With around 9 million people in the UK currently being treated for osteoarthritis, it’s undoubtedly the most common form of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis Basics

  • most common in the over 45s
  • affects bones and cartilage
  • pain is often experienced in the knee, hip or ankle
  • inflammation occurs in joints when free radicals attack and degrade joint tissue
  • twice as many women as men are affected
  • may be brought on by poor nutrition, malabsorption of nutrients, trauma, obesity, injury, general wear and tear or genetic factors

What Are The Main Symptoms?

  • joint pain
  • stiffness in the joints
  • soft/hard joint swellings
  • grating/grinding sensation in moving joints

Woman suffering from chronic joint rheumatism

Treatment
The traditional approach to osteoarthritis focuses around managing pain with NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) and the administration of calcium and glucosamine remedies via prescription.

In my opinion, this is largely a case of repeatedly treating the symptoms and never really addressing the cause(s).

NSAIDs tend to be fairly effective in reducing pain. However, they are also likely to suppress important anti-inflammatory fats from being produced by the body.

My naturopathic approach to osteoarthritis focuses on:

  1. Addressing any digestion issues to make sure the gut is in a healthy enough state to absorb and utilise nutrients properly
  2. Focusing on detoxing the body with *alkalising foods and hydrating fluids
  3. Balancing intake of **calcium with other alkalising minerals (especially magnesium)
  4. Ensuring adequate intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats
  5. Managing any existing inflammation and pain
  6. Supporting joint structure with appropriate supplements (if required)

*Veg, legumes, seeds. Reduce acid forming foods. Reduce fruit juices and nightshade foods (bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines) Also, limiting or avoiding processed foods, foods high in sugar or salt and excessive intake of dairy, meat or vegetable oils

**In relation to calcium – when the body’s pH is too acidic it’s possible for calcium to be ‘dumped’ into the joints. This can happen for a number of reasons, including stress, an inappropriate diet and injuries. Highly excessive animal protein intake may leach calcium from the bones.

Supplementation

My recommended supplements to consider:

Glucosamine MSM supplement – combines with collagen to support and repair cartilage. Synthesises cartilage, can help speed up healing processes and reduce inflammation

MSM supplement with glucosamine (Methylsulfonylmethane) – organic sulphur compound. Can assist with the structure of joints and other tissues, reduce inflammation, help with pH balance and aid in liver detoxification.

MSM is found in varying quantities within food like meat, eggs, lentils, onion and garlic.

Probiotics supplements a good quality, high strength probiotic can help supply beneficial bacteria to the gut, aiding digestion, bowel movements and overall gut health

Alkalising Greens supplement such as greens powders or spirulina. Can be a real boost to those struggling to eat fruit and vegetables or wanting to kick-start a detox.

Hop Alpha Acids a natural alternative to NSAIDs (link blog post). May help relieve joint pain and inflammation.

Magnesium supplements a natural muscle relaxant that has also been known to support joint structure and the detox process.

Fish/Krill Oil or Flaxseedanti-inflammatory properties

Vitamin D supplements general joint and bone health, anti-inflammatory

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis and would like to find out more about how I may be able to help, call 01572 759589 or email tony@harrisonnutrition.com