…That’s what I’ve been doing. The reason I’ve been writing less here, is because I’ve been focusing on helping friends “out there” in the real world.
Someone I know has some chronic joint problems, and recently problems with fluctuating bodyweight. The joint pain doesn’t make exercise easy. I threw together the following email to her. Lots of the intervention I recommend below could also apply to a plethora of health issues, but I still tried to tailor it to my friend’s needs.
Ditch the grains, especially wheat, and sugar: Avoiding grains in all forms – and yes, that includes beer (sadly, even though I drink it often enough, eh whatevs) was the single best move I made toward improving my skin problems, IBS, upper GI issues, chronic tiredness, depression, and random aches and pains every day. Gluten intolerance is often connected to arthritis, and there’s tons of papers on possible connections between dietary lectins and arthritis (PDF). They focus on rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t think osteoarthritis and RA are so different.
Avoid excess omega 6 fats: Higher circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine , is highly significant predictors of osteoarthritis of the knee. Can you guess which type of polyunsaturated fatty acid leads to excessive levels of IL-6? Exactly. Skip the corn, soybean, canola, and vegetable oil and the resultant pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. No fried food, duh. Use animal fat, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil instead, and eat plenty of fatty fish or take fish oil.
Avoid potatoes: OPTIONAL. They’re not the worst things in the world, but some people report joint pain after consuming potatoes. I sometimes get tinges of my old knee pain from a football injury if I eat potatoes on consecutive days, though the problem seems to worsen if I eat the skins, which is where most of the anti-nutrients are held. Most people don’t have a problem with potatoes or tomatoes, but as they are nightshades, they can trigger responses in those with autoimmune diseases like MS or Chron’s disease. This one’s more of a suggestion just in case. You may not have an issue with nightshades, but either way, food for thought. (HAHA see what I did there?) Go for safer sources if you want starches, like sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash instead.
Get plenty of sun or supplement with vitamin D: According to several studies, low vitamin D status is linked to increased osteoarthritis. I know for a fact it makes me feel better. High vitamin D also makes you feel good because it releases dopamine, and also supercharges your immune system. POW!
Consider glucosamine supplements: Art Ayers had an interesting take on glucosamine. Rather than it providing the raw material for cartilage production as it’s commonly assumed, glucosamine actually binds to free transglutaminase 2 (TG2). TG2 is a well-known marker for osteoarthritis severity, and it often binds with gluten, resulting in the formation of pro-inflammatory antibodies. If glucosamine binds with TG2, less TG2 is available to bind with more inflammatory compounds. This gives your joints more of an opportunity to heal.
Another option is to drink bone broth on a regular basis and gnaw on the articular endpoints of animal bones. I love ribs, and I’ll cook you up some mean slow cooked bbq ribs any time you want! Fucking BOMB!
As a side note, complete proteins are absolutely necessary to repair damaged tissues. So, along with eating lots of animals, the high protein diet improves calcium absorption in the gut. That greater calcium utilization, along with the high levels of vitamin K in the animal products, will produce a double whammy for your bones and joints. Calcium does not function without proper amounts of vitamin K.
Lift heavy things: In order to support healthy cartilage, your joints must bear weight. I use a more traditional barbell approach. Just don’t think biking or swimming is enough; those may be useful for folks with no cartilage at all, but if you want your chondrocytes to do their job, you have to provide the right stimulus, and that means load-bearing exercises. It remains unclear whether cartilage can actually regrow thanks to proper exercise, but we do know that resistance training improves osteoarthritis outcomes. In your case with the joint issues, actually moving a heavy load may not be realistic. But there are other methods that are just as effective, if not more so. the Body By Science method relies on basically holding a contraction for a set period of time to muscle failure, instead of moving a weight for reps. You still work all the muscle fiber types, without having to worry about joint issues. Ask me more about this if you are interested.
Either sprint or move slowly: Chronic Cardio increases systemic inflammation from excess cortisol, and increases your desire for inflammatory, cheap carbs like grains. Try sprinting or hiking instead. You’d have to work up to this slowly, obviously, but the benefits are retarded cool. I sprint once a week. So much more efficient than running on a treadmill for hours, torturing yourself. poo-poo.
Basically it comes down to diet first. Lots of animals, eggs, vegetables, and some fruit. Nothing processed, nothing in a package. High fat, moderate protein, carbs don’t really matter as long as you’re not bingeing in fruit and potatoes every day. There’s a plethora of research and anecdotal reports of people solving every type of health issue imaginable with this basic dietary intervention. Call me a quack if you want, but I honestly don’t think you should knock it until you try it.
Show me any other dietary intervention that has been able to get diabetics off meds, cure obesity, depression, improve autism, improve cancer treatment effectiveness, and help old people stay strong and build muscle while staying lean and healthy. I bet you can’t!”