Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
Do you suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease. Symptoms of this disease are tender, warm or swollen joints, joint stiffness, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite. Early symptoms tend to appear in the smaller joints first, usually hands and feet. RA symptoms can wax and wane in severity including periods of remission and alternatively periods of increased intensity, called flared. Long term effects of this disease can cause your joints to deform and shift out of place.
Western medicine admittedly states they are not sure what causes RA. They state they believe there is a genetic component, but that genes don’t actually cause the issue. This is something that I have been trying to teach my clients and audience, genes don’t cause or create a diseased state in your body. Just because your parents have diabetes does not mean that you’re doomed to have diabetes. If that’s how disease worked, you would have diabetes when you were 7. It wouldn’t wait until you were 37. Genetics may make you more predisposed to a certain disease or condition, but environmental factors have to be present to trigger and activate that disease. Your genetics load the gun, but your lifestyle and environment pull the trigger. This is why it is important to manage your health and wellness throughout your life and prior to symptoms appearing. Usually if you wait for symptoms to appear, the disease is already present.
Studies are suggesting that there may be a link between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and gut health. I can’t say that I’m surprised by this. RA is an autoimmune disease and an inflammatory disease. The root cause of many autoimmune diseases is inflammation and inflammation usually comes from the gut. This is where the environmental factors we spoke about above come into play.
These studies are specifically referring to low stomach acid causing flares of RA. When stomach acid is low, usually people will experience food-allergy symptoms which can show up as RA pain. Stomach acid helps break down proteins in your stomach so that the intestines can absorb it. Without adequate stomach acid, your intestines absorb partially broken down protein which causes allergies.
Signs of low stomach acid are: abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, undigested food in stool, reflux and heartburn. Yes, you read that right, reflux and heartburn are signs of low stomach acid, not too much acid.
If you struggle with RA, you may see some relief by looking at your gut health and working to optimize gut health. Avoid proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec or Nexium as they will lower your stomach acid. Some RA sufferers have stated that there are RA drugs that have caused acid reflux issues and therefore they have been prescribed a PPI to help them manage. It is very important to talk to your doctor about other options. Perhaps a change in your RA medication would be an option. If not, I would suggest doing some stomach acid tests to see if the issue you are experiencing is actually high stomach acid. If it isn’t, you have other options. If you are experiencing low stomach acid, you could find relief from your stomach acid issues but supplementing with Betaine HCL and adding stomach acid to your gut to help you break down food. This would not only eliminate the PPI and the symptom, but it would help you break down food and could potentially lessen the frequency and intensity of RA flares.
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Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.