Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Crystal deposits can be an underlying cause of arthritic symptoms.
The 3 Main Types of Crystal-Induced Arthritis are:
Monosodium urate (gout) - A flare of severe pain in the big toe is a giveaway symptom of gout. This has long been known as "the disease of kings" because it is common amongst those who live on a meat and alcohol-lavished diet...contributing to the underlying cause of gouty arthritis - high levels of uric acid in the blood. These high levels can be caused by either too much intake or too little output of uric acid. Intake of purine-rich foods such as red meats, anchovies, sardines, mussels, trout, tuna, and alcohol (hello kings) break down into uric acids that spike gout attacks. On the other hand, a decreased output of uric acid by the kidneys can also result in gout. This occurs with co-morbidities like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. If you are experiencing gout attacks but do not consume a lavished diet OR have any of the co-morbidities listed above, then you may have a genetic disposition to poor uric acid excretion, or it could be as simple as a low-dose aspirin or vaccine side effect.
Calcium pyrophosphate (pseudogout) - Then we have pseudogout or "false-gout." Named for its deceptive appearance similar to uric acid crystals but...molecularly different in its calcium structure. And, unlike gout which commonly presents in the big toe, pseudogout most often affects the knees (followed by the wrists, shoulders, ankles, elbows, and hands).
Basic calcium phosphate and oxalate - These two types of crystals are rare and tend to have more body-wide symptoms. They can mimic both gout and psuedogout in their location of pain...but are most prevalent in the shoulder. Basic calcium phosphate crystals are also often deposited in areas of osteoarthritis.
It's' important to address all three of these conditions to prevent permanent joint degeneration and long-term disabilities. Thankfully, the treatment for all three is relatively similar. Our 3 Favorite Natural Remedies for Crystal-Induced Arthritis are:
Filipendula ulmaria - This beautiful plant has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on gout that is 25x the amount of allopurinol (the go-to medication for gout). It has also been shown to provide a potent anti-inflammatory effect, making it a no-brainer herb for any variety of arthritis.
Orange and Lemon Juice - Here's a fun one. Citric acid from citrus fruits increases urinary pH which inhibits growth of crystals AND lowers both calcium oxalate and uric acid levels. That's a win-win-win! Make sure to avoid pre-made juices with any additives...these can be detrimental to your already inflamed joints.
Homeopathics - The world of diluted homeopathic medicines is a strange one. But there's one thing that I know...and that's that if it's the wrong remedy, it won't do a thing...but if it's the right remedy, it will work magic! To keep things simple regarding homeopathy: If your problem joint is pink, warm, and better with cold...then I'd recommend Apis 30C. If your problem joint red, hot, and throbbing, then give Belladonna 30C a shot! For acute dosing, place 2 pellets under your tongue every half hour. Homeopathic medicine is a bit finicky so, make sure not to eat or drink anything within 10 minutes of dosing.
For preventative measures against future attacks, ask your doctor to take a synovial fluid analysis (a fluid sample from your joint) to zone in on which crystal is causing your painful joint. Then chat with our team for preventative lifestyle tips.
As the wise say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Until next month where we tackle the depths of thyroid health,
Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)