T Nation

Hey there.... Anyone got any advice on training with arthritis?

Yea ok uhhhh heres the situation, apparently i have psoratic arthrtis and over the past couple of months i’ve lost a decent amount of muscle mass and strength… Im on 30mg of bextra a day untill i get in with a rheumy (they wont take me until im 18 so i got another 2 months before it get in) It will be quite a few months before they put me on the good stuff and thats if my insurance covers it (1200 a week, or every two weeks i forget) anyway yeah, ive been looking all over the internet for information about training with arthrtis and all i get is “Oh eldery patients with arthritis should swing their arms around and sit on the bench in their full workout uniforms complete with headband…” Yea not many 17 yr old patients with arthritis i guess… So yeah does anyone have any advice? Any information that would be helpful? I’d really appreciate it (still hoping ill be able to do fire rescue if the meds work so i wanna keep up with the training)

Hey, there, Herb. Sorry to hear about your situation. You should probably get some guidance from your doc and possibly a physical therapist. Psoratic arthrtis is not something that mixes well with working out. I don’t like the fact, in particular, that there are issues with fluid in the joints. You could cause yourself permanent joint damage if you’re not careful. Additional complications are the fact that often NSAIDs are prescribed, which inhibit protein synthesis. I would strongly suggest that you get a handle on your health issues and let working out take a back seat to getting a handle on your situation.

What I would recommend is that you try working with a nutritionist who can help you manipulate fatty acid ratios. What I do know about psoriasis is that it is greatly improved by raising Omega 3 fatty acid levels, relative to Omega 6. Just quickly, so that you understand, Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, and Omega 6s are pro-inflammatory. These fatty acids are incorporated into the cell membranes of every cell in your body. Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease, thus my advice that you attempt shifting the ratios.

What I’ve found interesting is that one of the recommendations for people who are suffering from a flare-up of psoriasis is that they stop eating all meat and consume raw vegetable only. The reason, the best I can determine, is that cows, chickens and pigs are all fed corn. Corn oil is high in Omega 6s, which is pro-inflammatory. Those Omega 6 fatty acids are taken up into the cell membranes of the animals that eat the corn. Avoiding eating the meat of animals who have been fed corn seems to have a positive impact on psoriatic inflammation.

Anyway, that little detour aside, get to a nutritionist who can test your fatty acid ratios and work with you to design a diet that will help improve the symptoms of your conditions.

One last final bit of advice, considering your situation, you should be avoiding all fried food, hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils and transfatty acids. You’ll have to read labels. Even peanut butter has partially hydrogenated oils added to it. The oils I mentioned above are not good for ANYONE, but for you, they’re far more toxic and damaging.

Good luck to you!!! Let me know how things go.

Tampa-Terry; thanks alot, im going to go pick up some omega3 capsules today… Do you have any recommendation on how many grams i should take a day? Also i don’t know if you’ve heard of these new these new medications called Biologics, they block TNF-Alpha (from what i’ve been told, that’s the cuase of psoratic arthritis) So since you definitly seem to know your shit, do you think if i were on those it would be a go to lift?

Tampa Terry is correct that most all commercial cows are grain fed before slaughter which does alter the fatty acid profile of the meat(lower omega 3, higher omega 6) another thing that the beef does when you eat it is create a high amount of arachidonic acid which contributes to inflammatory conditions and pain. Beef…its whats for dinner…unless you have arthritis;]
you should also test your body’s ph, usually folks with arthritic conditions tend to have rather acidic ph ranges

Herb, sorry for the delayed response. The message fell off the board before I could catch it. Actually, I went looking for it because I was wondering about you.

I am going to specifically ask you to take the guidance of your doctor on working out. Obviously, if you’re in a flare-up (i.e., stiff), working out is a very bad idea. What good are muscles if you permanently destroy your joints in the process?

Ask your doc to run an Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid test. It’s a highly specialized test. If the labs in your area don’t offer it, I’m sure Great Smokies Lab would. He should be familiar with that lab. It’s a nationally known (and highly respected) testing laboratory. You can find them on the 'Net.

Forget the capsules. Get straight flaxseed oil; either Flora or Barleans. I would recommend 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds of BW. You should avoid corn at all costs, and that means anything with corn in it (like tortillas). If you can afford it, you should be eating grass-fed beef. When you eat eggs, get the ones from the health food store that are high in EPA/DHA.

Flaxseed oil can be added to your protein shakes and poured over salads. You should not cook with flaxseed oil, but it can be added to any dish after it is done cooking.

Homework assignment for you, since you need to educate yourself on your situation. Read Udo Erasmus’ book, “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill.”

I’m not up on the medications you mentioned. Start talking to some pharmacists. Go to smaller pharmacies that are family owned (not chains). Talk to MORE THAN ONE pharmacist. I’d talk to half a dozen and ask them the pluses, minuses and down sides of the medications you’re considering and whether it cause any nutritional deficiencies. (Prescription drugs do cause nutritional deficiencies in a lot of cases!)

Another one of my resources is the Life Extension Foundation. Do a search for them on the 'Net. Call their 800 number and ask to speak to an advisor.

Once again, try to get a handle on your health situation and make lifting a secondary goal/priority. Focus on upgrading your diet.

Finally, please look long and hard at every label and the nutritional content of what you’re eating. You need to be avoiding just about anything that comes in a box, be they chips, cookies, crackers, whatever. They’re all made with bad/toxic oils. The same goes for baked goods. They’re off your list. Read the book I recommended, and you’ll see why.

If you have any other questions, and I somehow miss it, don’t hesitate to PM me.

I wish you all the best!!!