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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Heed that gut feeling about arthritis

A new book suggests that the solution to join pain could lie in your middle.

books Updated: Mar 10, 2018 17:33 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
Dipanjan Sinha
Hindustan Times
Gut health can be crucial to managing arthritis, says Susan Blum, a pioneer in functional medicine. A good first step: A probiotic diet.
Gut health can be crucial to managing arthritis, says Susan Blum, a pioneer in functional medicine. A good first step: A probiotic diet.(Maxpixel)
  • Author: Susan Blum
  • Publisher: Hachette India
  • Cost: Rs 599

Can good gut bacteria help ease your joint pain? Functional medicine pioneer and founder-director of the Blum Center for Health, Susan Blum, explores this and other naturalist approaches to treating arthritis, in her new book.

But first, she delivers a statistical blow — 22% of American adults have arthritis and this number is only set to grow. The term ‘arthritis’ is generally used for several kinds of debilitating joint pain and stiffness. Conventional medical addresses the pain associated with this condition; there is no known cure and no clear sense of what causes arthritis in some people and not in others.

In Healing Arthritis: Your 3-Step Guide To Conquering Arthritis Naturally Blum explains that traditional medication is effective during flare-ups but can’t target the disease itself.

“When it comes to arthritis it is important to find the tack (or tacks) that are causing your painful, often debilitating symptoms and pull them out,” she writes.

The first place to look, she adds, is your gut, especially with auto-immune arthritis. “From a functional medicine perspective, the root of inflammation in all inflammatory arthritis conditions is the gut,” she says, adding that though osteoarthritis is not technically a form of inflammatory arthritis, new research is showing a connection to the gut there too.

Blum argues that arthritic pain is caused by an imbalance in microbes in the small intestine, which can cause a “leaky gut”. This condition is the breakdown of the intestinal walls that allows undigested food, bacteria and toxic waste to escape into the bloodstream.

To heal the gut, she advocates an ‘arthritis protocol’ that involves a probiotic diet and stress management.

Gut health is hugely influenced by diet, so Blum recommends plenty of raw vegetables and a stern crackdown on refined sugars, food dyes, preservatives, glyphosate and other environmental toxins. Activity is vital too, Blum says, be it a daily walk or regular exercise. The book also lists recipes designed by Blum to heal the gut and make it healthy.

For those exhausted by the rollercoaster results of the painkiller-led approach to arthritis management, this could be a time-consuming alternative but one that is worth a shot.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 17:33 IST

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