Arthritis and Rheumatism,
Is a natural cure possible?
Dr. Robert Frost, PhD
This material is provided for informative purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult with your doctor or other health provider before making any changes to your diet, your exercise or any other factor of your health regime. Anyone following the advice provided in this article takes upon themselves and themselves alone the complete responsibility for doing so.
Why do I have arthritis, rheumatism or other chronic degenerative diseases?
Chronic inflammatory diseases generally only occur when the tissues of the body are excessively acidic. And, as long as the body remains acidic, medicines and curative techniques of all kinds will have only limited results. One theory of arthritis and rheumatism states that both are caused by minerals crystallizing out of solution into joints and tissues, producing inflammation and pain. This crystallization occurs only in a acid medium. When the tissues become neutral or slightly basic, these crystals dissolve and the pain ceases.
Some authorities claim that excess alkalinity in the body can cause osteoarthritis. However, excess alkalinity occurs much more seldom than excess acidity.
What is the meaning of acidic and basic or alkaline?
The acidity of a solution is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+). Alkalinity is a measure of the concentration of hydroxal ions (OH-
). Water has a neutral pH of 7. Acids have an excess of hydrogen ions (H+) and a pH reading from 0 to <7. The stomach acid has a pH of about 1.77 and is thus a very strong acid. Bases have a higher concentration of hydroxyl ions (OH-) from pH >7-14. Lye or sodium hydroxide (NaOH), that we use to dissolve mineral deposits out of clogged drains, is one of the most powerful (and poisonous) bases. Sodium hydroxide has nearly the maximum alkalinity of pH 14.
What is the ideal pH of my body?
The pH of the blood should be 7.41. It never changes much or we would die. The body buffers the pH of the blood so it can only change very slightly. The pH of saliva should be, on the average, nearly neutral - around pH 7. The pH of the urine should range between 6 and 8. However, it is normal that the saliva and urine pH values change throughout the day, making a precise assessment of the pH more difficult to determine.
How can I determine if my tissues are overly acidic?
Purchase a good pH paper at your local chemist or pharmacy. The company Merck makes a good variety that is inexpensive. Measure the pH of the saliva first thing in the morning before drinking or brushing ones teeth. This is the most telling time to measure the pH of the saliva. The morning pH reflects the end results of the digestion of the food from the day before. Measure it again through the day, always before meals and at least an hour after eating or drinking. The pH of the saliva should be slightly alkaline, around 7.2.
A far more precise way to measure the pH of the tissues of the body is to measure the pH of the urine every 1.5 hours for one day. Wet the pH paper with urine from the middle of the flow, using neither the first drops nor the last. Plot the results on a simple graph.
When food leaves the stomach, it is extremely acidic. When the partially digested food leaves the stomach and enters the duodenum, the juices from the pancreas which are rich in sodium bicarbonate neutralize the acid and produce a basic pH of about 8.0 which is ideal for digestion in the small intestine. This flood of basic juices is reflected in the pH of the urine. Ideally, the pH of the urine should be acidic and become basic after meals. If it does not become basic (above 7.0) about an hour after meals, the body is not producing sodium bicarbonate in adequate quantities and is therefore overly acidic. The ideal morning pH of the urine is in the range 6.2-6.5.
Where does my body store this excess acidity?
The excess acid is mostly stored in the connective tissues. Connective tissues make up the ligaments, tendons, fascia, walls of cells, bones and teeth. The main storage place of excess acid is in the ground substance or matrix, a gel-like connective tissue that is located between every cell in the body. All transport of water, nutrients and other chemicals into and out of cells occurs through this ground substance. Its health and proper function determines the health of the body. When too much acid (or other toxic chemicals) are stored in the ground substance, this transport is interferred with and the health of the body suffers.
The main constituent of all connective tissues is collagen. This elastic substance keeps our skin firm and young looking. Collagen is produced from vitamin C. Unlike most animals, humans cannot produce their own vitamin C. The health of the ground substance is therefore dependent upon our daily ingestion of adequate amounts of vitamin C.
But vitamin C is an acid. Shouldnt I avoid eating acids?
When your tissues are in a state of excess acidity, you should avoid the intake of acids. My solution is to mix vitamin C powder with an equal quantity of sodium bicarbonate. Then I mix two level teaspoons of this mix into water with a little orange or lemon juice. It fizzes, releases carbon dioxide and becomes the neutral salt, sodium ascorbate. This provides my body with an adequate daily dose of a non-acidic source of vitamin C.
How can I rid my body of excess acidity?
The body needs pure water to wash out its waste products and any toxic wastes. Water should be drunk between meals, in the time between two hours after eating and one-half hour before eating the next meal. When water alone is drunk, the body goes into cleaning mode instead of digestion mode. We need 1-3 liters of extra water between meals every day. Unless you have kidney problems or congestive heart failure, you probably cannot drink too much water. Most people drink far to little water. I drink two glasses of warm water as soon as I awake. Make that a habit and your health will improve.
Meats, milk products, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, eggs, vinegar, aspirin, grains and sugars all make the body more acidic. The only grains that produce a nearly neutral pH are millet, quinoa and amaranth. Try eating these instead of the more typical consumption of oatmeal and rice. Any food prepared or served with sugar produces an acidic reaction in the body. Fruits have a mixed effect. Small quantities of oranges, eaten in the morning, have a mild alkalizing effect. Large quantities or eaten in the evening can acidify the tissues. Many other fruits have a similar reaction and are best to eat raw, well chewed, early in the day, in limited quantities.
Most vegetables make the body more basic. One of the most basic of foods is the potato. As long as one has no allergies to the nightshade family of plants (which include potato, tomato, eggplant, chilies and tobacco), eating large quantities of potatoes is one of the best ways to reduce acidity in the tissues. Try eating potatoes instead of bread. For example, I have them with my soft boiled egg for breakfast. I take already boiled potatoes with me for a snack or have them with linseed oil for a meal.
Moderate exercise eliminates acidity through the exhalation of carbon dioxide. A brisk 20 minute walk daily is adequate for the desirable effect and works wonders for the health of the body. However, excess overly-strenuous exercise produces lactic acid in the muscles and makes the body more acidic. Exercise regularly, but dont overdo it. I bounce vigorously on my large gymnastic ball for ten minutes in front of my open window every morning. Hopping on a trampoline is an excellent way to get your daily exercise, especially when the weather makes it less desirable to walk outdoors. Bouncing pumps bodily wastes out of the tissues, through the lymph vessels and out of the body. Sweating eliminates wastes through the skin. Do both daily.
My body is so acidic that diet doesnt seem to change the pH. How can I more swiftly change this extreme state of acidity?
The body stores excess acid in the ground substance. It takes time to eliminate this stored acid. The process can be assisted by taking a good basic powder. This is available from health food stores or from your chemist/pharmacist. Check the label. Some basic powders contain aluminum, barium or other toxic metals. Do not take these! If you cant find a good basic powder, have your chemist mix up one of the following formulas:
Basic Powder II
CaCO3 100 gr.
NaHCO3 80 gr.
KHCO3 10 gr.
Na3PO4 10 gr.
Basic Powder III
NaHCO3 105 gr.
CaCO3 20 gr.
Mg citrate 40 gr.
K citrate 15 gr.
KHCO3 10 gr.
Na3PO4 10 gr.
Take 1/4 - 1 teaspoon in warm water before going to bed. If necessary, you may also take the same dose between meals. Since it will neutralize your stomach acid which you need for digestion, never take basic powders before eating! If your morning urine becomes too alkaline (over 7.0), reduce the dosage. If the morning urine remains too acidic (under 6.2), increase the dosage. It is easier to drink when mixed with more water.
Basic Powder formula III contains magnesium. People who are deficit in magnesium should take this formula. Basic powders should not be taken for extended periods of time. When your pH returns to the normal levels, keep it there with changes of diet and regular moderate exercise.
What causes excess inflammation and how can I reduce it?
When tissues are damaged, inflammation is the bodys first reaction. Inflammation is good and necessary to begin the repair of the tissues. However, after a few days, inflammation should stop and the repair process completed. When inflammation continues, swelling of tissues, pain and delayed healing are among the results.
Inflammation is mainly controlled by three chemicals in the body, Prostaglandin 1, 2 and 3. These chemicals were first detected in the prostate gland and were thus named prostoglandins. Later they were found throughout the body in both men and women. Prostaglandin 2 produces inflammation. Prostaglandin 1 and 3 inhibit inflammation. When inflammation continues longer than physiologically desirable, the cause is often an excess of prostaglandin 2 and a deficit of prostaglandin 1 and 3.
The body makes the inflammation producing prostaglandin 2 primarily from animal fats. Eating excess fatty meats and milk products is a main cause of excess inflammation.
The precursors of prostaglandin 1 are the omega 6 oils found in sunflower, safflower, olive, corn and cottonseed oils. In the presence of adequate zinc, magnesium and vitamin B-6 these are first changed into gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). Direct sources of GLA are evening primrose, barrage and black current oils. The consumption of over-heated or hydrogenated (trans-) fats, alcohol, meat and milk products can inhibit the production of GLA.
The body makes Prostaglandin 1 from GLA. This process requires adequate vitamin C, B-6, niacin and low dosages of vitamin E (400 IE per day is adequate). The transformation of GLA into prostaglandin 1 is inhibited by aspirin and other non-specific anti-rheumatic (NSAR) medicines such as ibuprofen, lithium, food additives (preservatives, coloring agents etc), and high doses of vitamin E (over 800 IE daily).
Prostaglandin 3 is made from the omega 3 oils. The most concentrated source of omega 3 oils (actually fatty acids) is flax seed (linseed) oil. Other good sources include hemp, walnut, soya, wheat germ and sesame oils. The body transforms these first into Eicosapentic acid (EPA). This process is stimulated by niacin and inhibited by trans-fats and alcohol. Fish oils are an excellent source of EPAs. However, most fish oils also contain a high concentration of pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
In the presence of low levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, B-6 and magnesium, the body transforms EPAs into prostaglandin 3. This process is inhibited by aspirin and other NSARs, high dosages of vitamin E, lithium and food additives.
But I dont eat much animal fat. I dont drink much alcohol. I avoid hardened fats, food additives and Ive stopped taking aspirin. Why do I still have excess inflammation?
The answer is this: Without adequate amounts of EPAs, the body changes the good GLAs (the precursors of prostaglandin 1) into arachnid acid and from there into the inflammation producing prostaglandin 2. To avoid this undesirable transformation, we need to eat more sources of EPAs. Flax seed oil has more omega 3 oil (the precursor of EPAs) than any other vegetable source. However, it oxidizes rapidly and easily becomes rancid. For this reason, it should be bought fresh-pressed, in small quantities, kept closed and refrigerated. Eat about 1-2 soup spoonfuls daily. If you take vitamin E, take it with the flax seed oil. For sore joints, adding wheat germ oil can also be helpful.
So what is your health formula, especially to eliminate arthritis and rheumatism?
Eat less meat, alcohol, sugar, milk products, coffee, chocolate and hardened fats (margarine, candy bars and french fries!). Drink less alcohol. Drink more water, between meals. Take vitamin C with sodium bicarbonate. Measure your pH and take basic powder for a short time as needed to break out of the excess acidic state. Eat much more vegetables, especially potatoes is you have no allergy to them. Eat two soup spoonfuls of Flax seed oil daily, one in the morning and one in the evening. Take a good multi-vitamin, mineral, trace element, enzyme supplement. Take a brisk walk or some other lightly strenuous exercise for 20 minutes daily. Bounce on a ball or a trampoline. Following this regime, many of my patients have rid themselves of the problems of arthritis, rheumatism, and many other common ailments.
The above advice is good general health advice. However, everyone in an individual and reacts differently. For this reason, if you have access to a qualified therapist who can test your foods and remedies with Applied Kinesiology muscle testing, you will have better results.
Is it possible to reduce the calcium deposits of arthritic joints?
Following the above regime will usually relieve the pain or arthritis and reduce the swelling of the soft tissues in the affected joints. Some patients have also experienced a reduction of the increased bone mass that arthritis often creates. Reducing tissue acidity can assist in this process. Beyond that, the most effective way to dissolve the deposits of minerals in the joints and eliminate undesirable chemicals from the body is to increase the intake of metabolic enzymes. These should be taken on an empty stomach so that they are not used for digestion, but are rather absorbed into the bloodstream. Then they can dissolve fatty deposits from the walls of the veins and arteries, dissolve arthritic deposits from the joints and remove waste products and other undesired chemicals from the body.
Ive heard that anti-oxidants are a factor that contributes to inflammation. What are the most effective anti-oxidants?
Tissues are irritated by free radicals. These corrosive oxygen ions (O-
) are naturally produced by chemical processes within the body. Stress of all kinds (chemical, mental/emotional, physical) produces even more free radicals in the body. Smokers inhale vast quantities of free-radicals with each puff.
The body has special enzymes to neutralize free radicals, but the quantity is not usually adequate to cope with the extra stresses modern living produces. We also need to eat natural anti-oxidants. The best known nutritive antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, beta-carotenes and gluthionine. It is very important to get enough of these nutrients daily. Recently, far more effective anti-oxidants have been discovered. These proanthocyanidines are found in the bark, skin and seeds of fruits; parts we usually do not eat. One popular brand name for proanthocyanidines that are extracted from the bark of the marine pine is pycnogenol. Proanthocyanidines (Oligo ProanthoCyanins -OPCs) are the precursors of anthocyanidines; the chemicals that produce the beautiful colors of leaves and flowers. They are only found in fruit that has been ripened on the tree. It is very concentrated in the skins and seeds of ripe grapes.
Proanthocyanidines are far stronger than other nutritive anti-oxidants. Tests have revealed them to be over 50 times stronger than vitamin E as an anti-oxidant. Relief from inflammation can be obtained by taking proanthocyanidines. A therapeutic dosage is 1 mg per pound of body weight. After about one week, that dosage can be cut back to 0.5 mg per pound with equal effect.
The following is an article I wrote about OPCs:
Proanthocyanidins - A Breakthrough in Creating and Maintaining Health
- Dr. Robert Frost
Free radicals, poisonous single atoms of oxygen and other ions, may be the underlying mechanism for most diseases. They have been implicated in ADD, Alzheimers, Arthritis, Hemorrhoids, Parkinsons, Rheumatism, Heart Attack, Aids, Cataracts, Stroke, Cancer, Stress/Jet Lag, Senility, Varicose Veins, Phlebitis and Swollen Extremities. They contribute to wrinkling of the skin, decline of kidney functions and susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. Free radicals are produced naturally within the body as well as by sunlight, pollution of all kinds, and radiation (including computer and TV screens). The body contains mechanisms to neutralize a certain amount of free radicals. However, modern lifestyles expose us to far more free radicals than our bodies are able to neutralize. It is no wonder that doctors recommend that we eat more foods containing the well-known anti-oxidant free radical scavengers Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Selenium and Zinc.
Recently, a group of natural plant substances, proanthocyanidins, also known as Pycnogenol® has been found to be the most powerful anti-oxidant of all. In clinical studies, it was found to be 50 times more effective than Vitamin C. It is totally non-toxic and has gone through extensive clinical research before being accepted as a pharmaceutical agent in France. Proanthocyanidins are swiftly absorbed and attach themselves to cell membranes of all types, especially those of the blood vessels and connective tissues. This protects the blood vessels, skin, joints, eyes etc. from damage due to free radicals and enzymes. Proanthocyanidins cross the blood-brain barrier and improve oxygenation of the brain which appears to be helpful in treating such mental problems as attention deficit syndrome (ADD).
History of Proanthocyanidins
In 1928 Albert Szent-Gyorgi isolated Vitamin C from citrus and other sources, for which he received the Nobel prize. While it was known that lemons would prevent scurvy, Vitamin C alone would not do so. Szent-Gyorgi reasoned that there must be further chemicals in citrus fruits that make the difference. He isolated citrus bioflavanoids and called them Vitamin P. However, while the mix of bioflavanoids and vitamin C worked better, various mixes of these two didnt always cure scurvy. This problem was solved in 1947 by the Jacques Masquelier. He discovered that the real Vitamin P were not flavonoids (which are mostly insoluble) but rather certain water-soluble flavenols containing 2 (dimers) or 3 (trimers) catechins linked together. These are referred to as Oligo ProanthoCyanins (OPCs). Anthocyanins are the red compounds that color flowers. Pro (meaning before) anthocyanins are the colorless compounds that later change into the red color of flowers and older leaves. They are found throughout the plant kingdom, most concentrated in flowers, leaves (especial hazel), fruits, berries, nuts, sorghum, beans and hops with high concentrations in skins, barks and seeds. The most feasible commercial sources are the seeds and skins of purple grapes and the bark of the French Maritime Pine. Pycnogenol® is the name Masquelier created to describe these chemicals. This name is now the exclusive property of one company who manufactures proanthocyanidins from this pine bark. In 1970, Masquelier found that proanthocyanidins from red grape seeds and skins have even greater free-radical scavenging effects than those from pine bark.
The French Paradox
Excess dietary fat is known to increase the incidence of heart disease. The French eat more fats than most any other cultural group. And yet they have less heart disease than in most other countries (60% less than is USA). This has been attributed to their high consumption of red wine. The active ingredient in red wine that so protects the heart is now recognized to be flavan-3-ol (proanthocyanidins).
Although they are prevalent in nature, proanthocyanidins are mostly in the parts of foods that we throw away: bark, skins, seeds, core. And they are only formed when fruits are very ripe. Food bought at markets is most always picked before the proanthocyanidins have been formed. Therefore, even people who buy and eat fresh foods may have a deficiency in this Vitamin P.
My personal studies with Applied Kinesiology have revealed that proanthocyanidins can neutralize the muscle-weakening effect of many allergens and of therapy localization to sore joints. I have found no one who tests allergic to proanthocyanidins themselves.
Proanthocyanidins are natural food substances that are completely non-toxic.Extensive clinical studies have revealed that adding proanthocyanidins in doses of 1 mg/pound of body weight to the daily diet can improve the symptoms or even eliminate arthritis, rheumatism, heart disease, varicose veins, bruising, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, senility and many of the other diseases and health problems plaguing us today.
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