Health conditions

Specialised naturopathic advice straight from Lani about common conditions that affect us all.

Excerpts are taken from the New Zealand best selling book:
Lani Lopez Natural Health An A-Z New Zealand Guide

Publ. Bateman 2005.

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Arthritis (Osteo)

It is an alarming fact that 1 in 3 of us may be affected by joint degeneration or inflammation during our lifetime. It is also a fact that more older women are afflicted with arthritis than men. Arthritis is our single greatest cause of disability, with osteoarthritis being the most common type. Predisposing factors include a family history of the disease, obesity or joint injuries from accidents or sport.

Causes

A lot of us over the age of 50 years will start to experience some joint discomfort, with creaky popping knees and reduced flexibility. This may be due to the gradual deterioration of the cartilage; a super-slick padding that protects our bones from rubbing together. This wear and tear on our joints is what causes some of the commonly experienced symptoms of Ostearthritris. Age, sex, inflammatory joint disease, genetics, diet, obesity and structural damage or trauma to the joints are also factors leading to osteoarthritis disease.

Signs and symptoms

Osteoarthritis causes pain in the hips, hands or knees that is worse in the evening due to aggravation throughout the day and relieved by rest. The joints will feel stiff in the morning and will ease by movement. Swelling and joint popping sounds and limitation of movement is associated with osteoarthritis.

 

NATUROPATHIC RECOMMENDATIONS

The naturopathic aim is to help the joints stay supple and healthy to maintain mobility. The major therapeutic goal appears to be enhancing repair processes of the various connective tissue cells, especially those of the joints. Dietary factors are essential as this is a weight bearing disease and losing excessive weight for some, can greatly relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Some say checking food allergies may help.

Lifestyle Hints and Nutrition

Alcohol, tobacco and heavy use of pain killers, anti-inflammatory medication and or drugs can deeply affect the body's healing process and it is advised that these are avoided as much as possible. Aspirin and on-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example ibuprofen, may suppress pain symptoms but on the downside they suppress cartilage regeneration and thereby accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis.

Nutrition

Attention to weight bears significance for osteoarthritis. Excess weight and obesity tend to increase stress on weight bearing joints. Avoid all food additives, pesticides and chemicals. Diets high in sugar, refined carbohydrate and excessive high fat diets including all hydrogenated oils and fried foods should be reduced to a bare minimum. Reduce alcohol intake and eliminate smoking. Gluten in foods like bread, muffins, cakes and caffeine, especially instant coffee, may increase pain and inflammation for those that are sensitive to gluten. Other common allergy foods include – wheat products, dairy, nightshade vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, tobacco, bell peppers, potatoes, lamb, seafood, onion and garlic. After checking you food allergies with a naturopath to determine what to avoid, start enjoying foods that you can include in your diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans nuts and seeds (organic when possible). Include garlic (if not sensitive) and ginger into your dishes. Enjoy moderate amounts of lean meat including lots of fish. Healthy dietary fats such as cold pressed olive oils, flax oil, fish oil, borage oil and nut oils help to reduce inflammation as can reduction of heated fats and trans fatty acids such as margarine from the diet. It is better to eat butter instead, however this is not a recommendation to spread it an inch thick over on breads and crackers. Use it sparingly if needed. Drink plenty of fresh pure water and green tea daily.

Exercise — Increase your activity to get your heart rate and circulation going. This will help dislodge toxins in your body and aid removal of waste from the joints and body. Walking is a good start or if this is not possible as yet, stretch isolated muscle groups to aid flexibility and strength, and lymphosize- bounce on a small trampoline which can be done easily whilst sitting on it. Please do not underestimate the effectiveness of the apparatus and its benefits to help you towards mobility.

  • Other therapies — Seek therapeutic massage once a week and use cold (acute) or hot compresses with anti-inflammatory essential oils chamomile and lavender to aid with inflammation. Soak in hot to warm baths for 15 minutes with a handful of magnesium salts (Epsom Salts) added to the water to assist with muscle relaxation.

Supplements

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitons — Current research shows that these natural nutrients sourced from sea crustaceans, sea cucumber or cartilage are used by the body for the support of healthy joint tissue, assisting with lubrication and articulation. They help to reduce pain and inflammation of arthritis and give the body ingredients necessary to rebuild damaged cartilage of the joints. Progression of the disease may be slowed down considerably and prevent cartilage being worn away. Adults take Glucosamine 1,500mg daily and Chondroiton 1,200mg daily.
  • Flax Oil, Fish Oil and Evening Primrose Oil — To help reduce inflammation within the joints adults take, 3000mg daily of Evening Primrose Oil or Fish Oil, or Flax Oil 1 Tbsp (13,000mg) to 2 Tbsp daily.
  • Antioxidant formulas — can include DYNAMISED Pez-Rez™ Resveratrol and OLE-Up™. Resveratrol, Green Tea, Olive leaf and Acai Berry can support joint comfort and mobility, while also nursing the body's own joint cartilage repair. Take 1 capsule of each formula daily.
  • Turmeric — contains curcumin, with anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce swelling and pain while also improving the mobility of the joints. One study found that its anti-inflammatory effects equaled those of the commonly prescribed anti-arthritic drugs. Take 2.5g-8g daily of dried rhizome. Please see DYNAMISED Pez-Rez™ Resveratrol and OLE-Up™.
  • Celery Seed — is most widely used to help reduce pain and swelling in arthritis. Celery seed is a natural diuretic so it can be helpful in preventing fluid build up. 500mg-3 g daily.
  • White Willow Bark — is a natural pain reliever with an ingredient similar to aspirin, which supplies natural relief from pain. Take 1-2g daily.

Creams, ointments and gels

Aloe Vera gel mixed with oil of wintergreen, menthol, or balms such as tiger balm may increase circulation and heat to joints relieving pain. Arnica, ginger, capsaicin from capsicum and basil are just a few examples of herbs that may be used topically on the skin over the joints to relieve pain and inflammation. Back to top


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I have been taking Pez-Rez for a couple of weeks, as I developed gout and heard the product was good for joint support and comfort...Read more
I have been taking Pez-Rez for a couple of weeks, as I developed gout and heard the product was good for joint support and comfort. Well lay me down and call me Suzie if this stuff hasn't worked. Before you ask, no I haven't slowed down on the wine either!
Mark Castle, Ponsonby