DIY Healthcare: Top 6 Natural Remedies for Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, and MoreDr. Zoltan P. Rona, MD, M.Sc. March 3, 2021
(Updated October 26, 2021)
Thanks to the fear created by the pandemic, fewer and fewer people are visiting doctors’ offices. In fact, many doctors have closed their offices for months on end and are only doing virtual consultations – if any at all. Visits to walk-in clinics and emergency rooms are also at an all-time low due to public fear of contracting the virus in these settings.
Getting your health issues treated in hospitals and doctors’ offices these days can be difficult if not downright hazardous. Between the overworked staff and the plethora of germs flying about, it’s no wonder that the public is turning to self-care in droves. So what can you do safely and effectively on your own if the medical system is not easily available?
Here are the top six sets of natural remedies and strategies that I believe can be used at home to alleviate the six most common health problems.
There are many forms of arthritis, but the type that most people acquire with age is the wear-and-tear type called osteoarthritis. X-rays and clinical presentation are the ways in which this form is diagnosed.
As with any chronic condition, optimizing the diet is a large part of treatment success. Food intolerances, individual likes, dislikes, religious beliefs, toxins, and deficiencies all have to be considered.
For example, fluoride sensitivity or toxicity can make arthritic symptoms worse and can even be the cause of joint problems. A few months ago, I published an article on arthritis in Vitality, so for greater detail see https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/treating-arthritis-naturally/
For osteoarthritis my top six remedies are:
1) COD LIVER OIL: (2 Tbsp or 6 capsules) taken daily will provide adequate vitamin A and D plus omega-3 fatty acids for most adults. A and D can also be taken individually but cod liver oil has historically produced superior results for osteoarthritis, and other forms of arthritis for that matter. Cod liver oil is inexpensive, well tolerated, and usually quite effective within six weeks for most arthritis cases. (If a person is using high doses of vitamin D then it’s a good idea to combine it with vitamin K2 to prevent calcium from depositing in the arteries or organs. One should take at least 120 mcg of vitamin K2 for each 1,000 IU of vitamin D.)
2) GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE: (500 mg 3 times daily). This is the building block of articular cartilage. Numerous double-blind studies done in the 1980s concluded that supplementation reverses osteoarthritis, and other studies show it to be superior to ibuprofen and NSAIDS for pain relief. Glucosamine is required for synthesis of glycosaminoglycans which aid in repair of cartilage destroyed by arthritis. Some companies market glucosamine sulfate with chondroitin, but chondroitin has almost zero absorption in the gut. When you swallow glucosamine it converts in the body to chondroitin, making it unnecessary to take orally.
3) MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane): (2,000 mg 3 times daily – but some arthritic victims have benefitted from doses up to 12,000 mg daily). This is the physiological form of sulfur in the body and crucial for reversing inflammation in the joints. It’s vital for the health of hair, skin, and nails as well as joints. Additionally, it improves absorption of trace minerals like zinc and copper.
4) NIACINAMIDE (one of the B complex vitamins): (500 mg 6 times daily) benefits osteoarthritis by boosting the adrenal gland’s production of the anti-inflammatory hormone glucocorticoid. Unfortunately, this takes many months to effectively reduce joint inflammation, but studies indicate that it does work quite well. Another possible limitation of its use is nausea, in which case a lower dose along with ginger supplements will make it easier to tolerate.
5) VITAMIN C: (2,000 mg 3 times daily) or even higher doses will help reduce inflammation just about anywhere in the body. The only limiting factor is loose bowel movements in some sensitive individuals. In such cases, equivalent doses of liposomal vitamin C could be better tolerated. Alternatively, intravenous vitamin C can be used in much higher doses since that form bypasses the GI tract.
6) CURCUMIN: (1,000 mg, 3 times daily). This is the major anti-inflammatory component of turmeric, a spice which contains about 3% curcumin. So turmeric by itself may not provide the same degree of pain relief as high doses of curcumin. Longvida, Meriva, and BCM-95 are three forms of curcumin derived from turmeric that you will find in your local health food store. Avoid brands that do not list one of these sources on the label because those are synthetic forms of curcumin which may or may not be as active.
Here’s another broad category of chronic illnesses that responds well to a natural approach. Included in this group are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease. The remedies listed here surprisingly apply to all forms in this category. Here are the six most important ones:
1) VITAMIN D: (5,000 to 10,000 IU daily) for most adults is important both for prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease. There are now multiple books written on the cardiovascular benefits of vitamin D, especially when combined with other nutrients like omega-3, vitamin K2, E, and C.
2) MAGNESIUM: (1,000 – 2,000 mg daily) will work as well as just about every drug ever prescribed for cardiovascular disease. Magnesium is an important factor in making vitamin D function optimally. Adequate blood levels reduce high blood pressure, coronary arterial spasm, and angina pain, while opening up (dilating) arteries throughout the body, strengthening the heart muscle, and improving heart beat irregularities (arrhythmias).
There are many forms of magnesium. The best absorbed ones include magnesium bisglycinate and threonate. Magnesium citrate and oxide are poorly absorbed but have a good benefit for constipation. Too much supplementation with magnesium citrate or oxide will produce diarrhea in some individuals. For those with gut problems, high doses of magnesium can be delivered transdermally with a magnesium gel or through intravenous magnesium sulfate or chloride.
3) COENZYME Q10: (200 mg twice daily) is the most important antioxidant for the heart. In fact, it is crucial for heart muscle energy. Many cardiac drugs (beta blockers and statins) will deplete CoQ10 and produce weakness where you do not want it. The ubiquinone form is the least expensive and just as effective as the much hyped ubiquinol form claimed to have superior absorption. When you use the ubiquinone form it converts in the body to ubiquinol in any event. Don’t forget that all the beneficial studies done on CoQ10 were done with ubiquinone.
4) NATTOKINASE: (100 mg twice daily) is an enzyme derived from natto (fermeted soybeans) and has been used for thousands of years in the Orient for both the prevention and treatment of just about every kind of cardiovascular disease. Its major claim to fame is its ability to prevent blood clots and circulation blockages associated with heart attacks and strokes. Most people think of it mainly as a “blood thinner,” but it has also been used to lower high cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.
Conventional medical experts, however, shudder at the mere thought of this enzyme being used as an alternative to standard anticoagulant therapies. For more information on this controversial supplement, see my Vitality article on the subject, posted at: https://tinyurl.com/RonaonNatto
5) VITAMIN E COMPLEX: (400 – 800 IU daily) has a long history of benefit for any cardiovascular concerns. Avoid using a vitamin E supplement that doesn’t contain the full spectrum of the vitamin E family of tocopherols and tocotrienols, so look for those brands that list the whole family and not just d-alpha tocopherol. Vitamin E Complex basically extends the life of red blood cells and this improves oxygenation of the entire cardiovascular system.
6) VITAMIN C: (1,000 – 6,000 mg daily, taken to bowel tolerance) has long been known to improve all aspects of the cardiovascular system. Linus Pauling, a very well-known vitamin C proponent, wrote that vitamin C deficiency is the major cause of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids improve the integrity of arteries and prevent damage to the arterial endothelium – the part of the artery where atherosclerosis begins.
This is a more complex chronic illness and specific natural remedies must be individualized for the type of cancer, the stage of the illness, and the overall health of the individual. There are, however, six remedies I recommend to virtually all cancer patients if they are not currently getting radiation or chemotherapy.
Choosing the remedies for this list is difficult because of the hundreds of alternative cancer therapies that have been described over the years by experts such as Dr. Ralph W. Moss. Here are my favourites. One word of warning about these remedies regards their potential unfavourable interaction with chemotherapy and radiation. Taking them at the same time is not recommended unless your oncologist agrees to it.
1) LOW DOSE NALTREXONE: (1.5 to 4.5 mg daily) will enhance the body’s own immune response to curtail cancer spread. In high doses, naltrexone has been used to prevent death from opiate overdoses. It will not work in low doses on cancer patients who are using high-dose opiates for pain, and is discouraged in such cases. The one side effect seen in some people is very vivid dreams but this effect tends to wane with time. Otherwise, I have rarely seen any other problems associated with long term use.
2) HIGH POTENCY DIGESTIVE ENZYMES (e.g. Wobenzyme or Intenzyme Forte): (5 to 10 tablets daily taken on an empty stomach) can reduce inflammation and thereby reduce cancer spread. It should be noted that these enzymes are not universally well tolerated due to digestive hypersensitivities or indigestion of many kinds. Start with low doses and gradually build up to tolerance.
3) VITAMIN D3 + K2: (10,000 IU of D3 plus 1,200 mcg of K2 daily) will also reduce inflammation and cancer spread in most cases. Regular blood testing every three months is a good idea if possible to avoid overdosing with D (usually evidenced by a high blood calcium level). Vitamin D3 and K2 have a synergistic effect as cancer fighters and will work even better when combined with about 4,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily.
4) VITAMIN C: (6,000 mg daily, or to bowel tolerance) will work as an anti-cancer agent. But even higher doses (75,000 mg intravenously) are more likely to be effective in killing cancer stem cells. If IV vitamin C is unavailable in your area, use liposomal vitamin C orally and take as much as you can tolerate each day before your bowels get loose.
5) CURCUMIN: (1,000 mg three times daily) has potent anti-cancer effects, mostly through its anti-inflammatory actions. It works by attacking cancer stem cells and is particularly effective against cancers in the liver.
6) BICARBONATE POWDER or capsules: (5-10 grams daily) is a high alkaline mixture which is normally made in smaller amounts by the body to offset high acidity. Cancer thrives in acidity and spread occurs in a largely acid medium. Bicarbonate can neutralize that. Some European physicians have recommended injecting bicarbonate into tumours as well as using it intravenously in high doses.
Not too long ago I published an article about the natural approach to diabetes in Vitality (https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/healing-diabetes-naturally/). Improving the diet is crucial for this condition, but there are also some very important natural remedies that one can use whether or not one is on insulin or diabetes medications. Here are the most important ones applicable to mainly Type 2 diabetes:
1) ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA): (100 – 1,000 mg daily) to prevent peripheral neuropathy and other complications of diabetes. Monitor blood sugars when taking ALA as they can plummet rapidly. Start low and go slow with upping doses.
2) CHROMIUM PICOLINATE, CITRATE, OR CHELATE: (1,000 mcg. daily) is an essential mineral that’s an active ingredient of GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor). Chromium corrects both high and low blood sugar levels.
3) CINNAMON: (6,000 mg daily) improves insulin resistance and helps reduce abdominal girth. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on foods, mixed with juices, taken as a tea, put into smoothies, or taken as capsules like regular supplements. This is especially effective for those who want to lose some abdominal fat deposits.
4) B-COMPLEX VITAMINS: (100 mg or more daily) especially B1, B3, B6, B12, biotin, and folic acid because they are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates by the body. Niacinamide in particular is important since it is involved in the synthesis of insulin in the pancreas.
5) MAGNESIUM BISGLYCINATE: (200 mg. 3 times daily) is a form of magnesium associated with a much lower risk of causing diarrhea as a side effect. Recent studies indicate a substantial improvement in insulin resistance with regular supplementation of this trace mineral.
6) VITAMIN D: (5,000 – 10,000 IU daily) This is important, unless you are getting at least half an hour of sun exposure daily, because new research indicates that adequate levels of vitamin D can improve insulin resistance. It’s good to combine D3 with vitamin K2 (at least 120 mcg for each 1,000 IU) to prevent calcium excess in the system.
Gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is one of the most common problems I’ve encountered among patients at my office over the past decade. Just about every patient diagnosed with this condition has been prescribed stomach acid-suppressing drugs by their doctor, sometimes for years at a time.
I also wrote a detailed article on this topic in Vitality magazine not too long ago (https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/best-natural-treatments-for-heartburn-gerd-and-indigestion/).
Aside from the many diet changes I discussed in the article, here are the best remedies:
1) DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice): This is licorice without the component that could elevate blood pressure. Use one or two DGL lozenges (250-500 mg) up to 4 times daily as needed for symptoms. DGL encourages the goblet cells of the stomach to secrete more mucin, a natural agent that protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum from acid. It is not an antacid but works like one without preventing mineral absorption.
2) SLIPPERY ELM LOZENGES: (250 – 500 mg) Use one or two lozenges up to 4 times daily as needed for symptoms.
3) L-GLUTAMINE POWDER: (1 tsp or 5,000 mg) twice daily heals the lining of the GI tract and helps in the repair of a leaky gut.
4) ESSIAC: (4 – 8 ounces daily) is the four-herb combination of burdock, slippery elm, Turkish rhubarb, and sheep sorrel that is effective for a wide range of gut problems including hiatus hernia, duodenal ulcers, gastritis, colitis, Crohn’s disease, non-specific indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and bowel infections.
5) PROBIOTICS: (60 billion cells of a broad spectrum friendly bacterial culture) – Take daily to improve the health of the gut flora.
6) BICARBONATE POWDER – 1 tsp or 3 capsules (500 mg per capsule) taken several times daily as needed for symptoms will neutralize any hyperacidity symptoms. Bicarbonate is an alkaline remedy normally made by the body to keep pH levels from going too high on the acid side, and side effects are rarely seen.
This heavily medicated condition has been growing more and more common especially now with the pandemic keeping people distanced from physical contact. Aside from diet changes and more exercise, there are some safe and effective natural remedies that have traditionally been used with good results. Her are my top 6:
1) ST. JOHN’S WORT – dose is highly variable but one could start at 500 mg and gradually build it up to tolerance of 3,000 mg daily. At least 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John’s Wort is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects. It is not effective for major depression. Full benefit is seen within four to six weeks, but there can be a potential problem with increased skin sensitivity to sunlight. In addition to this adverse reaction, St. John’s Wort can potentiate or decrease the effectiveness of numerous drugs.
2) OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS – 4,000 mg of combined DHA and EPA daily. Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to the structure and function of neuronal membranes. The communication between various nerves could not occur in a normal way without omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, just about every brain condition would benefit from optimal levels of DHA and EPA. Depression is one of many common conditions that could benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. They influence something called the cytokine system in the brain. These cytokines are known as interleukin-1 -2 and -6, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. They can directly and indirectly influence the severity of depression.
3) VITAMIN D – between 5,000 – 10,000 IU daily because there are vitamin D receptors in the brain and there is very good evidence that vitamin D has powerful antidepressant benefits. Ideally one should use a combination of vitamin D and K2 (approximately 120 mcg per 1,000 IU of vitamin D). Vitamin D, K2 and omega-3 fatty acids are all anti-inflammatory, and depression basically involves brain inflammation.
4) 5-HTP (100 – 500 mg daily), L-TRYPTOPHAN (1000 mg 3 times daily) and MELATONIN (3 – 18 mg daily) – 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) and L-Tryptophan are amino acids that are used by the body to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. They are also responsible for the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone involved in healthy sleep. These supplements can be very useful in those trying to wean off prescription antidepressants. As the dosage of the antidepressant is gradually reduced, one can slowly substitute 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan to help reduce the withdrawal reactions that are inevitable with most antidepressants.
5) L-TYROSINE – L-Tyrosine (1000 mg 3 times daily) is an amino acid that the body uses to manufacture dopamine. It also uses L-Tyrosine to make thyroid hormone. As such it may be a very effective antidepressant for the right individual. One of the ways to boost L-Tyrosine levels is to supplement with vitamin C, which helps the body manufacture it in greater amounts.
6) B COMPLEX VITAMINS – Vitamin B12 (1000 mcg daily) and 5-MTHF (the active form of folic acid 1-25 mg daily) are often effective in raising mood. They are most effective when given in the intramuscular or intravenous form. While a great deal of the evidence for their benefit in depression has been anecdotal in the past, researchers at Harvard University have recently found that patients on antidepressants supplemented with these B complex vitamins improved a great deal more than those on antidepressants who did not supplement with them. Vitamin B6 (100 – 300 mg daily) is needed by the body to produce serotonin. Oral supplementation is also usually beneficial. If using any particular B vitamin in high doses it’s important to balance that with a good B complex containing all the B vitamins.
When it comes to natural remedies, it has to be recognized that one size does not fit all. There are far more remedies than I have listed in this article that could work equally well or even better in some cases. If at all possible, work with a natural health care practitioner or holistic physician to get a personalized natural approach for your health concerns. If you are on prescription medications, check with your pharmacist for any interactions with the natural health remedies listed here. Wishing you all the best.
- Remedies for Arthritis: https://tinyurl.com/arthritisnaturally
- Nattokinase benefits/uses: https://tinyurl.com/RonaonNatto
- Low dose naltrexone: https://tinyurl.com/naltrexonereport
- Curcumin anti-cancer effects: https://tinyurl.com/curcuminforcancer
- Immune boosting mushrooms: https://tinyurl.com/axeonmushrooms
- Diabetes natural remedies: https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/healing-diabetes-naturally/
- GERD: https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/best-natural-treatments-for-heartburn-gerd-and-indigestion/
- Depression: https://vitalitymagazine.com/article/drugs-you-may-not-need/
- Bicarbonate for cancer: https://natureworksbest.com/dr-tullio-simoncini-sodium-bicarbonate-cancer-treatment/
Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, offers consultations on nutrition and natural remedies in Thornhill. He has recently retired from medical practice as a Complementary and Alternative medical practitioner and now strictly offers nutritional consultations. He is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing and has also published several Canadian bestselling books, including Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. To see more of Dr. Rona’s articles, visit: www.highlevelwellness.ca and for appointments, please call (905) 764-8700; office located at: 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ontario