorus stick to. Dose1000mg 3 times a day.
Vitamin A, C and E – have been found to protect the cartilage by stabilising proteoglycans.
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.
Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.