By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 6, 2018
- Hidden cause of joint pain
- Are your gut microbes giving you arthritis?
- 4 tips to restore gut microbiota for joint health
The daily pain of osteoarthritis is something nobody wants to deal with. Yet, over 30 million Americans are doing just that.
And it’s not just older adults who are suffering from this type of joint pain. For instance, the number of people with arthritic knees is almost identical between those between the ages 45 and 64 years and those age 65 or older.
Systemic inflammation is a driving factor behind this painful epidemic. But there may be an underlying issue that starts the inflammation process to begin with.
It’s called your gut.
When I tell this to arthritis patients, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. After all, how can your gut contribute to the development of arthritis?
Well, let me explain.
Are Your Gut Microbes Giving You Arthritis?
The truth is, somewhere around two-thirds of your immune system is located in your gut. In addition, the microbes in your gut play an extremely large role in chronic, low grade inflammation.
Now, as a reader of Advanced Natural Medicine, you probably already know that when the ratios of unhealthy microbes outweigh the good ones, it reduces your immune function and allows inflammation to run amuck.
This not only increases your chances of diabetes, chronic fatigue, heart disease, reduced brain function and other age-related health conditions. It also contributes to the development or arthritis.
And here’s the thing: People with osteoarthritis have an overabundance of at least six particular microbial species in their gut. These include two different types of clostridia and four types of bacillus that appear to be closely associated with the pain and severity of arthritis in the knees and hips.
This may be why many of the foods you eat can have such an effect on joint pain and intensity.
You see, sugars, refined carbs, artificial sweeteners, red meat, dairy products, gluten, vegetable oils, fried and processed foods all wreak havoc on your gut microbiota. So it’s not surprising that they are also the same foods that often cause joint flare-ups and excruciating pain after they are eaten.
4 Tips to Restore Gut Microbiota for Joint Health
Rebuilding the health of your gut microbiota is your first step when it comes to joint health. And it isn’t nearly as hard as you might think it might be. (However, it does require time, patience and diet modifications.)
Remove allergens like milk and wheat from your diet. Humans weren’t meant to drink cow’s milk. And many arthritis patients find that drinking milk makes their symptoms worse. As far as wheat and other grains (such as barley and rye) are concerned, they contain gluten. Gluten triggers inflammation and alters the healthy balance of flora in your digestive tract.
Avoid eating processed foods, unhealthy fats and too much meat. This includes sugary, salty, fatty, fried foods and most products that come in a box or package. When it comes to meat, poultry and fish, stick with those that are grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught, and keep them to a maximum of about 13% of your overall diet.
Fill 87% of your plate with vegetables and other plant-based foods. The enzymes in organic fruits, vegetables and beans promote the growth of healthy bacteria. In fact, people who eat the most of these foods have a much healthier diversity of gut microbiota. Most of my arthritis patients experience significant improvement in pain levels when adopting a more plant-based diet.
Eat more fermented foods. They’re a great source of natural probiotics that feed your gut. Kombucha, kimchi, miso, natto, kefir, tempeh and sauerkraut are all fermented foods. Or you can simply add a probiotic to your daily regimen. Look for a formula that contains a prebiotic along with multiple strains of lactobacillus, bifidobacteria and other strains of healthy bacteria. The higher the colony count, and the more live strains involved, the better off you’ll be. Just make sure to take it daily with food.
These changes alone can have a profound impact on your joint health. And when you combine these tips with a regular, physician-approved exercise program with other healthy choices, you can vastly improve your mobility and pain levels so you can remain independent for years to come.
Arthritis By the Numbers / Book of Trusted Facts & Figures. Arthritis Foundation. 2018; v2; 4100.17.10445
Boer, C.G. et al. The role of the gut microbiome in osteoarthritis and joint pain. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage , 2017 Volume 25 Supplement 1, Page S10
Clinton CM, et al. Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Alleviates the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis. Arthritis. 2015; 2015: 708152.