When your joints hurt, all you want is relief. Reaching for a painkiller is the quickest way to take the edge off. And if you go see a doctor about it, it's highly likely they'll tell you to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). But you don’t want to rely on these drugs, as they can cause serious liver and kidney damage.
Instead, try these four nutrients, which can reduce the pain and help heal the issue that’s causing the pain.
This Berry Works Wonders for Arthritis
If you wake up in the morning with stiff joints or muscle aches and pains, head for the refrigerator. But don’t reach for the orange juice! Kick off your day with cranberry juice and you’ll soon start to feel less pain.
It may sound crazy but new research on cranberries shows that the little red fruit acts just like aspirin in the body.
The cranberry is native to North America and has been used in natural medicine since the 1700s. It’s best known for preventing urinary tract infections.
The berry actually prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and bladder. Today, we also know that cranberries possess very strong antioxidant power and that they support much more than urinary health. The berries are rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids and are the subject of several current NIH studies.
A Novel New Anti-Inflammatory?
New studies indicate cranberries protect against inflammation. Reducing inflammation reduces risk of heart disease.
Scientists exploring the anti-inflammatory effects of cranberry juice and their impact on cardiovascular disease recently learned that regular consumption of cranberry juice raises urinary salicylate concentrations.
You are no doubt familiar with the most famous salicylate of all, aspirin. Aspirin is often used to lessen the chance of heart attack, stroke, or other problems that may occur when a blood vessel is blocked by blood clots. Aspirin helps prevent dangerous blood clots from forming. I’m not a big fan of aspirin because of the dangerous bleeding that can occur when it’s used regularly.
But natural salicylates, such as cranberries, do not cause bleeding.
Doctors also have used salicylates to relieve pain and reduce fever. And they relieve some symptoms caused by arthritis, such as swelling, stiffness, and joint pain.
Protection Against Stroke Damage
In studies using rat brain cells exposed to simulated stroke conditions, a concentrated cranberry extract reduced the death of brain cells to half of that which occurred in cells that did not receive the extract. The findings suggest that cranberries can aid recovery from stroke, particularly in its earliest stages, in which the most severe damage occurs.
Packed With Antioxidants!
If you’ve read about the health benefits of antioxidants, but you still hate broccoli, take heart! Ounce-for-ounce, cranberries may be better for you than broccoli and most folks agree that they taste better. An antioxidant comparison of some of the most common fruits found that the little red berry contained the highest quantity of disease-fighting phenols, a type of antioxidant that is thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
Studies recently found that cranberry juice even provides protection against viruses that challenge gut health. A team working at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, explored the effect of cranberry juice cocktail on two members of the rotavirus family. Rotaviruses cause intestinal disease with symptoms that include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and fever.
The virus affects mainly infants and young children and is responsible for 50% of hospitalizations of children with diarrhea. The study showed that cranberry juice may be useful in preventing or treating these intestinal viral infections. The results showed cranberry juice produced an almost instant reversal of infection.
Another study showed a suppression of the ulcer causing H. pylori bacterium when cranberry juice was a routine part of the diet. In addition, cranberries support good gum health because they prevent plaque-causing bacteria from colonizing in the gums.
I suggest you keep a good supply of organic cranberry juice on hand and start your day with it. And feel free to eat as many of the berries as you want, especially if you’re a recent stroke victim or if you’re at risk for stroke. There are a growing variety of cranberry products on the market.
Besides juices and sauces, there are herbal teas, pills, and dried whole cranberries. Fresh, whole cranberries are probably the healthiest.
The Knee Pain Miracle That Takes Patience
If you suffer from arthritis in your knees (known as gonarthritis), another natural treatment comes with some good news and some bad news. The good news is it really can decrease your pain and increase your mobility.
But the bad news is that you’ll need to be patient for its effects to kick in.
In one study, the researchers recruited 29 participants with gonarthritis. They ranged in age from 42 to 85. The researchers randomized them into two groups for a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. This means that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group was which, and they swapped groups halfway through. The study lasted for six months, with the crossover happening at the end of month three.
At the beginning of the study, group one received 250 mg of a ginger extract every day, while group two received a placebo. After three months, the researchers didn't see many differences between the two groups.
However, after the six months were up, the two groups had major differences in terms of level of pain and handicap. The group taking the ginger extract had significantly reduced pain and was far more mobile than the placebo group.
This is very typical of nutritional treatments. They often take much longer to work than drugs. But when they do work, they can work just as well or even better — and without the side effects. So the moral of this story is that you need to stick with this treatment for it to work. If you suffer from knee pain, consider giving ginger extract a try — and give it some time. It's not a quick fix. But it could be worth the wait.
A Faster Approach to Pain Relief
If you don't want to wait, there is an herb that can help relieve your knee pain much faster. Willow bark acts a lot like aspirin, so it works fast. In fact, willow bark contains salicin, a compound chemically similar to aspirin. Your body metabolizes salicin into salicylic acid, which is a precursor to aspirin.
With willow bark, there's no need to wait six months for relief. It works so well that even the conventional website WebMD says, “Willow bark’s pain relieving potential has been recognized throughout history. Willow bark was commonly used during the time of Hippocrates, when people were advised to chew on the bark to relieve pain and fever.” Taking a willow bark formula, along with ginger extract and some cranberry juice, could have even better results.
Is This the Most Powerful Nutrient for Pain Relief?
The final nutrient for pain relief is one few people have heard about. But if you’ve been reading Nutrient Insider for a while, you’re one of the few who has heard about it. I first reported on it about this time last year. Here’s what I wrote:
“The nutrient is PEA. Not pea, like the food you get from a pod. But palmitoylethanolamide. You can see why it's shortened to PEA. Well, PEA is the newest super-nutrient on the block. This nutrient has a significant amount of science behind it. And the science shows what patients are experiencing – it’s incredibly effective.
“One study, in fact, shows just how effective this nutrient is. This was a review study, which looked at 12 different studies on PEA. The researchers found that ‘PEA elicits a progressive reduction of pain intensity significantly higher than control.’ The review found that the patients usually experienced the results within two weeks. And they had a significant reduction in pain within 60 days. The patients were men and women of various ages and various types of chronic pain. They all saw an improvement.”
PEA is so effective that next week I’m going to tell you about several patients who experienced amazing pain relief using this supplement.
You can find various doses of PEA on the market. Most of the studies use at least 300 mg daily. But some use up to 1,200 mg daily. The product I like is called PEA-Min because it has a dose of 600 mg in a daily serving, and it’s combined with curcumin, a known anti-inflammatory. Since you're a subscriber to Nutrient Insider, you can get 15% off if you use the discount code PEA15 when you checkout. You can order PEA-Min by following this link.