by Alan Graham (with Alfred Lehmberg)
...updated July, 2008
After seven years of progressively increasing misery with Crohn's Disease, I finally got it under control only through nutrition and natural supplementation… this after discovering that the HMO prescribed pharmaceuticals actually made my disease worse (in the long run) while only, very marginally, treating the symptoms of the disease.
Consequently I was not really surprised to encounter the same scenario when, in 2001, I reentered weight training (post Crohn's), and realized, with some dread that I had arthritis, the curse of the Graham clan. I was taking aspirin for the pain when I accidentally discovered on the web, that aspirin actually inhibited the growth of new cartilage. So just like with Crohn's the drug only masks the symptoms while exacerbating the disease.
Also, just like with Crohn's, I have virtually eliminated the effects of arthritis by attacking the disease and its causes through natural supplementation and nutrition. Here are the things that worked for me.
1. Glucosamine Sulfate
Sulfate is the preferred form as opposed to HCL. I feel you get more bang for the buck using Glucosamine without the more difficult to assimilate Chondroitin. However I do take a cheap Complex that comes with Chondroitin with a bunch of other things I like.
Glucosamine is a natural substance vital to the formation of every part of the joint, and a vast majority of arthritis sufferers will not get the minimum required for joint health and relief from pain (even though it's not a pain killer -- it fixes the root problem). It is not immediate gratification like the pain relief from an aspirin; give it 2 to 4 weeks to reduce the inflammation and the pain will go away all by itself!
If you don't mind spending a tiny bit more - the Glucosamine form called NAG is likely the superior, being slightly better absorbed than Sulfate & it might be better tolerated by your gut...some need to slowly build up to the therapeutic dose of 1500mg because it can cause mild bowel distress until you get use to it.
A natural form of sulfur like in onions or garlic that helps repair cartilage and connective tissue. If you think your doctor told you that you are allergic to sulfur, you are actually allergic to the artificial, pharmaceutical, and semi toxic sulfa (sul-fa... a different thing entirely). It is impossible to be allergic to the forth most abundant element in your body -- Sulfur! Some people like the late James Coburn swear by MSM for arthritis pain.
3. Flax Seed & Krill / Fish Oil
This seed, ground fresh in a coffee grinder, is a very cheap way to get the required amount (almost nonexistent in the US diet) of "Omega three" fatty acids. Always eat it immediately in something cold because air and heat degrade Omega three. The research that I've done indicates that if healthy people ate 2 or 3 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed every day they would probably NEVER develop ANY kind of bowel disease, cancer, or MS. This is because the Omega-3 (and the superior form of fiber found in ground flax) promotes good flora and fauna for a healthy gut. One of these "good" bugs converts lignans (...an anti viral/bacterial substance found 100 times more in flaxseed than in all other plants...) into two of the strongest cancer inhibitors known to science (particularly good for breast cancer)! Additionally, Omega-3 supports the structure and the function of the myelin sheath to combat MS, and protects us from heavy metals and other toxins (MS sufferers average seven times the mercury content as others!). The improvement in the gut not only inhibits cancer and MS, it also protects us from virtually every other ailment to include arthritis (remember: almost every disease comes through the gut or is because of a sick gut).
Krill Oil & Fish Oil have the superior form of Omega-3. EPA and DHA (the two forms found in krill/ fish oil), each have magical properties. EPA is the precursor to the beneficial prostaglandin 3 (see "Fat Facts" paper) which reduces inflammation, platelet stickiness, high BP and allergic reactions. DHA is the "brain food for babies" fatty acid. Every pregnant and nursing mother should take supplemental DHA...also good for old people's brain..
Take 800mg to 1000mg of Cal. & about 800mg to 1000mg Mag. Always try to take at this 1to1 ratio instead of the 2to1 ratio found in 90% of the Cal/Mag Complexes . Take in addition a multi-vitamin with vitamin D which is necessary for Cal/Mag absorption. The multi-vitamin will have a small amount of cal/mag; however, you need the additional amount previously mentioned. Citrate, Amino-Acid Chelated & Kreb's Cycle are my favorite forms, but there are many other good forms, as long as you avoid the following: Carbonate, phosphate, oxide, dolamite, bone, or clamshell.
I recommend a smaller 800mg dose of Calcium, as opposed to the general recommended dose of 1200mg. Just taking bigger doses of Cal. is not the answer & can actually cause problems...the solution is take several, smaller doses BUT insure you get plenty of the other things critical for Cal/Mag absorption, like:
(a).. Vit.D-3 -- take a minimum of 800iu of D-3, avoid the inferior D-2, found in milk. If you have a choice, please use the sun for D-3 instead of supplements. If your shadow is shorter than your height then the sun will be high enough to produce D-3. Try to get at least 15 minutes daily on as much skin as possible.
(b).. Vit.K -- not found in most Multi's so take a supp' of Vit.K as directed or eat lots of green leafy veggies (nutritionally weak Iceburg Lettuce hardly counts...use Leaf-lettuce, Romaine, Kale, etc.).
(c).. Boron -- not found in most Multi's so take a supp' of about 2 or 3mg of Boron in an organic form like citrate, amino-acid chelated, glycinate, etc.
(d).. Silica -- not found in most Multi's so take a double-dose of the herb HorseTail.
(e).. Whey Protein Isolate and/or raw egg yolks -- your bones need more protein than Calcium, for the bone-matrix. Most Veggie protein is weak in 1 or 2 amino acids (like methionine) & most cooked meat is highly denatured so the best forms of digestible protein are Whey &/or raw egg yolks. Soft scramble the whites to convert the glycoprotein found there that binds to biotin.
5. Red Wine
One small glass of dark red wine with the evening meal. This is very effective for gut maintenance and good digestion. Good digestion is essential for joint function, protection and repair. The alcohol free red wine has all the "good" stuff (antioxidants, tannins, etc); however, it does not give the same slight beneficial rise in HDL.
6. A good multivitamin/mineral
Almost all the popular brands at your local grocery store have major problems. Here are just a couple.
a. Avoid the synthetic form of vitamin E, "DL" Alpha tocopheral (the "L" in the "DL" cannot be used by the human body and appears to inhibit the absorption of the natural ("D" portion) of the vitamin E . Always use the non-synthetic form "D" Alpha tocopheral or natural mixed is even better.
b. Avoid mineral forms that are inorganic salts like carbonate, phosphate, and oxide. They have the wrong electrical charge so are extremely difficult to absorb. In particular watch for the inferior, however ubiquitous, calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide. Always use organic chelation like citrate, malate, amino acid, Krebs cycle, etc.
You need to spend just a little bit more at a health food store or on the web and get a good multi-vit/mineral your body can use in stead of wasting money on a cheaper brand with some ingredients that are next to impossible to absorb.
7. Vitamin B-12
The previously mentioned multivitamin will have a small amount of Vitamin B-12 (cyanocobolamine) which is fine; however, in addition, you should take a large (1000mcg to 5000mcg) Vit. B-12 in the preferred form (methylcobolamine). It comes in a very cheap sublingual form. It is synergistic to take with 400mcg of folic acid (this amount is almost always found in a Multi).
8. 70+ Trace Minerals
I’m of the opinion that all modern disease is likely caused by -- and some not so modern are certainly exacerbated by two factors of the modern era:
a. Many of the 70+ trace minerals have been leached from the soil. Some are extremely important like chromium and selenium, and if deficient in your diet can be linked directly and indirectly to numerous diseases. I recommend a liquid plant-derived colloidial trace mineral supplement. I would avoid those brands that contain heavy metals like lead and mercury even though they claim they are safe by virtue of being plant derived (and supposedly not absorbed if not needed).
b. There has been a dramatic increase of toxins in our environment. To avoid the effects of these poisons, do the following. Maintain a first line of defense with a healthy gut by using the previously mentioned substances, like flax seed, red wine etc. Next -- avoid the source of toxins.
(1) Never use aluminum cookware
(2) Most antacids are high in aluminum or lead
(3) Avoid antiperspirants with aluminum.
(4) Avoid fluoride in tap-water (if you use a toothpaste with fluoride you are still ingesting it sublingually). Tea (both green and black, not herbal) contains excessive amount of fluoride.
(5) The fumes of bleach and many cleaners are very toxic.
(6) Silver amalgum dental fillings can be in excess of 40% mercury. I’m only getting gold fillings from now on.
A good source of Vitamin K and chlorophyll. Alfalfa also has all the necessary joint support minerals and helps deposit them into the bone matrix.
10. Eat sulfur containing foods like asparagus, garlic, and onions. Sulfur is critical to the aforementioned repair process.
11. Avoid Dairy - with some exceptions. Visit www.mercola.com to get his opinion on raw milk and cheese. Avoid caffeine, sugar, TUMS, and carbonated drinks.
12. Do not take an iron supplement. Instead, eat a variety of vegetables, especially the cruciferous kind, like broccoli and cauliflower.
13. Fever Few and ginger are very good natural pain relievers.
14. Cetyl Myristoleate -- Cetyl Myristoleate facilitates joint fluidity.
15. SAMe -- I can personally vouch for the efficacy of SAMe; however, it is expensive, so only use if you can afford it. A regimen I recommend that is a little more expensive at first, but cheaper in the long run, is as follows.
For seven days take double the recommended daily dose 400mg twice a day for a total of 800. Then, for fourteen days take the recommended daily amount 200 milligrams twice a day totaling 400. Finally (for the rest of your life) take half the recommended daily dose 200 milligrams once a day. At half the daily dose you can keep the price down to about 12 to 15 dollars a month.
16. Avoid corn-fed meat (yes, I know organic or free range meat is expensive). It is high in poly-unsat Omega 6 (found in corn/soy oil) which you want out of your diet. Free range meat is high in Omega three and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA... see "FAT FACTS!" paper below ).
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