What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis? How to treat it?
I had to research this recently and was quite surprised by what I found.
Multiple research studies have demonstrated that cigarette smoking is the strongest environmental factor linked with RA, responsible for 25% for all RA and 35% for seropositive rheumatoid factor(RF+).
In women, RA frequently develops at times when sex steroid hormone levels are in flux, such as in the post-partum and perimenopausal periods. Then it’s infections. Inflammatory arthritis can be associated (by molecular mimicry cross-reactions leading to autoimmune disease) with prior infections with:
- Porphyromonas gingivalis
- Helicobacter pylori
- Yersinia enterocolitica
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Lyme (Borrelia, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella)
Most of these require you to have a specific HLA genetic make-up (easily tested) to be able to cause you harm. For that matter there is also the Dampness and Mold Hypersensitivity Syndrome (DMHS) which has been well researched recently.
Next there is the link to a leaky gut, and to cell membrane lipid metabolism, a nutritional factor that is not widely understood. And I realised that I had only just started this list of contributory factors:
- Infections and Microbiota
- Digestive and Barrier Function
- Cell Membrane Biochemistry
- Metabolic Health
- Nutritional Deficiencies and Imbalances
- Toxic load and impaired detoxification
- Immune-sensitising agents
- Poor Environmental Conditions
- EMF and Radiofrequency Radiation
- Stress: physiological and psychological
which comes mostly from this paper: Karlson EW, Deane K. Environmental and gene-environment interactions and risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2012;38:405-26
Multiple environmental factors including hormones, dietary factors, infections and exposure to tobacco smoke as well as gene-environment interactions have been associated with increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Importantly, the growing understanding of the prolonged period prior to the first onset of symptoms of RA suggests that these environmental and genetic factors are likely acting to drive the development of RA-related autoimmunity long before the appearance of the first joint symptoms and clinical findings that are characteristic of RA.
Getting your medical history is important to enable us to identify causes, but a combination of the first 3 treatments here might help anybody and won’t cause any harm;
- Ketogenic Diet (or steps in that direction anyway; several people have said to me “I never really sorted out all my aches and pains until I went keto and did some intermittent fasting)
- Antioxidant supplementation (C, E, Zn, Se etc etc)
- General nutritional support
Beyond that point you need some expert help, and probably some lab testing, in order to embark on:
- Balanced lipid therapy (4:1 omega-6 to omega-3)
- Vitamin D as anti-inflammatory
- Sleep optimisation (if you don’t sleep you can’t heal)
- Anti-inflammatory therapy (before going on to long-term NSAIDs it is definitely worth trying a course of PEA - Palmitoyl ethanolamide)
- Microimmunotherapy (low-dose treatment using the messenger molecules of the immune system)
- Detoxification (we are ALL exposed to multiple toxins these day. Remember that WWF says we each take in enough plastic in a week to make a credit card)