Spotlight on Osteoarthritis.
With one in seven people affected by osteoarthritis I wanted to spotlight this condition and give some practical suggestions if we or a loved one is suffering in any way. There is so much that we can do from a dietary and lifestyle approach to minimise degeneration of the cartilage and reduce pain.
What is osteoarthritis?
It is a condition where the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints starts to break down so that there is friction, pain and sometimes deformities in the joints which are typically the hips and knees.
Why does it happen?
- Age can be a factor, but it is not the main cause. Lifestyle changes can mean that OA is less likely to occur
- A previous joint injury can trigger cartilage destruction
- Being overweight. 1kg of extra weight adds 6kg of weight through the joints adding to inflammation and wear and tear.
- OA is also linked to type 2 diabetes
- Genetics can play a role
- Systemic inflammation which can have numerous routes such as gut health, cardiovascular disease, blood sugar imbalances, high sugar diet.
- Nutritional deficiencies, vitamin D is especially important
What should I eat (or not eat)?
- Reduce sugar and processed foods.
- Decrease trans-fats (heated vegetable oils) that you find in processed and fried foods. These are inflammatory to the body and inflammation can drive OA.
- Increase filtered water intake to 2 litres a day. Literally water lubricates the joints.
- Increase essential fats to reduce inflammation. That means oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, other nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil.
- Increase sulphur vegetables (chondroitin sulphate needs sulphur and is the main building block of cartilage) – cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, rocket, watercress, radish, eggs, garlic and onions.
- Bone broth – contains all the essential minerals for collagen production Vegetarians can make seaweed broth with shitake mushrooms, green and herbs.
- SMASH fish (oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines) – essential fats in these fish reduce inflammation and also reduce joint stiffness and collagen synthesis.
- Ginger and Turmeric – potent anti-inflammatory herbs. Use fresh where you can in cooking and as tea.
- Rosehip – take as tea. Can reduce inflammation, joint pain and stiffness.
What lifestyle changes can I make?
- Hydrotherapy – alternate hot and cold water on the affected joint. Start with warm finish on cold.
- Epsom salt baths
- Exercise – low moderate intensity. Swimming is a great option. This is vital to help with circulation to nourish the joints and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
- Essential oils – like peppermint which is anti-spasmodic and frankincense which is anti-inflammatory. Use in a carrier oil.
- Reducing stress
What supplements can I use?
Please note that it is vital to speak to a professional to check for drug nutrient interactions if you are on medications.
- Glucosamine Sulphate (500mg x 3 day) to help the production of collagen and inhibits cartilage degradation.
- Chondroitin Sulphate (200mg daily) – helps keep the joints lubricated and inhibits the cartilage degrading enzymes.
- MSM (1g a day) – is anti-inflammatory and increases lubrication in the joints.
These are best in combination. Also think about reducing inflammation;
- Turmeric (500mg a day) – reduces inflammation
- Ginger (500mg a day) reduces inflammatory joint pain
- Boswellia (300mg x 3 day) – reduces inflammation
- Vitamin D status – helps regulate collagen turnover and regulates the immune system.
It is my passion to support people in understanding what is at the root of the health conditions that they are facing. Functional medicine hand in hand with nutritional therapy helps me unearth the reasons for ill health and the obstacles that have been preventing recovery.
I wholeheartedly believe we are a blend of our histories; our food and lifestyle choices and our genetics – in fact, we are unique walking recipes ourselves. Finding the ingredients to help you make the best version of yourself is part of my work, so you can establish a loving friendship with your body and find balance in your life.