What to Do for Aching Hands, Joints, Bones, Muscles
Joint aches are usually due to inflammation. Aching bones and muscles can also be due to inflammation.
When the inflammation hits a tipping point of damaging structures of the joint, cartilage, and even bones around the joint, it is called Arthritis.
Arthritis is very common but is still not fully understood. If you have any pain in your joints, you need to find out the underlying cause.
There are many different types of arthritis. If you start having joint aches try the following first.
1. Go gluten free and begin an elimination diet to see if you can find what makes the joint pain worse: some say diet soda, sugar, regular sugar makes it worse. Eliminate what makes it worse.
2. See natural remedies below to decrease inflammation: increase cinnamon, tumeric, ginger intake & many of other options below within reason to see if that helps.
3. If still not better, see your MD for an evaluation. Usually the MD will order one or more of the below.
I hope this helps.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS
Making a Diagnosis
While lab tests aren’t needed for every form of arthritis, they are very important to verify and confirm the presence of some diseases, according to Robert Lahita, MD, chief of rheumatology at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University. If your symptoms and physical examination suggest rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, Lyme disease or one of a few other inflammatory forms of arthritis, the following tests can often confirm your doctor’s suspicions:
Antinuclear antibody (ANA) – Commonly found in the blood of people who have lupus, ANAs (abnormal antibodies directed against the cells’ nuclei) can also suggest the presence of polymyositis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Tests to detect specific subsets of these antibodies can be used to confirm the diagnosis of a particular disease or form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid factor (RF) – Designed to detect and measure the level of an antibody that acts against the blood component gamma globulin, this test is often positive in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) — Also called anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), this test (like the test for rheumatoid factor) looks for the presence of a particular autoantibody that is present in approximately 60-80 percent of people with RA. While most patients with anti-CCP antibodies are also positive for rheumatoid factor, the RF antibody can occur in patients with many other conditions, including an infection. Anti-CCP is more specific for RA and is becoming the preferred test.
Uric acid – By measuring the level of uric acid in the blood, this test helps doctors diagnose gout, a condition that occurs when excess uric acid crystallizes and forms deposits in the joints and other tissues, causing inflammation and severe pain.
HLA tissue typing – This test, which detects the presence of certain genetic markers in the blood, can often confirm a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (a disease involving inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joint) or reactive arthritis (a disease involving inflammation of the urethra, eyes and joints). The genetic marker HLA-B27 is almost always present in people with either of these diseases.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate – Also called ESR or “sed rate,” this test measures how fast red blood cells cling together, fall and settle (like sediment) in the bottom of a glass tube over the course of an hour. The higher the sed rate, the greater the amount of inflammation. There are many conditions that can cause an elevated ESR, including an infection or anemia.
C-reactive protein – This test, also called CRP, is another blood test that measures body-wide inflammation. It measures a substance produced by the liver that increases in the presence of inflammation.
Lyme serology – This test detects an immune response to the infectious agent that causes Lyme disease and thus can be used to confirm a diagnosis of the disease.
Skin biopsy – Taking small samples of skin and examining them under a microscope can help doctors diagnose forms of arthritis that involve the skin, such as lupus, vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) and psoriatic arthritis.
Muscle biopsy – By going a little deeper into the tissue than with the skin biopsy, the surgeon can take a sample of muscle to be examined for signs of damage to the muscle fibers. Findings can confirm a diagnosis of polymyositis or vasculitis.
Joint fluid tests – In this procedure, which is similar to drawing blood, the doctor inserts a needle into a joint space and removes fluid. An examination of the fluid may reveal uric acid crystals, confirming a diagnosis of gout; it can also reveal the presence of other types of crystals. Bacteria cultured from joint fluid can demonstrate that the joint inflammation is caused by an infection.
Monitoring Disease Severity and Medication Response
To determine the progression of the disease or how it is responding to treatment, doctors sometimes use some of the same tests they use to diagnose arthritis. For example, a joint fluid test may show that an infectious agent has been eradicated by antibiotics. Or a “sed rate” test may be conducted a number of times to determine if inflammation is subsiding.
Salicylate level – This test measures the amount of salicylate (the main ingredient in aspirin and in some other NSAIDs) in the blood to determine if enough is being absorbed to effectively reduce inflammation. The test can also determine if the level of salicylate is high enough to create dangerous side effects. This test is not typically used today unless a patient is on high doses of aspirin.
Muscle Enzyme tests (CPK, aldolase) – Muscles that have been damaged by some rheumatic diseases release certain enzymes into the blood, and these enzymes can be detected through blood tests. Such tests can measure the amount of muscle damaged as well as how effective medication has been in reducing the inflammation that caused the muscle damage.
Creatinine test – This test is used to determine the extent of kidney function by measuring the level of creatinine, a normal waste product of the muscles, in the blood. A test showing a high level of creatinine means that the kidneys are not working well enough to remove waste products from the body. Doctors may use this test to monitor kidney function in people with lupus or in those taking medications that could affect the kidneys.
There are different types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and previous injury (an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear, for example).
When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can be managed by:
balancing activity with rest
using hot and cold therapies
regular physical activity
maintaining a healthy weight
strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
using assistive devices
taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
avoiding excessive repetitive movements
If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.
Osteoarthritis can prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.
A healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But the immune system can go awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes.
With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of one or more medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.
A bacterium, virus or fungus can enter the joint and trigger inflammation. Examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning or contamination), chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases) and hepatitis C (a blood-to-blood infection, often through shared needles or transfusions). In many cases, timely treatment with antibiotics may clear the joint infection, but sometimes the arthritis becomes chronic.
Uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in human cells and in many foods. Some people have high levels of uric acid because they naturally produce more than is needed or the body can’t get rid of the uric acid quickly enough. In some people the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain, or a gout attack. Gout can come and go in episodes or, if uric acid levels aren’t reduced, it can become chronic, causing ongoing pain and disability.
Arthritis diagnosis often begins with a primary care physician, who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis. An arthritis specialist, or rheumatologist, should be involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the arthritis may be inflammatory. Rheumatologists typically manage ongoing treatment for inflammatory arthritis, gout and other complicated cases. Orthopaedic surgeons do joint surgery, including joint replacements. When the arthritis affects other body systems or parts, other specialists, such as ophthalmologists, dermatologists or dentists, may also be included in the health care team.
1. What is arthritis?
The word arthritis actually means joint inflammation, but the term has acquired a wider meaning. In public health, arthritis is used as a shorthand term for arthritis and other rheumatic conditions—a label for the more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround joints and other connective tissue. The pattern, severity, and location of symptoms can vary depending on the specific form of the disease. Typically, rheumatic conditions are characterized by pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. The symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.
The most common forms of arthritis are discussed in the Arthritis Types
section. For a more detailed discussion of each of these conditions follow the links provided for you.
2. Who is at risk for arthritis?
Certain factors are associated with a greater risk of arthritis. Some of these risk factors are modifiable while others are not.
Non-modifiable risk factors
- Age: The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
- Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in women; 60% of the people with arthritis are women. Gout is more common in men.
- Genetic: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis.
Modifiable risk factors
- Overweight and Obesity: Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
- Joint Injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
- Infection: Many microbial agents can infect joints and potentially cause the development of specific forms of arthritis.
- Occupation: Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
3. What causes arthritis?
Elevated uric acid levels cause gout, and specific infections can cause certain forms of arthritis. For many forms of arthritis, the cause is unknown. Scientists are studying the role of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environment in the various types of arthritis
4. What are the most common types of arthritis?
The most common form of arthritis in the Unites States is osteoarthritis followed by gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
5. What are the symptoms of arthritis?
The pattern and location of symptoms can vary depending on the type of arthritis. Generally, people with arthritis feel pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. The onset of arthritis symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. Arthritis is most often a chronic disease, so symptoms may come and go, or persist over time.
6. What should I do if I think I have arthritis?
If you have pain, stiffness, or swelling in or around one or more of your joints, talk to your doctor. It is important to keep in mind that there are many forms of arthritis, and a specific diagnosis of the type you have may help to direct the proper treatment. The earlier you understand your arthritis, the earlier you can start managing your disease and making healthy lifestyle changes to help your arthritis.
7. Can I prevent arthritis?
Depending on the form of arthritis, there are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of arthritis. Maintaining an appropriate body weight has been shown to decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis and gout. Protecting your joints from injuries or overuse can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.
8. How is arthritis diagnosed?
Diagnosing arthritis often requires a detailed medical history of current and past symptoms, physical examination, x-rays, and blood work. It is possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time.
9. What are the treatments for arthritis?
The focus of treatment for arthritis is to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain function and quality of life. In inflammatory types of arthritis, it is also important to control inflammation. According to the American College of Rheumatology, the treatment of arthritis might involve the following:
- Nonpharmacologic therapies.
- Physical or occupational therapy.
- Splints or joint assistive aids.
- Patient education and support.
- Weight loss.
10. How can I manage arthritis pain?
11. What does the CDC recommend for people with arthritis?
The CDC recommends the following:
Early diagnosis and appropriate management of arthritis, including self-management activities, can help people with arthritis decrease pain, improve function, stay productive, and lower health care costs. Key self-management activities include
- Learn arthritis management strategies.
- Be active.
- Watch your weight.
- See your doctor.
- Protect your joints.
12. How many people in the United States have arthritis?
Currently, an estimated 52.5 million US adults reported that their doctor told them they had arthritis. As our nation’s population ages, the prevalence is expected to increase.
13. How many children have arthritis?
CDC estimates that 294,000 U.S. children under age 18 (or 1 in 250 children) have been diagnosed with arthritis or another rheumatologic condition. Prior estimates ranged from 80,000 to 290,000, depending on the definition of arthritis, age range and methods used to find cases. However, many of these prior estimates were based on extrapolations from small studies done in small geographic areas which could have led to chance variation in estimates.
14. How can I find out more about the CDC Arthritis Program?
15. Does my state health department have an arthritis program?
There are 12 states that have arthritis programs funded by the CDC. Read more about CDC- funded state arthritis programs
16. Is exercise recommended for people who have arthritis?
Recent studies have shown that moderate physical activity 5 or more days a week can help to relieve arthritis pain and stiffness and give you more energy. Regular physical activity can also lift your mood and make you feel more positive.
An activity that produces a slight increase in heart rate or breathing is considered moderate physical activity. Low-impact activities performed at a moderate pace work best for people with arthritis. These include walking, swimming, and riding a bicycle. Everyday activities such as dancing, gardening, and washing the car can be good if done at a moderate pace that produces slight increase in breathing and heart rate. Detailed information about physical activity for people with arthritis
and recommended programs
If you are having an acute flare-up of your inflammatory arthritis, it may be better to restrict your exercise to simple range of motion (carefully moving the joint as far as it can go) during the flare-up.
17. What should I do if I have pain when I exercise?
It’s normal for people with arthritis to experience some soreness or aching in joints and surrounding muscles during and after exercise. This is especially true in the first 4 to 6 weeks of starting an exercise program. However, most people with arthritis find if they stick with exercise they will have significant long-term pain relief. Here are some tips to help you manage pain during and after exercise:
- Modify your exercise program by reducing the frequency (days per week) or duration (amount of time each session) until pain improves.
- Change the type of exercise to reduce impact on the joints – for example switch from walking to water aerobics.
- Do proper warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise.
- Exercise at a comfortable pace – you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising.
- Make sure you have good fitting, comfortable shoes.
Signs you should see your health care provider
- Pain is sharp, stabbing, and constant.
- Pain that causes you to limp.
- Pain that lasts more than 2 hours after exercise or gets worse at night.
- Pain is not relieved by rest, medication, or hot/cold packs.
- Large increases in swelling or your joints feel “hot” or are red.
18. How does body weight influence arthritis?
Weight control is essential; research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis and may decrease disease progression. A loss of just 11 pounds can decrease the occurrence (incidence) of new knee osteoarthritis, and losing just 5% of body weight (12 pounds in a 250 pound person) can reduce pain and disability. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)
. Read more about healthy weight
19. Are people with arthritis more susceptible to complications from the flu?
People with certain forms of arthritis (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis and lupus) may have weakened immune systems, due either to the disease and/or the medications (e.g., prednisone) they take to treat the condition. This may make them more susceptible to flu-related complications after being infected.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ARTHRITIS
This site below looks lovely and seems to have interesting information about natural options to help with arthritis pain with the following disclaimer.
I modified the posting a bit to add recent literature on Cinnamon and High-Methionine Diets
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Please note that the below information is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the expert is not engaged in rendering any medical or professional services in the information provided below. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services.
Below is edited from sites:
1. Cinnamon, Turmeric & Ginger Tea
Turmeric and ginger are both anti-inflammatorys, and will help with oseto and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric in particular has gotten a lot of attention lately. Its active ingredient is something called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, it lowers the levels of 2 enzymes responsible for causing inflammation (which is what we’re often fighting with arthritis.) You can take these in a capsule form or make a nice spicy tea to enjoy daily.
See Referenced below on benefits of Cinnamon
You will need…
-2 cups of water
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
-Honey to taste
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and had ½ teaspoon each ground ginger and ground turmeric. Reduce to a simmer and let it be for 10-15 minutes. Strain, add honey to taste, and enjoy twice daily. This yields 2 servings.
2. Small amounts of Sesame Oil and Rice Bran Oil:
See study below at end: a recent study on rats showed small amounts of Sesame Oil and Rice Bran Oil possess a significant degree of an anti-arthritic effect and are responsible for down regulating inflammation in the experimentally induced arthritis in rats. Human studies are pending.
2. Epsom salt soak
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate which sounds kind of scary, but it’s really quite a wonderful substance. A naturally occurring mineral, magnesium sulfate has been used to get relief from pain for years, namely because of its high levels of magnesium (more on magnesium below.)
You will need…
-1/2 cup of Epsom salt
-A large bowl
Fill a large bowl with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salt. Stir it around, and then submerge your sore joints in the liquid. If you are experiencing pain in a less convenient place to soak, such as your knees, try taking a bath with Epsom salts. Run a tub full of warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for 15 minutes (at least.)
3. Get more magnesium (seriously.)
Magnesium is something our bodies need, but we can’t make it ourselves. It is used in over 300 different biomechanical responses in our body. It relaxes all our muscles and nerve endings, relieving stiffness and pain. It is even part of what makes our heart beat. Not only does it relax muscles and ease pain (this goes for arthritis pain too, of course) it helps bones to mineralize. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted one of many studies on magnesium that showed people who had a diet high in magnesium/took supplements had higher bone density, and overall stronger bones. There are several ways to get more magnesium and utilize it for arthritis in particular.
Supplements: Magnesium capsules are a good thing to add to your day-to-day life, but they work best when used in conjunction with an improved diet.
Diet: Really this is the clincher-as great as supplements are, they can’t do everything. Eat foods that are high in magnesium, which include dark leafy greens (like spinach), nuts, and legumes (beans.)
Oil: There is magnesium oil that can be applied topically and absorbed through the skin. Try rubbing it on sore joints to relieve pain.
4. Lubricate With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The very consistency of olive oil makes it seem like something that would lubricate your joints and ease arthritis pain, and it turns out, it actually does. A main compound in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) called oleocanthal inhibits inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, just like Advil or aspirin does. The study showed that 1 ½ tablespoons is equal to 200-mg of ibuprofen. However, not every oil is created equal. Heat destroys oleocanthal, so it is necessary to use extra virgin olive oil or “cold-pressed.” The ripeness of the olives at the time they were pressed also determines the level of oleocanthal-generally the stronger tasting the oil, the higher the level there is present. It can be taken internally to reap the benefits, but being high in calories consider replacing any fats, such as butter, with it in cooking instead.
You will need…
-2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Rub a bit of olive oil onto your sore joints twice a day, massaging in to each one gently. You can also take 2-3 tablespoons daily, but be sure to give up some other form of fat due to the high calorie count in the oil (rest easy, these are good calories.)
5. Dandelion Leaves
Incredibly high in vitamins A and C, dandelion leaves can help repair damaged tissue and help the liver clear toxins out of the blood. Studies, although limited, have also shown anti-inflammatory properties due to the linoleic and linoleic acid in them. Linoleic is an essential fatty acid required by the body to produce prostaglandin-which basically regulates immune responses and suppresses inflammation. Because of its involvement with immune responses, dandelion shows great potential when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis in particular. You can enjoy dandelion leaves in nice salad, or brew tea with them.
You will need…
-3 teaspoons of fresh dandelion leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried
-1 cup of boiling water
-A handful of fresh leaves (if making a salad)
-A dash of extra virgin olive oil (if making a salad)
For fresh dandelion tea, step 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves or 1 teaspoon dried in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain and drink twice daily. Dandelion tea is very bitter…you have been warned! You can add honey to sweeten it up if you’d like. To make a salad, simply toss the greens in with another recipe, or eat them plain with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Older leaves can be gently sautéed to soften them up a bit.
6. Blackstrap Molasses Drink
High in valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, blackstrap molasses has been a cherished home remedy for arthritis for a number of years. Blackstrap molasses is what remains after the 3rd boiling of sugar syrup, and is nothing like the nutrient lacking refined sugars used today. As a dietary supplement (easily consumed as a drink) blackstrap can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, thanks to its vital constituents that regulate nerve and muscle function, and strengthen bones.
You will need…
-1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
-1 cup of warm water
Heat 1 cup of fresh water until warm, but not hot. Stir in a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and drink once daily. Do note that it can sometimes have a laxative effect.
7. White Willow Tea (the original aspirin)
Before there was aspirin, and I mean way before aspirin, there was white willow bark. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about it all the way back in 5th century BC. It wasn’t until 18-something or other (1829, I believe) that it was found that white willow was so effective because it contained an active ingredient called salicin. Salicin is converted in the body into salicylic acid-similar to acetyl salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. But because the naturally occurring salicin is converted after it passed through the stomach, it resulted in less irritation/side effects. While it can be taken in a capsule form, I usually opt for the tea version of just about everything.
You will need…
-2 teaspoons of powdered or chipped white willow bark
-1 cup of water
-Honey or lemon to taste
Bring 1 cup (8 oz.) of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add 2 teaspoons of powdered or chipped white willow bark and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it steep for 30 more minutes. Drink twice daily-it’s bitter, so honey and lemon are usually welcome here.
When it’s painful and difficult just to move, the last thing you feel like doing is getting up and exercising. As unpleasant as it may sound though, exercise is vital for those who suffer from any form of stiffness, joint pain, or arthritis. Exercise will help control weight (an excess of which puts more strain on your joints) strengthens the muscles that support the joint, even when the cartilage is thinning, and lubricates the joints, allowing them to move more freely. When we are inactive the synovial fluid in the joints is the consistency of a thick gel, but once we get moving and warming up, the liquid becomes more viscous and can do a better job of lubricating our joints and keeping them going smoothly. Just imagine if you were to be sedentary every day, pretty soon you’d be so stiff it’d be just about impossible to move. But if you get up and move around every day, you’ll get stronger and will loosen up as well.
-Going for a brisk walk-start with 15 minutes and work your way up into a solid daily routine.
-Doing joint-targeted exercises-certain stretches and exercises specifically target joints to help rid them of stiffness and pain.
-Getting a dog-doing so backs up the first point, because you’ll have no choice but to walk!
9. Peppermint Eucalyptus Oil Blend
Peppermint and eucalyptus don’t change the course of the arthritis itself, but they do have analgesic, or pain-relieving, properties. The cooling sensation that they produce can temporarily override your discomfort, and create a soothing sensation that can ease the pain of arthritis.
You will need…
-5-10 drops of Peppermint oil
-5-10 drops of Eucalyptus oil
-1-2 tablespoons of carrier oil (olive, almond, grape seed, etc.)
-A small dark glass bottle
Blend 5-10 drops of eucalyptus and peppermint oil together, and then mix into 1-2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Carrier oil is needed to dilute the essential oil so that it does not irritate the skin, and can be olive oil, grapeseed oil, or something of the like (not oil.) Store the oil blend in dark glass bottle away from direct sunlight, and rub into your joints when they ache.
10. Juniper Berry Tea
A 2009 research trial published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that juniper berries do indeed help with arthritis pain thanks to a component called terpinen-4-ol. Terpene suppresses a type of white blood cells called monocytes which, as a part of our immune system, respond to signals of inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks normal joint tissue for no reason, leading to inflammation, pain, and loss of function. If taken daily, juniper may be able to reduce the uncomfortable inflammation thanks to its terpene content. Only prickly juniper and common juniper varieties were effective.
Note: Do NOT drink juniper berry tea while pregnant.
You will need…
-1 tablespoon of dried juniper berries
-1 cup of fresh water
Bring 1 cup of fresh water to a boil, and place 1 tablespoon of dried juniper berries in a mug. Pour the boiling water over the berries and let them steep for 20 minutes before straining. Drink 1 cup twice daily, and add honey to taste if you like.
11. Golden Raisins & Gin
First off I am not recommending that you go and drink gin, but I thought this was an interesting old home remedy for arthritis. Gins flavor is derived from juniper berries (see #11 for a more in depth explanation of juniper berries) which contain anti-inflammatory properties. Golden raisins (only golden can be used in this recipe) require sulfides in their processing to give them their characteristic color. Sulfides are found in both glucosamine and chondroitin, which many people have found to be helpful remedies for arthritis. This remedy stretches back at least 20 years, and some people swear by it, while others have had limited success.
You will need…
-Around 1/2 cup of gin
-1 cup of golden raisins
-a shallow dish
The amounts will vary depending on how big of a batch you are making, but basically you just need raisins and enough gin to just cover them, and the above amounts are just to give a general guideline. I am one of those people who, even if it is a loosely interpreted recipe, like to have some numbers to start with. Anyways, place 1 cup of golden raisins in a shallow dish, and pour in enough gin to just barely cover them. Cover with a towel and store them away in a dark place until the gin has evaporated (around 2 weeks.) Eat 9 of the raisins daily, keeping in mind the results may take several weeks to show.
12. Bosweilla supplements
Also known as Frankincense, Bosweilla is a flowering plant native to Africa and Asia. The gum resin or extract of the plant works as an anti-inflammatory and pain-killer. It works against inflammation by ‘disabling’ white blood cells that would cause swelling, and also helps shrink tissue that has already become inflamed and painful. I am afraid I don’t have a tea recipe for this one, as it is generally taken in a tablet supplement form, much like a vitamin. It is sold at many health stores and online, and is fairly reasonably priced compared to what some other supplements cost.
13. Pectin & Grape Juice
Pectin is a water soluble carbohydrate substance found in the cell walls of plants, where it helps keep cell walls together, and gives fruit firmness as it ripens. It is extracted from fruit to use as a setting in jams and jellies, and has become popular as a home remedy for arthritis when combined with grape juice. It has been tentatively hypothesized that it helps return the synovial tissue to a more elastic and lubricated state, which results in pain-free movement. Despite the fact that more studies are needed on pectin and connective tissue many people have found, for whatever reason, great relief from their arthritis with it. The grape juice is the liquid of choice due to the fact that it can help with inflammation.
You will need…
-1 tablespoon of liquid pectin
-8 oz. of grape juice
Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid pectin with 8 oz. of grape juice and drink 1-2 times daily. It will take a week or two for the effects to show.
14. Cayenne ‘Capsaicin’ Ointment
A common OTC pain reliever for joint pain contains capsaicin, a component in hot peppers that inhibits something called Substance P. Substance P is involved in transmitting pain signals to our brain, and when the capsaicin interferes with it, it minimizes the alert to the discomfort, and therefore the discomfort itself. It has been one of the more effective topical treatments for arthritis, and you can make your own at home with humble cayenne. Keep in mind, however, that it is only a temporary fix and should be used sparingly if possible.
15. Controversial but in rats: High-Methionine Diet helped decrease arthritis. Human studies pending. A high-methionine diet may increase risk of cancer some MDs think so read below.
Also see references:
Mediators Inflamm. 2016;2016:9280529. Epub 2016 Sep 25.
High-Methionine Diet Attenuates Severity of Arthritis and Modulates IGF-I Related Gene Expressions in an Adjuvant Arthritis Rats Model.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a synthesized form of adjuvant arthritis exhibited throughout many animal species, inhibits liver function and circulation of IGF-I and contributes to the degradation of skeletal muscle mass. One of the primary goals of the present study is determining whether a high-Methionine (high-Met) diet is capable of reducing the adverse effects of arthritis, namely, loss of body mass. Following adjuvant injection, forty arthritic rats were randomly assigned to either a control group with a basal diet or a high-Met group with the same basal diet + 0.5% Methionine. After 14 days all rats were terminated. The high-Met group exhibited an increase in body weight and food intake in comparison with the control group (P < 0.05). High-Met diet debilitated arthritis-induced surges in the gastrocnemius in both atrogin-1 and the MuRF1 expressions; however, it was observed to have little to no effect on atrogin-1 and MuRF1 gene expression in soleus. At the same time, high-Met diet rats experienced a rise in IGF-I, with lowering of IGFBP-3 gene expression in the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These data suggest that arthritis severity can be partly attenuated by high-Met diet.
A Low Methionine Diet May Help Starve Cancer Cells
Forty years ago, a landmark paper was published showing for the first time that many human cancers have what’s called “absolute methionine dependency,” meaning that if we try to grow cells in a Petri dish without giving them the amino acid methionine, normal cells thrive, but without methionine, cancer cells die. Normal breast cells grow no matter what, with or without methionine, but cancer cells need that added methionine to grow.
What does cancer do with the methionine? Tumors use it to generate gaseous sulfur-containing compounds that, interestingly, can be detected by specially trained diagnostic dogs. There are mole-sniffing dogs that can pick out skin cancer. There are breath-sniffing dogs that can pick out people with lung cancer. Pee-sniffing dogs that can diagnose bladder cancer and–you guessed it–fart-sniffing dogs forcolorectal cancer. Doctors can now bring their lab to the lab!
It gives a whole new meaning to the term “pet scan.” 🙂
Methionine dependency is not just present in cancer cell lines in a Petri dish. Fresh tumors taken from patients show that many cancers appear to have a biochemical defect that makes them dependent on methionine, including some tumors of the colon, breast, ovary, prostate, and skin. Pharmaceutical companies are fighting to be the first to come out with a drug that decreases methionine levels. But since methionine is sourced mainly from food, a better strategy may be to lower methionine levels by lowering methionine intake, eliminating high methionine foods to control cancer growth as well as improve our lifespan (see Methionine Restriction as a Life-Extension Strategy).
Here’s the thinking: smoking cessation, consumption of diets rich in plants, and other lifestyle measures can prevent the majority of cancers. Unfortunately, people don’t do them, and as a result hundreds of thousands of Americans develop metastatic cancer each year. Chemotherapy cures only a few types of metastatic cancer. Unfortunately, the vast majority of common metastatic cancers, such as breast, prostate, colon, and lung, are lethal. We therefore desperately need novel treatment strategies for metastatic cancer, and dietary methionine restriction may be one such strategy.
So, where is methionine found? In my video, Starving Cancer with Methionine Restriction, you can see a graph of foods with their respective methionine levels. Chicken and fish have the highest levels. Milk, red meat, and eggs have less, but if we really want to stick with lower methionine foods, fruits, nuts, veggies, grains, and beans are the best. In other words, “In humans, methionine restriction may be achieved using a predominately vegan diet.”
So why isn’t every oncologist prescribing a low-methionine diet? One researcher notes that “Despite many promising preclinical and clinical studies in recent years, dietary methionine restriction and other dietary approaches to cancer treatment have not yet gained wide clinical application. Most clinicians and investigators are probably unfamiliar with nutritional approaches to cancer.” That’s an understatement! “Many others may consider amino acid restriction as an ‘old idea,’ since it has been examined for several decades. However, many good ideas remain latent for decades if not centuries before they prove valuable in the clinic….With the proper development, dietary methionine restriction, either alone or in combination with other treatments, may prove to have a major impact on patients with cancer.”
Why might the medical profession be so resistant to therapies proven to be effective? The Tomato Effect may be partially to blame.
-Michael Greger, M.D.
1. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;929:1-24.
Cinnamon and Chronic Diseases.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamon cassia), the eternal tree of tropical medicine, belongs to the Lauraceae family and is one of the most important spices used daily by people all over the world. It contains a lot of manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium. Cinnamon contains derivatives, such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamate, and numerous other components such as polyphenols and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer effects. Several reports have dealt with the numerous properties of cinnamon in the forms of bark, essential oils, bark powder, and phenolic compounds, and each of these properties can play a key role in human health. Recently, many trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, and arteriosclerosis, but still we need further investigations to provide additional clinical evidence for this spice against cancer and inflammatory, cardioprotective, and neurological disorders.
2. This study was recently done on rats: human studies still pending. Notice that “small amount” is recommended.
Lipids. 2016 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Sesame Oil and Rice Bran Oil Ameliorates Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis in Rats: Distinguishing the Role of Minor Components and Fatty Acids.
Though present in small amounts, the minor constituents of dietary oils may supplement the dietary therapies for rheumatoid arthritis(RA). Hence, in the present study, we assessed the effect of minor constituents from sesame oil (SO) and rice bran oil (RBO) and their fatty acids on the severity of adjuvant-induced arthritis in experimental rats. Rats were gavaged with 1 mL of SO or RBO or groundnut oil (GNO, control) with or without its minor components for a period 15 days before and 15 days after the induction of arthritis. Oxidative stress, markers of RA, eicosanoids, cytokines, paw swelling and joint integrity were measured in experimental and control rats. Results demonstrated that native SO and RBO but not SO and RBO stripped of their minor components decreased severity of paw inflammation, oxidative stress (lipid peroxides, protein carbonyls, nitric oxide), RA markers (RF and CRP), inflammatory eicosanoids (PGE2, LTB4 and LTC4) and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, MCP-1 and TNF-α) compared to control rats. Native SO and RBO inhibited hydrolytic enzymes (collagenase, elastase and hyaluronidase) in the synovial tissue compared to SO and RBO without minor components. The arthritic scores assessed based on the digital and X-ray images indicated that native oils but not those without their minor components reduced the paw swelling and bone loss. Our results indicated that minor components of SO and RBO possess a significant degree of an anti-arthritic effect and are responsible for down regulating inflammation in the experimentally induced arthritisin rats.