Joint Effort

How one couple worked together to eliminate arthritis pain

By Brooke Stacia Demott

arthritis“This is the worst arthritis I’ve ever seen in a man your age.”

The podiatrist, examining my husband’s X-rays, confirmed what we already suspected — my 34-year-old husband’s feet were a tangled mess of inflamed, stiffened joints.

It was no surprise — Brian had been a skateboarder for 18 years, and with 200 pounds tucked under a 6-foot-1-inch frame, the impact of thousands of ollies and flip kicks had taken their inevitable toll.

And it wasn’t just his feet — my husband had chronic lower back pain (thanks to a job that demanded over 20 hours of drive time weekly) and tendonitis in both wrists, arms and shoulders. He limped out of bed every day, and rapidly gained weight since he couldn’t exercise without injuring himself. He was in constant pain, unhealthy, and miserable.

“Bri, we’re expecting our sixth kid; it’s way too early to hang it up like this. Let’s figure out how to get you better,” I said.

Armed with little more than a love for research, faith in the body’s ability to heal itself under the right conditions, and some friends in the medical field, I set out to work.

As it turns out, inflammation is the first issue to address when it comes to arthritis. Inflammation is often affiliated with lifestyle — lack of dietary protein, water and exercise can trigger chronic inflammatory problems. Also, too much sugar and caffeine just fuel the fire.

Age also contributes to the breakdown of key proteins like collagen, which is critical for joint health.

Our plan of attack began with good old-fashioned ibuprofen (I know, that’s not very homeopathic); it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, and 800 milligrams per day for a week or two can get you to step two — exercise.

Cardio improves circulation and encourages weight loss. Increased blood flow is critical to reducing inflammation, and losing weight reduces pressure on aching joints. So, Brian had to get moving.

Since the arthritis was primarily in his feet, he invested in high-quality shoes with cushioned heel support, and insoles. He started slow — 10 minutes a day on the elliptical for the first few months. Ellipticals are low impact, so they work great for people with joint problems.

Brian also changed his diet. He went from five daily cups of coffee to two, eliminated sugar, and increased his water intake to two quarts a day. A gallon is preferable, but we never got there.

He also started eating more protein and veggies, loads of eggs and raw milk, a pea-based protein shake and salad for lunch.

We began to see progress — he lost some weight, but still struggled with pain. The real progress began when Brian started using some incredible — and affordable — supplements. Those who also deal with muscle pain constantly may benefit from a deep tissue massage.

Exploring collagen

I started researching clinical trials using bovine and marine-sourced collagen supplements for people with joint and tendon problems. The information I found transformed my husband from a stiff arthritic to a fit and healthy 37-year-old, capable of running four miles a day, and weight training three days a week while being 100 percent pain free.

The most critical weapons in his arsenal are: type 2 collagen pills; glucosamine sulphate; multi-sourced collagen powder (taken with vitamin C on an empty stomach) mercury-free omega 3 supplements, and a multi-vitamin.

Here’s the breakdown:

— Type 2 collagen: Brian uses a denatured UC-II type 2 collagen, the collagen that makes cartilage. It also includes curcuminoids, the anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric.

— In 2016, the Eurasian Journal of Medicine published the findings of an osteoarthritis control group using 1,500 milligrams per day of acetaminophen, against patients using acetaminophen plus 10 milligrams daily of type 2 collagen.

After three months, there was a significant improvement in the group utilizing the collagen treatments in the areas of both pain relief and joint repair over the control group.

Additional studies confirm that rapid healing occurs by adding type 2 collagen to an arthritis management program.

— Glucosamine sulphate: A natural sugar found in fluid surrounding the cartilage in your joints, glucosamine acts as a protective barrier against cartilage erosion. There are other kinds of glucosamine, but the sulphate prep is most effective for pain relief and slowing collagen erosion.

As published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a 2013 United Kingdom study of 41 cyclists found supplementing with three grams of glucosamine daily reduced collagen degradation in the knees by 27 percent, compared to 8 percent in the placebo group. The bonus is it’s only $20 per bottle online.

The multi-collagen powder we use includes five types of denatured, hydrolyzed collagen for easy digestion, and adds to the all-around collagen infusion you’ll want to give your body for optimal healing.

It must be taken with vitamin C on an empty stomach for optimal absorption.

— In addition, Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent for heart, skin and joint health, as well as weight management, according to popular registered dietitian Kylene Bogden while confirming the joint lubricating benefits of cod fish oil.

Quality multi-vitamins supplement what we lack in our diet, particularly B vitamins, and are critical to cell metabolism.

Since Brian started making these changes over the last three years, he has experienced a 100 percent improvement in joint pain and quality of life.

As his wife, I can tell you that today, he moves easily and noticeably pain-free. We credit this dramatic turn-around to a variety of lifestyle changes, but primarily the slow, steady increase of regular exercise, dietary changes, and especially, the addition of collagen-enhancing supplements.