an Alternative to Natural Health
Nature's Sunshine Products
Millions of Americans are living with this crippling, limiting mobility in their joints. It is one cause of disability in America with one in every seven people suffering from this ailment. Beginning with mild symptoms that grow worse every year, this chronic disease can impair how you live your life.
There are many different causes associated with arthritis. The body becomes acidic and the cartilage in the joint begins to dissolve because of the acid in the blood and the lubricating fluids that should be present within the joints dissipates. As the joints lose their lubrication or it becomes thin, the cartilage becomes less concentrated and dense, bone begins to touch bone and cartilage and irritation begins, inflammation and swelling result, causing stiffness. This is where the pain comes from.
Many factors cause inflammation of a joint, so there are different forms of arthritis with different remedies. Some involve the joints themselves and others affect the tissue surrounding the joint.
Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease that affects the tissue and fluid between the bones. This results in pain, stiffness or restricted movement and weakness. It can develop over time from every day wear and tear on the joints or even a lack of enzymes in the diet.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system gets confused and attacks its own joints. Viral infection can be a probable cause of rheumatoid arthritis. It can strike at any age and symptoms appear when the synovial membrane becomes inflamed. This membrane secretes the fluid that lubricates bone joints. When the synovial membrane is inflamed, blood flow to the membrane increases and swelling occurs. Swelling can be so severe that bones may pushed apart. As the blood supply to the membrane increases, the inflamed membrane releases chemicals that destroy cartilage and bone. The body tries to correct this damage by replacing the destroyed cartilage and joint tissue with scar tissue, which further hinders joint function.
The Danger of Drugs
To treat arthritis pain, arthritis sufferers often use corticosteroids and opt for surgical repair or replacement. Steroids such as Prednisone are routinely used. They are very powerful for reducing inflammation but can have long term side effects. They can trigger heart disease, diabetes, eye damage and severe osteoporosis as well as facial and body changes.
Most arthritis sufferers are using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). This group consists of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, among others. Pain drives many people to eat these painkillers like candy. These drugs may knock out the pain and seem like a solution, but the side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney and liver damage are frightening. One study by a Norwegian physician examined the X-rays of 294 arthritic hips. They found that the hip joints of patients taking NSAIDS had significantly greater damage than those not taking the drugs. Studies show that ten percent of all dialysis patients are due to overuse of NSAIDS and about 107,000 people are hospitalized each year for gastrointestinal complications resulting from the use of NSAIDS. Each year, 16,500 of them die.
Acetaminophen breaks down in your body, about 5% of it is metabolized into a potentially deadly toxin. This toxin is normally neutralized in your liver. When taken in too high a dose, the toxin overwhelms and damages your liver. Acetaminophen overdose is one of the leading causes of hospitalization for acute liver failure. Even if the liver and stomach survive the use of these common drugs, the joints may not. Long-term use of NSAIDS can destroy the cartilage, making arthritis and pain much worse.
We have what is considered to be a non-life-threatening disease and yet people are dying from the medications! Most conventional medical consultations lead to prescription drugs or unnecessary surgery that may simply cause other problems. People are caught up in the notion that drugs save lives. They put up with the side effects because they believe they have no alternative besides drugs or surgery.
Water, Water, Everywhere?
Disease does not grow in pure, healthy blood. Impure blood is compromised and susceptible to disease. Pure blood is produced by the body from pure water and pure food. Moving pure water in and out of the body is essential for pure blood. Water is necessary to transport these wastes and nutrients through the blood and digestive tract. Water keeps all the mucous membranes moist and functional. We could live without food for several months but we would die in a few days without water. We don't get much water from eating a lot of meat and animal products, salt and processed foods. We are ingesting a lot of toxins in this kind of diet that must be eliminated from the body. Without water, these toxins are held in the body longer and in higher concentrations and interfering with nutrient exchange and elimination.
Recipe for Health:
We Are What We Eat! The U.S. Surgeon General recently stated, "for the two out of three adult Americans who do not smoke or drink excessively, one personal choice that influences long-term health prospects more than any other is WHAT THEY EAT."
People are able to handle less emotional and physical stress than prior generations. That is because their bodies' defense mechanisms are dealing with so many chemical stressors that they are already on overload.
Food is one of our biggest stressors. Store bought and many restaurant prepared foods are over-processed and depleted of minerals and other substances that support life. Besides the leaching of our soils and our agricultural industry's dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, bioengineering has resulted in crops that don't attract pests. Food that isn't attractive to bugs or rodents is inferior for humans! Things have been done to our food without regard to what it is doing to our health. It all profitability and shelf life, not nutritional value and health. Most foods are excessive in sodium, sugar, fats and proteins plus contaminated with dyes, preservatives and enhancers that are not for human consumption.
Some general nutritional guidelines for most arthritis sufferers to follow: Citrus fruits, eggplant and tomatoes should be avoided as much as possible. These produces are a type of acid residue in the blood that is very hard to break down. Choose organic, free-range meats and always put a green vegetable with them. This should not be consumed more than once a week. Increase all fresh fruits and vegetables, especially watermelon and cucumbers because of their diuretic properties. Most vegetables produce an alkaline response in the body. This helps to neutralize the acid residue. Corn, wheat and dairy play the largest role in the severity of arthritis. Almost everything is sweetened with com syrup. Corn is at the top of the list for causing food allergies and is associated with arthritis and back pain. Wheat is an allergen that can lead to chemical toxicity and pain in the body.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) can be hidden in many foods other than Chinese food. Accent, most canned and packaged soups, salad dressings and prepackaged foods have MSG. Most restaurant chains use commissary foods that are heavily laden with MSG.
These dietary changes are for total health, not just the elimination of symptoms. You want to prevent any symptoms or disease from developing in future years.
It is important to remember that different people will respond to different treatments. In young people with warm, swollen joints, the most effective treatment is an elimination diet. For those who are underweight, have a poor appetite or have a poorly balanced diet, supplements should be used before starting an elimination diet. Elimination of allergenic foods has been shown to offer significant benefits to some individuals.
Natural Builders for the Body
The body can and will heal itself if it has the right tools. It is a conglomerate of physiological changes which can be addressed by various means and brought back toward normal. Correcting the physiological changes with natural substances does not treat the disease but merely assists the body in restoring to normal some chemical changes that have occurred. There are natural remedies that help regain viscosity of the synovial fluid, reduce inflammation and restore cartilage density.
Green Zone is beneficial powder that is made from foods like broccoli, carrots, beets, parsley and celery, as well as sprouted foods like barley, wheat and alfalfa. This product is having wonderful effects on arthritis patients. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants and other protective nutrients. Many people who take Green Zone are reporting being pain and drug free. It works with your immune system to get to the root of your disease and pain.
Certain plant seed oils containing the fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid) may help alleviate the pain and discomfort of arthritis. Found in evening primrose (9%), borage (24%), black currant (17%), hemp (2%) and flax seed oils (7%), SUPER GLA is important because the body converts it to compounds with strong anti-inflammatory and immune regulating effects.
The body can't live without vitamins and minerals or without essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are important structural components of all cell membranes. Many Americans are so concerned with their "low-fat diets" that they are eliminating the good fats. "Eliminate total fat" is causing disease including painful arthritis at earlier ages. EFAs are Super Omega-3, Super GLA, Flax Seed Oil, Black Current Oil or Evening Primrose Oil.
Olive Leaf Extract is capable of wiping out a multitude of viral properties that are present in autoimmune disorders. It may help to increase stamina and restoration. NSP's high quality Olive Leaf extract will not rapidly bind up to the serum proteins in the blood like most products on the market. This has shown to reduce the inflammatory properties in rheumatoid arthritis and to increase circulation to afflicted areas.
MSM (MethylSulfonyIMethane) is a sulfur compound. Sulfur, the eighth most abundant element in the human body, has a long history as a healing agent that helps with pain. For centuries people have soaked in sulfur rich mineral hot springs to help heal a variety of ailments. MSM supplies biologically active sulfur and is a naturally occurring compound in green vegetables. Some of MSM's essential functions include maintaining structure of the proteins in the body, helping in the formation of keratin, which is essential for hair and nail growth, aiding in the production of immunoglobulin, which maintains the immune system and catalyzing the chemical reactions that change food into energy.
Dr. Ronald Lawrence, assistant clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine conducted a double blind study with degenerative arthritis. The preliminary study indicates that MSM offers a safe, nontoxic way to help ease the pain of arthritis with more than 80% of the patients studied receiving some pain relief. Another supplement for joint pain is Glucosamine is an amino sugar normally found in the human body, which is the base material for making up mucous membranes, ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid in the joints. It addresses the underlying cause and supports the body's natural ability to heal itself.
Chondroitin is a long chain of repeating sugars found naturally in the joints and connective tissues. It helps to produce new cartilage and protects existing cartilage. Chondroitin interferes with the enzymes that destroy cartilage molecules and enzymes which prevent nutrients from reaching the cartilage.
Collagen is another major supportive tissue in the human body. Cartilage, ligaments and tendons are primarily made of collagen. Collatrim helps to prevent hardening of this tissue. A few grams of Collatrim a day will help restore mobility to the joints.
Herbal and Other Nutritional Supports
Yucca was used by Native Americans because they knew that it allowed the joints to move freely. This freedom of movement was due to the saponin content of the herb. Saponins are properties of the herb that act as a lubricant in the joints. They act in a similar to cortisone, as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Alfalfa has been used for hundreds of years for arthritis. Alfalfa is well known for its trace mineral content.
Ionic Minerals are essential in helping the body maintain a correct acid/alkaline balance.
White Willow found in APS II contains the active ingredient, salicin, which has been called "nature's aspirin."
Bifidophilus Flora Force contains Lactobacillus acidophilus that may help insure the presence of healthy gut flora, which is needed by the body to form active salicylic acid from white willow.
Ginger is a warming herb. It increases circulation of the blood and lymph fluid. In traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used as a pain killer, due to its ability to move "chi" or energy. Ginger contains several chemical constituents which make it useful for pain, including zingabain, a powerful proteolytic enzyme. Ginger helps when taken internally or when applied externally as a compress on the painful area. Scientific studies have found that ginger is an extremely useful herb for both pain and reduction of swelling.
Licorice has a distinctive flavor that is used in condiments and candies. Licorice is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine and acts as a natural binder. It is used for pain due to its ability to block a key enzyme which degrades cortisone, which then allows natural steroids produced by the adrenal glands to reduce inflammation.
Scientific tests in Italy confirm the high anti-inflammatory properties of the plant Una de Gato. Results of these tests have been published in the Journal of Natural Products in the US. It acts as an immune protector, cellular reconstituent and remedy for some gastrointestinal disorders.
Natural remedies and essential oils aim at altering the body chemistry. First toxic build-up must be eliminated and then new accumulations of uric acid must be prevented. The body's own resources need to be stimulated to repair damaged surfaces as far as possible.
Circulation to the affected joint area must be improved, both to drain off the wastes and to improve nutrition to the affected tissues. The detoxifying essential oil Lemon is essential in helping the body eliminate toxins. Birch may help drain the toxins that can cause the pain. It is a strong analgesic and a mild rubefacient. Chamomile is an analgesic with two chemical compounds which are highly anti-inflammatory. Other analgesic and anti-inflammatory oils are Clove, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Sweet Marjoram and Rosemary can be used in baths, local massage and compresses on the affected joints, while local circulation can be stimulated by the use of rubefacient oils such as black pepper, ginger, nutmeg and marjoram.
Whenever heat is applied to a painful stiff joint, it is very important to move the joint as much as possible immediately afterwards, otherwise the heat can cause congestion which will make the condition worse, rather than better. Recover blend is a nice combination formula to apply topically for pain and inflammation. With arthritis, there is often a complex association of factors involved. Nutrition, stress and obesity may all be found in one person, or poor nutrition in conjunction with old injuries in another. Arthritis can be bottled-up grief, rage, hatred or the inability to express a creative talent. All of these subtle factors should be addressed, while deciding on an essential oil that will work according to the personality and needs of the person.
All prescription drugs and over the-counter medications have adverse side effects and simply cover up the problem. Do something about the cause. We need to do everything we can to take care of our health. And we must be able to make the informed decisions that are best for ourselves and our families. We have to take charge of our own health.
Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, "In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility." Hanging on to our past ideas of a medical environment that "fixes all" restricts our path to the future. Many do not want to hear that the ball is in their court. It upsets them. It means they have to change something in order to eliminate pain and disease. It means they are responsible, not some guy with an auspicious MD after his name. You are powerful. You can transform your life, including living without the pain of arthritis.