Category Archives: Detox News

The Rise of Detox and Its Role in Natural Therapies

detox and natural remediesThere is a large and rising number of Detox articles, diets and products nowadays so awareness and practise of detoxification is increasing. But to me a Naturopath using Detox as a normal part of everyday treatment, most of it appearing confused shallow and often totally wrong.

Time to ask some questions about detox and the first one is where does it fit when compared against Natural treatments and remedies.

Natural therapies have been all that we have had to turn to until relatively recently. So a little history may help put things in perspective follows.

It was the popularisation of antibiotics in the 20th Century that really “beat the drum” for drug based medicine, even though antibiotics had been used both in ancient Egypt and India and perhaps in other places too.

Mass markets were clamouring for products and a need for effective medicines to cope with injuries sustained in the Second World war. Added to that there was a Scientific mindset growing at the time that wanted to move on and move away from traditional choices.

The love for new things was such that even unhealthy practises like cigarettes were receiving popular and even professional support. Smoking was being popularised and Medical Doctors were recommending it as, “Good for the lungs”.

Our food choices were changing too. A whole world of technologically driven processed foods entered our stores and new appliances found their way into the home.

It was not just our medicine that was changing; a tide of change swept through Western and other societies and altered not just the practise of what we did but the underlying rational too.

A lot of this change was welcomed and many old methods abandoned happily. New understanding and research opened up new horizons even in staid subjects such as dietetics – what best to eat for our health.

Meals were then based on a rote formula like “Meat and 2 vegetables” and new data showed that this “default setting” was questioned by a, soon to be famous researcher, called Ancel Keys.

We are now into the 1950s and Public Health officials were looking at what large numbers of people were dying of. Blame started to accrue to smoking and many Doctors started to campaign on this issue. Decades were wasted and many innocent people died due to governments around the world resisting the unwelcome facts that so called “lifestyle” diseases were killing millions. Attention shifted to diet too and rightly or wrongly Keys pointed the finger of blame for the huge rise in deaths from Cardiac disease at the amount of cholesterol in the food.

All through this era Naturopathic Doctors were keeping their powder dry. None of the new drug discoveries or the diet changes impacted on their understanding of what a healthy diet was or on how the body heals. The tradition of Naturopathic medicine continued unabated in a low key way largely unheard of by the public.

But the public did hear from some renegade Doctors who ran into the facts that vitamins and some other food supplements are powerful enough to make a real difference to a seriously ill patient.

They heard from William Shute who pioneered the use of Vitamin E for Cardiac patients

They heard from Linus Pauling the Nobel Prize Winner who was a pioneer of the use of high dose vitamin C for various disorders.

And they heard from Abram Hoffer a trailblazer working with various nutrients such as Niacin.

Naturopaths did not really like this.

Pioneering Medical Doctors were not taking the whole caboodle from Naturopathy – they were picking and choosing the bits they liked and even paving the way for a new kind of therapy called Nutritional therapy that used a variety of vitamins, minerals and other natural substance found in food as medicines.

Hippocrates is always said to the “Father” of medicine but Medical Doctors pay no heed to his teachings and oppose and scorn Naturopaths who do follow them religiously.

The teaching of importance at this point is, “Let they food be thy medicine”. Food and diet is an absolute priority for Naturopathic Doctors and a matter completely ignored by Medical Doctors.

The new rebel Doctors pioneering vitamins came into the space between the medics and the Naturopaths and formed their own new kind of medicine called Orthomolecular Medicine, meaning medicine using the correct molecules – found of course in healthy foods.

Not drug molecules you understand but vitamin molecules. They pioneered Nutritional Medicine.

You'd think that this new take on the use of vitamins would delight the Naturopaths but they ignored it. They did not like the fact that the diet as a whole was not being optimised, they criticised vitamins being used “like drugs” and of course there were a lot of other Naturopathic techniques they knew that the new crowd did not know!

Not invented here? I think so!

Of course the old guard never invent anything; it is new people coming into the field not knowing what they are supposed to think that blunder into new discoveries.

Thanks to quite a lot of “blundering” we now have some distinct choices for somebody wanting natural treatment for a malady.

They can consult a Naturopathic Doctor or Naturopath; they can see a Nutritionist who may be trained in Nutrition and perhaps no other healing modality; or they could consult a Herbalist.

Other options are somewhat peripheral – acupuncture for example is part of traditional Chinese Medicine and is used when needed to boost the treatments of herbs and diet – it us not supposed to be a stand-alone therapy; homeopathy is not a natural treatment in my view but a different and less harmful way of using drugs. Osteopathy and Chiropractic can of course support someone in their healing journey but are both focussed on the muscles and joints and that is their strength and in a way their weakness.

So that is the therapeutic landscape or at least my take on it.

So where does detox fit?

It fits right in the middle of traditional Naturopathy.

Whether we look at traditional Chinese medicine used right across the Far East or Ayurveda and similar systems used in and around India or to the Naturopathy native to Europe and the West inspired by Hippocrates.

Naturopathy is based on a deep respect for the healing power of the body and assisted by the Naturopath as necessary using whatever works from modern science or from traditional techniques.

Detox is a part of all Naturopathic traditions used when patients needed it or as a seasonal therapy or as a maintenance therapy.

Detox has 2 faces; part of it is simple to understand and tends to be called “Cleansing” – an example of which is Colon cleansing, done with gentle fibrous ingredients such as psyllium or with enema techniques; the other more technical part of detox is much less understood even by Naturopaths and has much in common with a technique used in Toxicology used chelation.

This is the use of various chemicals that bond and bind to a poison such as molecules of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and their like. The body has no use for these industrial pollutants and no way to detoxify or excrete them without help from a detox chemical.

As detoxification methods were further explored and the exact steps that the liver takes to detox pollution products in the bloodstream Naturopaths began to incorporate nutrients that played a key role in the detox process.

Detox then or at least this intensive and specialised part of it, came to resemble nutrition in that it was accomplished with a carefully assembled tool kit of vitamins, minerals and herbs and any other healing ingredients that the body needed such as spices and some foods.

We don't now have to wait for a seasonal cleanse or detox, we can use detox foods and nutrients in any meal we wish. Simply by using garlic or turmeric we can help ourselves detox.

In the light of a deeper understanding we can say that Detox is nutrition and nutrition is detox when they are both informed of the science detoxification pathways in the body and the natural and healthy ways of eating.


Scientifically Proven Home Remedies – a Kindle Book Review

Science and Home remedies don't often go together so a book that combines the 2 promises to be interesting. The book consists of 18 "home remedies"consisting of 10 herbal remedies 6 superfoods and 2 that I can only call miscellaneous!

Some are familiar herbs like White Willow bark and Echinacea but there are others I was not familiar with such as Red Vine Extract.

The herbs chosen are mostly easy to find in local shops so anyone wanting to try out some of these selections should be easily able to find a tincture or tablet in their local health store.

Feverfew is included which can be life-changing for anyone with migraines as well as St. John's Wort which has a good record of use in Depression.

Tea Anyone?

Green tea is one of the herbs included although we could call this a food! This is one of the most powerful and easy things a health conscious person could do – just add a cup green tea to the daily routine. It is a stronger taste than most tea – largely because it is drunk without milk.

Maybe you could add a little honey – another one of the foods included in the book?

There's also Hibiscus tea – used apparently for heavy duty issues like lowering LDL cholesterol and unclogging arteries. This is a new one to me and the book is worth getting just for this frankly.

Detox Too

Of particular interest to this blog is the inclusion of Milk Thistle – one of the most useful and versatile detox herbs and a real favourite of mine. Other detox stars included are Garlic, turmeric and ginger. the ginger could be in the tea section too because it is very easy to make ginger tea from dried ginger or with some grated ginger root.

I'm pleased to say that the author has a good discussion of Ginseng with several different uses and studies referenced.

The only bone I'd pick is that in his discussion of omega 3 oil he only mentions omega 3 fish oil and not omega 3 flax oil. Simple fact is that the seas are massively polluted and you can avoid that and get clean organic omega 3 from vegetable sources which is where the fish get them!

I hope this compilation of 18 home remedies will be followed by a volume 2 with another 18.

This is a thoroughly good book on Natural Remedies and I recommend it. To see the book on Amazon kindly use this link…

Scientifically Proven Home Remedies (UPDATED): Top 18 Home Remedies For Treating The Most Common Illnesses. Discover The Best Home Remedies For Headaches, Acne, Diarrhea, Sore Throat, Nausea And More!

Do you Follow the Low Carb High Hype Diet?

slice of whole meal bread with a smile cut into it What is the healthiest diet? Just ask the question and duck, because you will be assailed from all sides with opinions.

And it is not just opinions – we are told that studies show this and studies show that and we can end up not knowing what to eat to best boost our health.

Dr John McDougall discusses this dilemma in a video below and he focusses on the reality of large populations across the world doing well on diets of wheat, corn, barley, rye and rice and the modern love affair with the Atkins diet and its current presentation as the so called "Paleo" diet.

I have provided some screen shots from the video which may be useful but by all means scroll right by them and watch John McDougall video.

We start with a slide showing a recommended high carb diet from wheat,corn, barley or rice.

pie chart showing amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein in a high carb diet

And compare this kind of lifestyle and eating pattern aka "diet" with an Atkins style / Paleo distribution of carbohydrate, fat and protein

pie chart showing the amounts of carbohydrate,fat and protein in low carb diets

We then turn to the evidence of large well conducted research studies which all show that plant based high carbohydrate diets lead to less disease and a longer life.


Ignoring the Evidence

Study 1

Annals of Internal Medicine 2010

Study 2


from the british medical journal 2012

Study 3

PLoS one 2013



The Rice Diet

Created and tested by Dr Walter Kempner



composition of the rice dietFor extra info read

Walter Kempner and the Rice Diet: Challenging Conventional Wisdom


Photo Credit flickr

Osteoporosis: Are Your Bones Doomed To Crumble as You Age?

osteoporosis - posture changing with ageOsteoporosis is scary. We know that youngsters get stronger and longer bones as they age and this goes on to some extent right through our twenties. Round about age 30 though we reach peak bone mass and bone strength and our bones are expected to get weaker from then on as we continue to age.

This loss of bone mass and strength is called Osteoporosis and is often regarded as “normal”. And indeed a quick look around in any shopping centre shows a huge number of elderly people with walking sticks and frames if they are walking at all an not being pushed in a wheelchair.

These folk have a mix of disorders but Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis would be prominent along with many other “age related” diseases.

My definition of normal is different because I am a Naturopath and regard bone loss and increased risk of fracture as simply a disease that can be healed with lifestyle adoptions and not something that has to be “lived with”.

In this article we'll look at what you can do to take your health into your hands and get it under control. We'll start with another definition of Osteoporosis and then move into the action points for you to consider adopting.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis or OP, is a progressive loss of minerals, strength and protein from our bones due to inadequate diet and activity.

It is a lifestyle disorder like diabetes and heart disease and like them can be addressed by going to the root of things and not by covering over the symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs.

Risk Factors For Osteoporosis

Those with a smaller stature are more likely to get OP and so are those from Caucasian families. But that just means that extra attention is paid to the diet and other lifestyle factors by those affected.

It is also a risk factor to have worked in industries or occupations that exposed you to heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. Sometimes just living in a polluted neighbourhood may be enough to get exposure. If you have heavy metal contamination that can be tested and treated pretty simply and is well worth doing.

Pharmaceutical medicines can also be risk factors. It is scandalous in my view that drug medicines taken to treat one condition often cause another but pharmaceuticals such as steroids, barbiturates, proton pump inhibitors, heparin amongst others are risk factors for OP.

If you take any of these it may be worth consulting your Physician to see if there are less harmful alternatives.

What We Can Do About Our Bones

Have you heard the Children's song…

”Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Now, hear the word of the Lord!”

                                                 Words here

If people know anything about their bones apart from the incorrect notion that they get weaker with age it is that bones and dry and bones are white.

All wrong.

You get weaker – both in muscle and bone with lack of exercise not age and bones are pale yellow and are living organs with a blood supply so they are not dry either!

Bones are living adapting organs that respond to exercise by strengthening and respond to nutrients like any other of our organs. So we need to nourish them, just like we nourish our muscles, brains and skin.

The Stress Connection

A memory has stayed with me since the early days of my learning clinical nutrition back in the eighties.

A researcher was about to publish a research paper and gave us an early peek into the data his study had found. The study compared the top drugs for Osteoporosis with a particular bone strengthening “exercise”.

The exercise was way more effective than the best drugs and now I'll tell you what it was…

  1. The researcher showed us by standing so we could see him from the side.
  2. Then he lifted his heels off the ground a little – say half an inch, no more.
  3. He then let his body down to normal standing by letting his heels strike the floor.

That was it – stand up, lift heels off ground and then let them fall back onto the ground.

Why This “Foot Exercise” Works

Having read that you might wonder why this silly little move would work? Why would it beat the best drugs on the market?

Good questions and here's why…

As we walk our hells are the first part of the foot to hit the ground. As it contacts the ground it makes what is called a “heel strike”. What happens with every heel strike is a shock wave travels not just through the foot but right up the legs and throughout the body.

The next bit is the interesting bit so read it very carefully…

The way that bones work is that they get stronger with shock and stress. So every heel strike makes the bones stronger and the shape of the bones will even change to make it even stronger to adapt to your movement and exercise.

Walking makes your bones stronger.

And so will the researcher's silly little exercise.

And so would skipping and lots of other walking, jumping and jogging exercises but only if you do not wear trainers.

No trainers?

No trainers because they cushion the feet and cut down the shock waves and stress and we don't want to do that.

Trainers are for professional athletes with special needs they are not for the average Jane who needs to exercise and get some shock and stress into her skeleton.

Is there a vitamin D connection?

There is another risk factor we face that can turn into an “Action factor” – something we can do to boost our health – and that is vitamin D. It is only in sunny climates that we can get enough natural vitamin D by our exposure to sunshine.

Northern latitudes such as Canada and the UK are at risk and lots of US citizens too unless you live in sunny Florida, Texas or Southern California, for example.

Even in sunny places we may not get enough sun exposure if we indoors too much or completely cover up due to fear of sunburn.

Best advice is to get a simple blood test of our vitamin D and then supplement with the needed dose of vitamin D3. Do take care that you see the actual amount of vitamin D and do not let yourself be told that your level is normal. Ideas of what is normal have changed a lot in the last few years and nowadays the normal level is much higher than it used to be.

A normal level is generally regarded as 50 to 60 ng/ml and anything below that needs fixing with daily D3 of say, 3000 iu tablets or capsules. In fact you can now get a D3 liquid with 5000 iu per tiny drop. You can even get a D3 spray so it is really very easy to get a daily shot of this vital vitamin.

In the Winter it is generally a good idea to increase your dose to make up for less sunshine. And preferably test again after a few months and see how you are doing.

Vitamin K

Another Vitamin we need for bone health and strength is vitamin K. This vitamin we can get from our food but eats lots of green leafy vegetables every day? Not many people do but that is where we find vitamin K so that means that most people should be on a good supplement and the best is vitamin K2. This is easy to take and may be in your daily multi – it is often included in quality multi-vitamin supplements. A daily dose of 100 MICRO grams – millionths of a gram is all need.

Note – those taking Warfarin are recommended to keep their vitamin K supplements at low levels of 100 micrograms. Higher levels may interfere with their anti-coagulant therapy.

How About Calcium?

We have to talk about Calcium at some stage.

There's a lot more in a bone than the mineral calcium – there are other minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, sodium and bicarbonate as well as structures of collagen, blood vessels – but we do need around 1200 mg a day and most of us do not get it. So a supplement of calcium citrate is recommended or perhaps a mix of various forms of calcium glycinate, malate or a chelated calcium.

Please take note that Osteoporosis is not a calcium deficiency disease – we get oodles of calcium in our water and in milk and yet there is an epidemic of OP. Read on and get the full picture below…

And Magnesium…

I have recommended magnesium as an all purpose muscle relaxant, pain reliever and anxiety reducer but we need it for bones too. We can get plenty of magnesium from our diet but only if we eat plenty of green,leafy veggies…and do you do that?


Taking silica increases bone mineral density and increases the production of bone proteins. So it's great for healthy bones and as a bonus helps improve the look and health of our skin too!

O Yes And Boron Too!

The last mineral in my Anti-Osteoporosis list is a seldom discussed one called Boron. We need very little but it acts to balance minerals and to reduce inflammation and reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. Only a milligram or two is all we need.

Is there an Osteoporosis Diet?

To fight or fix Osteoporosis we need to oppose the inflammation in the blood stream and elsewhere in the body and act to alkalise the body.

The diet needs to be anti-inflammatory.

A whole grain plant based diet does that and it supplies a lot of the minerals and vitamins we need but it does it in a way that helps the body heal rather than in a way that triggers allergies and inflammation.

Crudely speaking foods may be put into either an inflammatory or anti-inflammatory group.

Inflammatory foods are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products

Anti-inflammatory foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, omega 3 plant oils and spices

So a whole grain based vegan diet seems to be the most anti-inflammatory diet which combined with specific OP fighting vitamins and minerals.

If a vegan diet seems too restrictive for you a Mediterranean diet with a strong emphasis of the anti-inflammatory foods and supplements is what I'd recommend.

Osteoporosis is not a disease of ageing or of calcium deficiency. It is a logical result of many years of eating the wrong diet and can be corrected with a few months of eating the right diet – a “plant strong diet” packed with super foods and boosted with powerful anti-inflammatory supplements such as vitamins C and D.

O yes and after one of your plant based meals – take a nice relaxed walk and enjoy yourself Now I'd love to know if OP has been a part of your life? Please comment and share this post if you feel it could help people you know… Thanks

Photo credits Certo Xornal

Rheumatoid Arthritis – a Natural Diet Based Treatment

shows the fingers of one hand of a rheumatoid arthritis patientRheumatoid Arthritis is a crippling disease that focuses on the small joints of the body such as those in the hands and wrists but which acts on many different tissues such as the white of the eye, the membrane around the heart and the lungs.

Like osteoarthritis with which it is often confused it is an inflammatory disease and generally thought to be an systemic autoimmune disease like lupus.

Pharmaceutical treatment can only relieve pain and perhaps reduce inflammation but neither of these will stop or reverse the progression of the disease.

The joint damage of a Rheumatoid Arthritis ( RA) patient usually occurs symmetrically so if the joints of the left hand are affected then the right hand will be too; if the right wrist is affected the left wrist will be as well. This is quite unlike the case of osteoarthritis where we typically have a large joint such as the hip joint showing osteoarthritic damage on one side of the body only.

In addition people suffering from RA will show high cholesterol and triglycerides and anaemia and low levels of iron. The inner lining of their blood vessels will show damage from the inflammatory chemicals circulating in the blood and overall, RA patients have a 40% greater likelihood of death than the general public.

shows the hands of a rheumatoid arthritis patientRA patients also show a greater likelihood of suffering from food allergies and sensitivities – a fact that ties in with it being an autoimmune disorder.

Natural Treatment for RA

As a Naturopath the first thing to say is that it is the person that needs help and treatment and I do not treat RA or any other disease. This is not a quibble or semantic over correctness on my part but a fundamental difference in approach between Naturopathic and other approaches. In what follows I can therefore only give general hints and guidance because I do not have a particular person in mind and in my clinic.

The first requirement in Naturopathic Medicine is “First do no harm” so we will be working with diet, food supplements and gentle herbs and not using any chemicals that the body finds toxic – such as the majority or pharmaceuticals and quite a number of so called nutraceuticals.

We will also be paying special attention to food allergies and sensitivities and avoid them as much as possible. This not only helps us to obey our aim to do no harm but assists us to keep inflammatory responses to a minimum.

We already have an immune system damaging joint and other tissues so we do not want to add inflammatory foods to this situation. To do so would be like throwing petrol on a raging fire.

The diet has to be a low allergy anti-inflammatory selection of foods and drinks. In broad terms in will be vegan or lacto-vegetarian and focus on a high consumption of fresh vegetables, some fruit and healthy whole grains such as oats quinoa and barley.

No sugar, junk starches or soft drinks aka soda is included and perhaps not fruit juice either – at least not purchased. The diet would have to be worked with and modified over several weeks and months to tune it to have the best features of natural healing vitality with palatability and practicality.

Oils are an integral part of the diet and fresh coconut oil and olive oil add important factors of anti-inflammatory power and palatability – otherwise known as yumminess!

There's no reason at all that a powerfully healing diet needs to be anything other than delicious!

Natural Food Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Along with the diet we include a powerful selection of anti-inflammatory food supplements. As a starter we include a high quality multi-vitamin and multi-mineral then we add to that as required. In such an inflammatory picture I would start with a vitamin C dose of around 3 grams a day – divided into breakfast, lunch and bedtime doses of 1 gram.

The form of vitamin C may be basic ascorbic acid 1 gram tablets or could be a powder. Ideally you can source a vitamin C that is a combo ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbic acid and perhaps calcium ascorbate. Some find such a blend of different forms of vitamin C easier to tolerate and each has its own merits anyhow.

I would either test for leaky gut or just assume it to save the patient expense and then focus initial efforts on healing the gut.

This has at least 2 parts – one is to use special foods such as slippery elm and rice that work directly on the gut lining to heal it and to use nutrients such as L-glutamine and butyric acid which has powerful healing effects on the gut.

Working on optimising the gut flora is an important part of this strategy. Natural yogurt, use of sauerkraut and other probiotic foods help condition the gut so that pathogenic micro-organisms find it difficult to colonise and grow. Careful choice of foods such as apples, pears, artichokes, oats and others each of which contributes special sources of fibre to further condition the gut and optimise the micro-flora.

Vitamin D is likely to be very low and if needed a simple blood test can be done to find current levels. The old definition of normal is now considered to be inadequate so it is essential that the patient is not fobbed of by being told that the level is normal. The new normal level is usually taken as being above 50 ng/ml with many regarding 70 as a desirable target.

Herbs and Spices for RA

Turning now to herbs and spices for their contribution to this all round anti-inflammatory approach, we can start with

Andrographis – a well known Ayurvedic herb it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps deal with the damage done to the circulatory system by the inflammation.

Boswellia – another Ayurvedic favourite used in many cases of inflammation

Ginseng – optional but all forms of ginseng can be considered when the patient is exhausted and has suffered their ailment for several years. A gentle herb, ginseng is worth using for any long term illness to act simply as an all round tonic and rejuvenator.

Ginger more anti-inflammatory action here. Ginger tea can be made in a few minutes by boiling a few slices of ginger root in a pan. Sipped throughout the day with a little honey.

Turmeric – either as capsules or preparations of curcumin a particularly active agent has strong immunomodulating effects. Turmeric may be sprinkled over rice and other foods or taken as a capsule.

This gives us plenty to work with for a good three months. As the healing proceeds you need to reassess and treat what shows up. There may come a time before or after this initial 3 month period that the need for a detox arises. Gentle and slow colon cleansing would be a good place to start and for ideas and details on how to do that please see other posts on

Photo credit fingers, hands

How to Keep Your Joints Healthy and Free From Gout

showing blue crystals of uric acidWe covered Healthy Joints and Osteoarthritis in our previous post and today we focus on a type of arthritis that often provokes humour and mockery – by those who do not suffer it of course.


Gout is a kind of arthritis that often strikes at night and you can awake to a stabbing pain usually in the big toe. It strikes men much more often than women and historically was a disease of the rich who triggered these attacks with a high meat diet washed down with plenty of alcohol.

Plenty of scope there for the cartoonists and satirists and not much sympathy or help!

Gout showing in a swollen joint in the footThe pain and swelling can occur in any joint in the body and arise from deposits of crystals into the joints. These crystals may be of uric acid in normal gout but may be calcium phosphate in other cases. Usually dumped in joint space they may also crystallise as little lumps in soft tissue – under the skin for example or in the ear.

The immune system, of course regards these crystals as a foreign intrusion in the body and starts attacking them. This of course is what the immune system is for but the upshot is that we get inflamed swollen and very painful joints.

The crystals form when the level of uric acid in the blood rises too much. And that occurs either due to a high animal protein diet – organ meat in particular but red meat and shellfish are liable to increase uric acid in the blood to levels above 7 mg/dl “milligrams per decilitre”) which is the danger zone for gout symptoms.

So if gout is a disease we get when our blood level of uric acid goes up too high how can we get the level down?

Lucky for us there are some options here.

gout in the handThe detailed biochemistry is complex but there are 2 ways to increase uric acid in the blood and they are summed up as

  • Meat consumption and
  • Fructose consumption
  • Alcohol consumption

We hare mentioned the meat option already. To lower your blood level of uric acid and to get fewer crystals dumped in your joints a diet without organ meat, red meat and shellfish is obvious. A vegetarian diet based on whole foods is the best dietary response to a gout outbreak.

The fructose factor might have you worried about eating fruit but my take on this is that we should avoid processed and packaged foods which are typically loaded with fructose to act as a sweeteners, and keep eating or increase our consumption of fruit – and not fruit juice.

Alcohol may seem out of place here but it too as it breaks down adds to uric acid levels so "alcohol free" versions of your favourite drinks would be a good idea.

Before we had the processed food industry we did not have the gout outbreaks we have now so fruit is fine but processed foods are not. Fruit juice IS a proccessed food, even if you juiced it yourself.

Gout Crystal deposits in the EarThere's a third option as well which is very positive.

Back to uric acid. This is not just a waste product from protein metabolism but is a natural protective molecule in the blood.

Protective? That might shock you if you are suffering painful joints an you wonder why you have this stuff in your body at all.

The reason is that uric acid is an antioxidant.

So it naturally protects tissues of the body from inflammation just like vitamin C does. It is having too much uric acid in the body that seems to be the problem not that we have some uric acid at all.

So why do we have high levels?

The body is a self regulating organism and if the amount of something is high it is for a reason. Vitamin C acts in the body to regulate uric acid. When our intake of vitamin C is too low, uric acid will rise.

A 20 year study in Canada of over 46,000 men showed that…

  1. If we take 500 mg of vitamin C a day our uric acid levels drop
  2. when we take 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day the uric acid levels drop some more
  3. so if we take 1500 mg of vitamin C we're not surprised that the uric acid drops even more.

How far should you go with your vitamin C intake?

As far as you agree with your Naturopathic Doctor or Health Provider.

I would probably go step by step as high as I needed to!

Some other options may help too.

There is advice all over the Web to drink more water to “flush toxins a way”. Mostly this is sheer nonsense and can even be dangerous because you can dilute essential minerals in your blood to dangerously low levels.

In the case of gout, drinking a few glasses of water a day to dilute the uric acid and help the kidneys makes sense. How many glasses of water? I'd go for about 4 to 6 glasses and make sure I followed the other advice too.

I'd also add some Omega 3 oils from flax too. A teaspoon of powdered flax – not flax seeds but flax powder would add a powerful anti-inflammatory to your diet.

After that it's time to work with a health professional to see what else in your health needs attention. Gout does not happen in healthy people. They are likely to be overweight and have metabolic syndrome or diabetes and high blood pressure.

The consumption of coffee, vitamin C and dairy products, as well as physical fitness, appear to decrease the risk. WikiPedia

A plant based healthy vegetarian diet will help all these problems but getting some exercise into your routine would help too. The good news when working with lifestyle factors is that we have so much control over them and can benefit as much as we want.


Natural and All Natural – What Does the word mean?

Natural seems to be such an innocent word. It just means "natural" what else could it mean? That is exactly why it appeals to advertisers and why you need to watch the video!

Is 100% Natural the same as "Natural"? How about "All Natural"?

It means almost nothing and manufacturers can include all kinds of ingredients and still use words and pictures that suggest a natural grown, untreated product.

Read more »

Joints Going Wrong: How To Heal Osteoarthritis

osteo arthritis of the kneeWe all get occasional joint pain. Maybe we play football or karate or go hill walking; we shrug it off and it heals. But as we age many get joint pain that does not seem to come from activities that we enjoy but from age itself.

Joints degenerate as much as any organ in the body and depend on our stewardship of our body for their health. So if we experience stiffness and pain or swelling around a joint we may have signs of Osteoarthritis also called Degenerative Arthritis.

And although many elderly people do have joint disease there are many others of the same age who are pain free and have no sign of joint problems whatsoever.

It is true that some of this “immunity” to arthritis may be down to the genes. There is evidence that siblings and twins have similar susceptibility to arthritis but there is much room for us to help boost the health of our joints by adopting a joint friendly diet and other lifestyle factors

How does OA start? Often it's with a Joint Injury

Osteopaths and Chiropractors have long explained stubborn joint problems by pointing to childhood injuries. Sometimes we fall as children – in my case I rolled down stairs as a baby and was apparently unharmed by it – and have no recollection of the accident at all.

Healing ususally happens automatically but sometimes it gets stuck “half way” and an incomplete repair of the joint occurs that may be pain free but which acts as a point of focus for decades to come.

And that joint may be a little stiff so perhaps you “allow” for it, maybe by changing your posture a little or your movements.

And so the original injury becomes part of your life even without pain and without you paying much attention to it, until a slip or minor accident triggers the joint and it becomes inflamed and goes into another “incomplete healing”.

This cycle of the joint getting inflamed and perhaps swollen and partially healing may go for a long time – perhaps leaving residual stiffness and no other sign of trouble. Other people will find that the damage gets worse and becomes an obvious problem with frequent pain, weakness and instability of the joint and swelling.

Received wisdom is that inflammation is a major feature in Rheumatoid Arthritis and not Osteoarthritis but inflammation is the driver in both. Too much attention is given to “pain relief” and not enough to healing and repairing the joints.

Yes pain relief is essential but is a short term measure and is often the only measure taken which results in pain relief becoming a long term even permanent part of coping with the disease.

As a starter it's essential to check that whatever medication you take does not contribute to making the problem worse.

This seems obvious to everyone but pharmaceutical steroid painkillers may impair wound healing and even cause Osteoporosis while pharmaceutical Non Steroidal pain killers may produce a range of damaging side effects to the gut, kidney and even cause heart attack and stroke.

So we won't be looking at pharmaceutical drugs for help in healing joint disease!

With a “cold” injury – that is an old injury the only way to heal it thoroughly is to go back to basics and do a complete investigation of the joint and surrounding ligaments and muscles.

All the movements have to be tested and the muscles too so a well trained Kinesiologist on your team is an asset. There will be unbalanced muscles and perhaps multiple issues around the joint that have built up over the years and they must all be cleared for a complete healing to take place.

Joint Nutrition Is Vital

Joints can only get the nutrition that the rest of the body gets. An injured joint may need extra sulphur, silica and vitamin C and if not in the diet, then they cannot be in the blood and get to the joint.

Even worse – joint spaces get nutrients not directly from the blood supply but from the tissues around them and this is powered by your movement. Unless there is plenty of movement the tissues will go “hungry” and be unable to heal fully.

Detox techniques like Epsom Salts Baths and Castor Oil Packs need to be used as long as the issue is unresolved. Laser or other deep tissue techniques may be a very effective part of the whole programme of treatments.

And a complete Body detox may be required in stubborn cases. That might sound like a lot of work and it is and it's why Osteopaths and Naturopaths really want to work on joint problems as soon as possible rather than years later.

If course the result of this deep healing approach is a life without the disability of an injured joint and that makes it all worthwhile.

Photo credit X ray


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