Osteoarthritis (OA) affects millions of people in the United States. With the current obesity crisis affecting one out of every three Americans, OA is not simply a condition limited to the elderly population anymore. Systemic acidity and inflammation contribute to the joint and cartilage destruction associated with OA and acidity can dramatically worsen the health of your bones and joints over time.
Our Standard American Diet (SAD) is very pro-inflammatory and very acidic. Meat protein can be extremely inflammatory; it is processed by the body and is broken down into hydrogen ions. The higher the hydrogen ion load (the lower the pH) the greater the total body acidity. Our bones are significant buffers for this continued acid load. Alkaline minerals, including magnesium and calcium are in essence removed from the bone and into the bloodstream to buffer the excess acid that is built up on a daily basis. This weakens the bone over time and increases the risk of developing severe bone and joint problems, including worsening osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and fractures.
What can we do about this? Well, one of the main things that can be done to help eliminate the acidity and reduce inflammation is to eat a more alkaline diet. This means increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables that you eat in the diet. One of the values of such a diet is that it provides for significant micronutrients that many of us are lacking if our diet is full of processed foods.
Something else to consider is the use of alkaline water. Our bodies are over 70 percent water; maintaining proper hydration and alkalinity is responsible for maintaining the health of the synovial fluid that protects and lubricates your joints. Proper hydration is also essential for maintaining the stability of your cartilage. Some research suggests that dehydration can affect the ability of the cartilage to bear weight and alkaline water that is mineralized can improve bone health and hydration. Research has demonstrated that the use of alkaline water can improve markers of bone health and decrease the calcium that is being removed from bones. Calcium and magnesium staying in your bones where they belong is a good thing.
It is only through holism that we are going to be able to maintain and improve our bone health. Consider not only adding a plant-based alkaline diet but also adding mineralized, alkaline water to your treatment plan.
By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO
- Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/92116969/tyent
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