Yes, I’m certain that in the majority of cases rheumatoid arthritis can be reversed and much of the damage caused can be healed. The word ‘cure’ implies some magical potion or therapy but my definition of ‘cure’ is to return the body to its previous state prior to the disease developing. However, the word ‘cure’ does not mean immunity; if you reverse and recover from your rheumatoid arthritis by following a health promoting lifestyle and other methods, this does not mean the disease can’t return, it will if ‘you’ return to a disease promoting lifestyle again.
I’ve covered the following approach in more detail in previous posts, in this post I just want to provide a quick overview of what I believe is the most effective path towards recovery from rheumatoid arthritis.
Standard Medical Treatments Won’t Provide a Cure
Standard drug treatments and other medical interventions are designed to slow the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, to provide pain relief, and to enable you to continue to function for an unpredictable amount of time into the future. They are designed to treat and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These treatments can extract a huge cost in terms of side effects and can be very demoralising when their effectiveness wears off and doses have to be increased. Therefore, they should not be seen as a long-term solution. They should be used to buy time in order to discover the true cause of your rheumatoid arthritis. The cause or causes should then be removed and at the same time a healing lifestyle should be adopted in order to help reverse the RA and repair some of the damage caused. During this process you should work with your medical practitioner to adjust your medication as you make progress in reversing your rheumatoid arthritis.
Lifestyle Changes Are Key to The Long-Term Treatment and Reversal of RA
There’s a host of claimed natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and there are a few promising possibilities, but none of these will halt or reverse the disease until the causes have been removed. The foundations of rheumatoid arthritis develop over many years perhaps decades and RA can have many causes or triggers but the largest underlying contributor is a long-term poor diet and lifestyle. This has to be addressed as a priority before looking for other causes and triggers or searching for additional treatments.
An Intelligent Approach to Treating and Reversing Rheumatoid Arthritis
- If you’re already suffering with rheumatoid arthritis or if you have a recent diagnosis, work with your rheumatologist or other medical practitioner to obtain the best relief and control with the minimum amount of medication and side effects.
- Understand that if you want to halt or reverse your rheumatoid arthritis, avoid medium and long-term drug side effects, and prevent increasing medium and long-term disability; it’s essential to adopt a health promoting diet and lifestyle. This is an extremely important psychological step. Lifestyle changes are not easy, but effective RA treatment can’t be achieved without them; at least as things stand in 2018, hopefully gene therapy and stem cell treatments will change that in the near future.
- Learn about the whole food plant-based diet and adopt it as far as you can. The closer you come to it the better the results you will have. At the same time, try to reduce added salt, oil, and sugar in your diet; added oil and fat being the most important to address. A whole food plant-based diet is a healing diet and will remove many of the most common triggers for rheumatoid arthritis. Adopting this lifestyle change should provide considerable symptomatic relief and forms the basis of long-term treatment and recovery.
- Get more sleep and get regular sleep :-) I know this one is extremely difficult and unpredictable but I can’t emphasise enough how powerful a good night sleep is when it comes to healing the damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. It’s very easy to underestimate sleep but it is one of the most powerful curative mechanisms that we have, and there are only good side effects :-) you can find some more information about this in one of my previous posts here: Natural Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Good hydration is essential. This doesn’t mean drinking gallons of water every day :-) it just means obtaining enough clean fluids to allow your immune system to function properly (lymph drainage, kidney filtration, blood flow etc.). I drink about a litre of smoothies every day, two or three glasses of water, and a couple of teas; this works well for me. Just be aware that thirst is a terrible indicator of efficient hydration, much better to obtain a small amount of fluids regularly throughout the day.
- ‘Vitamin’ D is essential for immune health, bone health and many other important functions. If you’re fortunate enough to live where there is some sunshine, then try to go out in it each day for maybe twenty minutes or so in order to to generate natural vitamin D. If like me you live in a country with miserable weather or if you work indoors most of the day, then it’s probably worth considering taking a ‘vitamin’ D supplement (‘vitamin’ D is actually a precursor hormone and not a vitamin). I currently take between 2000 and 4000 units per day when I can’t access a reasonable amount of sunshine.
- Take a B12 supplement, around 2500 micrograms a week. Ideally a combination of methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin since it isn’t clear (at least to me) which is more effective. I take both of these myself.
- Whilst adopting or moving towards a whole food plant-based diet, make sure to include a good source of ALA (omega-3 essential fatty acid) such as ground flaxseed, hempseed and walnuts. Alternatively, take a DHA (an elongated type of omega-3) supplement ideally from an algae-based source. Fish and fish oil sources of DHA tend to be rancid (from my own experience before I became fully plant-based) and are potentially contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins.
- Try to take regular cardiovascular exercise, every day if possible, for at least twenty minutes but up to 90 minutes if you feel you can manage this and if you don’t have any existing medical conditions that would prevent you. I’m currently exercising for around sixty minutes a day in one session but I would prefer to break it up into two sessions; morning and evening. Again, cardiovascular exercise is extremely important in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It can be extremely difficult or almost impossible for many people but I would urge you to try even if you can only manage a small amount.
- Finally, try to eliminate foods and other environmental factors that tend to make your symptoms worse. You’ll probably be aware of several of these from your own experience but some common examples are: wheat and other gluten-containing grains, trans-fats, saturated fat, milk and milk products, eggs, corn, and very occasionally nightshade vegetables and citrus fruits. One way to do this is to eat a very plain minimal diet for a week or so and see if your symptoms improve significantly, then add back one important food item at a time and wait forty-eight hours before introducing the next one whilst monitoring your symptoms. I’ll write a post about this in more detail soon. Try to avoid air fresheners, mould and damp, perfumes, deodorants, and other strong cosmetic or household chemical-containing products; at least for a trial period.
If you can manage to adopt the above health promoting lifestyle changes (at least as closely as possible) then you can search for additional treatments and therapies to help speed up your recovery. For example it’s worth obtaining various blood tests for ‘vitamin’ D, B12, thyroid function, cholesterol and so on. These can help to guide you in improving your nutrition and your ability to heal. It may also be worth having a stool profile test taken to look for parasites and bacterial infections.
There are many other additional changes which can be made to improve your chances of healing and recovery, for example; including a large amount of raw foods in your diet such as salads and berries. Another thing which I find very useful is to make a daily green smoothie from foods like spinach, rocket, and parsley mixed with a few berries and some pineapple :-) Yum! A cup of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) in a warm bath is extremely helpful for relaxing muscles and reducing pain. Gentle but firm massage is fantastic if you have a partner, friend or family member that can do that for you.
Finally, just to re-emphasise the main point; the foundations of rheumatoid arthritis develop over many years if not decades and its successful treatment and reversal depends largely upon changing the lifestyle habits that allowed it, or caused it to develop in the first place. Changing major lifestyle habits is very difficult for the majority of people and this is I believe, the main reason why rheumatoid arthritis is seldom cured because there is no quick fix solution and it requires a major change in thinking and actions. However, if these changes are made the improvement in symptoms can be very significant and often leads to the halting or reversal of the disease. There are many testimonials to this effect for example in my previous post: Dairy and Rheumatoid Arthritis – Cow’s Milk as a Cause of Chronic Diseases, towards the end of the post under the title: Reports and Articles Linking Dairy to Arthritis and Other Chronic Diseases, you can read some convincing and inspiring personal stories and reports. :-)
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