Natural treatments for arthritis

natural-treatments-for-arthritis_300If you suffer from arthritis, you should know about an effective treatment called prolotherapy. Equally vital is a knowledge of the nutritional supplements that may help with the condition.

Prolotherapy

The treatment goal of “prolotherapy” is to induce proliferation of new cells in chronically painful joints, ligaments and tendons. The treatment involves periodic injections of dextrose (sterile sugar water solution) into the joint or its tendon/ligament insertions. The dextrose acts as an irritant to attract white blood cells that initiate growth of these connective tissue cells and subsequently reduces pain.

Unfortunately, this therapy is largely ignored by U.S. medical residency training programs. Also, there are not enough clinical trials to prove it works well. You might even call it suppressed by the medical establishment’s philosophy: “If it is not covered by insurance, then it can’t be a valid treatment.”

Mayo Clinic internist Brent A. Bauer, M.D., wrote: “The American Pain Society recommends against prolotherapy for treating low back pain, but other authorities are suspending judgment until larger, more-thorough studies have been done.” [1]

It’s not a pharmaceutical drug and it’s not an expensive surgery. However, from what I’ve learned about it, performed by the right person, it is both safe and extremely effective. In March of this year, I personally met with a recently retired physician who performed prolotherapy for many years in practice. He claims treatment success in nearly 100 percent of his cases and quite significant improvement in the remaining cases. His explains the mixed results in scientific studies as largely due to the inexperience of the practitioners.

I suggest you learn about this therapy from those with experienced hands, not the critics who have no experience. Some interesting information about prolotherapy is found online. The first three are videos:

Herbs For Arthritis

Targeted nutrition for joint healing is the best treatment for anyone with joint pain. Here are the supplements known to naturally help heal arthritis and reduce pain for the long term:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Vital to joint tissue regeneration. The best sources are from herring, trout and salmon; borage oil (1.4 grams daily); cod liver oil (2 tablespoons daily); or krill oil (1 gram daily).
  • Co Enzyme Q10-H2: (100-200 mg daily) Also known as ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10. It is five times more bioavailable than ordinary CoQ10.
  • Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables (ASU): Protects cartilage from inflammation and stimulates new chondrocyte (cartilage cell) growth. Four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials show that ASU reduces knee and hip osteoarthritis pain. It has been approved as a prescription drug in France for several years. [2] In 2002, the Cochrane Review found conclusive evidence for the use of ASU to treat osteoarthritis.
  • Glucosamine sulfate: (1500-3,000 mg daily in divided doses) A double-blind study [3] comparing glucosamine sulfate to ibuprofen found the early response was better with ibuprofen; but the improvements with glucosamine sulfate were more consistent and progressive, resulting in significantly lowered pain scores by the end of eight weeks.
  • MSM: Can help restore collagen, promote muscle growth and soothe inflammation.
  • Biocell Collagen II® : Contains hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate to strengthen, cushion and lubricate joints. It may help rebuild cartilage by stimulating chondrocytes.
  • Boswellia Serrata: This Indian herb reduces joint swelling and morning stiffness and increases joint mobility.
  • Bromelain: A natural enzyme that blocks inflammation. Studies in subjects taking bromelain showed a 50 percent to 85 percent reduction in neutrophil (immune system cells) migration. [4] Doses of 200 mg are a good alternative to NSAIDs. [5]
  • Serrapeptase: (20,000 to 40,000 units twice daily) This natural enzyme dissolves scar tissue protein and reduces inflammatory fluid around injured joints and tendons.
  • Astaxanthin: A unique antioxidant scientifically proven to be 550 times more effective than vitamin E for fighting harmful free radicals.
  • Turmeric (curcumin): Doctors in India have used this spice to protect joints and enhance liver health for centuries by inhibiting COX-2 and 5-lipoxegenase inflammation pathways.
  • Ginger: (500-1,000 mg daily) Increases the blood flow to the joints and improves lubrication.
  • SAMe (S-Adenosyl methionine): (600mg twice daily) Comparable to Celebrex® 200 mg for pain relief by the second month of treatment, but much safer. SAMe is naturally found in your body.
  • Devil’s Claw: (50 mg daily) Comparable in studies [6] for the treatment of low back pain to 12.5 mg Vioxx (now taken off the market for safety concerns), but much safer.

In summary, prolotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for chronic joint pain. Remember that supplements are not meant to be used the same way people use a prescription drug. A natural healing philosophy means you have to pay attention to lifestyle factors that help alleviate the condition.

Remember to address digestive health, allergic factors (foods or environmental chemicals) and inflammatory foods (like refined sugar, hydrogenated oils and high animal protein diets). Then you can supplement your wise treatment plan with healing herbs and nutrients as described in this report.

To feeling good for life,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options


[2] Ugeskr Laeger 2005 Aug 15;167(33):3023-5. Find this abstract online at PubMed here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16109242

[3] Curr Med Res Opin 8:145-49, 1982

[4] Fitzhugh DJ, Shan S, Dewhirst MW et al. (2008). Bromelain treatment decreases neutrophil migration to sites of inflammation. Clin Immunol. 128:66-74.

[5] Heinrich, Michael, A. D. Kinghorn, and J. D. Phillipson (2004). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingstone. p. 265.

[6] Chrubasik S, Model A, Black A, Pollak S. A randomized double-blind pilot study comparing Doloteffin and Vioxx in the treatment of low back pain. Jan 2003 Rheumatology (Oxford) 42 (1): 141–8.

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Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.