The Surprising Link to Osteoarthritis (and How You Can Benefit)

Many natural health experts tout the adage, “great health begins in the gut” and, conversely, bad health also begins in the gut, particularly when people eat poorly and have a less-than-healthy lifestyle. And, according to recent research, there are still more illnesses to add to the growing list of health conditions linked to the gut.

Osteoarthritis has long been considered a joint wear-and-tear disease, but ground-breaking research links it to bacteria found in our microbiome. A person’s microbiome is the sum of all the bacteria in her or his body. In other words, the secret to healthy joints (at least in part) lies in our gut. According to the research, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), poor gut health can lead to systemic inflammation which can lead to obesity and an increased risk of joint damage.

Why would being obese or overweight affect your risk of osteoarthritis? Increasing your body weight significantly applies increased pressure to your joints.

A growing body of studies, including one published in the journal Beneficial Microbes, now shows that the health of our microbiome influences our body weight in multiple ways, primarily including:

1)     Providing us with the energy we need through the breakdown of starches and natural sugars in our diet. Beneficial bacteria assist with digesting the carbohydrates and absorbing the energy we need for all our biochemical processes.

2)     Affecting cellular energy of liver and muscle cells. If the liver and muscles do not receive the energy they need to perform optimally, they don’t function adequately and cannot break down fat stores and build up healthy, strong muscles that also break down fat.

3)     Affecting the accumulation of fat in our tissues.

So now that you know the gut health-joint health link, you may be wondering what you can do to improve the health of your microbiome and joints. It’s easier than you might think. Here are some ways you can give your beneficial bacteria a boost:

Add more fermented foods to your diet. That includes: yogurt or vegan yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles, miso and others. Keep in mind that if the product is sitting in a jar in the middle aisles of your grocery store it has probably been pasteurized and doesn’t contain any live cultures at all. It should say “live cultures” on the package. And, avoid heating any of these foods since most of the beneficial bacteria do not survive high temperatures.

Supplement with a probiotic that includes strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve since these are the main ones studied for their ability to help create a balanced weight and reduce inflammation.

Get the sugar out of your diet. Sugar (with the exception of the natural sugar found in fruit) feeds the harmful bacteria, increasing the risk of intestinal inflammation that can caused systemic or localized joint inflammation. Keep in mind that beneficial bacteria thrive on the natural sugars and fiber found in fruit so it doesn’t have the same effect as concentrated or processed sugars.

Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose or saccharin, since they have been linked to throwing off the natural bacterial balance in the intestines, which can lead to widespread inflammation.

With a few dietary tweaks it is possible to have a healthy microbiome and improve joint health at the same time.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of ScentsationalWellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.



Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Richard B
Past Member 8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Greta L
Greta L9 months ago

thank you

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Angela K9 months ago


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Roxana S9 months ago


Marija M
Marija Mohoric9 months ago

tks for sharing

John W
John W9 months ago


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Deborab S9 months ago

Thank you

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Kate G9 months ago


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Winn A9 months ago