Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is characterized by inflammation and often deformation of periph­eral joints. In many cases, there are accompanying symptoms such as fatigue and malaise. About 80% of those with RA also experience a mild hypochromic anemia.

RA is a complex condition that affects about 1% of the worldwide population. It is more common in women than in men. Most cases begin around age 35 to 45. One form, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, begins in childhood.

RA is considered one of the collagen diseases and an auto-immune disease. Its cause remains officially unknown. A hair mineral analysis may often help one assess possible causes of rheuma­toid arthritis and assist in its correction by natural methods. We will discuss several aspects of the condition, including inflammation, the roles of copper and zinc, stress and food reactions, as well as fast and slow oxidation.


Inflammation is a primary consideration of rheumatoid arthritis, particularly during flare-ups in the condition. Not surprisingly, one of the patterns frequently seen on hair analyses of those with RA is a high sodium/potassium ratio. This indicates a tendency for excessive pro-inflammatory hormones in relation to the anti-inflammatory hormones. This inflammation pat­tern is seen more commonly in those with RA who are slow oxidizers.

At times, other inflammation indicators may also be revealed. These include a low zinc level, a copper imbalance, or the presence of toxic metals such as cadmium. Cadmium toxicity can raise the sodium level and interfere with zinc metabolism.

Measures that reduce inflammation are most helpful for RA. In addition to a nutritional balanc­ing program based on a hair analysis, other anti-inflammatory nutrients include the use of flax­seed, borage, hemp or evening primrose oils. Margarine, processed oils and excessive animal fat should be eliminated from the diet.

Foods may contribute to inflammatory reac­tions. A big offender in many cases is excessive carbohydrates. Carbohydrates lower zinc and feed yeast and klebsiella organisms which may contrib­ute to the disease. A gluten intolerance is a factor in some cases. An excellent trial is to eliminate all grains and sugars and note the effects after one to several weeks. Food allergy testing may also be helpful to identify specific food sensitivities.

Copper And Zinc Metabolism

An inadequate copper and zinc metabolism is another factor in many cases of RA. Zinc and copper are needed for the maintenance of connec­tive tissue. Zinc is needed for the regeneration of all tissues. Zinc deficiency also contributes to inflammation. Although copper is needed for connective tissue, excessive copper has a destruc­tive effect on connective tissue. Copper oxidizes vitamin C, an important nutrient needed for collagen synthesis. Zinc and copper are also needed for normal immune system activity.

Copper imbalance may also contribute to the hypochromic anemia that occurs in many people with RA. A copper induced anemia appears like an iron-deficient anemia. Iron supplementation may help the anemia, but excessive iron may also increase inflammation. Balancing the copper and zinc may alleviate the anemia with less need for supplementary iron.

Some individuals with RA find they require supplements of both copper and zinc. A hair analysis may be helpful to deter­mine the ratio of the two minerals that is optimal for each individual.


There is a direct relationship between stress and flare-ups in RA. Stress can lower zinc, raise the copper level, affect the adrenal glands and disturb immune system activity. Any techniques or therapies that help reduce stress may greatly benefit those with RA.

Slow And Fast Oxidation

Rheumatoid arthritis is seen with both fast and slow oxidation. A common pattern associated with fast oxidation is a low sodium/potassium ratio. A low sodium/potassium ratio indicates chronic stress, fatigue and often an impaired immune system. Fast oxidizers are often prone to inflammatory conditions. Eating the correct, anti-inflammatory fats and oils and reducing carbohydrates are very important for this metabolic type.

RA in slow oxidizers is often accompanied by a copper imbalance and many times by an ele­vated sodium/potassium ratio. An overactive immune system may be associated with adrenal exhaustion, as the adrenal glands and immune system can be antagonistic to one another.

Correction Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The response to natural therapies varies widely among cases of RA. We have seen 100% correc­tion using a nutritional balancing program. Others, however, do not respond as fast or as well.

In addition to an individualized diet and supplement program, many people benefit from reducing carbohydrates in the diet and adding flaxseed or borage oil to the diet. Other natural therapies may be very helpful, including colonic irrigation, food allergy testing, aloe-based prod­ucts and others. Healing the digestive tract may be very critical because the immune system is associ­ated with the digestive tract, our primary contact with the outside world.

Medical treatment for RA usually involves anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Natural alternatives may offer similar benefits without the side effects of these drugs. Some cases of RA respond to anti-parasitic drugs however, this is not effective in all cases and may have side effects.

This material is for educational purposes only
The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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