Rheumatoid Arthritis – when your body declare war on itself !

As opposed to Osteoarthritis which is caused by wearing and tearing down cartilage in joints through a lifetime of use, Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by an autoimmune response that causes the immune system to attack it’s own body.

There’s no cure and there’s no way of healing it since there’s no blood flow to the cartilage. if diagnosed early then Rheumatoid Arthritis can however be stoped or slowed down from progressing. However only 50% of treated patients will experience a reduction in disease activity. Since Rheumatoid Arthritis also carries and increased risk of cardio vascular diseases that number is way to low.

in the latest article I looked at Omega 3 as a natural way of reducing or even eliminate the pain from Arthritis – However a study published last year in JCI insight takes it a step further.

Because Omega 3 is a precursor to the prostaglandin ( a group of compounds with hormone like effect) group Specialized Proresolving Lipid Mediators (SPM) that decreases inflammation and inhibits the neutrophils that attacks the joints, these scientists decided to see if fish oil suppelements could raise SPM levels in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The trial did show an increase of the SPM Resolvin, along with significantly reduced joint inflammation to keep it short – the study more then implied that Rheumatoid Arthritis can be stoped by the use of a potent Omega 3 supplement.

Furthermore a study published in Annals of The Rheumatic Diseases on people who are genetically at risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis actually showed that fish oil plays a huge role in preventing rheumatoid Arthritis by regulating the number of antibodies that cause the disease.

These studies along with the knowledge we have on Omega 3 and pain relief makes it a must to be taking fishtail if you have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Further Rading and source material:

Proresolving and cartilage-protective actions of resolvin D1 in inflammatory arthritis

Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a lower prevalence of autoantibodies in shared epitope-positive subjects at risk for rheumatoid arthritis

Is there a natural way to relieve pain from Arthrtis ?

If suffering from Arthritis then you are probably also suffering from severe pain. Most likely your physician has also prescribed you an NSAID (Non Sterodial Anti Inflammatory Drug) such as Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Voltaren, or Celecoxib.

The problem with using these drugs are their severe side effects, such as ulcers, vomiting, nausea, asthma or allergic reactions, & elevated risk of heart attack and stroke.

As such not a type of drugs that you would love to take on a daily basis – and if you do then you are most definitely placing yourself at risk. The worst of it is that for most patients with arthritis they lower the pain, but they do not take it away. So the obvious question is – is it worth it ? and is there a natural way to relieve joint pain ?

The answer to the first question should be up to you – I am not the one with your pain and it has to be your choice if it’s worth it. The answer to the second question is YES Most definitely there is. You should not be forced to be stuck with crappy lethal NSAID drugs that do not work, because you DO have a CHOICE !

Osteoarthritis is caused by chronic inflammation in your joints. The inflammation in the joint is what triggers the pain nerve and causes the sensation of pain. Inflammation is actually a natural part of the body’s healing process, but the inflammation is not supposed to be chronic. However the anti-inflammatory chemicals that the body uses to turn the inflammation off, is constructed from the food we eat, and since most of us eat more pro-inflammatory food then anti-inflammatory foods we end up with a body that can’t turn off all the inflammatory fires inside us – and we say hello chronic pain !

One of those nutrients that the body uses to inhibit both pain and inflammation is Omega 3.

Most joint pains comes from osteoarthritis, which means that the cartilage in the joint is more or less broken down. This increases the friction in the joint which causes inflammation which in turn causes the pain. In Rheumatoid Arthritis however it’s an acute inflammation caused by the body immune system to attack the joints. As such Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease and again the key to getting rid of the pain is by reducing the inflammation.

Osteoarthritis can’t be cured since there’s no blood flow to the cartilage, so the cartilage can’t be rebuild. The same goes for Rheumatoid Arthritis if the attacks has caused the cartilage to be broken down.

So what could you do ? Well let’s start with the pain.

When someone has chronic joint pain then the first thing that I suggest is that they test their Omega 3/6 balance. A significant imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 could be why chronic pain continues.

Omega 6 delivers the raw material for both the pain transmitting chemicals in our body as well as the pro-inflammatory chemicals. Omega 3 on the other hand deliver the raw material to the pain inhibiting chemicals as well as the anti-inflammatory chemicals the body need in order to turn inflammation off. The problem however is that 95% of the population has 12-25 times more Omega 6 then Omega 3.

Therefore, adding a high quality fish oil supplement can both remove inflammation and lower the pain.

What is arthritis – and what old school doctors are missing !

There’s actually more then 100 different types of Arthritis. We are not going through all of them today, but looking into the two most common types of Arthritis – Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis: In this condition you wear and tear the cartilage in the joints down. The cartilage in the joints absorb the shock from movements, and in the most critical cases it ends up being bone against bone, which is severely painful.

In the past Osteoarthritis was classified as non inflammatory Arthritis. However modern research has proven that to be a false. Unfortunately a lot of old school doctors who do not keep up with evolution is still saying non inflammatory Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by chronic inflammation in the joints. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body is not fed with enough anti inflammatory compounds to turn the acute inflammation off. Due to the inflammation the cartilage wears down as we use our joints, until there’s nothing or very little left.

Common symptoms of Osteoarthritis can be: deep aching pain, trouble getting dressed or combing your hair, difficulty with gripping things, problems with climbing stairs, stiffness after resting or sleeping, pain during movement, warm or swollen joints and inability to move through a full range og motion.

arthritis, joint pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis: on the other hand has always been categorized as inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own immune system attacks the joints and cause inflammation.

There is however still confusion over why Rheumatoid Arthritis set off. There are those who believe that the immune system gets confused from an infection of virus or bacteria.

What we do know though is that the antibody Anti-Cyclic Citrulinated Peptide (anti-CCP) is present in most patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Along with a number of other blood tests and other diagnostic tools can anti-CCP be used to diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as estimate the severity of the disease.

Researchers has made the discovery that Rheumatoid patients who test positive for anti-CCP, have a common sequence of amino acids called the shared epitope, which is encoded into specific genetic markers – Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). The HLA is producing proteins that control immune responses. One theory is that the shared epitope could be responsible for creating the anti-CCP antibodies by attaching to these proteins.

So scientists really doesn’t know yet what’s causing Rheumatoid Arthritis. We know that there’s a genetic pre disposition to Rheumatoid Arthritis through anti-CCP and Rheumatoid Factor (RF) but most people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn’t have a family history.

However knowing that in both cases of Arthritis inflammation plays a significant triggering role, then we get back to what I’ve been saying for years – that lifestyle and nutritional choices is a much bigger factor in our health then genetics.

If you hold that thought then let’s take a look at who’s in the highest risk group of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Women is more likely to get Rheumatoid Arthritis then men
  • Overweight people are more prone to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • If you smoke, you are more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis and if you do, your symptoms are likely to be more severe
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is more likely to appear at 40-60 years of age
  • If you are exposed to asbestos and Silica you are more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis
    All risk factors with the exception of gender, and partly but not solely age, is risk factors that blow chronic inflammation off the charts. Fat cells produce vast numbers of inflammatory compounds like their life depended on it ( and in a way it does) so overweight people are by definition highly inflamed. Smoking elevates inflammation like no other thing you could ever be exposed to, and environmental toxins are also a source of inflammation.

    All in all, there’s a puzzle that forms a pretty clear picture – Chronic inflammation is the trigger to both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis – so making sure that your diet is anti inflammatory is not only the best way to prevent arthritis but also the best way to control it, if you already have it.

    Blood Pressure issues could be due to unbalanced diet !

    Going back just a few years, blood pressure was the number one guideline to determine a patients health status in the medical field. That has changed, both because blood pressure is highly inaccurate – most people get anxious when they see the blood pressure measuring equipment and as such get further raised blood pressure values due to anxiety, but also because high blood pressure can be a chronic condition that is not linked to an immediate threat.

    However a chronic high (hypertension) or low (hypotension) blood pressure can be a marker for health related issues, and most of them are diet induced.

    But what is blood pressure ? Blood pressure consists of two readings – systolic value and diastolic value. When your heart beats, it contracts and push blood through your body – this creates pressure on your arteries and is the systolic blood pressure. A normal systolic blood pressure is 120 or below. Consistent readings of 140 or higher is considered hypertension.

    The Diastolic value indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rest between beats. A normal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or less, and a value of 90 or more, on consistent measurements is considered hypertension.

    Knowing that, why could my blood pressure go up or down ? In acute incidents of high or low blood pressure it could indicate a heart problem, heart attack, stroke, an infection, and anxiety attack or general ill-being. Pulse is also an important co factor here. But something as simple as lack of sleep can cause rapid hypertension.

    However in this article I want to move away from the acute cases ( which by the way should always be treated by a physician or qualified medical professional) and move over to the chronic cases.

    High blood pressure can be an indicator of heart disease or diabetes and should function as a clear sign of chronic inflammation, and these are the first things you should look for in cases of chronic high blood pressure. Most common to get chronic high blood pressure is: those older then 55, overweight, inactive, heavy alcohol drinkers, smokers and those who regularly use medications such as Ibuprofen and Asprin. Same goes for regular use of decongestants ( for nose clots) and illegal drugs such as cocaine.

    The medical profession states that in 95% of Essential Hypertension ( Chronic high blood pressure) the cause can not be determined.

    This is where all common sense stops as they say ” We don’t know why your blood pressure is high, but take this drug it will help you”.

    The reason why it is like that – and the US number more or less mirrors the rest of the world is that doctors don’t know anything about nutrition. There’s a point to why the education they take to become physicians is called medicine and not health. Because a physician is not supposed to know what to do to make you healthy, only which medicine to give you once it’s to late.

    One essential contributor to chronic hypertension is the imbalance between the two fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. In Europe we consume on average 15 times as much Omega 6 as we do Omega 3. if you doubt me, just ask yourself how many fatty fish you ate the last week, and then start reading labels on your groceries – if you find words like soy, canola, rapeseed etc. then it’s Omega 6.

    The problem with hypertension and imbalance between these two essential fatty acids is that they both serve different roles in regulating blood pressure.

    Omega 6 is a precursor to a hormone like substance that promotes vasoconstriction, while Omega 3 is a precursor to a hormone like substance that promotes vasodilation. This means Omega 6 makes the arteries contract and Omega 3 makes them dilate or expand.

    This is one of several reasons why optimal balance between Omega 6 and 3 should be 1:1. Now imagine that you have two different armies of workers running around in your arteries. One of them contracting and the other dilating. What would happen if for each dilating worker you had 15 or more contracting workers? Exactly your arteries contract and your blood pressure goes up.

    But the Omega 6/3 balance is not the only factor when it comes to chronic high blood pressure. Vitamin D plays another essential role.

    What we know is that the further from the equator we live, the higher the average blood pressure. That tells us that sunlight, hence Vitamin D plays an essential role in regulating our blood pressure.

    We know that Vitamin D deficiency will increase parathyroid hormone, and high parathyroid hormone levels will raise blood pressure.

    If we look at research towards Vitamin D and blood pressure, then a randomized placebo controlled study published in the American Journal of Hypertension 2012 found that vitamin D3 supplementation significantly decreased blood pressure.

    Another study carried out by Center for Clinical & Transitional Science concluded that Vitamin D deficiency “serves as a trigger to contribute to the development of EH (Essential Hypertension) in vulnerable middle-aged people”.

    Low blood pressure on the other hand can be just as fatal as high blood pressure but the cause can be much more complicated to find.

    Low blood pressure (Hypotension) can be caused by long bedrest, pregnancy, decreased blood volume, medications, endocrine problems, septic shock (blood infection), allergic reactions, standing up in a prolonged period of time, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.

    If you feel symptoms of low blood pressure, and you haven’t been in bed for a long time, been standing up for most part of the day, ain’t having an allergic reaction, you are not pregnant and you are not on medication for Parkinson, Depression, Erectile Dysfunction, and you don’t feel better after drinking a glass or two of water then I would seek medical advice immediately.

    However if after receiving medical care, and they’ve ruled out any acute problems, or haven’t found a cause, and the problem continues then you should start taking a Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplement as deficiency can lead to Anemia ( a decrease in red blood cells) and also supplement with Vitamin D to regulate your Thyroid. Both Thyroid conditions and Anemia can lead to low blood pressure.

    Further Reading:

    Effect of Cholecalciferol Supplementation During Winter Months in Patients With Hypertension: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

    Vitamin D Deficiency and Essential Hypertension

    Prebiotics may reduce stress related insomnia !

    New research carried out by Monika Fleshner at University of California (Boulder) shows that probiotics might reduce stress related insomnia.

    Prebiotics are dietary fibers naturally found in Chicory, artichokes, raw garlic, leeks, cabbage and onions. They serve as the main food for the guts healthy bacterias the probiotics, and science suggests that adding prebiotics is much more efficient in restoring a healthy gut
    micro biome then adding the probiotics itself.

    Fleshner’s study was carried out on 3 week old male rats that was fed chow with or without probiotics.

    The study found that the rats fed a prebiotic diet spend more time in NREM sleep which is the restorative sleep cycle, compared to the rats on a non prebiotic diet. This pattern was also found after exposing the rats to stress.

    The study concludes that it’s still to early to say that probiotics should be a recommended supplement as a sleep aid and that we need to conduct more studies.

    From a personal point of view, I say that the findings are extremely interesting. We know already that stress distorts the gut micro biome, and as such it makes sense for stressed people to digest prebiotics. We also know that keeping a healthy micro biome in the gut helps to lower chronic inflammation, and that stress induces inflammation. So there’s a lot of the findings in this study that makes sense – and taking prebiotics together with saffron ( which we have covered in a number of articles on this blog) might actually be a really good choice to combat stress related insomnia.

    Is your fish oil toxic ?

    One of the biggest health challenges in todays modern society is maintaining optimal Omega 3 to Omega 6 balance. This is supported by science and is one of the most well documented health subjects of all times.

    In Europe we consume about 15 times as much pro inflammatory Omega 6 as anti inflammatory Omega 3 – leading to a number of diseases.

    There are many reasons why we don’t consume the amounts of fish any more as we used to. One of the reasons is most likely that we haven’t been growing up on fish, and if we haven’t been used to eating fish during childhood then it can take some getting used to. Another reason is that good quality non farmed fish is rather expensive in most parts of the western world, and then there’s the toxicity issue.

    Sadly our oceans have never been as polluted as they are today and a huge concern is heavy metals such as Mercury and Arsenic, Cadmium, and lead or Dioxin, PCB’s and Furans, that build up in the fish and transfers to us as we eat them.

    As a general guideline – the bigger the fish the higher the toxicity level. Big fish and fish who eat other fish are more likely to store toxins.

    In the case of Mercury, you can assume that you are eating high amounts of Mercury by eating Swordfish, Shark, Tilefish, or King Mackerel – but also Cod should be limited.

    But if we are to solve the current health crisis and get into balance then we need those Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet. this is where the fish oil supplement industry comes to our rescue. Luckily today most fish oil supplements go through a purification process, molecular distillation. Fortunately this process removes those or most of those toxic impurities.

    Some manufactures however confuse freshness with purity. They claim that the shorter the route from sea to product the purer product you get. This is absolutely not true.

    If you want a fish oil that is as pure as possible, guaranteed to be as free as possible from toxic waste – avoid fishoils made from Shark or Cod, and instead find an oil that is manufactured on small fish like anchovy or sardines. Not only are these small fish extremely high in Omega 3 but they also build up less toxins then their bigger counterparts, who add just a bit more toxins to their livers each time they eat another fish. This also means that the risk of toxic residues after the purification process has been done is much lower then if you buy i.e. a cod based fishoil. Another reason why anchovy and sardines are cleaner then their big brothers is that their lifespan is shorter which means that they don’t have the same time to build up toxins.

    The supplement industry can be a jungle, personally I strictly and only recommend Balance Oil , which is produced on small fish and has 200.000 consumer tests to prove that it works.


    A group og researchers at Stanford University set their minds into studying how one night of poor sleep would affect brain function.

    David M. Holzman and colleagues studied 17 adults between 35 and 65 years of age. None of them had problems with sleeping but half of them was for one single night exposed to sounds that would keep them from deep uninterrupted sleep.

    What the study found was that a single night of poor sleep boost amyloid beta, a protein that has been linked with Alzheimers. The study also found that a full week of poor sleep elevates tau, another brain protein tied to brain damage in Alzheimers and a number of other neurological diseases.

    The study report acknowledges that the weakness of the study is the small study group but gives a clear picture as to what sleep means for not only the risk of Alzheimers but also other neurological diseases.

    In my opinion the most alarming finding in this study is that just one night of poor sleep is enough to elevate amyloid beta – and that given how easy the protein is raised, it also points to a link between stress and Alzheimers as well as other neurological diseases.