Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Nutrition, and Autoimmune Disease
Welcome to this issue of "Living a Healthy Fit Life"
Editor's Note –
We’ve had a busy 2 weeks.
Larry’s heart catheterization went well. The only thing, we are receiving mixed messages as to the results. After the procedure we were told that things looked very good.. no blockages and 3 of his former bypasses looked very good.. there was no need for angioplasty or stents. One of the bypasses had occluded but that was not a problem. The chest pains Larry is continuing to experience could be helped with a drug that would increase the blood flow. Our follow up appointment with one of the assistants from the cardiology clinic did not go so well. While waiting to see the doctor we studied the written test results. Those written results didn’t sound so good. Only 2 of his previous bypasses are functioning and the other 2 are occluded (not functioning). There is some confusion as far as our understanding whether the 2 that are functioning are working as well as they could be? The report is very confusing and the doctor we saw was not very good at answering our questions and giving us peace of mind. Our hope at this point is that our primary C-FNP will be able to shed more light when we go to see her this week.
Meanwhile, I had someone contact me as to what could be done nutritionally for RA.. rheumatoid arthritis. I communicated with her via email but decided to do this article on the subject as there are most probably other people who have some of the same questions so here’s some highlights of nutrition’s affect on RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that signals nutrition problems. The jury is still out on whether the nutrition deficiencies are the cause or the result of having this disease. But none the less it has been found that restoring nutrient deficiencies can reverse and even heal RA.
A quick note about autoimmune diseases in general; it is when the immune system attacks it’s self. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system of a person actually attacks their own joints and tissues.
Some common health problems that are common in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are:
- Digestive difficulties
- Morning stiffness
- Loss of grip strength
- Anemia (low iron)
- Sensitivity to one or more foods
- Fluid retention in the hands
- Stiffness of the fingers
- Tingling of the hands
- Joint inflammation and pain
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Skin disorders such as psoriasis
Someone with rheumatoid arthritis may or may not have these symptoms however if you do suffer from any of them, let it be a warning that you could be at risk of developing RA.
Some of the more probable nutrient deficiencies are described in the paragraphs that follow.
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA)
Just about every study of fish oil has found supplementation to be helpful for those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil has been known to reduce morning stiffness, increase grip strength, and reduce pain.
B vitamin deficiencies can be caused by a deficiency of hydrochloric (stomach) acid or damage to the digestive tract from food allergies. These deficiencies can cause anemia, pain, disability, fluid retention in the hands, stiffness of the fingers, and tingling of the hands. Methotrexate, a common rheumatoid arthritis drug can contribute to the B vitamin deficiencies but is no less effective when B Complex supplements are used. Actually supplementing with some of the B vitamins may lessen the side effects of RA drugs such as methotrexate.
Most people with rheumatoid arthritis have low levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C with flavonoids supplementation has been helpful to reduce the symptoms of RA and is known for helping reduce inflammation and pain.
Vitamin D is beneficial in reducing the risk of autoimmune disease in general. A vitamin D rich environment for immune cells is important for the health of the cells. That means get moderate sunshine exposure and when supplementing, use D3.
Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory benefits so can reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In order for vitamin E to work as an anti-inflammatory it must be in mixed form with the entire E family. The mineral, selenium also helps the E to work.
Supplementation with selenium, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, & iron can be helpful in balancing nutrient deficiencies. Minerals are best absorbed when in a chelated form.
Generally, supplementation with the above nutrients is helpful in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. When supplementing it is important to not take isolates but complete families of nutrients as they are balanced in nature. Supplemental nutrients will most likely be more effective when taken in low balanced doses rather than in high amounts. This allows the nutrients to have a synergistic effect on the RA.
Food allergies are often found in those who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis. Certain foods can trigger symptoms of RA. Some of the more common foods can be grains, nuts, eggs, milk, beef, pork, sugar, and alcohol. Avoidance of these foods may possibility lead to partial or complete resolution. At that point the foods could slowly be reintroduced one at a time to determine any allergic responses. As I mentioned earlier in this article, low hydrochloric acid can trigger food allergies so supplementation with a food grade hydrochloric acid will most likely be helpful. A raw or vegan diet may be good to relieve the symptoms of RA. Keep in mind that any food or drink that is high in sugar will trigger more inflammation and pain.
Bacterial overgrowth or abnormal bacteria in the digestive tract should be considered as present in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Bacterial overgrowth is one of the main things involved in training the immune system to attack its own tissues and/or joints. This means it is critical to keep digestive bacteria in balance from the stomach all the way to the colon. Once again I am suggesting supplementation with hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and probiotics especially for those suffering with RA.
Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis should be aware that they are more susceptible to lung infections, heart disease, nerve damage, and bone loss. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, it could cause problems in any part of the body. For long term good health it is important to make the lifestyle changes necessary to get RA under control. Low impact exercise is important to keep the body stronger, keep joints and muscles flexible, and keep the blood flowing to all parts of the body.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is usually caused by excessive sugar intake and exhaustion of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are the command posts of the body when the body is faced with bacterial invasion or exposure to potentially toxic substances. Studies have shown that many allergies, food intolerances, and symptoms associated with RA melt away when adrenal gland function is supported.
Personally, prior to supplementing with the 3 essential oils from wheat, rice, and soy, I used to experience low blood sugar symptoms but very seldom do now. On the very rare occasion I feel a bit of low blood sugar symptoms coming on, I also have a snack of balanced 2 to 1 quality protein and carbohydrate. I have no doubt that I would now, almost 30 years later, suffer seriously from at least autoimmune disease if I had not been supplementing with Tre-en-en, these essential oils.
At this point you may be thinking that I am just pushing the supplements I sell. Hopefully that is not the case however to get long term relief from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis it does require supplementation with quality products. I believe Neo-Life (GNLD) nutritionals are the absolute best in the marketplace. You will do yourself a huge favor by committing to giving Neo-Life (GNLD) supplements a try for at least 6 months, especially if you are suffering from RA or any other autoimmune disease.
Neo-Life Nutritionals I suggest as a basic program are as follows:
- Pro Vitality with Formula IV Plus – item #3143. Start with 1 packet daily with a meal for the 1st week, go to 2 packets daily for the 2nd week, and then 3 packets daily thereafter. Each packet will give you the essential oils from wheat, rice, and soy plus extra vitamins and minerals as well as Salmon Oil Plus (omega-3’s) and Carotenoid Complex (antioxidant protection from fruits and vegetables).
- Chelated Cal-Mag with 1000 IU vitamin D – item #3404. Take 3 tablets daily.
- Beta-Zyme Digestive Aid – item #3522. Take 1 packet daily with meals and possibly build up to 2 packets daily if needed. This provides targeted, natural stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) and targeted intestinal enzymes.
- Acidophilus Plus – item #3524. Take 1 capsule each morning upon rising. This is a targeted probiotics providing 5 billion live microorganisms per capsule which helps maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the intestines.
It is possible certain individuals may need to add additional supplements to reach optimal results. That will be when we should have a one on one consultation as to what else might be needed down the road.
Please share this article with anyone you know who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.
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Pat is a Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Coach.
Pat has been married to the same man for over 51 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and avoiding a major heart attack, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others. Her goal is to share with others the things she has learned and is still learning about having the BEST REAL HEALTH possible.
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Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
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