each 10 pounds lost, 40 pounds of pressure is liſted from the knee. “But it’s not simply about the load on

the joints,” says Blum. Fat cells release compounds called

inflammatory cytokines, which can boost inflammation and pain. And new research from the University of Rochester, in New York, suggests that obesity may also impair the gut microbiome (beneficial bacteria lining the gastrointestinal tract), further exacerbating arthritis. “Tere is no doubt that the gut bacteria

are involved in the onset and perpetuation of inflammation and pain in arthritis,” says Blum. When researchers fed mice the equiv-

alent of a “cheeseburger and milkshake” diet for 12 weeks, doubling their body fat, they found more pro-inflammatory bacteria in their colon, more cartilage deterioration than in lean mice and more inflammation in their knees.

Healing the Gut Heals Joints Blum explains that dysbiosis, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract, can damage its fragile lining, allowing bits of bacteria to enter the bloodstream and ignite an autoimmune response. Dysbiosis can be kick-started by antibiotics, drugs like proton pump inhibitors, bad diet or stress, says Blum, who battled autoimmune arthritis aſter her son had a traumatic accident. For curbing arthritis through the gut mi-

crobiome, the science is young. A few small human studies conducted in China and Finland suggest that ingesting specific strains of Lactobacillus (including casei, acidophilus, reuteri and rhamnosus) and Bifidobacterium (bifidum and infantis) may decrease inflam- mation and pain associated with arthritis. In the University of Rochester study,

overweight mice fed prebiotics (indigest- ible fibers that good bacteria feed on) had less arthritis progression. Blum recommends taking antimicrobi-

al herbs like oregano oil to heal a gut over- grown with bad bacteria and a high-qual- ity probiotic supplement to replenish good bacteria. She also suggests ditching processed food and products with refined sugar, along with known allergens like gluten, soy and dairy, which can spawn inflammation. Avoid nightshade vegeta- bles like tomatoes, potatoes and peppers, which anecdotally have been suggested to aggravate joint pain. Overall, strive for a plant-based diet high in fiber, colorful, antioxidant-rich vegetables and “good” fats. One recent Michigan State Univer- sity study found that when osteoarthritis patients switched to a plant-based diet for six weeks, they experienced less pain than those in the meat-eating control group.

Exercise Smart When joint pain begins to flare up, a carefully chosen workout may be exact- ly what’s needed for relief. A.J. Gregg, a

chiropractor in Flagstaff, Arizona, says,

“Tere is an element of ‘use-it-or-lose it’.” Te proper exercise depends partly on which joints are affected. He notes that properly executed strength training exercises like liſting weights can stabilize muscles around joints, easing strain and preventing arthritis from accelerating. Low-impact aerobic exercises like cycling or swimming can fuel the production and flushing of fluids through the joints without overloading them. Tai chi can im- prove range of motion. Even running, long falsely maligned as a precursor to arthritis, can help prompt cartilage cells to divide and replenish faster, research suggests. A study of 75,000 runners by research-

ers at Lawrence Berkeley National Labo- ratory, in California, found that they were less likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee than less active people. A subsequent paper by University of Illinois researchers found that while each running step levels more force on joints than a walking step, the foot hits the ground less oſten, so when it comes to wear and tear, it approximates the effect of walking. “Running doesn’t set peo- ple up for earlier development of osteoarthri- tis, and can in fact be protective,” says Gregg, stressing that proper form, a soſt running surface and moderation are all important.

Regenerative Injections For more advanced cases of osteoarthritis, Seenauth recommends regenerative injec-

• Serving patients and their families with restorative care using tooth-colored dental materials

• Providing dental treatment for medically-compromised patients and those with allergies and chemical sensitivities

• Offering initial exams, consultations, second opinion evaluations, and collaboration with patients’ health care providers


1858 Hillandale Road Ste 200 • Durham, NC 27705 919-471-1064 •

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