Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes – And The 3-Part Solution
Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, most commonly in the hands and feet. RA is a chronic, progressive autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and damages its own tissues. This attack results in inflammation and damage to the joints, causing permanent damage.
While conventional treatments for RA focus on managing symptoms with medications and occasional surgery, RA, like any other autoimmune disorder has a number of clearly defined causes. In this article, we’ll explore the rheumatoid arthritis causes and how they can be addressed through lifestyle changes and holistic therapies.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes
The general consensus in the medical field is that rheumatoid arthritis causes remain unknown; however, researchers have identified several potential triggers or risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing RA. These include a family history of the condition, smoking, being female, age over 60, and having other autoimmune diseases such as lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome.1
In addition to these risk factors, research suggests that environmental toxins and certain infectious agents may trigger an immune system response that leads to rheumatoid arthritis.
Autoimmune conditions are all related because they all stem from the same specific causes. Let’s explore these causes and discuss solutions.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes – The Three-Legged Stool
Rheumatoid arthritis is the result of immune system dysregulation by a combination of three factors. The three-legged stool concept is a powerful tool to help understand rheumatoid arthritis causes; the complex interplay between stressors, gut health, and DNA methylation. By implementing lifestyle changes, one can put an end to rheumatoid arthritis and all other autoimmune conditions.
A three-legged stool can only stand upright if all three legs support the structure. In the same way, a healthy person requires three different factors to maintain their health. If one of these factors is removed, their health will quickly diminish.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes – Leg #1 Of The Stool – Stressors
Stressors are factors that can affect us on all levels. Our bodies are designed to cope with stressors, but if the body is overwhelmed by too much stress, physical symptoms may appear. The best way to visualize how the body reacts to stress is with the overflowing bucket analogy.
Every single stressor can be thought of as a drop of water in the bucket. As more and more stressors pile up and fill the bucket, it eventually begins to overflow. This is how autoimmune conditions come to be, as the body can no longer cope with the number of stressors being thrown at it.
Some stressors include an unhealthy diet, not exercising enough, mineral imbalances, stress from work and other activities, anxiety, depression, and emotional traumas.2 3 4 5 Other stressors are present in chemical form and mainly come from the toxins we are bombarded by from all directions.
Some of the main chemical stressors that are present in high concentrations in individuals with RA include heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, and chromium. Additionally, exposure to toxic mold can trigger RA.6 7 8 9 Furthermore, there are toxins in our tap water, many of the body care products we use, cleaning products, and many of the pharmaceutical drugs we take.10
While it is impossible to avoid all of these chemical stressors when living in modern society, a significant reduction in exposure to these chemicals can allow us to remove some water from our proverbial bucket so it isn’t overflowing, resulting in physical symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis.
Chemical stressors are among the most challenging toxins facing our society today. Heavy metals have been a common component of many products and materials, such as gasoline, dental fillings, water pipes, paint, medicines, and industrial manufacturing processes.
RA Environmental Factors – Heavy Metals And Mold
While the most harmful heavy metals, both mercury and lead, have been removed from most of these sources due to updated regulations, traces of them remain in our environment and can be difficult to eliminate from the body once they are inside our cells. If you have been exposed to heavy metal toxins, it is important to identify and eliminate the source of exposure. Additionally, steps must be taken to ensure that any heavy metal toxins within the body are removed in order to reduce the risk of further harm, as they are directly linked with causing RA.11 12
Toxic mold is a serious health hazard that can be found in many households and other buildings. It has been linked to a wide range of autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis,13 meaning it needs to be eliminated from any building where people live or work. Unfortunately, complete removal of toxic mold can be difficult or even impossible in some cases, leaving relocation as the only viable option.
I have helped thousands of people remove toxic heavy metals from their bodies. It is only after these heavy metals are removed do we begin to see a change in their health and witness many idiopathic diseases, including autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, simply disappear.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes – Leg #2 Of The Stool – Gut Health
The second leg of the stool is gut health. Our microbiome is made up of countless microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, helping to regulate digestion, metabolism, and immunity. An imbalance in this system can lead to a variety of diseases and health complications such as allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and rheumatoid arthritis.14 15 16
In a 2013 study published in eLife, 75% of people with untreated RA had the bacterium Prevotella copri present within their intestinal microbiome, while only 21% of healthy people had this bacteria. An increase in Prevotella copri corresponded with a decrease in beneficial bacteria populations of Bacteroides. It was discovered that there are specific genes from Prevotella that correlate directly with developing rheumatoid arthritis.17
The easiest and most effective way to restructure your microbiome is through lifestyle changes. Following a consistent exercise routine and eating a healthier diet that focuses on a high fat intake, low carbohydrate intake, and moderate protein intake like my Cellular Healing Diet, along with intermittent fasting and extended water fasting all improve gut health.18 19 20
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes – Leg #3 Of The Stool – DNA Methylation
DNA methylation is the third leg of the stool and plays an important role in controlling gene expression. Regulation on the epigenetic level results in changes to how genes are expressed. Disruptions to this process can lead to increased inflammation, decreased immune system function, and a greater risk of developing autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
When the body is loaded down with toxins like heavy metals, it uses up its store of methyl groups to deal with the consequences of that stressor. When this happens, there are not enough methyl groups left to support the epigenetic expression of our best genetic phenotypes. This inability to methylate certain genes allows for the expression of inflammatory conditions like RA.21 22
Additionally, many autoimmune conditions can be passed down genetically from one generation to another and can often remain active unless the body is provided enough methyl groups to turn them off, thereby, reestablishing optimal epigenetic expression.23
RA Genetic Factors – PARP9 Gene And FLS
Specifically, there are 1,046 different DNA methylation positions that are associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis. The most significant gene, PARP9, is directly related to rheumatoid arthritis pathology when not properly methylated. An active PARP9 gene is responsible for the activation of inflammatory factor IL-2.24
The presence of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) is associated with the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Research indicates that ideal DNA methylation turns off the gene that corresponds with FLS.25
The first key to improving DNA methylation is to remove toxic agents that require the body to use up methyl groups on factors like toxic heavy metals. The second key to improving DNA methylation is to supplement with methyl donor groups to give the body access to more methyl groups to work with.
If your body has sufficient methyl groups to handle all of its detoxifying responsibilities along with methylating DNA for ideal phenotypes, you will be able to present the best version of yourself, one without autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Lifestyle Changes Have An Impact On Rheumatoid Arthritis
In addition to addressing the three main reasons behind rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions listed above, certain lifestyle improvements will also improve prognosis. Lifestyle improvements like consuming a healthy diet, reducing alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking all reduce the risk associated with the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis.26
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes And Solutions
Rheumatoid arthritis causes untold pain to millions of people worldwide. By taking a holistic approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis by addressing toxins, improving gut health, reestablishing optimal DNA methylation, and focusing on lifestyle modifications, relief from RA, as well as other autoimmune disorders is within reach.
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4 Mueller, Thomas C., et al. “Shikimate Accumulates in Both Glyphosate-Sensitive and Glyphosate-Resistant Horseweed (Conyza CanadensisL. Cronq.).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 51, no. 3, 2003, pp. 680–684., doi:10.1021/jf026006k.
5 Cox, Paul Alan, et al. “Dietary Exposure to an Environmental Toxin Triggers Neurofibrillary Tangles and Amyloid Deposits in the Brain.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 283, no. 1823, 2016, p. 20152397., doi:10.1098/rspb.2015.2397.
6 Irfan, S., Rani, A., Riaz, N., Arshad, M., & Kashif Nawaz, S. (2017). Comparative Evaluation of Heavy Metals in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Healthy Control in Pakistani Population. Iranian journal of public health, 46(5), 626–633.
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12 Chen, L., Sun, Q., Peng, S., Tan, T., Mei, G., Chen, H., Zhao, Y., Yao, P., & Tang, Y. (2022). Associations of blood and urinary heavy metals with rheumatoid arthritis risk among adults in NHANES, 1999-2018. Chemosphere, 289, 133147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133147
13 Jahreis, S., Kuhn, S., Madaj, A. M., Bauer, M., & Polte, T. (2017). Mold metabolites drive rheumatoid arthritis in mice via promotion of IFN-gamma- and IL-17-producing T cells. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 109(Pt 1), 405–413. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2017.09.027
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17 Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis. Elife. 2013 Nov 5;2(0). pii: e01202. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01202. PMID: 24192039.
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24 Zhu, H., Wu, L. F., Mo, X. B., Lu, X., Tang, H., Zhu, X. W., Xia, W., Guo, Y. F., Wang, M. J., Zeng, K. Q., Wu, J., Qiu, Y. H., Lin, X., Zhang, Y. H., Liu, Y. Z., Yi, N. J., Deng, F. Y., & Lei, S. F. (2019). Rheumatoid arthritis-associated DNA methylation sites in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 78(1), 36–42. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-213970
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