One of the important things to look out for when you have RA is the long-term medication use. It became the most important concern for me when I realized that I started this long-term use at 25, and practically speaking, the dosage would either stay the same or get higher as I get older, and with the average lifespan, I would have to take medications everyday for about 50 years. And as with any long-term medication prescription, you need to take regular lab tests to check for liver and kidney function.

The liver and the kidneys are overworked with constant medication in the body and so doctors need to check when it’s time to cut back or change medications. But doctors don’t really tell you that there is a way to keep your liver and kidneys healthy, more often than not you just sit and wait for them to go bad, and that healthy way is through cleansing or detoxification. Technically, cleansing is different from detox (You can google cleanse vs detox.), and there are many different ways to do them, but what has worked and continues to work for me are lemons.

“The liver and the kidneys are overworked with constant medication..”

A few months after my diagnosis I was already drinking watered-down lemon juice in the morning as recommended (well, sort of forced to drink) by my aunt. I knew that lemon had health benefits but I didn’t know exactly what they were, so I just drank it, occasionally. Later on, when I was experiencing bilateral ankle pain unrelieved by NSAIDS, I sought the help of an osteopath/acupuncturist and he recommended lemon juice to ease the pain, and man did it work! I don’t want to go into detail because I’m not an expert at this, but it’s not simply that lemons can ease arthritis pain, but what he said was that during his assessment, he concluded that my liver was overworked and this was causing the ankle pain.

So…… the curious kid in me wondered how this all added up, and I took to research to figure out how the lemons are helping me. There are a lot of blogs and testimonials out there regarding lemons and arthritis, and I can say that they are pretty much accurate with regards to my own experience. The alkalizing effects are real, I feel more energetic and with less occasions of joint pain. The gut cleansing effects are real too, my bowel movement is more regular, my SGPT/ALT and Creatinine lab values are always within normal limits, and I get less occasions of bloating. I also noticed that since I juiced up on lemons, I haven’t had the regular cough or colds, given the fact that I am taking immunosuppressants.

Thinking locally, I bet there are a lot of people skeptical about drinking lemons thinking that they are acidic and that they are expensive (Lemons are not naturally grown in the Philippines, thus imported and expensive). But the most important thing to remember about lemons is that they have an alkaline effect in our body, though the taste is acidic, and as for the price, it is totally worth it considering the expenses you’d incur if and when you get kidney or liver failure.

*My osteopath recommended doing it in a cycle. I drink pure lemon juice (2 lemons) every morning 1 hour before breakfast for 10 days, and then I stop for 5 days, and then repeat the cycle. No added water or honey. If you’re worried about the acidic taste, you can use a straw. For the first few days, make sure that you have access to the bathroom because your body will want to cleanse soon after you drink your juice. It’s going to be an adjustment if you’re used to eating breakfast first thing in the morning, but it’s definitely worth it.

I’ve been juicing for almost 2 years now and it’s become a habit. It’s more than just a cleansing option, it’s a good and healthy habit that I can recommend to anyone, arthritic or not.