RA and Chronic Inflammation
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1% of the US population. Women are three times as likely to contract RA as men. In conventional medicine, RA is categorized as an auto-immune condition, as opposed to osteo-arthritis (or traumatic arthritis arising from injuries) which are not viewed as auto-immune. However, both rheumatoid and osteo forms of arthritis have origins in inflammatory processes within the body. Chronic inflammation is at the core of many major disease processes afflicting us today. Inflammation arises from longstanding internal challenges to the immune system from the presence of toxins, allergies or infectious microorganisms. This state of inflammation may be subclinical, and therefore not be diagnosed by medical testing, The C-reactive protein test is the standard medical test to look for chronic inflammation within the body, and is used to predict risk of cardiovascular disease.
RA and Autonomic Nervous System Imbalance
Chronic inflammation always correlates with a disturbance within the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic branch holds sway, and the immune reaction is tilted towards excess production of granulocytes, and reduced production of lymphocytes. Cortisol secretion is increased under these conditions, and the body launches granulocyte derived free radicals at what it considers the enemy. Unfortunately, either it fires these defenses against its own tissues if it cannot find the enemy, or it may confuse an enemy signature with signatures on its own cells. In rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies are cross reactive with bone, cartilage, tendon, and connective tissues. Some micro-organisms appear to have developed the ability to confuse our antibody reactions in such a way as to make us attack our own tissues.
In auto-immune disease, inflammatory cytokines, interleukins, interferons, and tumor necrosis factor are unleashed in order to control damage produced by bacterial endotoxins. However, this only produces more inflammation, and the body is caught in a bind: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
In the case of RA, it is theorized that streptoccal infection is very often either a cause or a catalyst for this disease. The immune system reacts either to the presence of the bacterium itself, or to toxins secreted by the micro-organism. The presence of a bacterial immunoglobulin first triggers the auto-immune response. Rheumatoid factor (RF), (an auto-antibody to streptococcal IgG immunoglobulin), has been found in about 75% of RA patients tested. Prognosis is also linked with the presence of RF: High titers of RF tend to correlate with more advanced forms of the disease. Conventional treatments aim at stamping out the inflammatory process, essentially by dampening the immune response. NSAIDS, steroidal anti-inflammatories and in very severe cases, chemotherapeutic drugs are administered in an attempt to control the inflammatory process. However, each of these tactics has serious side effects, not least of which is actually increasing inflammation over the long run.
Streptococcal infections are not, however, the sole source of RA. Today, we are beset by vast numbers of environmental toxins, heavy metal residues, pesticides and genetically modified organisms that our bodies must struggle with. Inflammation also occurs from dietary imbalances and acidosis linked to food intake.
There Are Four Main Sources of RA auto-immune disease.
1) Streptoccal infection.
2) Toxic overload: these include paints, solvents, paint thinners, paint removers, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, vaccines, chlorine gases from shower heads, factory fumes, household cleaning products, formaldehyde, pesticides, herbicides, flame retardants, glues, and vinyl products. These toxins stimulate production of IgG1 and the hyper-immune responses consistent with inflammation.
3) Residues of past viral or bacterial illnesses such as tonsillitis or pneumonia that have remained active at low, sub-clinical levels over the years.
4) GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our food chain, plus multiple other artificial additives in food processing chemicals such as BPA (Bisphenol A.)
Where Are The Most Common Sites of Infection or Toxicity?
The most common sites of chronic bacterial infection triggering joint inflammation are the GI, respiratory system, lymph nodes, mouth, and spleen. Chemical and heavy metal toxins can lodge anywhere in the body, especially in organs but even within bone matrix.
How Can RA Be treated in an Alternative Way?
1) The approach of Total Body Detox aims at removing toxic elements from the body via oral chelation, and at the same time using alternative, non-pharmaceutical anti-biotics, anti-virals and anti-fungals to clear out harmful micro-organisms that have produced this state of chronic, subclinical infection.
2) Chinese herbal medicines with strong anti-inflammatory effects plus antiviral and antibacterial herbs work to eliminate the infection at the roots of the disorder, as well as control inflammation.
3) Immune balancing and reinforcing factors can then be added to strengthen and regulate overall immune function.
4) Reduce hypercoagulation and CICs (circulating Immune Complexes.) This is done with supplements such as Wobenzym, or Chinese blood moving herbs which suppress inflammatory cytokines as well as de-agglomerating red blood cells. Such herbs include Wu Jia Pi (Cortex Acanthopanacis), Jiang Huang (Rhizoma Curcumae Longae), and Tu Fu Ling (Rhizoma Smilacis Glabrae), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) and Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong).
5) Auto-immune conditions such as RA tend to disrupt the deeper energetic pathways of the body. In Chinese medicine, these are not just the Regular 12 meridians, but also the 8 Extraordinary Meridians and the Divergent Meridians. The Lung, Kidney, Spleen and Liver are affected, and toxic heat is generated in the Heart Organ which causes lesions blisters and eruptions on the skin, or with joints, bones and connective tissues. Regulating the flow of blocked energies within these channels will allow the inflammatory process to cool down, and for tissue pathology to disappear as long as the original triggers (whether infectious or toxic) have been dealt with.
Can There Be An Emotional Cause For RA?
Definitely. We humans are emotional beings, and there is almost always an emotional aspect to diseases. Sometimes, emotions are the primary cause. In RA, there may well be a suppressed emotion that is disturbing the body’s bio-chemistry, subtly imbalancing it so that it succumbs more easily to the effects to toxins from the environment, or endotoxins secreted by bacteria.
Repressed Anger Has Often Been Found To Lie At the Root Of RA
Like any smoldering fire, deeply repressed anger will continue to burn year after year, unless extinguished. This emotion may be so powerful as to influence the immune system into a chaotic state of over reaction. But we should not think of this a s a “mistake” by the body: on the contrary, it may be the best solution the body has of containing the problem by absorbing unresolved emotion material into joints, tendons and connective tissue. The links between the immune system and the mind, especially the emotional part of it, have long been studied. So by releasing any deeply held anger that has been smoldering within us for aeons, we may well remove the fuel sustaining the phenomenon of auto-immune RA at a core level.