Understanding the root of Arthritis with Functional Medicine

The prevalence of Arthritis varies by gender,
with women more likely to develop Arthritis than men

In the United Kingdom, women are nearly 160% more likely to have Osteoarthritis than men. Arthritis is often considered an inevitable part of ageing, yet it extends beyond the ‘wear and tear ’ of our joints. While age can contribute to Arthritis, it is only one piece of the puzzle as genetic predisposition, obesity, dietary influence and high bone density and mass must also be considered. Functional Medicine digs deep to look beyond the joint pain and inflammation to understand what is what is driving the pain.

The Murthy Clinic approach to Arthritis

Western medical approaches are focused on controlling pain and swelling with NSAIDS, prescription medications, cortisone injections and/or joint replacement. Functional Medicine and Ayurveda can suggest what may seem simple and yet are effective dietary and lifestyle interventions. This is because, when we understand Arthritis can be caused by systemic inflammation, then it makes sense to address the root of the problem with the diet. Although seeming simple, actually the Functional Medicine and Ayurvedic approach to Arthritis will look at each individuals' symptoms and incorporate a multi-faceted treatment plan that integrates an anti-inflammatory diet, supplements for joint support and exercise, all tailored to the individual rather than a collective diagnosis of Arthritis.

Help decrease inflammation with Ayurveda

Ayurveda can also offer herbal formations and or body treatments for Arthritis. Many plants have documented anti-inflammatory properties but without the side effects of commonly prescribed medications. In a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, a study was presented that showed a herbal Ayurvedic therapy to be as effective in treating knee Osteoarthritis as commonly prescribed medications Celebrex and Flucosamine, but with fewer side effects. The herbs boswellia, turmeric, ashwagandha, ginger, triphala, guggulu, and shatavari have all been shown to decrease inflammation by interfering with the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body and may be suggested as part of a treatment protocol by The Murthy Clinic team.

Understanding Arthritis with Functional Medicine

When it comes to Arthritis from a Functional Medicine perspective there are range of factors to consider that may be contributing to a poor outcome. Poor diet and/or gut health, exposure to toxic elements, hormonal changes and/or stress can all play a vital role in the development of Arthritis. For instance a diet high in sugary foods, refined carbohydrates and trans fats can trigger inflammation in the body, leading to joint pain and stiffness, so for many, switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and improve joint health. This is where The Murthy Clinic will help you decide, through testing, what is the best approach for you.

Research has shown that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in particular, has been linked with an imbalanced and disrupted microbiome (dysbiosis). In those with RA there is evidence of increased gut permeability, that can allow bacteria and other toxins to leak into the bloodstream. These unwanted toxins may then trigger an immune response from the body, which in turn leads to unwanted inflammation in joints. Inflammation and oxidative stress, which can be triggered by poor gut flora, may also contribute to the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to Osteoarthritis.

Exposure to environmental toxins, such as heavy metals and pesticides, can also contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. For example exposure to lead has been linked to an increased risk of developing Osteoarthritis by accumulating in the bones and joints, disrupting the production of collagen an essential component of joint cartilage. Mercury exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of developing autoimmune conditions, including Rheumatoid Arthritis. Hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, can also play a role in the development and progression of Arthritis. Not to mention chronic stress and emotional trauma, which can worsen Arthritis by driving up inflammation.

Dr Vijay Murthy

The Murthy Clinic

Harley Street Dr Limited

23 Harley Street