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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

How Reactive and Rheumatoid Arthritis present on the HTMA

Updated: Feb 25

What is Reactive arthritis (ReA)?

(For simplicity, I'm calling Reactive Arthritis "ReA" in this article).

Reactive arthritis is joint pain and swelling triggered by an infection in another part of your body — most often your intestines, genitals or urinary tract.

Reactive arthritis usually targets your knees and the joints of your ankles and feet. Inflammation also can affect your eyes, skin and urethra.

Previously, reactive arthritis was sometimes called Reiter's syndrome, which was characterized by eye, urethra and joint inflammation.

Reactive arthritis isn't common. For most people, signs and symptoms come and go, eventually disappearing within 12 months.

The causes of ReA include:

Reactive arthritis develops in reaction to an infection in your body, often in your intestines, genitals or urinary tract. You might not be aware of the triggering infection if it causes mild symptoms or none at all.

Numerous bacteria can cause reactive arthritis. Some are transmitted sexually, and others are foodborne. The most common ones include:

  • Chlamydia

  • Salmonella

  • Shigella

  • Yersinia

  • Campylobacter

  • Clostridium difficile

ReA and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) tend to be diagnosed as being the same. In my experience the diagnosis of ReA is rare. Most cases of inflammatory arthritis that appear to have been triggered by an infection are diagnosed as being RA. Technically they should be ReA, although the signs and symptoms are more or less identical.

On the Interclinical Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) both RA and ReA have the same patterns.


(Note: this is an essay by Gary Moller, reflecting upon what he has observed when applying the HTMA in the Clinic, including the unique patterns on the HTMA that are often common to a specific health condition. This is not to diagnose a medical condition, nor are there any treatment recommendations. The intention here is to help guide nutrition and lifestyle support).


Are ReA and RA incurable?

While these may appear to be incurable, and no claim is being made here for a cure, the symptoms can be reduced to the point where they are as good as non-existent. Most of the drugs that are used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions are doing little more than masking or suppressing the symptoms. They do not address the root causes. The root causes may be a chronic sub-clinical infection and or mineral imbalances within your cells. Identifying then carefully correcting these may give remarkable and lasting relief.

How ReA and RA present on the Interclinical Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)

Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio

Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Reactive Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio
Diagnosis: Reactive Arthritis. High Fe/Cu ratio

All four cases were triggered by trauma and/or infection, such as food poisoning, deep skin wounds and, in the case of the 73-year-old woman, she was bitten on the finger by a mouse that would not let go! All developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis within months of the infection or trauma.

In most cases, including those in this article, the connection with trauma and infection was not noticed until questioned and a timeline established.

Patterns on all four HTMA to take note of:

  • When Iron is even higher than copper, this is consistent with some kind of chronic infection of a bacterial or parasitic kind. This pattern (high Fe to Cu) is very common with HTMA for mangy horses with drench-resistant parasites. It is also worth noting the low HTMA Cu is very common among exhausted athletes such as the marathon runner or triathlete who ran one race too many and never fully recovered!

  • Elevated calcium relative to the general lie of the land. This is consistent with feelings of fatigue, aching joints and sore muscles.

  • Calcium is high along with elevation of Strontium, this is consistent with the loss of calcium from bone, presumably due to systemic inflammation. If this pattern persists for years, the person will be at risk of developing arthritis and osteoporosis. (calcium and other alkalising minerals are released from bone to maintain a constant PH of 7.4).

  • All of these HTMA have the same patterns for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The only difference is those with RA and ReA have low copper. Read more about it here and see the similarities for yourself. Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • High Zinc relative to Molybdenum. This is consistent with systemic inflammation and represents a zinc loss.

My story

Trauma to my fingers about 15 months ago
Trauma to my fingers about 15 months ago

About 15 months ago I had a relatively minor spill off my mountain bike. All would have been well except my hand caught the rotating brake rotor, slicing deeply into the fingers of my right hand. I was about two hours away from getting to the road end, so there was no choice but to keep riding, using the damaged fingers to operate the front brakes. Once out, I placed the hand in a clean sock then drove for about one hour to my home where I was then able to clean and dress the wound. You can read more about this incident here:

I also sprained two other fingers on my left hand which I thought nothing of at the time other than that they hurt a lot.

The wounds healed remarkably quickly and there was no hint of infection. However, what developed some months later was very swollen and extremely painful joints in both fingers as well as the joints of the left-hand fingers that had been sprained.

My fingers were so painful and weak that I had to use both hands to grip and activate the lever on our Lazy Boy lounge chair. The joints were swollen and it was extremely painful to bend the fingers. I had great trouble with hanging onto a chin-up bar.

While I was aware of the HTMA patterns associated with RA and ReA, which I had (low Cu, high Fe), the challenge was what to do about it. Things were not helped and complicated a few months later when I tried to paralyse myself from the neck down: I'm not "at it" anymore

My self-treatment consisted of a combination of herbal antibacterial and antiparasitic formulas as well as copper supplementation among other things. With regards to copper, the question was this: "How much is enough without becoming too much?"

I began cautiously, repeating the HTMA every six months to see what the response was, then cautiously bumping up the copper and cofactors. It is worth noting that I have tests showing low copper as far back as 15 years ago. I have been supplementing with copper now and then. The problem is that, as I feel better, my activity levels have gone up, thus stressing further my already marginal mineral reserves. It is a never-ending task of trying to top up a bucket that is full of holes!

How I am today

Still some deformity but fully functional today.
Still some deformity but fully functional today.

It has taken over a year to get to where I am now which is close to being 100% recovered. Along the way I managed to recover from a serious spinal injury and win the UCI Masters Mountain Biking World Championships last August. I can now hang off the chin-up bar like an Orangutan and easily activate the Lazy Boy with one hand. I can almost squeeze all of my fingers to the palm. The swelling in my fingers has now reduced to where it presents a problem: My Oura Ring that once fitted snugly on my ring finger now threatens to slip off.

Referring to my most recent HTMA above dated 31/01/2020, my recovery is reflected in the increase in copper from 0.9 to 1.6.

It should be noted that I did not take a single pill of the pharmaceutical kind but managed the pain and inflammation by the use of various nutraceuticals, appropriate exercise and ignoring the discomfort.

As an aside: Why is copper typically low in overtrained and exhausted athletes?

Copper is essential for cellular respiration as is manganese. Both minerals are usually low in athletes who have run out of gas. With zinc, both minerals are important for connective tissue integrity (tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone, skin, hair, nails, gut and blood vessels, etc). They are essential for healing. Manganese is found in the super antioxidant, "Manganese Super Oxide Dismutase" (MnSOD). It is hardly any surprise that most endurance athletes appear to become depleted of these minerals as their careers slowly grind to an exhausted halt.

It is assumed that anybody who is under constant physically or emotionally stressful conditions, no matter the possible causes, all may cause exceptionally high needs for many nutrients including copper and manganese.

Drivers may include any number of stressors such as excessive exercise, gruelling competition, injury, an abusive relationship, the slow death of a loved one, infection, prescription drugs, pollution, chemicals, and a nutrient-poor diet.

Look at the HTMA here for an example of this chronic depletion in an exceptionally talented athlete (low Cu and Mn):

Why do people with ReA and RA seldom fully recover and usually get worse as the years go by?

  1. Once diagnosed, the person is solemnly advised by the specialist that she has an incurable autoimmune condition for which there is no cure. All that she can do is take a concoction of powerful and side-effects-riddled medicines that give symptomatic relief. This is akin to the witchdoctor "pointing the bone". The messages of doom are taken on board and deeply embedded in the subconscious much to the detriment of any therapy other than drugs, token exercise and ineffective diet advice.

  2. No attempt is made to identify and correct the underlying root causes. In fact, the medications prescribed may make matters worse, due to their interference with digestion, gut health and nutrient uptake as well as subtle damage to the liver and other organs.

  3. Some of the drugs prescribed, such as those for pain and inflammation, are addictive. As the body habituates to these drugs, the doses must be increased to give the same relief and/or more drugs added, including ones to relieve complications such as indigestion. If an attempt is made to reduce or stop the medication, the symptoms such as pain and swelling may come back with a vengeance. This becomes a vicious cycle that is extremely difficult for the patient to break without having to endure an extended period of extreme discomfort (detoxification).

  4. Nutritional and lifestyle interventions are easily compromised by the medications that are usually prescribed, at best slowing the benefits of any non-drugs attempts to deal with the root causes. While some medications may be necessary for acute relief of unbearable symptoms, these should be kept to the absolute minimum. They should not be relied upon habitually for more than about a week at a time without there being a significant break before further use of that or similar medications.

  5. Attempts to deal with the root causes may be undermined by well-intentioned but ill-informed experts of various kinds. The normal attention given to nutrition-based therapies is best described as being token and ineffective. "Yes, a good diet is important but you must still take your medications!".

  6. The natural health and nutrition spheres are dominated by a disturbing gabble of gurus, many with powerful commercial backing, peddling extreme diets and other remedies. While some of these remedies may give some relief, they tend to be fleeting and impossible to maintain over the longterm. These extremes, with their over-promising and over-pricing, end up giving us all a bad name. We all get tarred with the same brush. We have failed before we even start.

  7. The cost of therapies can be off-putting for some. Nutritional, nutraceutical and lifestyle interventions do not receive Government or insurance subsidies. Patent medicines have a strangle-hold on our precious health funding. When a person is stressed, health-wise, they are usually also financially stressed. Getting healthy requires longterm investment.

  8. There is a war going on against natural therapies. Until a naturally occurring substance can be converted into a patent medicine, powerful interests are doing all they can to discredit and suppress it and others.

  9. Dealing effectively with the root causes of any chronic illness is slow and requires what may amount to years of dedication to nutrition and lifestyle adjustments. The person may have spent their entire lifetime digging the hole they are now in. Getting out of that hole and filling it in is never an overnight exercise. It takes years to recover. But the end result is always surely worth it - great health regardless of age!

  10. We are being bombarded with instant solutions to our ailments. "Give me a shot, Doc!", "The Magic Bullet". We are conditioned to seek instant gratification. Delayed gratification is an endangered species. Getting healthy from being chronically ill is like preparing for the Olympics: it takes really smart planning and years of daily dedication to the plan, often punctuated with many setbacks that must be overcome along the way.

Like the journey of a thousand miles, it is best to not look too far ahead but, instead, to concentrate on the first step, then the next, then the next and the...

Concluding remarks

No matter the chronic health problem, my advice to you is to always seek the root causes of the illness. It will take some time and there will be some false starts along the way to figuring out what is really going on. Never give up. Be a resilient person and keep on with your quest for achieving perfect health.

Usually, the solution is found little by little. Seek one tiny breakthrough at a time.

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