Ouch, those aching joints!
We often dont fully realize the amount of work our joints do and the amount of flexibility and function they provide until they start to ache. Two of the major causes of joint pain are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
It is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is more common in people as they age. Some studies have shown that up to 80% of people over the age of 50 have osteoarthritis.
The weight-bearing joints of the hands and feet are the ones most often affected. Within the joint, cartilage may be extensively destroyed, followed by cartilage hardening and the formation of large bone spurs. As the gel-like cartilage is lost, so, too, is the protection for the joints reduced. The person may then experience pain, inflammation, deformity, and diminished range of motion.
It is an autoimmune condition that affects the synovial membranes of the joints. Joints are characteristically warm, tender, and swollen, often with a reddish purplish hue. Joint deformities can appear as the condition progresses. Upon testing, Rheumatoid factor is found in the blood. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually symmetrical affecting both halves of the body. The triggers of rheumatoid arthritis are largely undefined, but contributing factors may be genetic factors, microbial causes, and intestinal issues with food sensitivities.
What supplements may be beneficial?
For Osteoarthritis the following supplements are often used:
Glucosamine sulphate: is found naturally in joint structures. It stimulates the manufacture of cartilage components (GAGs- glycosaminoglycans) and increases the ability of the joint to hold water. Double blind studies have shown better results for Glucosamine Sulphate than NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for reduction of pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. However, because Glucosamine Sulphate is not a pain relieving or an anti-inflammatory drug it does not show immediate results, but may take 3-6 weeks before the full benefits are experienced.
Chondroitin sulphate: is composed of repeating units of glucosamine sulphate with attached sugar molecules. It attracts water to the joint to prevent dryness, pain, and loss of nutrients, as well as inhibiting enzymes that break down joint tissue. It is usually used in combination with Glucosamine Sulphate.
MSM (Methyl-sulphonyl-methane): supports the synthesis of collagen in the joints, inhibits pain impulses and reduces inflammation.
Curcumin, ginger, Boswellia, and Devils claw are among the herbs that may be beneficial.
Celadrin: an all-natural proprietary ingredient that has been clinically proven to promote joint health, and improve flexibility and mobility. In a recent study, 100% of patients using Celadrin showed significant benefits when compared to a placebo.
For Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Herbs to modulate inflammation may reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- These include curcumin (from turmeric), ginger, Chinese Bupleurum, Boswellia, Feverfew, Holy Basil, and Rosemary are among the many that may reduce symptoms.
- Products containing a combination of herbs may prove effective.
- Protease enzymes such as Bromelain, from pineapple, exert a wide variety of beneficial effects, including the reduction of inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It is also important for those with rheumatoid arthritis to do food-elimination testing to establish which foods may be triggering the inflammation.
For Both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis:
- Use a good vitamin and mineral supplementation using therapeutic concentrations of Antioxidants like Vitamin C ,Vitamin E , beta-carotene, selenium, and Zinc.
- Eat a plant-rich diet, rich in phytonutrients.
- Consume adequate quantities of essential fatty acids, especially flax and / or fish oils for Omega-3s.
- Drink 8-10 cups of fluid each day including water, and freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices.