Tag Archives: Arthritis

Reduce Cholesterol Medication | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

I have been on your paleo diet for a year and 5 months now.  I watched the wonderful segment on Dr. Oz with your interview, and I would like to tell you my story. My doctor put me on your diet in November 2011. My main complaint was weight gain and the inability to lose any pounds at all.  I had gained enough weight to make me very uncomfortable about my appearance. I was very discouraged by my sluggishness, as well, and my severe arthritis and gained weight kept me from exercise. Just a month before starting the diet, I had two shots in my knees because I could not walk up or down stairs without severe pain.  The arthritis that plagued me had me seeing my physical therapist for hip and joint problems at least three times a month; many times I was not able to even walk into her office without limping. I had always had a strong aversion to milk, but I felt I was compensating by eating much cheese and yoghurt. So, I believed my diet was well balanced and healthy, yet I never was able to lose weight at all.

I spoke to my doctor about the weight loss, and he (who also uses the Paleo Diet) suggested I try your planned diet.With renewed enthusiasm, I bought two of your books that day and began the surprisingly easy regimen. I went from 165 to just about 130 pounds in 10 months. My doctor told me I would arrive at my ideal weight and stay there, and I did! I need to tell you that losing the pounds was beyond thrilling! But I quickly realized that the weight-loss benefit was minimal compared to the other ways your diet helped me.

The best result, I believe, is that my medical numbers are so great!  Since I have been working with your diet, my doctor has reduced my cholesterol medication by half, and I am hoping that at my next visit he will reduce it even further.  All of my blood test results have been terrific, and I truly believe it is due to the diet I am on.

Amazingly, my arthritis is nearly gone. I am 67 years old, and I still do have minimal arthritis in my thumbs (from much quilting and handwork) and slight arthritis in one hip. But I am limber, able to engage in yoga three times a week, and I just feel absolutely wonderful every day I get up! There were days that just arising was a painful procedure.

I will say that at the beginning the most daunting part was thinking about breakfast, but within a week I had settled into my “leftover” breakfasts (most delicious!), and now I even enjoy morning salads with meat or an egg on them.

Of late, I have been cheating a bit, and I do feel the effects of that.  However, for my age, I believe I am in really good shape mentally and physically.  Seeing you on the show just reinforced how using your wonderful and sensible diet has changed my life, and I am back on the diet with stronger commitment this very morning.

Weight loss?  Yes!  Healthy doctor’s report?  How terrific!  But even better yet is my most positive attitude towards myself and my life.  Every morning I arise early with enthusiasm and excitement about the day and my activities.

Dr. Cordain, I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am for truly making a difference in my life, and all for the better.

With sincerest thanks,

Rosacea | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

I am a 61-year-old female and started the Paleo Diet in Nov 2005 and have been on it ever since. I do indulge in some of the forbidden foods such a coffee with half and half, a habit seemingly impossible to break. It gives me the energy to do the things I want to do, and unless you can give me a formula for getting more energy otherwise, I may be in trouble on that one. I also, after experimenting without or drastically less salt, have added my habitual amounts of salt again. But it is a lot, lot less than the typical American diet, I assure you. Other than that I stick to meat, vegetables and fruit. No dairy, no grains, no legumes, no potatoes. I don’t miss any of it. I switched to canola oil.

So I found an organic farmer in Marine County near San Francisco, near where I live and got a hog, a quarter steer and untold chickens from them. The meat is lean and outstanding. I get fresh caught fish and vegetables from the farmers market as well as organic eggs. My trips to the supermarket are now limited to bananas, half and half and a few what-nots occasionally.

I feel good. Some friends say I am the picture of health. At the start of the diet I weighed 145 lbs, now I weigh 130 lbs and have so for months, regardless of what I eat. I am 5’3″ tall. I would like to weigh less, but have not managed to do so. Food always tastes so good.

By chance last November before I started the diet I had extensive bloodwork done and all the important indicators were normal, as they always have been. So my reason to go on the diet was strictly to lose weight.

I did notice though that I never suffer from indigestion ever now. My husband who is on this diet so, eats toast and butter and jam for breakfast, a gourmet lunch with his colleagues and what I cook for dinner. Even so he has gone from a “hiatal hernia” with daily Mylanta and Prilosec to no problems at all. And he has lost at least 30 lbs. I would like to see him eat better though, but he has the mind of a spoiled child.

I suffer from Rosacea and take medicine daily, but have been very sporadic about that lately and seem to do fine. Maybe the diet is helping.

For a while I did experience daily leg cramps. Once I read one of Loren’s papers on potassium and what contained the most I try to get those vegetables most and throw mushrooms into everything when I have them. And as I said earlier I went back to my normal salt intake, well maybe somewhat less, and lately I have not had those cramps. Once I started eating more mushrooms though and increased my stem and leafy vegetables in place of more fruit it got better instantly. Who knows?

I forgot to mention the most important thing: since I have been on the diet I have been virtually free of almost weekly, random, very debilitating headaches. I feel so free and at this point take it for granted! There used to be day where I just would have to stay in bed, because the headaches were so bad and the doctor always said they were tension headaches. Yes, I get very tense neck muscles – the cause of the arthritis to be sure – but I manage that when I can, yet I think it is the diet that makes the main difference.

Bottom line I like eating the way I do and I will never change as long as I have access to the type of food I mentioned.

Christel Belrichard

Osteoarthritis | The Paleo Diet

Dear Prof. Cordain,

I am an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee arthroplasty for the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis. I am currently coming to the end of a clinical fellowship in Toronto and will be returning to the UK to take up a post as a consultant (attending) in a NHS hospital and I would be grateful if you could give me any information on the use of Paleo diet and evolutionary fitness principles in the treatment of my patients.

I first read about the Paleo diet on Art de Vaney’s website, then read Rob Wolff’s The Paleo Solution and am now reading through your book The Paleo Diet. I already give many of the patients I see dietary advice because very often they are overweight (in fact, more often than not) and have radiographically mild disease but considerable pain. It is an observation many surgeons have made anecdotally that patients who are of normal weight and are active seem to be able to tolerate far more severe disease (in terms of joint destruction observable on X-radiographs) than those who are overweight and sedentary.

Many patients can be educated that weight loss may improve their symptoms and are willing to try but conventional diets are difficult to follow, so I advise them to follow Paleo principles because I think it is a much easier diet to follow consistently. However, I wonder if there is anything specific I should be advising that may help their symptoms. Also, exercise is important for joint function, symptom control and general health, but of course it is very difficult to exercise when one has a painful joint. Do you have any advice that I can pass on to them, or do you know of anyone doing clinical work in this field who I could get in contact with?

Many thanks for your time in reading this.

Kind regards,

— Julian Gilbody MSc, FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Lower limb arthroplasty fellow, Toronto Western Hospital

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Julian,

Thanks for your support of the Paleo diet. I believe that arthritis, particularly RA (rheumatoid arthritis) is driven by inflammation emanating from the gut. See our group’s paper “Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis.” Hence, inflammation of the gut and inflammation of the joints (particularly in RA) appear to be linked by a number of dietary mechanisms we have proposed in this paper. Clearly arthritis can result from purely mechanical factors independent of the gut immune response. Nevertheless, arthritis of mechanical origin is also driven via systemic inflammation, and any environmental factor (pharmaceutical, dietary or otherwise) that reduces inflammation will also tend to reduce symptoms of arthritis (mechanical or otherwise). This therapeutic response in all arthritis patients who adopt the Paleo Diet may help to explain your anecdotal observations why contemporary Paleo diets are therapeutic for your arthritis patients. Keep up the good work, and keep me posted on any case studies you may encounter.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Curing Rheumatoid Arthritis With The Paleo Diet | The Paleo Diet

Below is a recent success story from a Paleo Diet fan:

Dr. Cordain,

Thank you for answering questions I’ve had for the past 15 years about why this diet makes my RA better.  I just wish you could get the point across to all the rheumatologists out there!

I have had RA for 35 years….  first onset 1978 at age 37, finally diagnosed as adult onset Still’s Disease in 1983.  My rheumatologist had me on just about every high powered RA drug available for the next 20 years.  I was truly blessed by having side-effects to most of them and that kept me from taking them long enough to really shatter my health.

About 1997 or ’98 I decided I really needed to lose weight.  I felt I was already doing about all I could for the RA with medication and just getting rid of the excess pounds would at least make me feel better about myself.

I chose my own modified version of the Atkins diet.   I didn’t want to do ketosis so left meat and fat levels at the same moderate amounts I’d been eating and just left out all the starches (grains & white potatoes), sugars and fruit juices, legumes and milk products he recommended.  I did lose weight, but in the process noticed my RA was much better except when we would eat out or celebrate a birthday and I momentarily fell off the diet.

I asked my rheumatologist why this diet affected me like that but he had no answers.  At least he said, “If it works, go for it.”  So I have been on-again/ off-again with this diet since that time.  Anytime my RA flares, the diet works much better even than any of the new biologic drugs (such as Humira, Enbrel, etc).

Through the years I have read everything that has come my way looking for the reason this diet has this effect on me.  In the past year I began to notice more and more references to the Paleo Diet and decided it sounded like the diet I’ve been using.  I looked it up on your website and bought your Paleo Answer book and  IT IS THE SAME !  And then I found your research articles  Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis and Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword in particular.

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  for making them available on your website!  I printed those and gave them to my rheumatologist in July.  I will be interested in hearing his opinion at my next visit.  If this information had been available  when I first came down with RA, I can only imagine the pain and suffering I would have been spared (plus 2 artificial knees, 2 artificial hips, and reconstructive surgery on both wrists).

If I had known about lectins, saponins, etc. 15 years ago, perhaps I would have also avoided the on-again/off-again use of the  diet.  Or maybe this on-again/off-again pattern was the necessary proof that it really is the diet that is working!  (I’m thinking the healing of my body, because of the diet, is what allowed me to drift off the diet for extended periods of time.)  One thing I have found is that when initially beginning the Paleo Diet, depending on the degree of pain and inflammation, it may take 4 to 6 weeks for the symptoms to really clear.  And it is most important to not forget about the legumes and milk products…..  I was concentrating on starches and sugars and I had a tendency to forget them for a while until I read your research.

I am trying to spread the word about this diet to my many friends and acquaintances with RA as well as those with other medical conditions.  Sad to say, many of them feel they must rely only on what their doctor recommends…. after all the doctor is the “expert”.

What can be done (what can I do) to re-educate these “experts”?  Will you be having any seminars in the Austin, TX area in the near future that I can recommend to my doctors?  What can I tell them to spark their interest?  Do you have any new research coming up on this topic?

Dr. Cordain, thank you again for your research and for making it available.  I will be “on-again” forever thanks to you.



Arthritis & Joint Pain Success Stories!

The following are some of the many unsolicited reports that have come in …

Testimonials for arthritis and joint paint relief

“No more aching joints…”

“…This is my first week on the Paleo Diet and I am already experiencing clear headedness, looser joints and no aching anymore. Wow! I have for years read and thought about this concept but was hooked on macrobiotics which truthfully is about caring for oneself at the highest level. And it’s about living seasonally and climactically. The Paleo does this quite nicely. Anyway thanks for the heads up in the form of your book. I have passed it around…”

“Tendonitis in my knee has cleared up…”

“…As a health professional and former long time vegetarian, I have been following the Paleo diet for about two years, and am delighted with the results. My weight has returned to normal and remained normal, my HDL has increased to 50 from 35, my LDL, which was at the upper range of normal has decreased to healthy levels, my VLDL has also returned to healthy levels (around 12), my triglycerides have plummeted from 250 to 60…my fluctuating high blood pressure is now consistently within safe parameters. The tendonitis in my knee has cleared up completely. I now recommend this diet to many of my patients in my acupuncture practice, the majority of whom have symptoms of Syndrome X. I am utterly fascinated with this approach to diet and health…”

“I can play golf again…”

“I am thrilled to tell you that I have been on a strict Paleo diet for six weeks and I now believe in miracles. Five years ago at the age of 64, I stopped playing golf because I had too many aches and pains in my muscles, joints, bones and my energy level was very low. At that time I thought it was old age! Now, within six weeks I play golf and I work and/or exercise 10 hours a day.”

“As a lifelong skeptic (I’m from Missouri) this is hard for me to believe. And now I’m telling my flabergasted friends that I’m going for 100. The only supplements I take are omega-3 and vitamin D. Thank you for your great work.”

“Arthritis and foot problems are gone…”

“At just barely 6 months I have lost 24 lbs and am feeling great. Arthritis and plantars fascitius has been cleared up completely I believe by following this eating program.” Candi

“Lost 30 pounds while relieving arthritis symptoms…”

“I wanted to say that I started following the Paleo diet approach about two months ago, in part to try and address some arthritis concerns. I have lost thirty pounds in the two months, and my energy level has been much more consistent. I would like to begin studying more about how to optimize the diet …” Pete Swan

“More energy and our arthritis flare-ups are very infrequent…”

“I’m a chef in North Carolina who has a great interest in anthropology and that’s what lead me to the Paleo Diet. First Ray Audette’s Neanderthin, then your book. My wife and I have adopted this new lifestyle and it’s wonderful. We both are doing well with the transition. We have more energy and our rheumatoid arthritis (minor symptoms) has not flared up in months.” Bill P.

“Inflammation is subsiding…”

“Thank you for taking time to review this message. I have not been feeling well for several years. After seeing several rheumatologists and many doctors, they are still not sure what is happening except I am exhibiting symptoms of inflammation throughout my body (muscular and gut), minimal joint pain but back and hip stiffness. My energy level has been very low. I have been visiting chiropractors and have been taking Celebrex on an as need basis for two months. I searched and found an article dated April 18, 2000 in the WebMD archives that was written by Elizabeth Tracey on possible (lectin) grain, pea and bean/ gut changes/ inflammation linkages to arthritis. Your name was mentioned. I do know beans and peas cause me great digestive and bowel issues. Are there any recent studies of further information on this connection? I have immediately stopped eating wheat, barley, peas and beans and feel great! People even notice a difference. It seems within a few days all my symptoms have disappeared. My energy level and general feeling of well being have increased dramatically! I am most relieved and hope I have finally found the answer.” Craig – Toronto, Canada

“Joint pain is greatly diminished…”

“I am a Personal Trainer with more then 15 years of training experience. I am currently certified through the Cooper Inst. All of the nutritional guide lines I have been certified to communicate to clients are based on AHA guidelines. A good friend who had great weight loss and increased health success with the Paleo diet gave me a copy of your book. Having been an Anthro minor in college and a nationally ranked athlete I read it with a great deal of interest. I have now been following the level 2 plan for 2 months with modifications for food likes (grew up in Asia as a Navy brat, I hate fish). I have found the joint pain I’ve had from 20+ years of power-lifting and 14 years of stunt work have greatly diminished and much to my surprise even I have lost body fat and increased lean muscle mass. To quote my teenager I am jazzed about the diet and would like to give my clients information on the Paleo diet but am concerned about liability if I stray from AHA guide lines. Do you have a Paleo Nutrition course directed toward Personal Trainer/Nutritional Counselors?” William

“Tendonitis in my knee has cleared up…”

“As a health professional and former long time vegetarian, I have been following the Paleo diet for about two years, and am delighted with the results. My weight has returned to normal and remained normal, my HDL has increased to 50 from 35, my LDL, which was at the upper range of normal has decreased to healthy levels, my VLDL has also returned to healthy levels (around 12), my triglycerides have plummeted from 250 to 60, and my fluctuating high blood pressure is now consistently within safe parameters. The tendonitis in my knee has cleared up completely. I now recommend this diet to many of my patients in my acupuncture practice, the majority of whom have symptoms of Syndrome X. I am utterly fascinated with this approach to diet and health.”

“Stopped anti-inflammatory drugs…”

“I have just recently read your article: Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. (British Journal of Nutrition 2000 83,207-217) and find this is the best explanation of joint problems I’ve been having for the past two and a half years. The attacks I’ve had are of arthritic characteristics, red hot, swollen and very painful. The attacks are random and becoming more frequent to the point where I have been bed ridden. Since reading your article I have stopped eating grains and now find my joints are beginning to feel much better, So much so that I have stopped taking prescription anti inflammatory drugs.”

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