There are so many effective (non-pharmaceutical) treatments for rheumatoid (and osteo) arthritis, both old and new. In this post I would like to summarise a few of the most important of them in order to provide a useful starting point for anyone using intelligence, wisdom, historical precedence and research to find a cure for RA.
I’ve tried many of these treatments and potential cures myself over the years with good results and they form a major part of my own current rheumatoid arthritis cure. Although every case of RA and every person is different, any one (or combination) of these approaches may be very effective for you and are a great place to start your recovery. This is particularly true if you are in the early stages of your RA or if your disease is still fairly mild.
If your rheumatoid arthritis is already more advanced or severe then please take a look at my previous posts: A Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis – (A Combined Natural Approach) and: How to Avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis and Many Other Chronic Diseases (although the latter post discusses ‘avoidance’ the guidelines within it apply equally well to the long-term treatment and potential cure of RA).
Diet – The Most Important and Effective Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis
The correct diet can address many of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis and help to reverse the disease and heal much of the existing damage. However, the ‘correct’ diet is a hard one to define and will vary somewhat from person to person.
Personally I would recommend an organic, whole foods, plant based diet with a high percentage of raw salad greens and sprouts, plenty of fresh vegetable juices and/or green smoothies and lots of prebiotic (fibre containing) and probiotic (fermented/cultured) foods. The cooked part of the diet would contain root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beetroot and carrots etc., along with greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale etc. These plus a few select ‘grains’ and seeds (quinoa, hemp, chia, buckwheat, amaranth) with the addition of some berries and other high antioxidant fruits (especially cherries, strawberries and blueberries) can form an excellent rheumatoid arthritis recovery diet.
I have an open mind when it comes to curing RA and other chronic inflammatory diseases and I’m interested in any approach which could help or provide solutions. Therefore, I will also say that a lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet (including grass-fed meat & raw dairy) with some natural high quality fats (Paleo for example) can also work for some people. I think the correct diet for ‘you’ depends upon several factors such as your ancestry, your ancestors’ historical geolocations, the diet that you ate as a child (which would define a lot of your microbiome), how much junk food you consume and also whether you are taking any medication currently such as strong or high-dose antibiotics.
I’ve tried both of these approaches to diet (and a many others) and the largely plant based diet has been the most effective for me personally. My original cure for rheumatoid arthritis included fish and fish oil in order to help balance my omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio and I’ve occasionally tried raw milk kefir and grass-fed raw butter for example. But on the whole, the more plant foods I consumed, the better were my RA symptoms.
Currently I am eating an entirely organic, whole foods, plant based diet including certain fruits to cure my second occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis which was caused by a prolonged, massive dose of powerful antibiotics which I received to control a type of septicaemia I had developed. The antibiotics probably saved my life but they also devastated my entire gut microbiome and immune function (after my previous years of work to repair and heal it). I still include a regular but low dose omega 3 rich fish oil supplement (more about this below).
Whichever approach to diet you choose there are some essential factors which are common to all of the successful variants, whether they are mostly starch, plant, fat or meat based or a combination of one or more of these.
- Eat only whole natural foods, foods that are recognisable and direct from source. For example whole sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, berries, nuts, seeds, pastured eggs, raw milk, raw cheese, pastured butter and wild caught fish etc.
- Don’t eat any fast ‘foods’ including burgers, pizzas, microwavable ready meals etc. If your great grandparents wouldn’t have recognised it – don’t eat it.
- Try to eat only organic, wild caught, pasture raised foods; fresh where possible.
- Aim for high nutrient density, and with vegetables and fruits; choose a rainbow of colours especially dark greens, blues and reds. These generally have the highest antioxidant content.
- To prepare meals use a combination of juicing, fermenting and eating raw, along with low impact cooking methods such as steaming, boiling (but using the cooking water where possible), ‘frying’ in water, poaching, and light grilling or slow baking.
- Try to avoid eating huge meals at one sitting; eating smaller meals throughout the day will lead to better digestion, more even sugar/insulin levels and better energy production. Also avoid drinking too much liquid when eating meals (particularly during fat or protein based meals), just take a few sips of water or a fermented/cultured liquid such as rejuvelac.
- Eat plenty of raw, sprouted, fermented and otherwise cultured foods to support your gut health and improve nutrient absorption (see below).
Healing Leaky Gut to Reduce Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Leaky gut is associated with many autoimmune diseases and other chronic diseases which have an inflammatory component. It’s commonly stated that 80% of your immune system resides in your gut which is impressive and very surprising when you first come to learn this. However, there is much more to your gut than its immune system role including; digestion & nutrient absorption (of course), waste processing and removal, water conservation, rapid elimination of dangerous toxins and/or pathogens (diarrhoea and vomiting for example), destruction of parasites and pathogenic bacteria prior to any immune response, and much more.
It therefore becomes obvious that the gut plays the largest role in a person’s health and freedom from or susceptibility to chronic disease. Not only because it controls how we absorb our energy and nutrients from food but also because if its function is impaired, it directly compromises our immune system and facilitates the development of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s imperative that you look after your gut if you wish to have long-term good health and freedom from chronic diseases. To do this you need to follow some basic guidelines as best you can, throughout your life. If you already suffer from a chronic disease then it becomes even more critical to adopt a lifestyle that incorporates these guidelines.
- Reduce or preferably eliminate all added sugar in your diet. Consume only sugar that is naturally present within the whole foods that you eat. To help with this process you can use a small amount of sweetener such as stevia or xylitol as a replacement. Sugar (particularly fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup) causes inflammation, feeds cancer and encourages the growth of candida and parasites. Sugar, particularly HFCS is a major (if not the main) contributor to obesity and weight gain in general.
- Remove or at least reduce the most common gut damaging food components from your diet namely gluten, casein, and lectins. These are found most commonly in wheat, rye, barley, bulgur, certain oats (and a few other less widely used grains), most dairy, and certain legumes such as peanuts (actually, aflatoxin on the peanut seems to be the main problem). Soy (especially when properly fermented) and nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes etc.) are often OK but get a bad press, however a number of people have an intolerance for them. I believe that eggs from organic pasture-raised hens can be very nutritious when minimally cooked but they can be a problem for some people with rheumatoid arthritis so perhaps best avoided until you can test them in a reintroduction phase later on.
- Eat fermented/cultured foods such as sauerkraut, miso, natto and rejuvelac. This will help to repopulate your gut with a wide variety of beneficial bacteria.
- Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary or unless you are following the Antibiotic Protocol for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Also avoid taking NSAIDS, antacids, flu remedies and other painkillers if possible, try to use natural alternatives instead for example; turmeric, ginger, cherries, birch bark (tea) and many others.
- If you are trying to heal an existing leaky gut then alcohol should be avoided completely. If you want to avoid developing leaky gut in the first place then reducing your overall alcohol intake, and limiting its consumption to just once a week would be a good move. There is no safe or beneficial amount of alcohol, zero is best for healing and long-term health.
- The rest of the dietary recommendations listed at the beginning of this post also apply to healing leaky gut, especially the avoidance of junk foods.
- The removal of parasites is essential to gut health. A good quality, well-structured periodic parasite cleanse could be followed consistently for at least six months to eliminate them from the gut.
- Finally, getting more sleep and better quality sleep goes a long way in helping to heal leaky gut (and rheumatoid arthritis in general). As does reducing stress as much as possible (with regular exercise and meditation for example).
Improving Your Omega 3 to Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid Ratio
There has been a lot written about omega 3 fatty acids especially regarding their role in the prevention of heart disease. However, my interest lies in their ability to reduce inflammation and improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve written about this subject before but I wanted to emphasise a couple of points for those wishing to incorporate omega 3s into their arthritis treatment plan.
First of all, it’s the balance or ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids that is important for good health and the improvement of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Achieving the correct balance somewhere in the range of 1:1 to 1:4 omega 3 to omega 6 should be the objective. Mega dosing with omega 3 rich fish oil and other omega 3 supplements is a different approach entirely.
Pro-inflammatory (chronic disease forming) conditions commonly arise because of the extreme imbalance that exists in typical Western (industrialised) diets such as the Standard American Diet SAD, i.e. excessive amounts of omega 6 fatty acids and very few sources of natural omega 3 fatty acids. Ratios as high as 1:50 omega 3 to omega 6 are seen these days with 1:20 being common. Some refined vegetable oils have an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio as high as 1:200 and these oils are commonly used in manufactured ‘food’ products such as confectionery, baked goods, ready meals and breakfast cereals etc.
We need omega 3 ‘and’ omega 6 fatty acids in our diet, they are both equally important. Trying to eliminate omega 6 fatty acids and mega dosing on omega 3 fatty acids won’t produce health. Indeed some omega 6 fatty acids are especially beneficial such as Gamma Linolenic Acid – GLA. We just need to eat sufficient amounts of each and in the correct ratio. Higher amounts of omega 3 may be useful or necessary to help correct years of imbalance and to reduce arthritis inflammation and pain but this would be a therapeutic measure not part of a long-term diet. The reason being that omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and high doses act as an immune suppressant not unlike NSAIDS but without most of the side effects. However, I have come to believe that the only way to cure rheumatoid arthritis is to improve the immune system and make it more effective and more selective. Therefore anything that suppresses it, no matter how beneficial in terms of symptomatic relief, is not ideal in the long run.
The Antibiotic Protocol for Rheumatoid Arthritis
In terms of achieving long-term remission and/or cure, this is perhaps the most effective theraputic drug treatment (although not a natural treatment it is relatively safe compared to mainstream DMARDS and NSAIDS etc.) for rheumatoid arthritis that I’ve researched and experienced. In conjunction with the correct diet it can significantly improve symptoms within one to three months. It can lead to remission within six months to a year. I am currently trialling this protocol for my own RA and I will write a full article about it soon. I wanted to add it to this post to help increase awareness for other RA sufferers and to give a brief summary and a couple of links to further resources.
The Antibiotic Protocol or AP has been used for decades to help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and I was finally convinced to give it a try a couple of months ago. I had a huge reduction in symptoms within about six weeks of starting and I was so excited by my progress until I developed some serious symptoms a few days ago. I suddenly had an increase in ‘floaters’ in my right eye and flashes of light in the outer corners of both eyes – it scared the pants of me – I thought it was a retinal tear or the beginning of retinal detachment but I now believe it to have been an rare side effect of Minocin, the antibiotic I’m trialling. I’ll explain more in a separate post later as I mentioned above, suffice to say the AP is not without its side effects and this is something to research and be aware of if you decide to try the AP for yourself.
After more than thirty years of research (I also have most of the books and research papers on the AP), speaking with RA sufferers who’ve benefited from the AP, and my own current trial; I firmly believe it can help many thousands of RA sufferers to find relief and in many cases remission/cure.
The Antibiotic Protocol is a contradictory treatment for rheumatoid arthritis; on the one hand it disables many potentially RA causing bacteria and mycoplasma but at the same time it can have (and probably does – dependent on dose) have a negative effect on friendly gut flora which can worsen RA symptoms and could make leaky gut more likely. However, I believe with rheumatoid arthritis that it’s ‘more’ important to remove pathogens in order to allow remission and healing to take place since gut flora can be protected and maintained to some extent during the term of the AP treatment and then once chronic infection(s) are cleared, the immune system will be better able to support recovery and healing.
The antibiotic protocol for rheumatoid arthritis was originally designed to disable and eliminate chronic mycoplasma infections (believed to be the cause of RA) but it has since been shown to also have a therapeutic (anti-inflammatory) effect on RA. Personally I believe there are several pathogenic infections that can lead to RA including streptococcus and P. gingivalis. Minocin and other tetracyclines can be very effective against many of these pathogens thus removing the cause or at least the chronic burden on the immune system. Although this can take some time (three months to three years) the anti-inflammatory effect of Minocin in particular, can provide some early symptomatic relief for many people.
Until I write a full article on this, here are a couple of links to resources that I hope will be of some help to you in the meantime.
Treatment of Teeth Gum and other Infections
A common source of Rheumatoid Arthritis causing pathogens is infected gums and teeth. As I mentioned in the previous section antibiotics can help to disable and remove these pathogens, but where possible it’s better to remove them at source. In my case a tooth/gum infection was a major contributor to my RA, please see my article My Rheumatoid Arthritis – I Finally Discovered its Original Cause
There has long been a link between RA and teeth/gum infections but it was usually thought that people with RA consequently suffered from a higher rate of teeth/gum infections, however my own research and experience tells me that it’s the other way around; teeth/gum infections are causing or contributing to rheumatoid arthritis; The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis
With this in mind I would urge anyone with RA (especially in the early stages) to have a thorough examination of their teeth and gums carried out by a biological or naturopathic dentist specialising in the identification and treatment of infections and the safe removal of mercury amalgams. Mercury is a separate but related issue which can also be a contributor to RA and I will talk about this more in a future post as this section is focused primarily on infections.
You may think that your teeth/gums are in good condition or your dentist may have indicated that they are, however infections are not always easy to detect as they can develop in between fillings and the cavity which they fill, also in root canals, and in pockets particularly where there is calculus. So it is important to find a dentist that would look for these hidden infections and who is also capable of treating them. I am currently searching for such a dentist in the UK to carry out work on my own teeth/gums for this purpose.