What Is It?

Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is the most common form of arthritis, effecting over 40 million Americans. It is characterized by joint degeneration, loss of cartilage and formation of large bone spurs on the joints. The first signs are mild early-morning stiffness (especially in damp weather), stiffness after a period of rest, pain in motion that gets worse with prolonged activity. Eventually, the use of the joint can be minimal. In primary osteoarthritis, the wear and tear on weight-bearing joints over the decades can cause the degeneration of the collagen components of the cartilage and, as we get older, the ability to restore and synthesize normal collagen structures lessens. In secondary osteoarthritis, there is a pre-disposing factor responsible for the degenerative changes. This could be a congenital abnormality in the structure of the joint or its function, trauma (i.e. obesity, fracture along joint surface, surgery), crystal deposition, abnormal cartilage, previous inflammatory disease of joint (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis, gout).

According to Dr. Jason Theodosakis, co-author of “The Arthritis Cure”, OA is not an inevitable, natural function of growing older as most medical doctors believe. He makes this distinction between naturally aging joints and osteoarthritic joints:


Aged Joints

Osteoarthritic Joints

Deterioration occurs on non-weight-bearing cartilage surfaces

Deterioration occurs on weight-bearing cartilage surfaces

Minimal physical and chemical change in the cartilage matrix

Significant physical, chemical, and degradative changes in the cartilage matrix

No change in the liquid content of the cartilage

Early and dramatic increase in the liquid content of cartilage

No eburnation (excess bone overgrowth)


No obvious bone changes

Bone changes ( osteophytes)


Long-term use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs) inhibit collagen matrix synthesis and accelerate cartilage destruction, thereby accelerating the progress of the disease. Hormone imbalance can contribute to a risk in developing osteoarthritis. In particular high levels of growth hormone have detrimental effects on bone and joint structures. Impaired liver function, diabetes, hypothyroidism, malnutrition and other metabolic abnormalities can all lead to increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Dietary Considerations

  • Eat a diet rich in high-fiber, complex carbohydrate foods and keep fats to a minimum.
  • We’ve seen consistently good results when our clients change to a non-mucous forming, non-sediment forming diet: Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lots of leafy greens.
  • The following foods are excellent for balancing body chemistry: green tea, artichokes, cherries, cabbages, brown rice, oats, shiitake mushrooms, cold water fish, sea greens, fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, garlic, onions, olive oil, sweet potatoes, squashes, ginger and parsley.
  • Cold water fish are a very good source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Have three or more meals per week that include either mackerel, anchovies, herring, salmon, tuna, trout and sardines.
  • Foods high in antioxidants should be emphasized to help neutralize free radical damage in the body. Include yellow and orange fruits and vegetables – apricots, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, peaches, squash plus green vegetables – broccoli, spinach, collard greens.
  • Add Vitamin C rich foods – grapefruit, pineapples, strawberries, asparagus, broccoli, kiwi, raspberries.
  • And Vitamin E rich foods -sunflower seeds, fresh wheat germ, nuts, avocados, nut butters, whole grains.
  • Foods high in bioflavonoids will help nourish the collagen in the cartilage matrix. Include citrus fruits, cherries, plums, blueberries and raspberries – all the dark red-blue berries. Proanthocyanidins in these foods enhance collagen matrix integrity.
  • Avoid all simple, processed, and concentrated carbohydrates.
  • Avoid refined foods, fatty, acid, mucous-forming foods like red meat and dairy products. Arachidonic acid in meats, poultry, dairy products, and egg yolks triggers the release of prostaglandins, leukotrienes and free radicals that can inflame and damage the cartilage in our joints.
  • As much as possible, limit or avoid corn, wheat, bacon and pork, beef, eggs, coffee, oranges, milk, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, mustard, colas and chocolate. (There is some debate as to whether the night-shade family of foods, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes aggravate arthritis. Try removing them to see if there is any improvement).
  • Reduce intake of fried foods, dairy foods, black tea, sugary, salty, and highly spiced foods.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • The best exercise is isometrics and swimming. Consult with a physical therapist, if necessary.
  • Drink plenty of water. If someone doesn’t get enough water on a regular basis, the joints will be one of the first places to suffer. Water gives cartilage its ability to absorb shock. The beverages people most often drink: coffee, soda and alcohol actually dehydrate the body’s joints.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Consult with a qualified practitioner to start a detoxification program, as arthritis nearly always involves food allergies or sensitivities and a certain degree of internal toxicity.
  • Consider consulting a therapist or counselor if you feel that you have a negative outlook on life or are holding emotional resentments of any sort as these types of things hamper the body’s healing ability.


  • Proteolytic enzymes (protein digesting) taken between meals have an anti-inflammatory effect and protect the joints from free radical damage.
  • A good multi-vitamin/mineral that includes 5,000 IU of Vitamin A, 50 mg of Vitamin B6, and 12.5 mg of Pantothenic acid.
  • Vitamin C 3-5 grams daily is important for collagen synthesis and connective tissue repair. If you are taking aspirin, cortisone or prednisone, you should know that they destroy vitamin C in the body.
  • CoQ10 – 60-120 mg improves oxygenation of tissue, aids in repair of connective tissue.
  • Pycnogenol ( proanthocyanidins) – help to strengthen the collagen that holds the cartilage matrix together.
  • Germanium fights free radicals and reduces pain.
  • 600 IU of Vitamin E works synergistically with vitamin C to enhance the stability of the proteoglycans (sponges) in the cartilage and could be very important to slow the degeneration of cartilage.
  • A Glucosamine sulfate/ Chondroitin supplement that includes 1,500 mg of Glucosamine sulfate, taken in 3 divided doses throughout the day.
  • 2 – 4g of yucca leaves three times daily.

The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.

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