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Arthritis: Not the Result of Normal Aging


By Dr Marie Benitez, m.d.


Inflammation of one or more joints, caracterized by pain, stiffness, swelling, deformity and / or reduced range of motion.

Importance of the problem

Arthritis is the primary source of disability in the USA . Over 21 million americans suffer from it. To relieve their symptoms many victims or their doctors will turn to anti- inflammatory drugs for they can provide a quick relief and are widely available with or without a prescription. In 1999 , there was for 6.6 billion $ of NSAIDS sold in this country, mainly for arthritis . What few people know, is that these drugs are the most common cause of serious drug toxicity in the USA. They are responsible for 100,000 admissions in hospitals per year , and 10-20,000 deaths per year, mainly because of gastro-intestinal complications

The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rhumatoid arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the ends of the bones degenerates . 50% of americans show signs of arthritis after age 65 . It affects 3 women for 1 man.

How does it appear?

A defect in the production of collagen , the protein that is the structural component of cartilage, causes the joint to degenerate. Enzymes involved in that production are influenced by hormone levels (explaining why more women are affected ).

Risk factors include obesity and previous trauma to that joint or to surrounding ligaments. It affects weight bearing joints more severely but also hands and knuckles.

Rhumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder (self attacking self). The body's immune system identifies the synovial membrane as foreign resulting in inflammation and damage to the joints. 2.1 million americans suffer from RA , and 75% of them are women. It often occurs before age 40. The onset of RA is associated with stress (physical or psychological ) and poor nutrition.


What is the relation between diet and arthritis ?

In the 1940s , Mr. Dan Dale Alexander studied this question for 14 years , and came to the following conclusion : Arthritis sufferers ,no matter the cause , seem to suffer from a deficiency of specific dietary oils , resulting in :

-a lack of steroid hormones (e.g. cortisol)
-a lack of lubricating oils for bodily joints


Common dietary mistakes leading to oil deficiency

  1. Food is oil deficient
    Increase your consumption of omega-3s, such as fish and flax seeds.
  2. Wrong kind of fat is consumed
    Ex: animal fats, heated vegetable oils, peanut butter, chocolate, etc.
  3. Right oils are improperly digested
    -Do not drink within 30min. before or 2-3 hrs. after your meals
    -Avoid acid foods and beverages (ex. tea=tannic acid, soda-pop=phosphoric acid, coffee, pasteurized citric fruit juices=citric acid, red and/or well done meats, etc.)
    -Avoid refined sugar and flour: they destroy the intestinal lining, leading to constipation and precipitating vitamin deficiencies; they "burn up" the oils in the joints
    Remember these
  4. Adrenal glands are not secreting cortisol (our natural anti-inflammatory hormone)
    Causes: vitamin D deficiency = excessive stress, etc.


Other symptoms of oil deficiency

Constipation, dry skin and scalp, ear wax plugs, craving for water, etc.

Many arthritis sufferers have obtained up to 90% relief by following Mr. Alexander's dietary plan.


Other important recommendations

Consume plenty of raw vegetables as they are the main source of organic minerals needed to maintain and rebuild your bones and joints. You may eat them and juice them twice daily. Sulfur containing veggies such as asparagus and onions aid to rebuild connective tissue. If you have a lot of cracking in your joints , you may benefit from sodium rich veggies such as celeri, okra and zucchini.

Vitamin C is a major nutrient of all collagen tissue and the need for it increases in colder weather. Good sources include brocoli, green peppers, apples, apricots, etc.

Check for food allergies: allergies trigger inflammation and can increase symptoms, especially in rhumatoid arthritis and other similar forms of disorder. Many arthritis sufferers have found relief when eliminating certain foods.

Rule out heavy metal poisonning. Some arthritis sufferers show higher than normal lead levels.

If you suffer from painful nodules in your fingers, you might benefit from chelation treatments.

Spend time outdoors. Exposure to sunlight prompts synthesis of vitamin D3, which is needed for synthesis of cortisol and for bone formation.

Get regular moderate exercise. It will help prevent joint deterioration by strenghtening surrounding bones, muscles and ligaments. Good choices include bicycle riding, water exercises and walking.


Recommended supplements:

Udo's choice, a blend of beneficial oils providing appropriate ratios of omega-3,6 and 9 essential fatty acids needed to lubricate the joints and fight inflammation.

For osteoarthritis: glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin sulfate have proven to be effective in stopping and reversing the disease. They also help reduce the pain, increase mobility equally or better than the NSAIDS. The effects last longer and symptoms do not recur soon after discontinuation as it is with NSAIDS. Finally they are better tolerated and less toxic than these drugs.

In summary, arthritis is not the result of normal aging but rather of faulty dietary habits. We have seen that it is possible to defeat it, NOT learn to live with it, by making wiser choices in our foods and drinks and in the sequence in which we consume them. The reward will indeed be worth the effort.

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