Eating a Mediterranean diet, cutting stress and sugar, herbicides and pesticides, healing your gut and even developing better sleeping habits are the main ways of reducing you risk of arthritis and the problems that go with it.
There are three different types of arthritis:
Rheumatoid Arthritis – which tends to occur in both hands or both hips simultaneously.
Osteoarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis, which tend to be the result of damage or wear and tear.
What is common to all three is inflammation. This is a complex interrelationship between the different foods you consume, the good or bad gut bacteria that feed on them, the chemicals they produce, their effect on the Cox-2 pathway, where stimulation leads to the production of prostaglandins and even through bacteria and their metabolites escaping through holes in the gut wall into the bloodstream where they provoke an inflammatory response. This is often erroneously dubbed ‘an autoimmune disease’.
So what do we know that can cause the various forms of arthritis:
- Holes in the gut wall – It is now increasingly understood that Rheumatoid Arthritis, which occurs identical locations in both halves of the body, seems to be caused not just by Prevotella copri, but more the fact that it has escaped through holes in the gut wall into the bloodstream where its metabolites provoke inflammation, according to the University of Colorado. The foods you eat can control the numbers of this bacterium in the body. Other bacteria groups (for example Rhuminococcaceae, which feed on soluble fibre) are known to produce the Short Chain Fatty Acid butyrate. One of its many roles is healing the gut wall. Are you eating enough soluble fibre? (Oats, pulses/legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds, psyllium)
- Stress – Stress hormones cause inflammation in the body by directly affecting an enzyme present in every cell, Cox-2. Stress can also cause a change in the acidity or alkalinity of the gut lowering the numbers of good (commensal) bacteria. This allows pathogens more freedom to grow and they produce more inflammatory molecules in the body. Stress can cause inflammation throughout the body and can also push your blood sugar levels up, which increase insulin production and this also ‘turns on’ Cox2. Practice stress reduction -Learn to sleep better; go to bed earlier, sleep longer and use stress reducing exercise, including yoga and meditation techniques. You could also take the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha.
- Toxic compounds, toiletry and personal care products – These can affect receptors on the surface of cells negatively affecting the microenvironment of your cells, causing poorer message production, greater changes in tissues and chronic inflammation. Look to lower your levels of herbicides, pesticides and in home toxic toiletries.
- Tobacco and Alcohol – both increase free-radical formation in the body and, amongst other harmful effects, they are also known to cause inflammation by altering the acidity of the gut and damaging the fragile commensal bacteria. Look to give up or cut down on smoking and confine your alcohol consumption to 5 glasses of red wine per week.
- Understand foods. A Dutch study on foods and food groups showed exactly which foods to avoid if you don’t want inflammatory compounds produced by your little friends in your gut. Certain foods and food groups, refined foods, processed foods, trans fats, sugary drinks and almost all alcohol beverages for example, aided the growth and numbers of bacteria whose metabolites caused inflammation. Red wine, olive oil, fish oils, walnuts, berries and polyphenols in general produced more bacteria known to make anti-inflammatory molecules. The colorful Mediterranean diet contained all these helpful foods. However, the other ‘bad’ foods produce more bacteria that make inflammatory compounds such as ‘Advanced Glycation End Products’. Cooking foods at high temperatures also produces AGEs – and these are known to be harmful compounds that accumulate in the body as you age. Red meat and dairy, also contain AGEs. The Mediterranean Diet has been proven to be a low source of AGEs.
- It’s time to adopt ‘the Rainbow Diet’). Consider cutting these inflammation causes:
- Sugar and refined carbs – Foods high in these cause inflammation by raising insulin levels which turn on Cox-2. Cut the empty carbs, processed and refined foods.
- Salt and preservatives – these can play havoc with your gut bacteria. Time to reduce levels in your diet especially as you age.
- Dairy – consumption of any dairy today will bring higher levels of inflammatory molecules in the blood stream tomorrow. This includes cows’, sheep’, and goats’ milk and cheese products. In part, this is due to the involvement of gut bacteria in breaking down lactose. Cut this out.
- Red meat – has been shown to affect a bile acid and turn on Cox-2 in the gut. A similar system operates throughout the body. Reduce consumption.
- Processed meats – much the same system operates as with Red meat. Avoid.
- Fried foods – Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that lowering the consumption of fried food reduced inflammation in the body. Choose other ways of eating food.
- ‘Bad’ oils – avoid Trans fats, refined oils, seed oils, saturated fats and cooking oil at high temperature – all cause inflammation by increasing levels of bad cholesterol. Stick to nut oils and extra virgin olive oil.
- Gluten – this deserves a special mention. In Rheumatoid arthritis, it has been fund that bacteria (Prevotella copri) which can be helpful bacteria, escape into the blood stream. They shouldn’t be there and cause highly inflammatory by products to be produced provoking a strong immune response. Gluten can turn on an enzyme in the gut wall (zonulin) which causes more holes in the gut wall after yeasts have made small holes.
Let’s just summarise this –
Four ways to reduce arthritis risk:
- The Rainbow Diet is an excellent starting point in reviewing your diet; its an eye opener and your taste buds will love you!! It will lessen you toxic load of inflammatory molecules if you eat more berries, walnuts, olive oil and fish oils. And only drink red wine.
- Cut your sugar consumption – and all fizzy soft drinks, alcohols, lactose, refined foods, processed foods – you will manage your insulin better – See Cut Sugar for 10 days – feel the difference.
- Don’t have a problem gut – cut dairy and gluten; cut herbicides and pesticides; cut alcohol and smoking; kill your yeasts (180 mg Oregano oil twice a day); heal your gut wall with Butyrate; look into short term supplementing with Boswellia or Serrapeptase, and even edible Aloe Vera. Go and read about how to heal your gut, or fibromyalgia (often linked with arthritis) or healing colitis, by clicking the words highlighted
- Cut stress – take up more exercise, yoga, Tai Chi and meditation and/or prayer. Supplement with Ashwagandha. And Learn to sleep better – read our article ‘HERE’
For pain control you can take edible Boswellia and rub Frankincense Essential oil on the ‘hot spots’. These are a good anti-inflammatory double act. Some people use Low Dose Naltrexone and alpha lipoid acid for Rheumatoid arthritis. You can add CBD oil orally or as something to rub into the area of pain.
Go to: How to cut your inflammation