What is Osteoarthritis

“Osteo” means bone, “arthritis” is joint inflammation. It is the degeneration or lack of the smooth cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is the substance like gel between bones that act as a cushion, greese or a ‘shock absorber’.

Osteoarthritis affects more men under the age of 40, women between ages 40 and 70, and equally between both sexes above 70.

Although osteoarthritis affects more elderly people, it now affects even younger people.

Our body is continually going through the process of building up and breaking down. We need to build up the cartilage at the same rate that it’s wearing down in order to keep the joints healthy.

When the cartilage is wearing out, it either means that the breakdown rate is faster, or that the building-up rate is slower.


Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

This condition usually affects only one or a few joints at first, mostly at the joints of fingers, big toes, neck, lower back and more commonly at the knees. In some people, the early symptoms are stiffness in the joints after sleep, which subsides when the joints are moved.

When these joints are stressed, the body attempts to repair the cartilage which leads to new growth of the cartilage and tissue around it. This causes enlargement at the joints or bone spurs forming as a result.

Osteoarthritis often affects the spine, neck or lower back. When the overgrowth of bones press on the nerves, it causes pain. As in other forms of arthritis, like gout, osteoarthritis pain usually attacks when the affected parts are cold, especially during rainy days or at night while sleeping, or early in the morning.

If left untreated, osteoarthritis can be crippling and lose its range of motion. Eventually, the joints may not be able to straighten out or bend.


Causes of Osteoarthritis

  • Deficiency in several anti-oxidants and essential nutrients like vitamin C, D, E and B3, which are all necessary to maintain healthy cartilage.
  • Excessive production of free radicals, caustic enzymes and inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation and the degeneration of cartilage.
  • Body weight may contribute to this disorder as it increases the stress on the affected weight-bearing joints.
  • Aging, the cartilage-building abilities and restoring decreases with age.


Diet/Lifestyle Suggestions

Knowing and understanding the cause of osteoarthritis will help you to change your diet and lifestyle in order to prevent this inflammation from developing further.

Suggested anti-inflammatory juice.

Anti-oxidant is the best tool to counter free radicals in your body and to ‘clean-up’ your body of toxins. It is important to include a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables for the natural anti-oxidants and essential nutrients that are so critical in controlling this condition.

The phytochemicals from the plant compounds help protect against cellular damage and may even regenerate the cartilage.

On top of the improved diet, also include stretching, strengthening and postural exercises followed by a rest for the painful joints. Immobilizing a painful joint may worsen the condition. Where possible, do low impact aerobic exercises, like walking, swimming and bicycle riding.

Foods to avoid: Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits, potatoes, eggplant, spicy foods, animal fats, processed foods, white sugar, dairy products, coffee, omega-6 oil, and the deadly corn-flour.

Foods that help: Foods with high copper content help maintain a healthy cartilage, e.g. legumes (barley, lentils), mushrooms, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio). Foods with high anti-oxidant content, e.g. dark green and yellow-orange vegetables, omega-3 oil, especially from salmon.

Also helpful are sulfur-containing foods, such as garlic, onions, bean sprouts and cabbage.