January 24, 2017

Osteoarthritis: Taking Care of Degenerative Joints

Repairing Cartilage to Heal Joints

by Scott Saunders

The word “arthritis” conjures up images of gnarled fingers and chronic pain.  But it actually means any joint inflammation.  There are over 200 known causes and types of arthritis.  People can get arthritis from any inflammation in their bodies, such as:

  • Infections
  • Psoriasis
  • Deficiencies
  • Toxins
  • Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Degenerative joints
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Metabolic issues (gout)
  • Allergies
  • And many others

Osteoarthritis Symptoms However, we are going to focus on the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis, or degenerative joints.


Have you ever seen bumps or knobs on people’s finger joints? Those nearest the fingernail are called Heberden’s Nodes. Enlargement of the middle joints are called Bouchard’s Nodes.

These boney swellings are an enlargement of the cartilage in the joint.  It feels like very hard rubber but generally isn’t painful.  Many things damage the cartilage:

  • Injury
  • Inflammation
  • Lack of blood flow

Where there is any kind of injury and the cartilage is unable to repair itself correctly, the cartilage continues to enlarge as it attempts to repair. At this point, this knobby bony deformity is not damaged or inflamed, such as with most other types of arthritis. It is simply unable to repair itself. A very common early sign of osteoarthritis are these types of nodes.
People with osteoarthritis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Enlarged cartilage
  • Pain is often worse after exercise or pressure on the joint
  • Grating or crackling like sand in the joint when moved
  • Morning stiffness

However, these symptoms are usually only noticed later in the development of the disease.  Often there are no early symptoms, even though x-rays can show joint damage.  The reason for this is because the cartilage is degenerating for lack of nutrients, energy, or use. But since there are no pain nerves in cartilage you don’t feel it breaking down. When you do feel pain, it is because the cartilage has completely worn away and the bones are rubbing against each other. Bones have lots of pain nerves. That is when the worst symptoms of osteoarthritis start to manifest: pain, stiffness and swelling.

For this reason it is very important not to wait until you have lots of symptoms to take care of degenerative joints.  If your knee is not working properly, it can be helped early-on, but may require surgical replacement if you wait too long. 

Osteoarthritis Causes 

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8 Healing Remedies to Repair Joints

Take care of your joints in order to protect your mobility

Joints are the most remarkable structures!  Each joint is specifically engineered to perform an exact motion to allow our bodies to function in so many capacities.  Bones rubbing against each other would just wear out easily, but we have cartilage to protect them and to move smoothly.  This cartilage is an amazing combination of proteins and sugars that can take tremendous pressure.  A knee, for example, has to take 400 LBS of pressure while running –  if you weigh only 100 LBS.

Moreover, we have a viscous fluid, like motor oil or grease, which keeps the joints lubricated and prevents wear and tear.  It is a starch-like substance that hardens with pressure and protects the cartilage from damage by spreading-out the impact.

Another part of the wonder of the joint is that it can repair itself.  When damage is done to cartilage, there are living “chondrocytes” or cells that reproduce cartilage for healing and repairing.  Some damage, such as tears may not be readily repaired, but joints that are worn down to the bone may still be able to replace the cartilage and repair the joint.(1) One study using MRI to measure joint cartilage showed that cartilage could grow back over time.(2)

These studies do not evaluate the reason why some people grew back new cartilage; however, they do prove that it CAN.  Without any treatment, over a third of people repaired their cartilage!

The next question is can we help more people to generate these repairs?  The answer is: yes!  Many of the principles of joint repair are known, allowing most people to avoid the inevitable decline in function from aging joints.

Joint Damaging Drugs

I was a carpenter before going to medical school, so I built my own house over about three years.  I was amazed that before I even finished the house it was already needing repairs.  Things degrade over time and anyone who owns property knows that they need constant attention and repair.  You may think that you don’t need joint repair, so this doesn’t apply to you. However, remember that any weight-bearing activity, such as walking, puts tremendous strain on joints. So, just like my house, joints need to repair constantly. Let’s first start with what NOT to do in order to repair your joints.

There is an irony in the vicious cycle of pain and damage to joints: the very drugs prescribed for arthritis actually prevent you from repairing the joint.  It turns out that the NSAIDs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, COX2 inhibitors (Celebrex, Mobic) and so forth, inhibit prostaglandins that cause inflammation, which in turn decreases the pain, redness, and swelling that comes from injuries to the tissues.

However, these anti-inflammatory drugs also prevent increased blood flow that brings healing oxygen and cells to the tissues, as well as prevent the formation of collagen, the strong protein that is required for healing fibrous tissue like bones, tendons and joints.(3) It doesn’t matter whether you take a little or a lot – even the smallest dose in the study prevented healing.

The take-away message here is to avoid any of the anti-inflammatory drugs!

Repairing Joint Mobility with Supplements

If you can’t take aspirin for arthritis, then what can you do?  Good question. I’m glad you asked!

natural joint anti inflammatoriesNatural Anti-inflammatories

There is a way to decrease the inflammation without preventing healing. These joint supplements have been tested in multiple ways with positive track records.  We suggest the following natural anti-inflammatories:

  1. Omega-3 oils
  2. Turmeric (or curcumin)
  3. Boswellia (frankincense)
  4. White willow bark

Repair supplements

Controversy abounds in the area of joint supplements.  There are many “joint formulas” that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, calcium, and other ingredients.  It is surprising to me that there should be any controversy at all because there is no risk to taking these supplements.  Let’s take a look.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

Glucosamine Sulfate
I have had many patients with arthritis of the knees or hips who get pain relief by using glucosamine.  I usually have them go on a low-glucose diet so as not to inhibit the absorption, metabolism and action of the glucosamine.  This entails not having sugars or starches.  The diet seems to double the benefit of the supplements, allowing more glucosamine to become the GAG (glycosaminoglycans that make new connective tissue) needed to repair joints.  We’ll discuss the diet later.


One of the building blocks of cartilage is chondroitin.  By itself, it does not repair the joints; we only take it to give the chondrocytes (cartilage repair cells) the building blocks needed for repair.


Collagen is a very strong fiber. By weight, it is stronger than steel!  However, it needs sulfur cross-links to each of the fibers to achieve this remarkable strength.  Many people are deficient in this sulfur.

Years ago, there was a paper mill that leached a solvent called DMSO into the water in the area.  People noticed that the deer had stronger hides and research was done as to the cause.  It turns out that DMSO is a sulfur supplement that is readily used by the body in making very strong collagen.  MSM is another sulfur supplement that allows a strong repair.

When we don’t have the ability to cross-link these fibers, the body makes keratin, the same protein that makes up your hair, nails and skin.  Keratin is strong, but doesn’t have the tensile strength of collagen, so the repair made by this scar-tissue is easily damaged and re-injured.

Repair Joints with Exercise

There have been many published studies on the effects of exercise on cartilage.  Basically, the more you exercise, the more cartilage is able to repair and build.  The studies are clear that a sedentary lifestyle decreases the “proteoglycans” (the protective molecules) in the cartilage and leads to fissures and wearing. (4)

Thus, regular, daily exercise has been shown to prevent cartilage wear-and-tear. Click to tweet this.

The joints remain more movable and pliable, and don’t wear down.

The amount of exercise is less important – you don’t need to kill yourself on the first day by trying an Iron Man Triathlon.  Just start simply and work up.  There needs to be some pressure on the joints, for example, walking is good for the knees.  Some amount of weight-bearing is helpful which indicates the benefit of exercises that include weights.  Good ol’ calisthenics that use the body weight to exercise the muscle groups is the best for the joints.  These are the things we did in PE class: push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and so forth.  The key is to increase gradually.

Exercise is essential to protecting and repairing joints.

Food Choices That Heal the Joints

50 kinds of arthritisWhat you eat is essential for the health of your joints.  You must provide the building blocks needed to repair damage to joints.  Food also affects the circulation and the life of the cells.  If there is chronic inflammation anywhere in the body, then it usually affects the joints.  There are over 50 different causes of arthritis including:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Crohn’s disease
  3. Psoriasis
  4. Food allergies or sensitivities
  5. Imbalance in omega-3 and omega-6 oils
  6. Vitamin deficiencies
  7. Ulcerative colitis

And so forth…  Notice that all of these health problems are different forms of inflammation, or lead to inflammation.  It is essential to eat a diet that doesn’t contribute to inflammation.

The best way to prevent inflamed joints in the first place is simple.

1. There are certain types of foods that promote inflammation and should be avoided altogether.  Vegetable oils such as corn oil, soy oil, and safflower oil contain high amounts of omega-6 fats that promote inflammation.  Sugar is also a big promoter of inflammation that can affect the joints and cause arthritis. Avoid these foods to control joint inflammation:

  • Sugars
  • Starches
  • Vegetable oils

2. Eat whole, organic foods every day.

3. It is essential to use lots of spices in your cooking.  As noted above, turmeric is a spice that rivals NSAID drugs in its ability to decrease inflammation.  Many other spices are useful, as well.  For example, cinnamon helps you use sugar properly so you don’t build up insulin resistance and prevent joint healing.

8 Healing Remedies to Repair Joints

healing jointsWhether you’re trying to bone up on nutrients to help prevent osteoporosis, maintain healthy cartilage, or ease the discomfort of immobilized joints, the following joint healing protocol may help.

  1. Don’t use NSAIDs.
  2. Take Boswellia for pain.
  3. Exercise every day, including weight bearing routines and plenty of walking.
  4. Take an omega-3 supplement – alternate between fish oil and flax seeds.
  5. Avoid vegetable oils.
  6. Avoid sugar.
  7. Eat fresh, raw, organic food as much as possible.
  8. Take the following joint supplements (the exact amounts can vary, and a combination is fine) for 90 days:
  • Glucosamine: 500 mg three times per day
  • MSM: 500 mg three times per day
  • Vitamin C: 500 mg three times per day

This program will allow you to heal your joints, build cartilage, and prevent arthritis.  There is no need to decline in your “declining years.”  It is NOT normal to have joint pains and stiffness.  You can take your life back and enjoy your entire life to the end.

Dr. Scott SaundersDr. Scott D. Saunders, M.D. (Ask-an-MD) is a practicing physician, specializing in preventative health care, who utilizes eclectic health care for the whole family, including conventional, orthomolecular and natural medicine. He is also the medical director of The Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. He went to UCLA medical school and is board certified in family medicine. View natural remedies with Dr. Saunders at: http://drsaundersmd.com
(1)   http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410037
(2)   http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/1/79.full.pdf
(3)   Simon AM, O’Connor JP. Dose and time-dependent effects of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition on fracture-healing. J Bone Joint Surg (Am) 2007;89:500-11.
(4)   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9811063

Why Diabetes is Becoming Epidemic

By David Kekich

Some of the most damaging groups of substances we are exposed to on a daily basis are starches and refined sugars, such as:

  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrose
  • And corn syrup

Our metabolism was just not designed to handle the tremendous amount of nutrient-free calories (i.e., sugar, starches, and to some degree fat) that the typical American diet has in it. The majority of those calories come from refined sugar (sweets, soft drinks, etc.) and starches (bread and pasta).

insulin to fat 2Excess sugar and starch cause multiple assaults to your system. First, as we discussed, high blood sugar causes excess insulin release. Of the two hormones that control the amount of sugar in your blood stream—insulin and glucagon, insulin causes sugar to be taken into the cells, while glucagon causes it to be released. By eating excess carbohydrates, you put your blood sugar control system onto a dangerous roller coaster ride. Up, down, up, down—after repeated bouts of this, your system will crash. The result is Type II diabetes, which is becoming more and more prevalent.

There’s more. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have arthritis. In fact, more than half of the U.S. adults diagnosed with diabetes also have arthritis. That puts them in a double bind, as the pain in their joints keeps them from getting the exercise they need to keep both diseases at bay.

Diabetics are unable to take up sugar efficiently, because their cells no longer respond to insulin. A nasty side effect of this process is that your body begins producing way too much insulin to try and overcome the unresponsiveness of your cells. So now you have high insulin and high blood sugar, which causes all kinds of damage to your arteries. This includes higher cholesterol in your blood, more useless molecules being made by sticking to the excess sugar (crosslinking) which clogs your arteries, the production of oxidized molecules, and the release of the hormone cortisol which causes tissue breakdown.

Insulin also causes excess sugar to be converted to fat. Want to lose weight? Stay away from white flour and sugar.

We also know sugar depresses the immune system. The root of all disease, common cold or cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or cancer, is at the molecular and cellular level. And insulin is probably going to be involved in almost every aging disease, if not totally controlling it.

Insulin is that important.

Some of us are less susceptible to the perils of sugar and starch than others. Starch in general does not cause diabetes according to a new study by Dr. Richard Johnson, the chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, and author of The Sugar Fix. The new appreciation is that if you have your uric acid level checked and have a level of 4 for men, or 3.5 for women, you probably are at a low risk for fructose toxicity and can be more liberal with your intake.

The higher your uric acid though, the more you need to limit fructose to about 16 grams a day, or even avoid it until your uric acid level normalizes.

Even with a healthy uric acid level, I suggest avoiding all foods with added fructose like the plague. A growing lineup of scientific studies is demonstrating that consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health. It is now known without a doubt that sugar in your food, in all its myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll.

And fructose in any form, including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose, is the worst of the worst!

To replace those high-calorie, low-nutrient carbohydrates you were consuming before, eat lots of raw fruit and vegetables. Some fruits that have been discovered to be particularly good for their anti-aging properties are blueberries, pomegranates, bilberries, strawberries, purple grapes, and tomatoes (Yes, tomatoes are technically fruits, not vegetables). Since fruits contain natural fructose, I suggest you eat more veggies than fruit.

The deeper and richer the colors of your fruits and vegetables, the more nutritional value they have for you. If your meals look like rainbows, you’re on the right track. Why all the fuss about color? Because loads of scientific studies have shown the natural pigments that give fruits and veggies their vibrant colors offer remarkable health benefits. A major class of compounds in this category is the flavonoids.

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that are linked with health benefits including protection from cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke and more.

Fruits with rich colors, especially deep blue or purple, tend to have high concentrations of anthocyanins, one of nature’s most potent classes of flavonoids. And get this.

dark chocolate 6 gramsIn case you haven’t heard, dark chocolate and red wine are also rich sources of flavonoids. A study at University Hospital Zurich showed 6 grams of dark chocolate a day reduces risks of heart disease and stroke by 39%. Take it easy though. Too much dark chocolate will overdose you with sugar and saturated fat. Limit yourself to 7.5 grams of dark chocolate a day. More than two glasses of red wine a day works against you due to excess sugar and alcohol. Moderation is the word of the day if you must indulge.

Strawberries have high concentrations of ellagic acid, another antioxidant that has been shown to protect rats against many age-related defects. The molecule lycopene in tomatoes is yet another powerful antioxidant.

If you do eat simple carbohydrates, take some high-grade protein with it to reduce its damage by about half. Don’t beat yourself up and worry about eating a hamburger, ice cream or pizza once in a while if it gives you pleasure. But making it a habit will undermine your health and shorten your life.

On the flip side, when you plan to eat your meal or snack, visualize yourself as being healthier and slimmer. Then concentrate on your food while eating, and reward yourself mentally when you make your healthy choices.

What is your favorite dark chocolate?

 More Articles You Might Enjoy:


David KekichDavid Kekich (Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs) is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. For more information, visit: www.MaxLife.org. David contributes to our column Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs. MaxLife is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.

Weird Remedies That Work

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

I read all sorts of literature on healthcare and I’m continually amazed at the number of remedies that exist for ailments.  I have tried countless remedies with my patients and have found some really crazy ones that work!

In medical school, sometimes we called weird remedies that worked “the placebo effect.” But, that doesn’t really matter, does it?  If something works, it works, no matter how or why!  Just because I can’t explain it chemically, doesn’t mean a remedy doesn’t have value.

For example, I give vitamin B12 shots for all sorts of neurological problems. But, one of my colleagues believes I shouldn’t be doing that because it’s just a “placebo” and isn’t widely accepted by the medical community.  However, to that thought I responded, “I promise I will stop using it as soon as it stops working!”  I’m still giving those shots because they work – weird or not!

Weird Cures That Work

Humans all over the world for thousands of years have used weird disease cures and methods to become and stay healthy. While modern Western medicine has evolved into a system of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs, other remedies— some pretty silly remedies — are still in use around the world.

Here are 6 weird remedies that actually happen to work, no matter how foolish you feel.

1. Lemon peels for headaches

In a small book on home remedies, I read about using lemon peelings for headache.  Years later, I had a woman with chronic headaches who had a very hard time with the medications she took that didn’t really work very well. I mentioned the lemon peel trick: peel a lemon and take the white part of the peeling and rub it on your temples, massaging it in to the skin on both sides.  Within a minute or so the headache will be gone!  She did it and it worked – better than the drugs she had been taking.  Now she always has a lemon with her, in case she gets a headache.

2. Soap for cramps

One woman came into my office because of nighttime leg cramps.  I know what to routinely do for leg cramps:

  • Take coral calcium, magnesium or potassium.
  • If that doesn’t work, I tell people to drink more water to assure hydration.
  • Some are low in sodium, so I tell them to use more salt on their food.  A good trick is V-8 vegetable juice, which has sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium all together.

However, none of the usual remedies worked.  She tried increasing her stomach acid for better absorption, without any help.  I also tried glycine and taurine to relax the muscles but to no avail.  We then tried medications for Restless Legs Syndrome, but that didn’t help either.

I didn’t see her for a while and then when she came in to see me for something else I asked her about the cramps.  She said a neighbor told her to put a bar of soap under her sheet by her legs. She did – and she slept all night without cramps!  After a few months she started getting cramps again and the neighbor told her to change the soap.  She swapped out the bar of soap for a new one and hasn’t suffered with leg cramps since discovering this weird remedy.

Another patience of mine had the same problem with leg cramps, so I told her about the soap trick, which she said she had used in the past and it worked.

Diatomaceous Dirt for Diarrhea

3. Dirt for diarrhea

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Are Your Cells Starving For Oxygen?

Have you ever taken Tylenol or Advil to help with headaches and those everyday nagging pains?

Your doctor will probably never tell you this, but when you take common pain relievers you are creating a new problem…

You are cutting off oxygen to your cells.

Pain pills like Advil and Tylenol work by reducing the inflammation that causes your pain, but they do it by hi-jacking your body’s natural ability to heal.

Instead of letting your body isolate the injured area with scar tissue and allowing your body’s natural inflammation fighters to go to work, pain pills short-circuit the process and force your body to put down layer after layer of scar tissue.

It is all the extra scar tissue that blocks blood flow and chokes off the red blood cells that deliver oxygen. Take enough of these pills and you starve your cells for oxygen.

Sounds frightening, doesn’t it?

But, you can wipe out pain and inflammation naturallywithout drugs.

You can get that same “back to normal” feeling no matter what is causing your pain. You can relieve everyday pains as easily as more serious problems like chronic joint pain and arthritis pain.

Here is the kicker: This natural pain reliever is something your body already makes on its own.

Let me explain.

Years ago, a medical doctor from Columbia University discovered that when the body was reacting to pain, the bodies of younger adults responded by flooding the painful area with something called “proteolytic enzymes.”

That is why your body was so strong and resilient back in your 20s… and more to the point, PAIN FREE.

But, here is the problem. As you get older, your body’s supply of these inflammation-fighting enzymes drops dramatically.

That means the older you get, the harder it is to get rid of your pain.

Now, here is the good news. You can take more of these “proteolytic enzymes” whenever you want. They work just as well as pain pills… and in some cases, even better.

My friend and colleague, Jesse Cannone, is the founder of the Healthy Back Institute. He has helped over 165,000 people in 85 countries get lasting pain relief without drugs. When he showed me the research on these pain-fighting enzymes, I was impressed.

Proteolytic enzymes have a natural anti-inflammatory effect and silence minor everyday aches and pains, all the way up to the more stubborn pain you get from arthritis, bad joints and chronic back problems.

It is a safe option, too. You never face the risk of side-effects.

Enzymes are well researched and have a long-standing track record. Here are just a few of the published results:

  • A study published in the Journal of Medicine, Science, Sports and Exercise found that “Proteolytic enzymes have therapeutic effects in the treatment of inflammation and soft tissue injuries.”
  • Another study from the Institute of Cancer Research in Vienna found that, “A combination of proteolytic enzymes and herbs were effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.”

When I talked to Jesse, he told me stories of his clients getting fast, effective relief from his enzyme formula called Heal-n-Soothe™.

Here are a few of their letters:

“As effective as prescription drugs, but MUCH SAFER…”

“As a pharmacist with a keen interest in natural supplements I can safely say I have seen it all. But for patients with pain who are looking for an answer outside of dangerous prescription medications, I have only a handful of recommendations. Heal-n-Soothe™ is on that short list.

It is not only as effective as prescription anti-inflammatories, but is much safer. Unlike other supplements on the market, Heal-n-Soothe™ really is free of any fillers or colorants. It truly is all-natural.

The point is this: if you’re sitting on the fence about other options to treat your pain you owe it to yourself to give Heal-n-Soothe™ a fair shot. You’ll be happy you did.”

 ~ Dr. Curtis Alexander, Registered Pharmacist, Montana

“WOW! Huge difference… I stopped taking painkillers!” 

“All I can say is a big WOW and thank you. I have only been taking it for 4 or 5 days, but have noticed a huge difference. I stopped taking my strong painkillers, which I was taking every day and at the full limit allowed. I feel ‘almost’ normal again.”

 ~ Angela Jaggs, England, UK 

“Heal-n-Soothe™ gave me a new PAIN FREE life!”

“Just a note to tell you how much your Heal-n-Soothe™ has helped me in just a week.  It is working very well. I have a crooked spine and sciatic nerve problems. Your product has given me a whole new life that is PAIN FREE. I can actually golf now. It has made a big difference in my life. Thank You… Thank you !!!!!”

~ Sandra Marginet, Michigan

You can get the same kind of fast, drug-free relief Jesse’s patients get, without spending a dime.

As a regular reader, Jesse is offering you a FREE bottle of Heal-n-Soothe™ with no strings attached. All you have to do is Click Here and give him your address.

Here is the only catch: Jesse gave me a limited supply of Heal-n-Soothe™ so I urge you to take advantage of his generous offer RIGHT NOW.

Heal-n-Soothe™ relieves arthritis and back pain, and comforts sore muscles and joints. It also helps you recover quickly from a workout, a round of golf or even a long day shopping.

This is one of the few non-drug pain relievers that actually works and I believe it can really help you.

I highly recommend you get your FREE bottle and feel the difference for yourself.

It takes just seconds… Click Here and request your FREE bottle of Heal-n-Soothe™ now.



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