You Can Relieve Pain – Even Heal Your Arthritis. Staying AWAY from Drugs is a Good Start

Arthritis is one of the most common and painful afflictions to strike older people in industrialized cultures. It’s also very big business for drug companies. This month, I’m going to talk about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because it responds very well to dietary changes and supplements.

With more than 1.3 million Americans suffering from this chronic disease, RA is the most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis. (Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on the joints; rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of the joints). Predictably, most of the drugs prescribed for RA have limited effectiveness and unpleasant side effects. But if you’re in pain every day, side effects may begin to seem unimportant.

I want to reassure you right here and now that almost everyone can control RA symptoms without using drugs. Here’s how…

Check Your Diet First

So many people who I’ve counseled on arthritis have seen miraculous results by identifying and eliminating food allergens or sensitivities. To identify the problem foods, keep a list of everything you eat for a week. Then, find the foods you eat every day or more than once a day. These, ironically, are the likely offenders.

The next step is to eliminate this food from your diet. If it’s bread, for example, stop eating all products containing wheat and gluten for two weeks. If it’s popcorn, you need to eliminate all corn from your diet for two weeks. If it’s cheese, you need to eliminate all dairy products. (Wheat, corn and dairy are the three most common offenders).

You can test them one at a time. After two weeks, eat the food and monitor how you feel for the next 48 hours. If you get a flare-up of your symptoms like gas, bloating, or any other unusual symptoms – eliminate this food from your diet for two weeks – and then try it again. If you get another flare-up, this would be a food to eliminate permanently.

Another potential source of arthritis pain is animal products, particularly meat, which contain a substance called arachidonic acid, a precursor to substances that cause inflammation. Many people can find great relief from arthritis symptoms simply by going vegetarian.

Now, for Your Gift from the Sea

For years, research has demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids help lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, depression and overall inflammation. The type of omega-3s to take, however, has not always been clear. Although the oils found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon (taken either in whole-food form or in a pill) are widely popular – many folks are concerned about other toxins contained in the oils extracted from the farmed versions of these fish.

As a result krill oil has emerged as the next leader in the wonderful world of omega-3s. Just like fish oil, krill oil contains long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 family – EPA and DHA. However, EPA and DHA from krill oil come attached to phospholipids, mostly phosphatidylcholine. That structural difference leads to better absorption and delivery of DHA to the brain (in animal models). In addition, krill oil contains a potent carotenoid antioxidant – called astaxanthin – that may prevent EPA and DHA oxidation.

A 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that 300mg daily supplementation of krill oil resulted in significant decreases in inflammation and arthritic symptoms in cardiac and arthritis patients. Other studies have found that krill oil works as effectively as omega-3s from other sources, yet at a much lower dose. Furthermore, krill oil has been found to raise good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides, too!

Krill oil is found in tiny crustaceans, similar to shrimp, and is the main food source for whales in the Antarctic Ocean. It is found to be a more sustainable source of omega-3s because it’s extracted at the bottom of the food chain and is located in one of the cleanest oceans due to its low occurrence of commercial fishing. These two factors make for an omega-3 source that is virtually free of toxins, metals and PCBs.

The great news is, krill oil is available in a convenient, 100% natural capsule form. And you won’t ex- perience any nasty “fish burp” or upset stomach that’s commonly associated with fish oil! The brand I recommend is called Bio-Krill (NutriCell Health, $29.99, 30 day supply). I recommend 1 capsule daily with a meal.

If you give these dietary suggestions a try, in 6 weeks or so you could be off your prescriptions!

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