Arthiritis, Knee Joint And Chronic Inflammation

I wrote this post several months ago and left it in draft while I did further research, and then got distracted to other things. I've been meaning to get back and finish this post for some weeks, on the topic of knee and hip joint inflammation and my on-off experience of the condition.

I injured my right knee distance running in my early 20s. The injury caused excessive wear of the cartilage in the knee joint.  At times the condition was so bad, I couldn't walk more than a few hundred yards. I gave up running and other sports all together. When I walk up stairs, you can hear the bones grind across each other.

I had an arthroscopy, on the knee to confirm the damage and instructions from the doctor to keep off it, as much as possible, take ibuprofen if it became too painful because of swelling. Sports were prohibited, particularly kick sports soccer, rugby, etc. I quit karate soon after.

Fast forward a few years and I sustain an injury at work on my right hip, when I landed badly, without bending my knee. I was carrying a role of lead at the time and the shock energy was transferred to my right hip joint. Over time my hip joint proved painful and restrictive when it came to sports, walking, running or other activities.

I changed eating habits and switched to a low-carb diet, my knee and hip conditions improved immediately. Having been low-carb for around 5 years, I experimented for a time,  I stopped eating low-carb for a short period to assess the effect, before reverting back to that eating style. It confirms my view, that a very low-carb diet and the restriction of industrially / commercially prepared food reduces inflammation. Its common knowledge these foods cause inflammation. The ingredients used in the preparation is the cause of inflammation. I will try and revisit this more extensively in another post.

If I visit friends, and they offer commercially prepared food, I'll eat small amounts. I noticed knee and hip pain both return soon after. The same happens if I eat regular chocolate or ice cream. Months will pass and I wont consume any of these foodstuffs, and my joints are fine. Eating commercially prepared / industrial foods, my joints flare up, I have trouble skating or other forms of exercise.

Something that's not normally noted to cause inflammation, is cheese. I love cheese. Particularly aged, smelly French cheese, (camembert, brie) and blue cheese (stilton, roquefort). When I eat cheese, I get joint troubles. I have no idea what it is in the cheese that's causing this, but I restrict cheese for that reason. I don't know if others experience this, but I have no doubt the cheese affects my joints. A couple of days after cheese consumption, like a rusty hinge, my joints don't want to move  and remain tender.

So called heart-healthy vegetable oils ('polyunsaturates'), are well known to cause inflammation. These come from plant sources, the main culprits, canola, rapeseed, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed, and other similar oils. (Olive oil not included as its mostly monounsaturated fat. Olives are fruits, not seeds or vegetables).

I accepted that polyunsaturates caused inflammation and left it there. A few nights back, I was researching lipid metabolism, and came across this paragraph from Oregon State University Website, biochemistry section.

Here's the interesting paragraph:
A polyunsaturated fatty acid commonly found in cells is arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is synthesized from linoleic acid and contains four double bonds. Arachidonic acid is a precursor of a group of compounds called eicosanoids. These include the prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes. Arachidonate is not normally free in cells. Arachidonate is released from phospholipids or diacylglycerols by action of lipases (PLA2 or DG lipase). Prostaglandin synthase (a cyclooxygenase) converts arachidonate to prostaglandin H2, which is a precursor of many other prostaglandins and thromboxanes. Prostaglandins are associated with pain and many other bodily responses, including inflammation, control of blood flow, platelet stickiness, uterine contractions, and others. There are two ways to inhibit the production of prostaglandins. One is the use of aspirin, ibuprofen, or similar compounds. These are called COX inhibitors because they inhibit the cyclooxygenase. They are also called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to differentiate them from the other inhibitors used to treat inflammation. These are steroids that are used to inhibit the lipases that release arachidonate. By prohibiting the release of arachidonate, all of the subsequent products are avoided.
The first line states:

"A polyunsaturated fatty acid commonly found in cells is arachidonic acid."

The last line states:

"By prohibiting the release of arachidonate, all of the subsequent products are avoided."

How do you prohibit the release of arachidonate? Do NOT consume large quantities of polyunsaturated fats. It seems the low-carb / paleo crowd got this one right.

Here's an excerpt from wikepedia:
Medical research on humans found a correlation (correlation does not imply causation) between the high intake of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and disease in humans. However, biochemistry research has concluded that air pollution, smoking, second-hand smoke, lipid peroxidation products (found mainly in vegetable oils, roasted nuts and roasted oily seeds) and other exogenous toxins initiate the inflammatory response in the cells which leads to the expression of the COX-2 enzyme and subsequently to the production of inflammatory promoting prostaglandins from arachidonic acid for the purpose of alerting the immune system of the cell damage and eventually to the production of anti-inflammatory molecules (e.g. lipoxins & prostacyclin) during the resolution phase of inflammation, after the cell damage has been repaired. Therefore even though Omega 6 fatty acids do not cause inflammation, their high intake in conjunction of the continuous daily exposures to exogenous toxins will continuously initiate/promote the inflammatory response, prevent cell repair and eventually lead to disease.
I stopped using 'polyunsaturated vegetable oils' around 5 years ago. From that time, my hip and knee joints improved immensely. I can now skate, which I do for 1 or 2 hours several times a week. I do HIT strength training every week.

Whether medical science can establish causation or not, eliminating those inflammatory foods from my diet has improved my health joints immeasurably.

If medical science wants to establish their impact on health, they must undertake a controlled study. Only problem, who will pay for it? Certainly not food industry, government, farming / seed producing industry. With little or no funding, the study will probably never happen.

Where does that leave people suffering with joint inflammation pain and immobility? Your on your own. You are left to your own devices.

If you suffer joint pain as a result of inflammation, cut so-called 'vegetable oils' and ALL containing foods from your diet for a month or two. (Includes all industrial / commercial produced foods - biscuits, cakes, breads, pastries, etc, etc, etc). Then gauge the results.

Giving up all these wonderfully tasty, convenience foods, is a pain, but so is joint pain.

Your health. Your body. Your choice.