Q Nutrition: Arthritis is not always to blame for aches and pains

Aches and pains in joints and bone are common maladies as we get older. It’s generally referred to as the old age syndrome, and we readily accept the thought or diagnosis of this as being arthritis, the usual scapegoat.

We are ready to accept it, take the over-the-counter medication, or often make a doctor’s appointment citing arthritis, accept the anti-inflammatory drug prescription and go on our way. But is it really just a disease called arthritis that creeps into our bodies?

Arthritis occurs when the joints become worn from wear and tear over the years; and it could be pain from once broken bones. But since we continue to lose nutrient stores in our body as we age, this loss of nutrients will accelerate the deterioration of bone at the joints and all bones in general.

If the pains are in fact arthritis, then most likely the stores of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and possibly other related minor support minerals are depleting. Keep in mind, soft drinks with their high phosphoric content will actually draw calcium out of the bones.

But there are several other reasons that these aches and pains can be occurring, and very often the common pain medications are taken in vain, when the real culprit can be treated naturally, and subside. These are some things to consider when arthritis symptoms occur – Nightshade foods, Artificial sweeteners, MSG, stevia, Prescription drugs, Gout, Hormones, Inflammation.

One such culprit could be what is referred to as the nightshade foods – tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, eggplant and cayenne. These particular foods contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine.

Some people are highly sensitive to this, and pain will set in, while others have no reaction. Simply stop eating these foods for a week or two to see if this is the problem. Eating these foods occasionally would not be detrimental; it’s just when too many and too much are eaten too often.

Another group of offenders could be food additives – artificial sweeteners, MSG, and even stevia. Artificial sweeteners and MSG are manmade synthetic chemicals that, in the real world, were never meant for human consumption, and they may stimulate pain receptors in the joints.

Stevia, unless taken in the pure leaf form, is yet a refined food, and many reports of pain are substantiated by those taking too much of this natural sweetener. A little here and there should not hurt, but there are so many products containing stevia lately that a person could be getting an overabundance of this sweetener without realizing it.

A very common but unrecognized group of pain contributors can be drugs; yes, very common prescribed medications that doctors generally don’t relate to joint pain. Here is a list of some of the potential pain offenders that could be discussed with your doctor – Ambien, Statins, Fosomax, Reclast, Inspra, Premarin, Paxil, Prevacid, Singulair,

The statin drugs prescribed for high cholesterol are so frequently overlooked for causing pain, even many doctors are unmindful. But more and more doctors have become aware of this side effect, and will readily inform patients to start taking the natural supplement COQ10 along with their statin drug, and this alone may do the trick.

COQ10 is a natural substance found in cells of the human body, predominantly in muscle, and the heart is the most important muscle of all. It acts as an antioxidant, and is involved in the production of energy. Some reports indicate that statin draws the COQ10 out of the cells, leaving muscles literally gasping for air, and inducing pain.

Also keep in mind that on top of this, our natural COQ10 supply actually declines as we get older, so it is always important to supplement with COQ10 whether taking a statin drug or not. Side effects of this supplement, such as contributing to blood thinning, are rare.

Gout is another source of pain, but is easily diagnosed by physicians, because it is a unique ailment that can be detected through simple testing of body fluid. Yet gout is definitely a food derived pain, and can naturally be remedied by a change in diet.

Certain foods contain a higher level of the substance called purines than most other foods, and having a constant diet of these certain foods will cause an accumulation of uric acid, and the pain will begin. Some of these foods are shellfish, organ meats, asparagus, beans, and peanuts. Uric acid would have to build up to a high level before the effects of gout begin.

And don’t rule out drugs and even supplements. If your body is prone to gout there are certain pills that can send you over the edge. These are diuretics, Inspra, niacin, arginine, and aspirin.

Diet and what we put into our bodies play a big part in the creation of arthritis, and we have a great amount of control in dealing with this common ailment. Becoming more in tuned with our bodies, and what we put in them, will help us find what may be behind the cause of our pain.

Linda Bergersen, M.S., Holistic Nutrition, B.A., Communications, Nutrition Columnist for BottomLine Magazine. She is a Palm Springs nutritionist and works with clients in the area, and conducts group discussions concerning nutrition. Contact her at (760) 699.8765 or [email protected] for information on services.

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