Arthritis Treatments Compared -
-Conventional Side Effects or
Natural Alternatives Benefits
Arthritis is a painful condition affecting millions of people throughout
70 million Americans and over 4 million Australians are included among those who
suffer with the pain. In Australia, arthritis is the fourth most common cause of missed work.
The conventional treatments for arthritis are drugs,
most of which are pain relievers.
Here, we look at the side effects of the conventional treatments and the natural
alternatives that have few, if any, unwanted side effects.
Some of the natural alternatives actually have positive side
Conventional Treatments – Many Unpleasant Side
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the treatment of choice for all
forms of arthritis. Even though some studies indicate that inflammation does not play a major role in
osteoarthritis, the most common form, people who suffer from the condition usually find that NSAIDs do relieve the
NSAIDs are available over the counter and by prescription. The most popular NSAID
drugs are ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.
The common adverse side effects of ibuprofen
(Adviltm) is one of the leading brands) include:
- Gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding
- Raised liver enzymes (indicates damage to the
- Diarrhea, constipation and stomach upset
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
More serious side effects
may also occur. Those include ulceration of the esophagus, heart failure, kidney damage, kidney failure,
confusion and spasms of the bronchial tubes, which can be fatal in people who also have asthma.
Naproxen, which is sold under the brand name Alevetm, is accompanied by the same side
effects as ibuprofen, although some are less severe. None of these drugs should be used by people with a history of
ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease without consulting a doctor. Just because they are sold without a prescription
does not mean they are safe.
Aspirin was the first NSAID and is still used today by many people. It caused all
of the same side effects listed above. The newer drugs were introduced because they were believed to be safer
and/or more effective. That does not seem to be the case.
Additional risks of aspirin include:
- Ringing in the
- Salicylate intolerance – results in
swelling, hives and headache
- Cerebral micro-bleeds – may precede
stroke, Alzheimer’s, brain hemorrhage and Binswanger disease
- Prolonged bleeding after
Low doses of aspirin are sometimes recommended for keeping the blood thin and
reducing the risk of heart attack. Yet, continued use of all NSAIDs and the COX-2 inhibitors has been linked to
an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In this respect, Naproxen seems to be the safest, but cannot be considered
inhibitors are a newer form of NSAID. They were initially believed to be safer because they do not
inhibit COX-1. It is COX-1 inhibition that leads to irritation and bleeding of the stomach lining.
Clinical trials showed that selective COX-2 inhibiting drugs were accompanied by
an increased risk of “vascular events”, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and death from one of those events.
Because of the results of the clinical trials, some of the early COX-2 inhibitors were pulled from the market,
while warning labels were added to others.
Acetaminophen (Tylenoltm) is not classified as an NSAID because its anti-inflammatory properties are
weak. It is strictly used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Researchers are still unsure about how it works.
The latest theory is that it blocks nerve signals in the spinal column. These signals transmit feelings of pain to
the brain. Adverse side effects associated with regular or prolonged acetaminophen use include:
- Increased risk of certain kinds of
- Potentially fatal skin
- Increased risk of hearing loss
- Glutathione depletion
Acetaminophen overdoses are very
common. The drug is the cause of more calls to poison control centers than any other
pharmaceutical. The maximum recommended daily doses are known to cause liver failure and doctors have been asked to
reduce the maximum recommended dosage but have yet to do so. Since it is available without a prescription, you
could accidentally take a toxic dose just by trying to reduce your pain.
Despite all of the health risks and negative side effects, none of the arthritis
drugs address the root cause of the pain. They cannot honestly be called arthritis treatments. They do not improve
the condition at all. They only block the pain. They address the symptoms, not the cause.
Natural alternatives are different.
Natural Alternatives – Many Pleasant Side Benefits
Natural alternatives may address the causes of arthritis and give you many
pleasant side benefits.
The main addressable causes are:
nutrient intake and/or poor nutrient absorption
and Advanced Glycation End-Products or AGEs
- Inefficient methylation
Inadequate nutrient intake may seem like a simple thing to address. Practically
everyone takes a multi-vitamin but to really get any benefit, you need more than your typical multi-vitamin has to
Poor nutrient absorption is a problem that can accompany the aging process. NSAID
use can make the problem worse by irritating and damaging the lining of the digestive tract. Most nutrient
absorption occurs in the small intestine where tiny finger-like projections grab nutrients as they pass by and send
them directly to the bloodstream.
These projections are easily damaged.
- A good prebiotic (not probiotic) supplement containing whole kiwifruit can help to heal
the digestive system to improve nutrient absorption.
- Side benefits include fewer digestive complaints…reduced constipation, reduced symptoms
of irritable bowel, less gas, less acid reflux, reduced heartburn, etc.
damage is something that most people have heard of, but few understand. It occurs due to a lack of
antioxidants in the bloodstream, cells and tissues of the body. Some decrease in the body’s antioxidant capacity
occurs with age. This is complicated by the factors of inadequate nutrient intake and poor nutrient
- Glutathione is a potent antioxidant. If you have taken
Tylenoltm for pain in the past, glutathione depletion could be one of your
- Glutathione, lutein, bilberry, l-Carnosine and green tea
extract are all antioxidants that can be found in some of the better totally balanced
- N-acetyl L-cysteine and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) can
also be found in these supplements and are known to quickly reverse glutathione
- Side benefits of a supplement containing these
ingredients could include better looking skin, reduced risk of cancer, reduced risk of heart disease,
reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, better liver function and many
AGEs are produced when you eat too many simple carbohydrates – breads,
baked goods, pasta, white rice, sugary beverages and sweet treats. The molecules have the ability to do even more
damage than free radicals. If they get inside of a cell they can harden and destroy the cell.
AGEs play a role in everything from arthritis to
- L-Carnosine is the only nutrient known to inhibit the formation of
- Side benefits of l-Carnosine may include reduced wrinkles by inhibiting the processes
that cause collagen and other skin proteins to clump and
The body’s methylation processes must be kept in good working order. Inefficient
methylation leads to all kinds of degenerative diseases. Degeneration of the joints is the underlying cause of
arthritis pain. Supporting your body’s methylation processes may help to reverse existing degeneration and can
certainly prevent further degeneration.
- Nutrients that support efficient methylation
include SAMe, the B vitamins, TMG, methionine, ATP and folic
- Side benefits of increased intake of these
nutrients may include better mood and reduced feelings of depression, better memory and a reduced
risk of liver disease, reduced risk of heart disease and a reduced risk of
Chronic inflammation is a
problem for many people, not just those with arthritis and other painful conditions. Inflammation
plays more of a role in Rheumatoid than in osteoarthritis but it is still a problem and we know that
blocking inflammation reduces pain in all kinds of
- Reducing free radical
damage and glycation will help to reduce inflammation.
- Carnosine and
glutathione supplementation combined with the potent natural anti-inflammatory resveratrol will
practically stop the inflammatory process.
- The best
multi-nutritional supplements contain all of those
- The side benefits should include better overall health, an improved sense of well-being
and a reduced risk of all kinds of degenerative
Excessive body fat contributes
to chronic inflammation.
Being overweight or obese puts undue stress on the joints but that’s not the only
problem. Research has shown that reducing body fat, specifically, not just weight loss but a loss of body fat,
reduced pain in all of the joints of the body, not just the weight bearing joints. It is likely that the chronic
inflammation caused by the excess body fat is the main factor in this equation.
While no supplement can honestly be called a magic pill when it comes to fat loss,
a totally balanced multi-nutritional supplement designed for your sex (male or female) could help you lose body fat
by balancing your hormone levels and improving your nutrient intake to reduce feelings of hunger.
Some nutrients such as green tea and resveratrol seem to have “fat-burning”
activity. So, those could help too.
Regardless of your weight, your age or your sex, a good multi-nutritional
supplement combined with a kiwifruit prebiotic can help you
by addressing the causes of arthritis.
If you feel that you need even more help, there are
green lipped mussel supplements with proven benefits for arthritis and
other specialty supplements designed specifically for arthritis.
Instead of taking the risks, why not enjoy the benefits?
Give Natural a