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The Cortisone Shot that was Never Needed


Soon after Chantal Roy was hit by a car while getting off a school bus, she experienced the first signs of arthritis in her knee. She was only five years old.

Soon after Chantal Roy was hit by a car while getting off a school bus, she experienced the first signs of arthritis in her knee. She was only five years old. Her arthritis slowly progressed and eventually the everyday things that most little girls take for granted became unbearable.

"I would get sore after biking to and from school," Chantal told me seven years later. "My knee would always grind. It made me miserable."

Her pediatrician prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug called Naproxen, but it only helped for a while. The arthritis and the pain came back and soon the swelling had spread to both knees.

A cortisone injection was Chantal's next hope. But while waiting for her scheduled appointment, Chantal's mother just had to be sure no gentler alternatives had been missed. She consulted the family's trusted chiropractor, Dr Gilbert Bohemier, and he suggested that Chantal see me.

I first saw Chantal in February 1999. She was already 11 years old and had suffered with her arthritis for six years. After giving her a checkup, I recommended a change in diet and in the nutritional supplements she was already taking.

Chantal was on a very high dose of vitamin C. I put her on a much lower dose for two reasons. First, large doses of vitamin C can result in copper deficiency, and as anyone who has used a copper bracelet for arthritis knows, copper is a natural pain reliever. Second, the diet I recommended for Chantal was intended to help alkalize her system. I didn't want her supplements to interfere with that process as vitamin C is a mild acid (its scientific name is ascorbic acid).

Alkalizing the body is an integral part of a therapeutic approach called "terrain medicine." It puts the emphasis on treating and supporting the whole person the "terrain" rather than aiming all the ammunition at "the bug" or pathogen.

When we eat or drink too many acidic foods or beverages (or if we chew too fast), we force our bodies to work extra hard to neutralize all those acids. They must then "borrow" neutralizing mineral salts from the digestive tract, the bloodstream, the bones and other tissues. If we chronically rob our tissues this way, they can start to degenerate. One possible result is arthritis.

Chantal's alkalizing diet involved avoiding highly acidifying foods dairy, wheat and sugar products (including tropical fruit) and eating lots of alkaline fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, millet and rice. The rule of thumb is to eat 20 percent of acceptable acid foods such as eggs and legumes and 80 percent alkaline foods.

I also put Chantal on two deservedly popular treatments for arthritis: glucosamine (a blend of the hydrochloride, sulfate and N-acetyl forms) and chondroitin precursors. The dosage was 750 mg, three times a day.

Consisting primarily of a very long chain sugar called a mucopolysaccharide, glucosamine has been studied for its ability to provide the raw materials necessary for the body to maintain healthy cartilage and to help produce more synovial fluid, the "grease" that keeps the joints working smoothly. For a variety of other reasons, I included supplemental calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and digestive enzymes in Chantal's program.

While treating arthritis with an alkaline diet and supplements may not yet be a scientifically proven approach, the evidence is mounting. For many people the results speak for themselves. They certainly did for Chantal. For six months, my young client faithfully followed her regimen and was finally free from all pain and swelling. The cortisone injections were no longer necessary, her doctor told her.

After seven years of suffering, Chantal's arthritis was in remission. She was so excited! For the first time in her life, she was able to play baseball. And now, two years later, she is still symptom-free.

Supplement Support

Chantal began a regimen of herbs and supplements. Three times a day, she took a combination product containing the following ingredients:

  • Turmeric (curcumin): 300 mg of a standardized extract (12x) to inhibit the formation of inflammatory leukotrienes.
  • Boswellia serrata: 300 mg. The "boswellic acids" of this gum-resin also inhibit leukotrienes.
  • Devils claw root: 125 mg of a standardized extract (5 percent harpagosides). This saponin-containing plant acts as a natural precursor to cortisone.
  • Bromelain (80 GDU/g): 125 mg. By breaking down a biochemical called fibrin and reducing blood levels of kinins, this enzyme indirectly reduces inflammation, swelling and pain.
  • Ginger root: 125 mg of a standardized extract (5 percent gingerols). Ginger is a very potent inhibitor of inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes.
  • White willow bark: 150 mg of a four to one extract. A potent herbal "aspirin" and anti-inflammatory.


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