Arthritis – don’t give in
At last I’ve found something that appears to be improving my osteoarthritis. I’ve tried all the supplements that everyone else swears by, but what’s making a real difference is turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory) taken first thing in the morning. Yes we cook with turmeric, but to get the amount to be effective capsules are needed. It’s a multi-pronged attack though involving exercise, losing weight and excluding certain things from your diet.
When I interviewed Dr Rod Hughes, rheumatologist at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey, for an article on arthritis a few years ago he told me, ‘In the last 40 years there has been much more emphasis on muscle building to alleviate and prevent arthritis. In the past someone with a bad back was told to rest in bed for six weeks. Now we promote self-management – what you can do yourself to preserve function and mobility of joints, like regular exercise, controlling body weight and treating injuries as and when they occur.’
Did you know?
• 10 million people see their GP every year in the UK about arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid).
• It affects eight out of ten over 50 year olds to some degree.
This approach is now prevalent in the NHS to prevent the need for strong drugs with heavy side-effects.
I do the following:
Exercise – yoga and t’ai chi are particularly good, while cycling and swimming are great for building muscle.
Supplements – especially turmeric capsules taken on an empty stomach in the morning at the same time as (a good brand of) fish oils. Also Vitamin B3, Niacin (No Blush – it can have a strange blushing effect if you don’t get these).
Cider vinegar (with mother, which means it’s not been purified) – a dessertspoonful in water every morning to reduce acidity in the body.
Losing weight – being heavy puts enormous strain on hips, knees and feet.
Regular acupuncture and massage
Diet exclusions – the list is huge if you follow the Anti-Arthritis diet proposed by Patrick Holford in Say No to Arthritis (see below), ( so it’s easier to say what you can eat).
- Turkey, chicken and fish are good – sea food and red meat are not.
- Alcohol is very acidic so best to avoid it when the joints are painful.
- Most fruit and vegetables are good.
- All of these should be avoided (as much as possible): citrus fruits and tomatoes which are acidic; potatoes, peppers, and aubergines, (but sweet potatoes are fine).
- Sugar, of course, is not good and that means anything that contains it too.
- Caffeine is strictly off limits.
- You can follow a strict diet for 14 days to ease symptoms and lose weight. If this
seems too radical, you can give up some of the problem foods and see if it makes a
Turmeric contains the essential ingredient, curcumin, which is released when it is heated up/cooked with oil, or extracted with alcohol, and the addition of pepper increases its absorption. It’s essential that the turmeric you take has been extracted this way. Golden Paste (which I give to my dog once a day) is made by boiling up turmeric powder in water, adding coconut oil and pepper at the end, and then cooling. You can find lots of recipes online.
After six months of following this regime most of the time, my fingers are straighter, I have a negligible amount of pain in my knee or fingers and don’t get stiff after exercise or being sedentary.
You can get Pukka Herbs Wholistic Turmeric, £15.95 for 30 days’ supply and Patrick Holford No Blush Niacin 60 Tablets, £16.11 at www.superfooduk.com Put in the promotion code: HSoul1 and you can get a 5% discount.
More articles by Frances Ive at www.healthysoul.co.uk