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When you grab glucosamine and chondroitin off the shelf what you are really taking are dried up crab shells, prawns and sea crustaceans that have been processed and measured to contain certain nutrients your body can use up to make collagen.

You can also buy chicken or cow collagen that is tasteless but can be mixed into your tea, coffee or orange juice to get your daily intake. Your body will draw these up into where ever it needs collagen. 

Your nails, knees, back joints, saggy skin, eye-bags, you name it. It won’t be specific which is why it can take a few months to see the difference in your nee mobility or firmness of skin. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin remodels collagen and draws nutrients into the joints. Did you know every day our body is remodelling itself, breaking down bones and joints and rebuilding them. But it needs the right nutrition to be able to do this.

Top joint rebuilding nutrients

1. Chondroitin and glucosamine

2. Antioxidants and vitamin C

3. Turmeric helps support inflamed knees, backs and joints in our body.

4. Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6 and 9 from oily sea fish, freshly dried nuts and seeds lubricate the synovial joint fluid from within.

5.Ironically movement heals, but the right movement that doesn’t keep causing damage. Movement but gentle supported movement that doesn’t keep the damage up. A movement that supports circulation and continued joint health. It’s very good for rehab. Choose one that suits you. Yoga, weight training, walking, water rehab.

 I can’t mention arthritis or osteoarthritis without mentioning rheumatoid arthritis. Lets move on…

 

Arthritis (Rheumatoid)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered to be an autoimmune disease. RA is an inflammatory joint disease whereby the inflammation causes ongoing damage to the joint. The body’s natural defence mechanisms are somehow put into reverse and attack the cartilage instead of protecting it.

Causes

  • Auto Immune response — Joint inflammation occurs when the individuals own antibodies (immune system) create inflammatory reactions within the joint itself. 
  • Food sensitivities and leaky gut syndrome — These antibody responses may be triggered by foods and thus food sensitivities are a factor to discover. Most people with arthritis show some food reactions on testing. However, in most cases there are other factors and avoiding foods is not a cure although it may greatly relieve pain and inflammation. 
  • Genetic, race and sexual factors — are involved in RA which affects 3 x as many women as men. It is more common in younger people (than osteoarthritis ), and can involve one joint or the whole body.
  • Other factors in RA — can include a history of poor nutrition, increased physical or emotional stresses or recent infections. One suggestion is that rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by bacterial, parasitic and viral infections. Diets high in saturated fats are inflammatory and may lead clogging of the arteries leading to decreased circulation in the joints and other vital tissues.

Signs and symptoms

Joint pain is experienced with stiffness in the joints particularly in the morning and general fatigue and tiredness are often experienced. Swelling is seen around joints and the individual will feel increased warmth, tenderness and limitation of movement surrounding the joints. Deformities may occur later with the disease and commonly affects the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, knees, ankles, feet and toes of the body.

Naturopathic recommendations 

Lifestyle Hints and Nutrition

Nutrition

  • Gluten in foods such as bread, muffins and cakes may increase pain and inflammation.  Common allergy foods include – wheat (Gluten), dairy, nightshade vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, tobacco, bell peppers, potatoes, lamb, seafood, onion and garlic. 
  • Avoid high sugar, refined carbohydrate and excessive high fat diets. Reduce alcohol intake and eliminate smoking. 
  • A vegetarian diet has been shown to improve onset of RA flare ups. 
  • Drink plenty of fresh water daily. 
  • Omega 3 and 6 is anti-inflammatory. Increase intake of Omega 3 oil by including deep sea fish in your diet such as tuna, salmon and sardines on a daily basis or take Omega 3 oil Fish oil 3g daily. Add 1 tsp of linseed to your cereal in the morning to boost Omega 3 and 6 dietary intake.
  • Adding ginger to food increases circulation and also helps to reduce inflammation. 
  • Consume a lot of berries, cherries and blue, red, yellow, green, coloured fruit and vegetables to increase antioxidants and fibre in the diet.

Exercise — Increase your activity, to get you 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

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. These nutrients do not affect the cause of RA, the immune system response however the  progression of the disease may be slowed down considerably as these nutrients help 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 — containing ProenOthera (EPO seed), Pine Bark, Green Tea, Grape Seed, Ginkgo, kelp, Beta 1.3 Glucan, vitamins A, C, E, minerals Zinc and Selenium and amino acids cysteine and methione are good antioxidant combinations to help reduce free radicals, excessive bone and joint chewing enzymes. 
  • Leaky gut syndrome — is linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Heal the gut lining with Colostrum (4g daily) combined with acidophilus (1 billion), bifidus (1 billion), flax oil (2 Tbsp), vitamin A (5000IU), Zinc (45mg daily) and folic acid (300ug daily). 
  • Fibre — such as flax, pysllium and slippery elm should be taken to increase fibre and protective lignans in the diet. 1 tsp – 3 tsp daily.
  • Betaine or hydrochloric acid supplements — Lack of stomach acid may contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Adults take 100mg-200mg 3 times daily with meals.

Herbs

  • Firstly use Parasite Cleansing Herbs — Parasites can inflame, irritate and perforate the intestinal lining, resulting in “leaky gut” with undigested food particles entering the blood stream and creating food allergies, and inflammation. Parasites can settle in the joints and muscles, form cysts, and create joint inflammation. Adults take two 3 week courses of Cloves (1800mg daily) combined with Wormwood (2000mg daily) and Black walnut (2000mg daily) to help eradicate parasites. 
  • Devils claw — contains two active ingredients, Harpogoside and Betasitosterol, 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 drug phenylbutazone. Take 500mg daily of dried root.
  • 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.
  • Ginseng (Panax) — 500mg three times daily of standardized extract, Rehmannia (glutinosa) 10-30g dried uncured root or Liquorice root (2-4g daily) to help reduce steroid medication and restore adrenal glands. See a naturopath for advice before using these herbs if you are taking steroid medication.
  • Blupluerum (falcatum) — helps to modulate immune system and protect liver. Adults take 3-12g of dried root daily.
  • Other valuable herbs include Cleavers to clean lymphatic system including glands and Pokeroot for any infectious processes, although care must be taken when using Pokerrot, although effective it can be toxic if used incorrectly. Valerian and Cramp Bark help to restore nerves, relieve pain and spasms and Ginger increases circulation.

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