© Copyright Bee Wilder, Revised December 4, 2011 to correct the description of tendons and ligaments in the section What IS Arthritis?
Table of Contents
- What IS Arthritis?
- Properly Functioning Joints Do Not Degenerate
- What Causes Arthritis?
- How Toxins Cause Arthritis and Other Symptoms
- Do You Need to Take Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate?
- Toxins Exhaust the Endocrine System
- Arthritis & Inflammation
- Pain Management
- Detoxification IS Important
- How to Increase Blood Flow
- How to Improve Fat Utilization & Absorption
What IS Arthritis?
Dr. Ben Lerner states, "During my first quarter of graduate school, I had to take a course in medical terminology. As I found out early on that chiropractic school was not much different than medical school. We had to learn to diagnose and, interestingly enough, terminology was the key to diagnosis.
One of the first words we learned in that class was the term "-itis." "Itis" is Latin for "inflammation of." Other terminology included some words that probably sound familiar to you:
- Arthro means joint.
- Stoma means stomach.
- Bursa is short for the fluid-filled sack in many joints.
- Fibro means muscle fiber.
- Mya means muscle.
- Cepha means head.
- Tendons connect muscle to bone.
- Ligament are fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones.
Bee’s Note: Rheumatoid refers to any disorder of the extremities or back, characterized by pain and stiffness.
Dr. Lerner says my classmates and I often laughed as we learned these words, because we realized the vast majority of medical diagnoses weren’t actually "diagnoses" at all, but merely turning the name into Latin or something fancy to impress our patients.
It’s also done, not only to impress, but to make an impact on the patient so they’ll be satisfied they have a diagnosis. So if you’re told you have "arthr-itis," "tendon-itis," "burs-itis" or "stomat-itis," it means your joint, tendon, bursa sack or stomach hurts. Doctors can then follow medical protocol and write a prescription to give you drugs that will hopefully ease the pain.
"Algia" is another interesting one that means pain. Therefore, "Cephalgia" is a headache. The often used diagnosis, "Fibromyalgia," means muscle fiber pain.
There’s one very serious problem with diagnosing: People feel they have a "condition." Everyone knows once you have a "condition," you always have a "condition." It’s like old phones or luggage that used to last forever. Well, the medical myth that "conditions" last forever has gone the way of the rotary phone too.
Arthritis, tendonitis and fibromyalgia are not death sentences. They’re merely Latin terms, combined with fancy medical English phraseologies, for pains doctors don’t understand and conditions for which they have no effective treatment. The key problem for conventional medicine, when it comes to aches, pains, and degenerative issues like "arthr-itis", is that most doctors are only diagnosing and treating side effects, and not the true cause of the problem."
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that attacks the synovial membranes surrounding the lubricating fluid in the joints. The cartilage and tissues, the area around joints, and the bone surfaces are also affected. Rheumatoid arthritis creates stiffness, swelling, fatigue, fever and pain.
Bee’s Note: In fact all kinds of arthritis are caused by the Primary Reasons for All Failing Health:
- Lack of the correct combination of nutrients that all humans need in order to be healthy.
- Lack of oxygen at a cellular level and/or the inability of the cells to utilize oxygen.
- Accumulation of toxins, poisons, and waste because of an inability of the body to detoxify like it should.
- Lowered vitality (energy) due to stress, shock, injury, emotional upsets, losses, relationship or financial worries, being unhealthy, etc., and a lack of energy at a cellular level.
- Poor "Nutritional Status" acquired from parents upon conception.
For more information see Inflammation & Infection are Natural Healing Processes.
Properly Functioning Joints Do Not Degenerate
Arthritis is an "inflamed joint." The joints are created by the ends of bones meeting. At this point they are cushioned by cartilage. The knee, hip, shoulder, and other bigger joints have a fluid-filled sac called a bursa ("burs-itis").
The inner lining of the joint has a grease-like fluid called synovial fluid which reduces friction and allows for freedom of movement. If the joint begins to malfunction, this is often coupled by a loss of synovial fluid that would aggravate the bones meeting in the joint.
When joints become arthritic, swelling occurs resulting in stiffness and rigidity. The body creates swelling in order to immobilize the area. This is done, not only to alleviate further damage, but also to hold it still (immobile) so it can do a better job of healing the area. Swelling also means there are extra immune system fluids brought into the area to heal. Redness can occur because it means the body is bringing more blood to the area which is needed for healing.
The body will warn you with pain if the joint moves beyond its present limits. It is a vicious cycle because, as mobility decreases, the muscles surrounding the joint also weaken and deteriorate, allowing for further damage to the joint. Eventually, you can have cartilage, ligament and tendon damage, as well as further bone erosion. If these joints are functioning normally and well cared for, they just don’t "itis," i.e. become inflamed.
There’s good news about degenerative arthritis. Common medical wisdom is that if you have arthritis, essentially you’re doomed. This could not be further from the truth. The body does heal itself.
What Causes Arthritis?
The onset of arthritis is often associated with physical or emotional stress which suppresses the immune system; however, poor nutrition, bacterial infection, abnormal bowel function, lack of oxygen, etc. may also be the cause. One of the major causes of arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and other related diseases and disorders are high toxic levels, from toxic drugs and foods, toxins the environment, etc.
A common finding in arthritis is bacterial and candida overgrowth in the digestive system, which is called “gut dysbiosis.” The advanced concept suggests that many diverse diseases, such as migraine headache, ulcerative colitis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis, as well as arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis and other related diseases, are all interrelated.
These diseases appear to result from environmental, nutritional, biochemical, and other negative influences that affect the victims’ immune systems. By recognizing these related causes, and by taking steps to alter them, wholistic practitioners are able to help victims of candidiasis [candida overgrowth] without resorting to surgery, hospitalization, radiation, chemotherapy, or other forms of unsuccessful and potentially toxic drug treatment.
Inadequate nutrition greatly contributes towards producing illnesses like arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, rheumatism and other related disorders. Also nutrition is the key to altering and improving inherited DNA/genes.
Often a person who has candida has many other health issues, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and other related diseases:
- Impaired digestion.
- Poor absorption of nutrients.
- Exhaustion of the endocrine system, including adrenals, thyroid, pancreas, etc. which impairs hormone production and digestion.*
- Impaired blood flow to the joints.
- Lower oxygen levels.
How Toxins Cause Arthritis and Other Symptoms
Toxins not only build up in many areas of the body, but they also cause cell damage and Cell Membranes Defects. Damaged or defective cells interfere with the body’s production of fluids.
In arthritis the synovial membrane becomes rigid, and the lubricating fluids in the joints become thin and watery. This makes them less able to protect the joints.
Toxins also makes red and white blood cells go rigid, when they should be flexible and able to fold over and squeeze into the tiniest capillaries. This decreases blood flow which is needed for nurturing the tissues surrounding the joints.
Cell membrane damage and defects can prevent nutrients and water from getting into the cells and prevent waste products from getting out of the cells, which will contribute to muscle weakness and soreness, as well as many other defects and symptoms throughout the body.
Cell membranes are intended by nature to be made up of 50% saturated fat (lung cells must be 100% saturated fat), which are in butter, unrefined coconut oil, lard, and other natural occuring animal fats. But when Unnatural Fats & Oils are consumed, i.e. derived from plants such as canola (from rape seed), soy, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and corn, the body incorporates them into the cell membrane creating cell membrane damage and defects.
Do You Need to Take Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements?
Glucosamine plays an important role in maintaining cartilage. It makes synovial fluid thick and gelatinous, which allows it to hold more water. This increases its cushioning ability. Thus glucosamine has the ability to decrease friction and pain in the joint. NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) such as aspirin, have been shown to do the opposite, actually causing the disease to progress at a faster rate.
When fluid levels in the joints are close to the normal, there is a tendency for much less damage to the nerves due to a greater resilience in the disk from the higher water content. Simply put, the more water held by the joint, the greater the shock absorbing effect and the greater the health of your joints.
However, glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occuring amino sugar synthesized in the body from L-glutamine (amino acid/protein) and glucose*.
*Note: Glucose does not need to come from sugar nor carbohydrate-type foods. The body can obtain all of its needs for sugar from meats, eggs, and good natural fats. That is because 58% of protein and 10% of natural fat turns into glucose inside the body.
Chondroitin sulfate is another natural substance found in the body. It prevents other body enzymes from degrading the building blocks of joint cartilage. The type sold in health-food stores and pharmacies is derived from animal products. Your body can make all the chondroitin you need from the glucosamine your body produces, making Chondroitin sulfate supplementation unnecessary.
Deficiencies of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are rare, since they are manufactured by the body, and the key to increasing their production is consuming a healthy diet that contains meats, eggs, good fats, low carbs, no sugars, no processed foods, etc. as well as improving digestion. Also see the candida diet and the main candida article for details about the candida diet.
Also see information about healthy diets in Foods that Damage, Foods that Heal.
Fortunately, God designed our bodies with wonderful self-repair mechanisms. If one makes optimal food choices there is a high likelihood that much of the damage can be reversed.
Toxins Exhaust the Endocrine System
Exhaustion of the endocrine system causes many symptoms and disabilities, including rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and other related diseases, as well as digestive disorders.
The endocrine system is made up of the endocrine glands that secrete hormones. Although there are eight major endocrine glands scattered throughout the body, they are still considered to be one system because they have similar functions, similar mechanisms of influence, and many important interrelationships. The major endocrine glands are:
- pituitary and pineal glands located in the brain
- thyroid gland located in the neck
- thymus gland located just behind the breastbone in the chest
- two adrenal glands located just above the kidneys
- pancreas located across the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach
- female ovaries and the male testes
Some glands also have non-endocrine regions that have functions other than hormone secretion. For example, the pancreas has a major portion that secretes digestive enzymes and an endocrine portion that secretes hormones. The ovaries and testes secrete hormones and also produce the ova and sperm. Some organs, such as the stomach, intestines, and heart, produce hormones, but their primary function is not hormone secretion.
Adrenal glands produce adrenalin and noradrenalin, the two hormones that produce effects on the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is active there a quickening of the pulse, increase blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels, decreased activity in bladder and bowel muscles, less stomach acid produced, dilation of the pupils and a rise in blood sugar – preparing the body to react to a threat through "flight or fight" behavior.
However, when the parasympathetic nervous system is active it produces the opposite responses to the sympathetic nervous system, i.e. pulse and blood pressure are normal, blood vessels relax, saliva and mucus production is increased, gastric juice is secreted and motility of the digestive tract is increased, digestion is increased, pupils relax, etc.
To relax the whole body switch it over from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system by doing Deep Breathing Exercises Help You Heal particularly when you notice your tension is increasing and your heart is beating faster. This will help your body relax and change it over from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system, which will aid digestion and many other functions of the body.
The adrenal cortex of the adrenal glands also forms a number of hormones which are essential to life. Two corticosteroids hormones produced are aldersterone and hydrocostisone. They are most important because they regulate the quantity of salt and water in the body, and control carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism and help fight stressful situations.
Several other corticosteroids are produced by the adrenal glands, including cortisone and cortisol [one of several steroid hormones produced by the adrenal cortex and resembling cortisone in its action] from the hormone de-oxy-cortisol(DOC).
When the diet does not supply the nutrients needed by enzymes that make and balance these hormones, DOC may fail to be converted and the areas of pain and swelling may collect calcium. Cortisone treatment, however, is not the easy solution. It inhibits our own hormone products, thus lowering resistance.
Our bones become further demineralized, and other mineral reactions and imbalances cause water retention.
The actions of aldersterone and hydrocostisone are clearly seen in states of adrenal under- or over- activity. Under activity is evidenced by weakness, tiredness, fatigue, low blood pressure (because of lack of salt, water and decreased blood volume), loss of body hair, etc. most often seen in people who are unhealthy.
The thymus gland produces the hormone thymosin, which plays an important role in the health, and it is part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system affects digestion by secreting a number of gastrointestinal hormones including:
- Gastin stimulates gastric acid secretion. Gastrin is stimulated by the presence of protein in the stomach.
- Cholecystokinin stimulates secretion of pancreatic enzymes, as well as contraction and emptying of the gall bladder. This hormone is stimulated by the presence of fatty acids (fats) and amino acids (protein) in the small intestines.
- Secretin stimulates secretion of water, bicarbonate of soda by the pancreas, and bile. Secretin is stimulated by the stomach acid content in the mixture of foods, hydrochloric acid, and water (called chyme) as it empties into the first part of the small intestines (called the duodenum). The higher the stomach acid content, along with enough water, the better secretin is stimulated.
- Ghrelin appears to be a strong stimulant for appetite and it is also a potent stimulator of growth hormone secretion. Ghrelin secretion peaks prior to eating and diminishes after eating.
- Gastric inhibitory polypeptide –inhibits gastric secretion (also it inhibits the digestion of proteins and fat) and motility (movement by the digestive tract), and it stimulates the release of insulin by the pancreas. This is in response to elevated blood glucose concentration and to the presence of glucose contained in foods in the small intestine.
As you can see, the important hormones needed for digestion are stimulated by the presence of protein and fatty acids (fats) in the diet.
On the other hand sugars and high carbohydrates that are present in foods going into the small intestines, and which contribute to elevated blood glucose, actually inhibits gastric secretions, which interferes with the digestion of proteins and fats.
Help your digestion by consuming a moderate protein and high "good" fat diet, no starches, no sugars or fruits (except small amounts of lemons and limes), and low in carbohydrate foods (all plant foods). See articles on digestion for more information and details on how to improve digestion.
Arthritis & Inflammation
Certain fats are very important so the body can respond to arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and other related diseases. One group is involved in intense actions, often in response to an emergency such as injury or stresses which results in swelling and inflammation.
The body creates swelling to immobilize areas so they can heal and it creates inflammation in order to bring more healing blood to the site. The group of fats that help the body respond and heal includes coconut oil, butter, animal fats, organ meats, eggs and fish fats and oils.
Lack of many other nutrients can inhibit the breakdown and utilization of these fats, including deficiencies in protein, vitamin E and B vitamins. Consumption of sugar, trans-fatty acids and over consumption of commercial vegetable oils, high in omega-6 fatty acids, also inhibits these fat enzymes. There is some evidence that an excess of oleic acid (found chiefly in olive oil and nuts) may inhibit fat production as well.
On the other hand, saturated fats, especially lauric acid found in unrefined coconut oil, improve the body’s production of DHA and EPA essential fatty acids. The best form of omega-3 fatty acids are found in cod liver oil and fish oils. See Fats & Oils, Cod Liver Oil, Candida Supplements, and Healthy Diet Supplements.
Diabetes, poor pituitary function and low thyroid function are synonymous with altered and inhibited fat production by the body, as well as other conditions such as alcoholism, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), irritable bowel syndrome and many other malfunctions and diseases. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to take cod liver oil to provide pre-formed EPA and DHA (omega-3).
Some popular writers claim that saturated fats in the diet inhibit the production of fats by the body. Actually the reverse is true. Saturated fats in the diet improve the body’s utilization of essential fatty acids and protect them from becoming rancid.
Remember that the kind of fat the body itself makes is saturated fat, which it needs for energy, for the functioning of every cell in the body, for protection and repair, for making bile for digestion, and a variety of other important purposes.
- Calcium and Magnesium–To help alleviate arthritis pain calcium and magnesium are very helpful. They are also very important for muscle, joint, and bone formation, and their integrity. All minerals required a combination of good fats like saturated fats, omega 3, and vitamins A, D and E in order to be absorbed and utilized by the body, along with a good ocean sea salt. See Candida Supplements List for a detailed description and recommended doses.
- Cod Liver Oil The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in fish oil and cod liver oil have been found, by many animal and clinical studies, to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce joint inflammation and promote joint lubrication – see Cod Liver Oil Products/Brands with Nutrient Levels.
- Animal and fish based omega-3 fats are absolutely essential for any comprehensive program. It is also vital to understand that omega-6 must be reduced, such as vegetable oils, margarine, seeds, nuts, etc. since it is actually the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats be equal, which is what determines how much inflammation is present. You could theoretically consume enough omega-3 to help but then ruin the effect by consuming too much omega-6.
- Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) is found in fish, and butter, and it acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. Delicious raw butter oil is sold by a number of natural health sites on line, which contains "Wulzen anti-stiffness factor." that Dr. Weston A. Price writes about in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. This factor has been found to be highly effective in reversing arthritis and protects against calcification of joints.
- Vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact in the aqueous environments in the body both inside and outside cells. Free radicals can interact with healthy body cells, damaging them and their membranes, and also cause a lot of inflammation and painful swelling. This is one of the reasons that vitamin C is helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other related diseases.
Detoxification IS Important
Since the major cause of arthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and other related diseases is toxins, it is very important to help the body detoxify effectively.
How To Increase Blood Flow
- Take vitamin B complex with niacin in it, and not niacinamide (synthetic version). If you can only buy B complex with niacinamide that is fine, but also buy niacin separately, and take it in addition to vitamin B complex.
Take 50 mg of vitamin B complex twice a day, as well as 50 mg of niacin if separate. Niacin can be gradually increased up to 400 mg, but higher doses of niacin are not recommended since they require increasing other supplements accordingly.
Niacin will cause an uncomfortable red flush and a prickly feeling as well as itching but that will pass within 20 to 30 minutes–it indicates the blood vessels and capillaries are opening up, increasing blood flow – see Niacin (B3) for more information.
- Balance sodium and potassium: It is important for blood vessels to have a good balance of sodium and potassium. It is very easy to get plenty of potassium in a good diet which is found in meats, eggs, most vegetables and other plant foods. Sodium is obtained from a good grey ocean sea salt like Celtic Selina Naturally.
- Garlic also improves blood flow and protects against clotting. Include some garlic, preferably cooked, along with your foods every day.
How to Improve Fat Utilization & Absorption
- Avoid all vegetable fats, including those made from soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, canola, etc. which are not only very damaging to the body but they also contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids that offsets the balance of omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
- Use small amounts of unheated extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings, but do not cook with it since it is damaged by heat, light and air.
- Use high quality butter.
- Take unrefined coconut oil as a supplement, and use it for cooking.
- Supplement with cod liver oil that includes the correct amounts of omega 3 (EPA & DHA), vitamin A and D.
- Eat organ meats, and occasionally eat fish eggs.
- Eat good quality “organic” free-range eggs frequently.
- Eat plenty of good quality meats and fish.
- Avoid high phytate foods that block mineral absorption and interfere with protein digestion, which include all grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes that are not properly prepared, as well as any soybeans or soy-related foods and products or oils. Modern soy foods are very damaging to the body and they shouldn’t be consumed by anyone. If you do not have candida you may eat grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation, but only after they have been properly prepared to remove phytates that block mineral absorption, and enzymes that block protein digestion.
- Avoid all sources of sugars, including fruits (except lemons and limes–see articles about how Sugar Ruins Health, and also see Fruit Is Not As Healthy As You Think.
- Eat and drink in moderation–and do not deprive yourself of delicious traditional foods direct from Mother Nature.
- What Is Arthr-IT IS?, Lerner, Dr. Ben
- Balch, James E., M.D., and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., "Arthritis" in Prescription for Nutritional Healing, ed. C.J. Eriksen, K. Price, N.M. Papritz, and D. Lebow, Garden City Park, New York, Avery Publishing Group Inc., 1990.
- Trowbridge, John Parks, M.D. and M. Walker, P.PM, "The Antiyeast Wholistic Therapy Program – Part One" in The Yeast Syndrome, New York, Bantam Books, November 1986.
- Remington, Dennis W., M.D. and Higa, Barbara W., R.D. in Back to Health, A Comprehensive Medical and Nutritional Yeast Control Program, Provo, Utah, Vitality House International, Inc., 1986.
- Several articles at The Glucosamine Center
- Help! for Rheumatoid Arthritis; Jan de Vries, Alive Magazine, #113.
- Aging US Population Has More Arthritis; Joseph Mercola, M.D.
- The Autonomic Nervous System
- Seven Ways to Protect Your Heart with Anti-Inflammatory Alternatives
- The Digestive System
- Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin* Pathways
*Prostaglandins are a subset of a larger family of substances called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are localized tissue hormones that seem to be the fundamental regulating molecules in most forms of life.
They do not travel in the blood like hormones, but are created in the cells [involved in] a large number of processes including the movement of calcium and other substances into and out of cells, dilation and contraction, inhibition and promotion of clotting, regulation of secretions including digestive juices and hormones, and control of fertility, cell division and growth. Prostaglandins are produced in the cells by the action of enzymes on essential fatty acids.