Osteoarthritis is a common condition in hypothyroid people, with the majority of these people being over 60 years of age. This article will cover the following:
- Offer natural solutions to help you manage both conditions
- Highlight the need for deeper thyroid testing and better thyroid management to relieve your arthritic pain
- The 3 top nutrients your doctor or specialist won’t tell you about that are keeping you tired, struggling, and in pain.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. It is a joint disease caused by inflammation and/or cartilage loss in a joint. The most common areas affected are the hands, finger joints, knees, spine, big toe, and hips.
The way this feels actually varies from person to person and will depend on where in the body it is. Generally, it develops very slowly over months, or even years.
- Pain in joint
- Stiffness in joint
- Pain gets worse from activity
- Pain becomes insistent later in the disease course.
- Clicking sounds when moving the joint
- Grating sensations
- Loss of flexibility in the affected area
What is Hypothyroidism?
Basically, hypothyroidism is abnormally low activity of the thyroid gland affecting metabolic function. However, what your endocrinologist won’t pick up is a sub-optimal thyroid concern affecting your vitality. Standard medical testing will only pick up advanced thyroid disease.
As we age, our thyroid function declines. The aging process is complicated, our body has experienced a lifetime of toxin exposures, stress, illnesses, and may have chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, or hypercholesterolemia. Many medications (including the contraceptive pill) affect our thyroid – in fact, hypothyroidism is found to be associated with 2,645 drugs and 2,166 conditions by eHealthMe.
The Lucy Rose Clinic focuses on optimising thyroid function to the very best possible level for the individual. Many other conditions seem to dissipate when this is achieved, including early-onset osteoarthritic pain.
Thyroid Test Example
Below is an image with a ‘standard’ thyroid test done by a GP, and ‘optimal’ reference ranges, used by functional health practitioners. There is a vast difference between what is considered ‘NORMAL’ depending on who is assessing your pathology.
If you have some time and want to know more about this and what causes it, listen to our podcast “The Real Reason Your Thyroid Test In Not Actually Normal”
Have You Been Told It’s JUST Normal Aging?
Avoidable conditions are often blamed on the aging process;
- High cholesterol levels
- Chronic Fatigue
- Weight gain
- Menopause symptoms
Many of these concerns are usually a thyroid problem!
40% of adults have an undiagnosed thyroid problem.
Suboptimal thyroid results in low metabolism. Energy needs to be created elsewhere.
The adrenals are the main backup plan to give us energy throughout the day.
This wears out the glands and leads to issues such as insomnia, chronic fatigue, shakiness, post-exercise exhaustion, mid-afternoon fatigue – and shortened lifespan. When the thyroid system is working optimally, the aging process slows right down.
Thyroid hormone regulates DNA synthesis, as well as intra and extracellular detoxification. These essentially are the biochemical keys to anti-aging, and if the key isn’t there, you can’t slow down the aging process. (STUDY LINK)
Functional Testing For Osteoarthritis
The only way to TRULY know if your thyroid is the cause is to run better testing. The Lucy Rose Clinic runs Functional Pathology – just like the thyroid test you saw above. This testing shows us waaaay more than if you have high or low thyroid hormone. It also shows us:
- The quality of thyroid hormone conversion from
- Reverse T3 dominance
- Hashimoto’s disease status
- Graves disease
- Low T3 syndrome
- Low nutritional status affecting thyroid function
When coupled with further functional pathology we discover even more:
- Adrenal stress affecting thyroid hormone conversion (Learn more HERE)
- Iodine levels and function [Essential!] (Learn more HERE)
- A full Nutritional Blood Profile examines and maps your Methylcobalamin/Active B12, Vitamin D, Methylated folate/5 MTHF, Serum folate, Ferritin, Transferrin, and Iron levels. (Learn more HERE)
- Cardiovascular Profile – assesses systemic inflammation and disease risk associated with poor thyroid, metabolic functions, and out-of-balance hormone levels. (Learn more HERE)
- Food Intolerance Test – This simple blood test is able to measure your delayed reactions to 59 different food types. Using immunoglobulins, this test is able to see if you have a particular intolerance to certain food types by their reactions in your blood sample. (Learn more HERE)
Natural Treatment Options
The Lucy Rose Clinic is all about discovering the root cause behind the symptoms and supporting the body to heal and regain better function. True healing takes time, so when dealing with a painful condition such as osteoarthritis, we have some powerful herbs to dial down the pain and let the healing begin.
Turmeric vs Curcumin
There are a gazillion products on the market – and isn’t it funny how they ALL claim to be the most potent form? Confusing!
Curcumin has been heralded as the most potent part of turmeric and isolated, leading to many patented versions and ultimately an expensive product. But this belief has been kiboshed with new scientific evidence.
In fact, we are now going back to the effectiveness of the whole root as a healing food.
Types and formulations – let’s get our science goggles on
Since the isolation of curcuminoids from the turmeric rhizome (root), the manufacturing process has focused on extracting, isolating, and concentrating these constituents which are highly hydrophobic. Even with the assistance of added ingredients and fancy technologies we have seen little improvement in the delivery of curcuminoids to the plasma (blood).
In short, curcumin is known to have poor absorption through the gut wall and into the blood stream.
Turmeric root contains 235 compounds including phenolic compounds, terpenoids, diarylheptanoids (curcuminoids), monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpines, sterols andalkaloids.4 Curcuminoids (curcumin, demothoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and cyclocurcumin) are mainly found in the rhizome alongside the volatile oils sesquiterpenes (tumerone, zingiberene, curcumin) and small amounts of monoterpenes (cineol).
The presence of these additional compounds alongside curcumin have been shown to improve the absorption and efficacy of curcuminoids. For example, a cell study in intestinal Caco-2 cells found the presence of tumerones enhanced the absorption of curcumin.
A review of the essential medicinal chemistry of Curcuma longa reveals that the benefits are very much the sum of its parts. While the curcuminoids curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin certainly have essential actions, the volatile oils, fibre, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates contain compounds with high therapeutic value.
These compounds include tumerones which can increase the transport of curcumin into GIT epithelial cells; curdione that has an inhibitory effect on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2); biscurone is reported to downregulate tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); Ukonan A, B, C & D exhibit immunomodulatory effects; β-Elemene can inhibit tumor growth in GIT cells; and Calebin A which may induce apoptosis in human gastric and colon cancer cells.
It’s no wonder we have such a fail with supplements that use isolated curcumin alone!
If you’re thinking, “My curcumin supplement is definitely helping me” then just imagine what 235 compounds could do!
It’s true that people report some relief with these products, I am just saying that there are more potent and effective natural remedies out there that you can access through a naturopathic prescription.
Studies have shown that Boswellia extract and its active ingredient (boswellic acid) can relieve inflammation and prevent further cartilage damage.
This study found Boswellia to be a good treatment option to consider. “Osteoarthritis (OA) is the commonest form of inflammatory joint disease. Unfortunately, to date, there is no appropriate treatment for OA. Boswellia serratawas considered as a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic agent that may be a drug for OA.” Effectiveness of Boswellia and Boswellia extract for osteoarthritis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis – PMC (nih.gov)
Cat’s claw is a medicinal plant from the Amazon used to treat painful disorders such as arthritis, gastritis, and osteoarthritis. The action of Cat’s claw appears to be an inhibitor of TNFalpha and it’s benefit as an antioxidant.
The Top 3 Nutrients For Osteoarthritis
Most people think they need calcium and D3 – heck, it even comes conveniently in the same product, with images of inflamed joints on the bottle. Sadly, I have to tell you that these cheap supplements are based on very outdated nutritional science and can DRIVE osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
The number 1 nutrient you need to know about is vitamin K2.
Vitamin K has been implicated in osteoarthritis because vitamin K–dependent proteins are present in joint tissues, such as cartilage and bone. Vitamin K2 activates the proteins that put calcium into our bones (a protein called osteocalcin) and keeps it out of our soft tissues, which include our brains, arteries, heart, joint tissue, and kidneys. If you have thickening around the joints, there is a good chance you have a severe vitamin K2 deficiency.
Vitamin K2 is different from vitamin K1, but if you are on warfarin or a blood-thinning medication, check with your Doctor and naturopath before even attempting this supplement.
Vitamin D and osteoarthritis
Ok – there is some conflicting data on the web with this topic – and that is due to the quality and nature of the studies done in this area. One of the weaknesses of scientific studies is usually one element is isolated and tested in the study. So there are studies out there that prove there is no benefit to improving vitamin D status and osteoarthritic pain.
They don’t factor in that vitamin D3 in the absence of adequate vitamin K2, actually pulls calcium OUT of the bone and deposits it into the soft tissues. If you take vitamin D3, you must have adequate vitamin K2 intake.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – The Key To Reducing Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow down Osteoarthritis from progressing as well as aid pain management.
A study from the University of Bristol found that omega-3 supplements reduced the progression of osteoarthritis [STUDY] as well as slowed disease onset in post-menopausal women.
The human body can’t produce omega-3s, these fats are referred to as “essential fats” – meaning we must get it through diet or supplementation.
Omega 6 isn’t inherently damaging to your health, but most people have too much omega 6 in their diets and not enough omega 3.
Too much omega 6 leads to effects like increased inflammation and high blood pressure. This is due to it converting to arachidonic acid (AA) AA produces eicosanoids. However, the eicosanoids that AA produces are more pro-inflammatory
A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids appears to be between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1, but studies suggest that people who follow a typical Western diet may consume a ratio of 15-to-1.
According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake of ALA Omega-3s per day is 1.6 grams for adult males and 1.1 grams for adult females aged 19 years and over.
One serving of the following foods gives X grams of omega 3:
- Salmon 4.0 g
- Mackeral 3.0 g
- Sardines 2.2 g
- Anchovies 1.0 g
- Chia Seeds 4.9 g
- Walnuts 2.5 g
- Flaxseeds 2.3 g
The Next Step To Managing Thyroid and Osteoarthritis
I hope this article helped you build a greater understanding of Thyroid and Osteoarthritis, and how to navigate the promises given by the ads and blurbs on the many supplements on the market.
If you are dealing with any chronic health condition, the best outcomes are achieved by working with a natural health practitioner who uses functional testing to discover the cause of your health imbalances and develops an individual treatment plan to address the findings.
Let’s talk! Book in for a FREE chat, so you can see if we are the right fit for you and how we can help you feel your healthiest possible self again!