I interviewed Dr. Susan Blum, author of Healing Arthritis: Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally on my podcast, The Smartest Doctor in the Room. We had a lively discussion about how can a patient with inflammatory arthritis or other autoimmune diseases can find a way to treat themselves naturally.
According to Dr. Blum:
Arthritis is the #1 disability in the country and more than 50 million people suffer from it.
It is the 21st Century epidemic and affects people of all ages and backgrounds. An astonishing one in four people has arthritis. In fact, two-thirds of people who suffer from arthritis are women.
At the core of arthritis is inflammation. Inflammation is also the underlying driving force of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and more.
Now more than ever it’s time to address inflammation.
Arthritis can be treated, prevented, and even healed.
How Dr. Blum Proposes to Cure Arthritis Naturally
Dr. Blum’s mission is to help people live an arthritis free life. She has spent thousands of hours studying arthritis and treating arthritis and developed a method to help her patients naturally heal arthritis. Her plan involves Diet, Herbs, Supplements and Lifestyle changes.
Dr. Blum and I agreed that the basis of any anti-inflammatory diet has to include lots of fruits and vegetables for many reasons. Nature has devised a way to include in produce many amazing antioxidants and enzymes that are hard to find in any pill form.
Foods to avoid if you have arthritis:
- Dairy: milk and cheese
- Nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant
Foods to include in your diet:
The Mediterranean diet is always a good example of a place to start.
- Olive oil, salmon, sardines, salads with lots of greens.
- Alkaline foods that are in all vegetables and fruits.
Foods that are too acidic like in the Atkins’ or Paleo diets with high meat and protein content; this can lead to a high burden on the kidneys and cause excretion of calcium leading to osteoporosis and kidney.
A simple test to see if you are alkaline or acid: Buy pH Test Strips for Testing Alkaline and Acid Levels from your pharmacy or Amazon. Wet the pH strip with your urine. If the pH is 7.5 or higher you are in an alkaline state; if it’s lower you are in a more acidic state and need to increase alkaline foods in your diet.
Dr. Blum mentioned that herbs can be used to help restore balance in the gut bacteria called the microbiome. The herbs she recommends are:
- Berberine– a very effective herb that can be used to kill the bad gut bacteria. She recommended that patients start at the lowest dose and then slowly go to higher doses to achieve maximum benefit. She did warn the listeners that young women who are trying to get pregnant and a woman that is pregnant to not take this herb; herbs, in general, must be carefully reviewed in pregnancy.
Try Horbaach Berberine HCl 500mg Non-GMO, Gluten-Free Supplement
- A Yeast killing herb with Oil of Oregano, Caprylic acid and garlic, ex. Twinlab Yeast Fighters
I tell patients to take one a day and if they know they are going to eat a meal that has a heavy yeast load and to take 3 ahead of the meal or beverage high in yeast-like alcohol.
In addition to herbs and diet, Dr. Blum also recommends specific supplements to help heal arthritis.
- L-glutamine – is considered one of the best supplements for gut repair. “Leaky gut” is the term used when the tight junctions or bridges between intestinal cells become more porous and allows food substances or bacteria or yeast to leave the GI tract. L-glutamine is one of the better-proven nutrients to help heal this problem. I recommend using Pure Encapsulations – l-Glutamine 500 mg – Hypoallergenic Supplement Supporting Gastrointestinal Tract
- Probiotics – make a lot of sense because they repopulate the gut with “good bacteria.” Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are two strains of probiotics that are considered therapeutic. Popular probiotics I highly recommend include VSL#3 and Primadophilus because they contain both of the important strains of bacteria.
Don’t Just Stop Your Medications – Wait Until You Feel Better
Dr. Blum and I are both holistic doctors with conventional backgrounds: we both agreed – you should not stop your arthritis or other medications until you have adapted the above plan and you see that it is working; under the guidance of your doctors you can ask to have your medications decreased carefully.
How Holistic and Functional Medicine Doctors are Different
Dr. Blum mentioned she had just seen a young woman in her 20’s – a college student who was having severe abdominal pain. The patient saw a gastroenterologist who did an upper endoscopy and found no abnormalities; he gave her a prescription for an acid blocker and to follow up. This woman saw Dr. Blum who then did testing that typically a holistic doctor does: SIBO breath testing for bacterial overgrowth and a comprehensive stool analysis. Both tests were positive for excessive bacteria. As Dr. Oz likes to say: you have to check “the poop.”
The Bottom Line
Healing Arthritis can be done with a strict approach to diet, good supplementation and lifestyle changes to give you the best chance to decrease your dependence on medications.
– Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC
About the Author – Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. is a Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist based out of NYC. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine and completed training at the Robert Cooke Allergy Institute in New York City. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the author of Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution: The Ultimate Program for Reversing Your Symptoms One Drop at a Time. Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. has also been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fitness Magazine, Dr. Oz and News NY 1. Dr. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Smartest Doctor in the Room – a combination of a lively, personal and in-depth interview with top healthcare specialists.
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Blum, Dr. Susan. Healing Arthritis: Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally. Scribner, 2017.