Arthritis and Auto-Immune


Over 65 million Americans suffer from arthritis, making it the most prevalent disease in the US and, by far, the majority are taking medications that are actually worsening their condition.

Aspirin, ibuprofen and over a dozen prescription drugs are classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). These are the drugs of choice for arthritis, in any of its 100 forms. These drugs damage the gut while affording temporary pain relief.

There is an increasing body of medical evidence which points to the connection between bowel disease and joint disease. Any process that increases gut permeability will result in joint inflammation (arthritis) to a greater or lesser extent. The Journal of Rheumatology now acknowledges that when the intestinal mucosa is damaged, toxins and proteolytic enzymes escape into the blood stream. One way the body responds is by forming circulating immune complexes that inflame the joints. Incompletely digested foods also can cross the gut barrier wall resulting in allergy-related arthritis.

NSAIDs relieve pain by interrupting prostaglandin production indiscriminately. As a result, good Prostaglandins which promote tissue healing are also inhibited. Tissues die; the blood stagnates; there's a lack of oxygen; tissue regeneration is inhibited. The net result is increased tissue damage. A vicious cycle begins to develop: joint pain which leads to medication for relief; the medication causes further tissue damage and increases gut permeability; later, the pain worsens, so stronger medication is taken, and so it continues.

Another organ badly affected by NSAIDs are the kidneys. The same process can happen in the kidney tubules, eventually leading to kidney failure and death. Particularly bad are products that combine aspirin and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in TylenolTM). For many years combining those two medications in one tablet was illegal in the US. I recently noticed that some over-the-counter pain meds now contain both.

Each year in the United States 26,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis die from complications of NSAID therapy (mostly gut related) and another 24,000 are hospitalized for the same reason. These statistics only include rheumatoid arthritics. I have no statistics relating to kidney problems. Although it was recently published that no one should take 800 mg of ibuprofen for more than 10 consecutive days due to the risk of kidney failure.

If you have arthritis, what can you do? It is vital that you keep your gut healthy. Regular intake of probiotic organisms is a must. I can particularly recommend the NF Formula Spectra ProBiotic which contains seven friendly organisms found in the normal human gut. On stool exam, it has proven remarkably effective in repopulating the bowel. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants and biologically active bromelain are extremely useful in managing arthritis pain.

At the RFHC, we go one step further. We begin at the level of diagnosing and healing the gastrointestinal tract. Many of us have parasites, including yeast overgrowth, which encourage gut permeability. After the gut is normalized, we then take care to find out which foods may be contributing to the problem. And, a lifestyle modification program is recommended. So, if you have arthritis and are dissatisfied with your current care, please call and make an appointment today.

[See Diagnostics/Specialized Lab Work]

Does this seem helpful? If so, see our information on Consultations.