For osteoarthritis, the right anti-aging diet can help ease the pain while it heals the source of the problem, especially if you also get the right kind of exercise.
A wise person once said you are what you eat, meaning your diet can hurt or heal you. If you have trouble with the simplest of tasks, like opening a jar, typing an email or taking the dog for a walk because of the pain of osteoarthritis, it’s time to change your life-long eating and exercise habits and achieve some real arthritis relief.
The pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis not only takes the fun out of life, it is often a source of acute embarrassment when you have to ask for help to accomplish a task you never used to give a second thought to. Called degenerative arthritis, and also known as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis because it is related to injury and overuse of your joints, osteoarthritis involves the breakdown and, if not treated and arrested, the eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is the substance that cushions the bones in the joints. When it thins, the joint can’t move smoothly and protect the bone surfaces, and it just plain hurts.
Osteoarthritis is the commonest form of more than a hundred different types of arthritis conditions, and it affects an estimated 20 to 30 million people in the U.S. Other common types are rheumatoid arthritis, a serious autoimmune condition that affects not only your joints but also your skin and internal organs, and several kinds of arthritis that affect children. Rheumatoid arthritis afflicts some 1.3 million Americans, and 300,000 kids suffer from some form of juvenile arthritis. Small wonder then, that the media and the internet are saturated with articles and ads offering arthritis relief. Treating rheumatoid arthritis is vastly more complex than osteoarthritis, and if joints hurt for more than a few days even with rest, a doctor should always be consulted.
The appearance of osteoarthritis increases with age. It hits men more frequently than women before age 45, then more women after 55. All races in the U.S. are apparently equally affected, whereas in other countries those same races are afflicted either more or less than here. This may be a clue that it has something to do with local dietary habits. There are probably other factors involved, but diet has proven to be a fruitful first approach to arthritis relief.
Here are some very basic tips that have helped many thousands of people find arthritis relief:
- Exercise is essential to joint health, but only the right exercise. Do gentle exercises that strengthen the specific muscles that support affected joints. You will need to find out the best exercises for your specific condition, so talk it over with your health-care professional. A very good book on the subject is The Arthritis Cure: The Medical Miracle That Can Halt, Reverse, and May Even Cure Osteoarthritis by Jason Theodosakis, M.D.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight and have osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor and get serious about a weight-loss program. Being overweight, even a little, adds more stress to the joints, increases pain and inflammation, and can really ruin your life.
- Consider a high-quality glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM supplement that doesn’t contain any herbs or other substances that temporarily cover joint pain. Hiding the pain masks the problem, making it difficult to see if the product is actually healing the joint. Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM provide nutrition for the entire joint, including the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and lubricating fluids.
Glucosamine sulphate 2KCL is the best form of this substance — always look for ‘sulphate’ — and 2KCL provides even more bioavailability and faster arthritis relief. One study found that it provided more pain relief than ibuprofen.
MSM (methylsulfonyl methane) supplies biologically active sulfur, needed to build joint cartilage and connective tissue. It is also benefits skin, hair, nails, immune function, amino acid formation and numerous other vital functions.
- Avoid steroids and certain anti-inflammatory drugs to treat osteoarthritis, because these can actually speed the breakdown of joint surfaces and make the problems worse. So can over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. Recent research shows these might damage joint health, even if they temporarily relieve pain, by preventing or interfering with both absorption of nutrients in the joint and the body’s own natural healing processes.
Some herbs, drugs and painkillers can also negatively interact with the body or other medication for such conditions as high blood pressure, epilepsy, chemotherapy, and other common problems.
- Vitamin C, an important antioxidant especially in the ascorbate form, helps collagen synthesis vital to joint health. If your glucosamine and chondroitin supplement doesn’t contain it, take ascorbate separately.
Some foods are often viewed as possible offenders, because they can cause inflammation, often due to subtle, unknown food allergies. You should experiment to see if cutting the following from your diet, one at a time for at a week or two, makes a difference in how you feel: caffeine, dairy products, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, etc.), sugar, additives and preservatives, chocolate, and — especially important — red meats and salt.
You want to preserve your quality of life as you get older. Exercise, good clean food, and natural products like glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to relieve the pain and heal joint inflammation, are all within your power, and are fundamental to helping with arthritis relief. In fact, these are all basic to any anti-aging diet, adding years of pain-free productivity to your life.