We have always viewed arthritis as a thorn in the side – well, in the joints – of males and females (up to three times more the latter than the former) from as 30 to 60. Rheumatoid arthritis, in particular, is quite fearsome. This autoimmune disease leads a malfunctioning immune system to target the joints, thickening the synovial fluid there which as a result causes significant pain and inflammation. One of the indicators of RA developing is pain in your hands and/or feet; this usually occurs in both sides at the same time – typically at the main joints (wrists, knuckles closest to palm, ankles) rather than the distal ones.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Far More Complex Than OA
While less common than osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is far more complex. Modern analysis suggests that some genetic markers are associated with greater susceptibility to the disease, but that is as yet inconclusive. What is known more concretely is that rheumatoid arthritis or RA has plenty of other effects. These include muscle wasting (rheumatoid cachexia), which could itself have potentially dangerous implications – remember that the heart is a muscle, and the danger becomes clear – as well as scarring of the lungs, possible bone thinning, and depression. The pain itself, of course, is considerably significant as an immediate effect of rheumatoid arthritis.
What is doubly problematic is that some of the medication for rheumatoid arthritis is itself toxic in a sense. Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, many drugs for it include the suppression of the immune system as a necessary step. This can lead to infections that the body’s defenses have effectively been instructed not to deter, which can lead to matters that complicate the situation. On top of this, some of the drugs are so powerful as to cause problems similar in scale to the ones they confront – prednisone, methotrexate, Enbrel, and more are commonly used to deal with RA. Patients have reported thinning hair and the need for constant liver checkups, as well as the warning that certain drugs might take 15 to 20 years off their life.
The Road back: Rheumatoid Arthritis, its Cause and its Treatment, a book written by Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown and Dr. Henry Scammell, brought to light the potential for an effective but far less antibiotic-dependent treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Brown disagreed with the use of prednisone, despite its prominence in the 40s and 50s as RA medication. Other researchers have since continued the late Dr. Brown’s work and endeavored to remove antibiotics from the equation entirely.
Put Rheumatoid Arthritis Into Remission
Some ideas that seem to have had effectiveness in various contexts include the following. Many who have tried these report their rheumatoid arthritis going so far into remission that they were able to stop the methotrexate program they had originally been put on because the RA pain had abated so consistently.
- Vitamin D is a potentially huge help. It has been found to stimulate antimicrobial peptides that can be more powerful than antibiotics, in terms of regulating the immune system. Many patients have reported symptoms being more prevalent in the less sunny winter months, which may lend credence to this.
- Fermented foods are helpful too as they help nourish your gut microbiome. Many fermented foods are available on the market, but you can make your own. Yogurt and milk or coconut kefirs are diet-friendly choices. Fermented vegetables come strongly recommended as well – about 4 to 6 ounces a day should help you develop beneficial bacteria that will help you combat the effects of RA.
- Cut sugar out of your diet entirely. Sugar feeds pathogenic microbes, and can contribute to the damage sustained by the immune system. This will take a great deal of adjusting, one supposes, but it will be worth it to see the difference in your system afterwards. This will also mean keeping fruit intake to a minimum, but this varies from person to person.
- Try the Paleo diet. This ties in with the above suggestions, as it advocates dropping processed foods of any kind and focusing only on natural meats and vegetables. Grilled salmon, spinach salads, and the like will make for good dishes that will help you avoid cluttering your system. While you’re at it, eat your food as close to raw as possible. It’s worth noting that this could be costly in a literal sense – fast food and the like tend to be so much cheaper (and now we see another reason why) – but if one remembers that this is an investment in both long-term pain alleviation and effective survival, that makes more sense.
- Stock up on omega-3 fats. This serves to combat the inflammation, and with that curb the pain that usually accompanies inflammation. Krill oil, for example, is much higher in this than your usual fish oil. Paired with algae-derived astaxanthin, the reduction in pain could be significant enough to allow you to resume a lot of the activity that would otherwise have gotten put on hold because of the intense pain.
- There are many natural pain relievers that help reduce or alleviate the pain brought on by RA without causing problems in your system. Ginger is a popular recommendation, whether steeped in water to make ginger tea or grated into juice with other vegetables. Another spice that comes highly recommended is turmeric, which has great anti-inflammatory properties. Animal experiments with turmeric suggest that turmeric can block inflammatory pathways usually associated with RA.
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