Role Of Cartilage Bone & Diet

(excerpts from “Beating Arthritis and Beating Osteoporosis” by Dr Rex E. Newnham) 

The role of cartilage 

Healthy joints require healthy cartilage and healthy bone. Cartilage is the smooth tissue that lines the joints and it is made from collagen, which is the tough tissue of tendons, skin and other tough parts.

This tough material covers all articulating surfaces, that is the surfaces that rub together in a joint. This means that two bones never really touch each other. These cartilages have a smooth oily finish so as to give easy pain free movement. In OA especially, the cartilages have become thin and wasted so that the bone rubs on bone. This causes wear and tear with much pain and creaking. The spinal discs are also made of cartilage. If these become thin and worn the nerves can be pinched leading to pain such as lumbago or sciatica. In RA the cartilage is inflamed and permanent damage can occur, even though it can often be corrected. 

When cartilage is worn or thin it is wise to eat the nutrients that will help repair it properly. Animal cartilage will do this, but this is the tough gristle that we throw away. Some people avoid the tough parts of meat or vegetables, and if they do not get enough of these tough tissues then their cartilages are not as healthy as they should be. Gelatine is made from the tendons and cartilages of the cow and in jelly it is good for our cartilages.

The role of bone

Bone is living matter made of many minerals of which calcium and phosphorous are the most important. Protein, nerves and blood vessels are also found in bone, Bones gives strength and rigidity to the body. The bones start to form from before birth and their minerals are being constantly changed. They act as a store for both calcium and phosphorous. If the body need these minerals in some other place it takes some from the bone. If we eat just sugar it cannot be properly assimilated without phoshorous and if this is not present in the meal, it must be taken from the bone. This also releases calcium, which is lost from the kidneys. This is one of several reasons why too much sugar causes damage to the teeth and similar damage to all other bones.

Other minerals are also very important in bone. Magnesium, silicon and strontium all help to give strength. Sodium, sulphur, potassium, zinc, manganese and copper all have a special role. Boron will help other minerals to become properly incorporated into the bony matrix. Fluoride tends to give more growth on the surface and in the tendons and this does lead in time to skeletal fluorosis, especially where the fluoride content is high. Boron is a natural mineral that is antagonistic to fluoride and will inactivate it.

When bones break they must be joined properly with strong bone. Boron has been found to help broken bones to heal in about half the normal time. In both man and animal.
Arthritic bone has been found to be low in both boron and cobalt. These two minerals should thus be part of the nutrition that will help restore health to the arthritic patient (1). Cobalt is contained in vitamin B12. 

The role of diet 

It has been shown that when trace minerals are deficient from our diet there can be other ailments. Some food items use up these trace minerals without making any contribution to the bodily store of these minerals. For example sugar; it requires phosphorous for its proper metabolism, and if this was not present at the meal when the sugar was eaten then it has to come from the body’s store of phosphorous, which is the bony skeleton. Sugar also needs magnesium and chromium. This is the reason why much sugar results in dental caries. We used to think it was acids caused by eating sugar in the mouth, but the real culprit is the need for taking phosphorous from the bones, and those deficits in the mouth can be seen but other bones which can’t be seen are also affected. White flour is another false food that has insufficient minerals, and we are better off without it. 

Another dangerous substance in some people’s diets are soft drinks which contain sugar and much phosphorous, more than is needed for the metabolism of the sugar. This then enters the blood and the calcium phosphorous balance is upset resulting in still more loss of calcium from the bones, as this extra phosphorous removes calcium from the bones to try to keep the balance in the blood. 

There are other foods that tend to aggravate RA. These are especially potato, tomato, peppers, cape gooseberry, tamarillo and egg plant (aubergine) which are all in the plant family Solonaceae or the Nightshade plants. Some people are upset with chocolate, coffee or cocoa and they should avoid these. 


(1) Ward N.I. The Determination of Boron in Biological Material by Neutron Irradiation and Prompt Gamma Ray Spectometry. J. of Radio-analytical and Nuclear Chemistry. 110-2. 1987. P633-639.

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