What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis (from the Greek word, ‘Arthro’ meaning ‘joint’ and ‘Itis’ meaning ‘inflammation’) is a common condition affecting around ten million people in the UK. It causes pain and inflammation in a joint, mainly those of the hands, spine, knees and hips and can affect people of all ages, including children. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Arthritis/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Cause and Effect
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative non-inflammatory disease which results in pain and restricted movement. Often developing in adults who are in their late 40s or older, it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. It is also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition and is thought to affect nearly eight million people in the UK.
Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, as the articular cartilage gradually becomes thinner because its renewal does not keep pace with its breakdown. Eventually, the bony articular surfaces come in contact and the bones begin to degenerate. Bone repair is abnormal and the articular surfaces become misshapen. This is often the reason for reduced mobility of the joint.
Chronic inflammation can develop and sometimes there is abnormal outgrowth of cartilage at the edges of bones that become ossified, forming osteophytes. (Ross and Wilson – Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness 11th edition – text book Module 2)
Research has also highlighted diet, poor circulation and lack of movement as factors in the possible causes of osteoarthritis, as well as a deficiency of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Therefore, foods high in this vitamin may be beneficial. www.arthritisresearchuk.org
In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts when a person is between 35-55, but can affect all ages including children (Still’s disease). Women are three times more likely to be affected than men.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints which leads to pain and swelling. It is a chronic, disabling auto-immune disease which usually affect the joints in the hands and feet first. Normally an immune response is mounted against foreign (non-self) antigens but occasionally the body fails to recognise its own tissues and attacks itself. The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first place affected, as the body produces antibodies to the synovial membrane. In most sufferers, the antibody can be detected in the blood, called rheumatoid factor, it binds to the synovial membrane, leading to chronically inflamed joints that are stiff, painful and swollen This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape. This may cause the bone and cartilage to break down. The cause is not clearly understood but development of autoimmunity maybe initiated by microbial infection, possibly by viruses and in genetically susceptible people.
What to Avoid
Gluten – New research presented in Vienna, October 2016, revealed that a family of proteins in wheat may be responsible for activating inflammation in chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. www.eurekalert.org
The nightshade family – Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes more than 2,000 species. They include some of the most popular foods consumed today including tomatoes, potatoes, all types of peppers and aubergine, and contain the inflammation-inducing alkaloids. According to a blog on www.arthritis.org regarding the impact of nightshades: ‘It is anecdotal, and it certainly might be true for some people, but there are no scientific studies done to prove that they actually cause inflammation or make symptoms worse.’ Nightshade vegetables are rich in nutrients, making them a worthy addition to your diet. But if you find they trigger arthritis pain, don’t eat them.
What to Include
Arthritis Research UK states: ‘Energy production and other metabolic processes in the body produce harmful byproducts called free radicals, which damage cells. Free radicals have been implicated in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and in the inflammation that attacks joints. Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard and bok choy are packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C and K, which protect cells from free-radical damage. These foods are also high in bone-preserving calcium.’
Beta-carotene – People with rheumatoid arthritis should include anti-inflammatory nutrients in their daily diets such as beta-carotene. To maximise absorption of these beta-carotenes be sure to add good fats to juices where possible in the form of avocado or a good quality omega-3 oil.
Broccoli – As well as other cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and cauliflower) offers another benefit – a natural compound called sulforaphane. Research has shown sulforaphane blocks the inflammatory process and might slow cartilage damage in osteoarthritis. There is also some evidence that diets high in this vegetable family could prevent rheumatoid arthritis from developing in the first place. www.arthritisresearchuk.org, www.nhs.uk
Ginger – The anti-inflammatory (gingerols) and anti-oxidant properties in ginger may help relieve various inflammatory disorders like gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also provide substantial relief of pain caused by inflammation, and help decrease swelling and morning stiffness. In two clinical studies on ginger involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75 per cent of arthritis patients and 100 per cent of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.
Another study published in the November 2003 issue of Life Sciences suggests that at least one reason for ginger’s beneficial effects is the free radical protection afforded by one of its active phenolic constituents, 6-gingerol. In this in vitro (test tube) study, 6-gingerol was shown to significantly inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that quickly forms a very damaging free radical called peroxynitrite.
Pineapple – Pineapple contains bromelain a systemic oral enzyme that has been used to treat varying problems. Bromelain seems to be effective as an alternative to acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in arthritis patients, providing an option for those that used Vioxx or a COX-2 inhibitor. The Arthritis Foundation also states that pineapple’s bromelain produces effects comparable to NSAIDs for relieving joint pain. UK researchers looking at ten different studies found that every one of them confirmed bromelain provides health benefits for osteoarthritis patients. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Bromelain extracts can be obtained from both the fruit core and stems of pineapple, so when juicing ensure you juice the core. www.naturalhealth365.com
Turmeric – Turmeric was found to be effective even when given by different routes, including topical, oral or by inhalation, dependent on the intended use. The major constituent of turmeric is curcumin (diferuloylmethane) which constitutes up to 90 per cent of the total curcuminoid content, with demethoxycurcumin and bis-demethoxycurcumin comprising the remainder (Aggarwal and Shishodia, 2004). Curcumin has been extensively investigated due to its anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (reviewed in Henrotin et al. 2010). The anti-arthritic potential of curcumin has been widely studied in vitro. Curcumin was found to downregulate the catabolic and degradative effects in cartilage explants. Positive results in pain management and mobility were also obtained in the treated group. Use of curcumin for the treatment of OA is of significant current research interest but more studies are needed before coming to any conclusion on its anti-arthritis potential. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
The Juice Recipes
The Anti-Inflammatory Boost
1 inch turmeric
1 inch fresh ginger
½ peeled orange
Juice together and add black pepper to boost absorption.
Arthritic Elixir – taken from The Funky Fresh Juice Book
¼ medium pineapple
1 large handful pitted cherries
2 stalks celery
½ medium peeled grapefruit (please check no contra-indicators with medication) leaving pith on
Pack the cherries into your juicer chute and then juice all other ingredients.
250 ml filtered water
1 fresh or frozen banana (ripe)
½ red grapefruit (peeled pith on)
½ cup pineapple (peeled and cubed)
2 handfuls baby spinach
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp flax seed oil
Blend together until smooth and enjoy.
Please note, it is impossible to give a definitive list as what supports one person can be a trigger food or allergen for another. You must stay your own juice detective at all times and listen to how your own body responds to certain foods and always consult with your healthcare provider when making changes to your diet which may affect your medication. Please be aware that we are not doctors, so it is important to consult with your GP or medical practitioner BEFORE making any changes to your diet. The suggestions above are not meant as an alternative to any current medical treatment so please DO NOT stop taking any medications you are on. They are also not an endorsement of their effectiveness, or a recommendation that they should be followed but instead, are provided for informational purposes. None of the information on the Natural Juice Therapy site is intended or implied to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease.