Have you used a Paleo diet and joint unloading for osteoarthritis?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 01, 2011 at 11:19 AM

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, have you used a Paleo/anti-inflammatory diet and joint unloading to treat it? Did it help? Did you have CRP or other inflammatory markers measured?

I wasn't aware that OA is not considered a degenerative joint disorder any longer, but rather, is considered a complication of failed healing in the synovium, ligaments and cartilage. I blogged about the latest research and treatment, which does not address diet at all. I'd appreciate feedback and thoughts.

I have increased walking, introduced yoga and did a round of PT for newly diagnosed hip OA, which I use as the basis for doing resistance training. I also do not eat gluten, added sugar, industrial seed oils and refined carbs. My CRP is very low.

But I still have increasing pain and more limited function of my non-dominant hand thumb, and my spinal stiffness/chronic back pain never lessens below that of being noticeable but noninterfering with about an overall 50% range of motion. More than that and I can often, but not always, move through the pain. I get flares with absolutely no precipitating events, and they tend to last between 3-5 days, where I am initially fully immobile, and progress to crawling to the bathroom, and then painfully being able to walk/turn in bed with spasm. I try to mobilize myself to the degree possible during these.

Thoughts, advice? I'd really appreciate your own strategies that have produced better pain management and more mobility and function for yourselves. Thanks.



on March 01, 2011
at 01:30 PM

and it requires sequential labs and a doctor with the skills to interpret them..........not every doctor can do this and that confuses many people. 8 yrs ago I would have been one of those docs. I got the skill set when I got the training I needed.

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3 Answers


on March 02, 2011
at 02:38 PM

Hi aek,

I read your blogpost. The Oxford guy is not exactly right. Mainstream science is quite confused about what is the cause. Biomechanics are an important factor, but there are other causes as well.
Good diet is important but probably not enough.

I practice Paleo Diet Robb Wolf style for about 2 years. Plus some dark chocolate and red wine. Cut out nuts because of lectins, phytates and n6. I have issues with my knees. No OA but cartilage is weak (Chondropathia patellae). MRI last summer showed: cartilage got better, damage reduced. Without proper rehab (too expensive). A good physiotherapist (hard to find) told me my cartilage can recover. This was greast news. I have good ability for regeneration. Nutrition, optimizing movement patterns/coordination, joint mobility, stress reduction, energy medicine (acupuncture, shiatsu) will help.

Mainstream medicine has it all wrong - the bogus about age or wear and tear.OA is very complex problem. You have to find the main causes in your case. There is not one single cause (except injury).

First rule of rehab: If you are not assessing you are guessing. Which means: Before doing anything I would get comprehensive diagnostics. Movement patterns, gluten sensitivity, antibodies, Neurotransmitter, DHEA, Cortisol (stress test).

The most common reasons for all cartilage degeneration are:

  • the body is overloaded with physiological and /or psychological stress, anxiety,
  • muscle hypertension etc. (cortisol damages connective tissue!)
  • Bad nutrition
  • wrong biomechanics/faulty movement patterns
  • sedentary lifestyle (joints needs movement or they literally starve to death)
  • painkillers and other toxic medications
    • too much load withoud proper icremental training
  • accidents (acute trauma) like in football and other sports. Patrick Swayze ruined his knee joints as a healthy young man in a football game (unfair attack from an opponent).

Chronic stress (psychological or physiological) leads to permanent muscle hypertension which leads to tendonitis and other inflammation which leads to OA or fybromialgia or arthritis or???..(fill in the blank).

Charlotte Selver on building up tension in muscles and realizing your full potential (Gindler, Jacoby etc):

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_h ... ntent;col1

So what are possible solutions?


Joint Mobility practice is very important. Coach John Siffermann explains why.

http://physicalliving.com/tuesday-qa-wh ... sifferman/

Interview with Coach Sonnon. He had severe joint problems.

http://physicalliving.com/exclusive-int ... ng-system/

Movement is great for rehab but be careful. Too little load is bad for joints and too much load is bad. Find the ???magic zone??? as physiotherapist Doug Kelsey says. Joints and ligaments need time to adapt. More time than muscles. Interesting fact I learned from smart PTs: cartilage works actually better under load than without. Yup!

Movement is healthy? No. Only efficient, well coordinated movement is healthy. Assess and correct movement patterns.

Physiotherapist Gray Cook:


Coach John Siffermann:

http://physicalliving.com/natural-movem ... n-perfect/

Most people are far from optimal. Look for a Functional Movement Test (Gray Cook) or even better: Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) . I did the FMS test some month ago. It is cheap and easy to do.


Check out Cooks book Movement. Good stuff.


Another good PT is Doug Kelsey, Austin, Texas. He helped a lot of athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Posts from his blog:

http://sportscenteraustin.blogs.com/the ... 2-the.html

http://sportscenteraustin.blogs.com/the ... rcise.html

Anxiety, Trauma and chronic stress as cause for bad coordination: Bodytherapist & Aikido Master Paul Linden: Winning is healing

http://being-in-movement.com/content/wi ... -survivors


Dr. William Davis: Why does wheat cause arthritis?

http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/ ... ritis.html

Mark Sisson : ???OA is not your destiny???.


Mark Sisson: Malnutrition and OA

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/malnutri ... arthritis/


Hormone optimization is important for strong connective tissue. Cortisol overload destroys connective tissue.

Mainstream Medicine says OA is unavoidable. It???s aging you know. Or Genetics. Nonsense.
The so called ???chronic deseases??? are not a disease but failure of self regulation in your body. This is the basic premise of Functional Medicine. If a doc has only painkillers and surgery as tools then he can't help you. If you only have a hammer as a tool every problem looks like a nail.

Here???s the good news:

Prof. Dr. Henning Madry, Arthritis Research, Saarland Medical School, Germany, says:

???Osteoarthritis is no wear and tear but a chronic disease like asthma and diabetes. Cartilage is damaged by accidents or sports injuries but very often it is induced by internal processes which are not understood. Cartilage gets weak and finally destroyed.This has nothing to do with aging per se. Many young people have OA today and many old people have no OA??? http://idw-online.de/de/news377579

Another statement from Dr. Garg on facebook

(quote) Recently, one of the rheumatologists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said in a medical journal that, "Osteoarthritis is NOT simply a consequence of wear and tear, or aging. Presence of certain cells and cytokines suggest a role of inflammation as a CAUSE.???

In osteoarthritis, the initial changes of inflammation are seen in the synovial membrane, near junction with tendons, actually causing swelling of the synovial membrane. This inflammation then spreads to cartilage, causing cartilage damage.The inflammation cells cause more damage to cartilage in deeper layers, and then there is a loss of cartilage, loss of fluid in between bones, and a loss of joint space, eventually leading to bone rubbing over bone with more damage, abnormal bone spurs and pain.

And, the Arthritis Foundation, the largest American organization for arthritis, funded, in part, two studies that were published in 2004 and 2009, that supported this.One of these studies found that "there is clear evidence that auto-immune response occurs in osteoarthritis (unquote)

Why are the causes of symptoms like OA poorly understood? Because nobody in the medical establishment looked for them. Big Pharma has no interest in research about the causes and definitively not in prevention or healing. Healthy people who are not drug junkies? Terrible for Big Pharma!

Good luck for your rehab.




on March 01, 2011
at 01:28 PM

absolutely.....this is a tennet of my practice.



on March 01, 2011
at 01:30 PM

and it requires sequential labs and a doctor with the skills to interpret them..........not every doctor can do this and that confuses many people. 8 yrs ago I would have been one of those docs. I got the skill set when I got the training I needed.


on March 08, 2014
at 01:04 AM

Wow, great response by Andrea! I have experience in the Functional Movement Screen, which she mentions. It's so simple and effective - I would highly recommend it to anyone.

In addition to the main site (functionalmovement.com), I would recommend this guide, which is meant for the average person (i.e. it's not very technical). http://www.chicagofitnessreport.com/functional-movement-screen

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