By Mary-Ann Shearer – Natural Health author and founder of The Academy of Natural Health.
Basically, from a Natural Health perspective, all degenerative disease is a result of incorrect lifestyle and diet. And most disease relates to endocrine (hormonal) function. This is definitely the case with these conditions.
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Arthritis is defined as any one of more than 100 inflammatory joint disorders, characterised by pain, swelling, and limited movement. According to current research, more than 40 million people of all ages suffer from some degree of the disease JUST IN THE USA! There are 350 million world wide. The three most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout.
It is a painful swelling of the joints, together with destruction of tissues around them. In children it is often referred to as Stills Disease. Eventually the joints can become calcified and fused resulting in severe restriction of movement.
Allopathic treatment: physiotherapy, Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication, injections of gold salts, and the use of corticosteroid and chemotherapy drugs.
It is also called degenerative joint disease, and occurs when a joint wears out. Most common areas are the knees, the hips, and the spine. Pain is usually associated with all types of arthritis.
Allopathic treatment: anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers. Aspirin is also often used.
Relapsing polychondritis (also known as “Atrophic polychondritis,” and “Systemic chondromalacia”) is a multi-systemic condition characterized by inflammation and deterioration of cartilage. The often painful disease can cause deformity and be life-threatening when respiratory tract, heart valves or blood vessels are affected. The disease is not well known, is not well understood, and is often undiagnosed.
Though any cartilage in the body may be affected, in many cases the disease affects several areas while sparing others completely. Parts of the body where cartilage is found, and therefore potentially affected by polychondritis, include the ears, nose, throat and heart valves joints and rib cage, sinus cavities among others. Several conditions may result from relapsing polychondritis, including tracheomalacia softening of the cartilage that props open the trachea.
Relapsing polychondritis is an auto-immune disease in which the human body’s immune system begins to attack and destroy the cartilage tissues in the body. Reasons for disease onset are not known, but there is not evidence of a genetic predisposition to developing relapsing polychondritis.
This is a state of disease in which the body cannot rid itself of all the uric acid it produces. The uric acid builds up in the joints as well as in the soft tissues. This can cause extreme pain.
Allopathic treatment: usually some type of anti-inflammatory medication and painkiller.
Fibromyalgia was also previously known as fibrositis or fibromyositis, but as inflammation is not always present, it is now known as Fibromyalgia.
This condition is a type of muscular arthritis, which can be quite painful. Basically, there is pain originating in the fibrous connective tissue components of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other so-called white connective tissues. Various combinations of these conditions may occur together and is often termed muscular rheumatism. According to the Merck manual:
“… the conditions may be induced or intensified by physical or mental stress, poor sleep, trauma, exposure to dampness or cold, … sometimes toxaemia … Fibromyalgia is particularly likely to occur in healthy young women who tend to be tense, depressed, anxious, and striving, but may also occur in children and older adults,”
Symptoms of this condition are usually a feeling of muscular stiffness and soreness that is generally quite uncomfortable, many people complain of aching all over and not wanting to be touched.
treatment for most inflammatory conditions is usually with anti-inflammatory medicine and or cortisone based drugs. The drugs are dangerous and have many side effects.
General pointers to improvement
Whatever the type of arthritis or gout, it has now been conclusively shown that a “period of fasting followed by a gluten-free vegetarian diet” (Lancet, October 1991), is the only diet to follow to be free of inflammation and pain. I have seen hundreds of people, relieved of debilitating pain and stiffness from any auto immune disease including Lupus and Multiple sclerosis by adhering to this simple yet affective approach.
Following the 5 Basic Steps of The Natural Way and excluding all animal products especially milk, cheese and yoghurt and gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and oats), will help to correct and reverse these conditions.
Gluten appears to promote inflammation and other auto immune diseases. It appears to affect the endocrine system in a variety of ways especially the thyroid gland. It is also important to remove any foods that might upset the endocrine system (as this system controls immune response and function) , such as artificial sweeteners, caffeine, heated fat, too much animal fat, refined sugar, and carbohydrates, including alcohol and vinegar. Essential fatty acids from plant sources like flax and chia seeds, olive (& their oil), raw nuts and seeds, sweet corn on the cob and avocado, should be included on a regular basis. A diet high in natural vitamins and minerals is vital; these nutrients must be from raw fruit and vegetables as supplements especially Vitamin C is known to actually cause arthritis.
I have found that many arthritic sufferers tend to be petite, and have an emotional predisposition that tends to be nervous of fasting, so a period of dietary adjustment is needed as well as education before fasting is contemplated.
Most people with inflammation anywhere in the body find they cannot tolerate citrus fruit and pain can result on consumption. This is because the natural acids in fruit, which a healthy body usually “burns” up during digestion, seem to get into the bloodstream and can cause problems (referred to as free acid radicals) by aggravating the arthritis rather than causing it. This is usually sorted out by a fast of seven or more days or a period on vegetable juice only. The best vegetable juice programme is 4-6 glasses of carrot and Barley grass juice or celery (as much celery or barley grass juice as you can cope with as celery and barley leaves are one of the most alkaline foods you can eat, for anything from 1-6 weeks. This is often very beneficial to people who cannot fast due to work, time, family factors, or if they are too nervous. We have found BarleyLife to be the most effective and nutritious barley grass juice powder.
It is not clear what causes arthritis, but what we do know is that the more refined carbohydrates, tea, coffee, protein, and heated fats you have in the diet, the more chance you have of developing the disease.
We also know that animal protein contains arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that increases inflammation (and blood pressure and clotting). Although inflammation is part of the healing process, when it is not controlled or regulated by the body, disease and pain can result. This is one of the reasons the Lancet Journal of October 1991 recommended a gluten, free vegetarian diet as best for arthritis.
There is very little inflammatory disease anmong people eating a whole food, plant based diet. Their diet is high in fresh, raw, and dried fruits and vegetables and low (or none) in animal protein. It is also essential that attention to one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being is paid.
Arthritis appears to result from a faulty lifestyle which affects the Endocrine or hormonal system.
The Hormonal (Endocrine) system is a collection of interrelated glands that produce hormones. Hormones are chemicals that travel through the blood to cause an effect on distant parts of the body. The entire system works very delicately and a fine balance of hormones is needed for the whole system to function properly.
One pair of these glands, the adrenal glands, plays a major role in arthritis besides functions such as controlling mineral salt levels controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, mobilize fats for energy, stimulate protein use, help the body cope with stress including flight or fight, they also control inflammation (with anti-inflammatory hormones such as cortisol) and immune responses and produce oestrogen after menopause.
Any disease in which the body is having problems in this area is helped by feeding the adrenals correctly as you would the whole endocrine system. From a dietary perspective, there are many factors affecting the Endocrine System food & stress being major ones. People most likely to have arthritis are A-type personalities who are more prone to worrying incessantly. Stress (worry) will cause chronic strain to the adrenal glands. It is important therefore to control stress, starting with prayer, exercise and the right diet.
(Trade names are Nutrasweet, Candarel and Equal):
Aspartame, it is claimed by independent scientists, causes neuro endocrine disorders, i.e. disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the endocrine system. Aspartame can upset any of the endocrine glands, but is suspected of slowing down the function of the thyroid thereby slowing down metabolic rate which defeats the reason for taking it. Because of the close links with the CNS, foods that affect the endocrine system could in unknown ways affect the CNS.
2. Refined sugar
Refined sugar affects the pituitary gland by causing a drop in blood sugar, which in turn, causes the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands to malfunction. This could result in a number of endocrine disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Refined sugar also causes ‘reactive’ hypoglycaemia resulting in an adrenaline rush with consequent explosive temper, panic attacks, fainting, epileptic seizure and migraines. This reaction also causes a ravenous appetite and food cravings.
Refined sugar also affects the adrenal glands as it affects the blood sugar levels, which puts an unnatural strain on both glands. Typical Premenstrual Tension (PMT) symptoms can result, making people comment that it is just your hormones! As if your hormones misbehave on their own. Typical PMT symptoms are hostility, aggressive behaviour, panic attacks, epilepsy, headaches, food cravings and increased appetite and these don’t just happen to women! Recent research also shows reduced progesterone levels in women with PMT. Progesterone helps control menstrual bleeding, has a calming effect and helps prevent asthma, skin eruptions, acne and herpes. A high raw fruit and vegetable diet controls all these aspects too, so you could conclude that a high raw diet helps the body produce sufficient progesterone.
Basically when we consume reined sugar with gluten or dairy products, as in cake and ice cream, the body sees it as an attack and produces antibodies against whatever protein came in with the sugar. Gluten and dairy protein is similar to many human protein and so the antibodies will be triggered to “attack” human protein triggering an auto- immune response and in time a specific disease. When you remove sugar, gluten and dairy protein, the antibodies are not produced and the condition goes into remission.
3. Essential Fatty Acids
– best found in natural unheated foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and cold-pressed oils. EFA’s help the hormonal system in males and females to function properly. EFA’s help us to produce prostaglandins, which help to produce progesterone, which helps prevent PMT and associated pain with menstruation, heavy bleeding and menopausal symptoms and inflammation. Over and above eating foods with natural fats, we take a flax oil blend (Aimega) as a supplement. You need to listen to you body and take from 1 tsp. to 3 Tbsp. a day. I never advocate fish oil, as fish oil contains cholesterol, has been heated to high temperature and goes rancid within 2 hours of the fish dying. It can also result in indiscriminate bleeding as EPA & DHA found in fish thins the blood, this could affect menstrual periods, gastrointestinal bleeding, child birth and injuries. When you take in plant sources of Omega 3 fats like from flax oil, your body converts the Omega 3 into the EPA & DHA as and when it needs it to make enough natural inflammatory hormones.
4. Milk and milk products
, alcohol (consumed or manufactured by the body through bad food combining), processed and heated fats, low vitamin intake and excess animal fat intake can compete for the Linoleic Acid (an Essential Fatty Acid -EFA) available, which the body requires to manufacture several prostaglandins.
This in turn, can upset this delicate hormonal balance in some people. This explains why many women improve drastically with hormonal problems when their diet changes to exclude animal fats and combining properly (no alcohol) and including a high intake of raw plant food (high vitamin intake). A deficiency in prostaglandins can lead to a breakdown in the immune system resulting in asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, Candida albicans and eczema.
5. Other substances are:
Caffeine – found in tea, coffee, chocolates and colas.
Any drugs or medication (remove only with medical supervision)
Foods containing mustard oil, which tends to slow, down the function (onion and garlic family can be problematic and occasionally kale, cabbage and watercress).
Alcohol has a similar effect on the body as refined sugar (only worse) Remember that alcohol is made in the digestive tract when your food ferments. To avoid fermentation combine your food properly. See chapter 4 in my book “Perfect Health”
– the protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley grain not the leaf. Remove these. Gluten is highly inflammatory in the body as is animal protein due to the arachidonic acid it contains.
To sum up:
Basically a 75% raw, alkaline diet with a maximum of 25% acid forming and cooked food, with the removal of unnatural foods and substances is the only way to get the hormonal system to function properly. Remember that in some people, the balance is extremely delicate and can be easily thrown out by the consumption of animal products – one of the reasons why many people’s overall health improves drastically when they become vegetarian or vegan.
It is also important to get at least 30 minutes of sunshine (no glasses or contacts) every day as well as enough Essential Fatty Acids, which you can get from ¼ – ½ cup nuts or seed and ½ – 1 avocado a day or 1 – 2 Tbs. of cold-pressed vegetable oil. Flaxseed oil contains more Omega 3 Fatty acids than other oils and a balance with other plant oils appears to work best.
Aimega is a perfectly balanced combination of oils including flax oil and other plant oils and works better than anything else we have tried.
Barleylife (dried juice of sprouted barley leaves) contains a vitamin E succinate that helps the Pituitary gland work efficiently. The pituitary gland controls the hormonal system , which produces anti inflammatory hormones in the body. I suggest 2-4 tsp. each day just for maintenance more if your condition is serious. But start gradually so that you don’t have a severe cleansing crisis as it boosts the body’s ability to repair itself.
Renewed Balance is a natural progesterone cream, made from wild yam that can be used very effectively to help correct hormonal imbalances, but must be used with the right lifestyle to be fully beneficial. I would only introduce this once all the lifestyle changes have been made and you are using all the other products.
MSM, Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances that can help pain and inflammation, Aim’s Frame Essentials have been found to help many people with arthritic pain, specifically in the joints.
Aim’s magnificence cream can be applied to painful areas and you should bath in the Magnificence crystals. Magnificence’s contains natural magnesium that the body is able to use and magnesium helps your body relax and will help you sleep well.
Red Rush contains concentrated beet juice that generates a nitric oxide boost, providing improved physical endurance. For performance, stamina, and recovery, the body craves an infusion of nitric oxide through whole-food, natural sources. Red Rush meets this need with a highly concentrated beet juice shot. Nitric oxide significantly impacts blood flow and oxygenation, two keys to improving athletic and physical performance as well as pain and discomfort.
The Cherry juice improves muscle and joint pain and inflammation
• Decreases fatigue by reducing lactic acid buildup
• Promotes fast, full recovery
• Increases stamina naturally
• Enhances muscle performance
• Converts fat to fuel at a higher rate
• Magnifies oxygen utilization
• Elevates physical performance
• Boosts circulation
• Improves pain and reduces inflammation
Another very important issue is exercise and natural light. Exercise and natural light for 20 minutes at least, per day, helps the endocrine system regulate at least 16 different hormones, so get moving outside! Remember even overcast skies will benefit you.
My book Perfect Health covers the endocrine system in great detail and both the recipe books and 100 days to health program and Facebook page (Mary-Ann’s Emporium & Eatery) have many gluten and animal protein free recipes in them and so can help you regain your health.
When it comes to worry and stress, prayer is your most powerful tool, so get down on those knees and ask God to first give you wisdom in making better choices regarding you food and secondly to help you to let go and allow Him to take your burdens. I have found, that God does not need my help, worrying does not help Him or me, so all I can do is pray about problems, ask for wisdom and let go!!