Many of us have problems with chronic joint pain. What you might not know is that there are some natural remedies for stiff, aching or inflamed joints.
The health of our joints impacts our quality of life and determines how active we can be as we age. Degeneration and inflammation of the joints (arthritis) is America’s number one crippling disease, affecting approximately one in three American adults, and could be the leading cause of disability among persons over age 15. Luckily, research has shown that arthritis and joint degeneration could be safely and effectively addressed using natural healing methods.
Actually, many nutrients have been found to supply significant relief of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness without the potential side aftereffects of over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. We will take a look at a few compounds that have been proven effective in clinical trials to greatly help alleviate pain and quite often, help repair degeneration in joints.
One of the very studied compounds for joint health is glucosamine sulfate. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body, synthesized by special cells in the body (called chondrocytes) for the objective of producing joint cartilage. When the joints degrade (as in osteoarthritis or after injury), this synthesis is usually defective, so supplying the human body with additional glucosamine through supplementation can provide the human body the nutrients it needs to rebuild and repair the joint.
In addition, glucosamine sulfate has been shown to alleviate most symptoms as effectively because the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as for instance ibuprofen, naproxen, Aleve, and aspirin. In one well-designed study of 178 patients with OA of the knee, one group was treated for 4 weeks with glucosamine sulfate (1500 mg daily) and another group was treated with ibuprofen (1200 mg daily). Glucosamine relieved the outward symptoms as effectively as ibuprofen and was tolerated significantly better (i.e., fewer side effects) than ibuprofen. The safety and tolerability of glucosamine can simply be explained by the fact it is a substance normally utilized by the body.
As with most basic remedies, the therapeutic effectation of glucosamine is not immediate. It always takes 1-8 weeks to appear. Once achieved, it will persist for a distinctive time even after discontinuing glucosamine supplementation. The probable reason behind this is that glucosamine is incorporated into rebuilding the cartilage itself. In many studies, the dose has been 500 mg 3 times daily.
Chondroitin sulfate is a major component of cartilage. It is a very large molecule, consists of repeated units of glucosamine sulfate. Even though absorption of chondroitin sulfate is much lower than that of glucosamine (10-15% versus 90-98%), a few studies show positive results from long-term treatment with chondroitin sulfate, reducing pain and increasing array of motion.
Chondroitin sulfate posseses an excellent safety record, without known toxicity. In repeated clinical studies, oral chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg/day) was consistently effective in reducing OA symptoms, and was perfectly tolerated (no side effects). In many studies, the dose has been 400 mg 3 times daily.
Studies indicate that glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate work synergistically to supply a greater benefit combined than either does separately. Glucosamine has been shown to boost the production of beneficial joint compounds and chondroitin sulfate has demonstrated power to inhibit joint deterioration. Thus, used together they have shown a marked ability to boost joint health.
Purity and Labeling of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Products
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are generally obtained from animal tissue sources, and purity may vary widely dependant on the extraction techniques and analysis technology. The studies of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate referenced in this informative article were all conducted using carefully assayed si joint instability, purified compounds. The purity of the compounds used can easily be expected to effect the outcome.
Furthermore, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are considered dietary supplements, and are therefore not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Although some brands of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine can be found over the counter, independent laboratory analysis has shown that lots of products do not actually support the amounts claimed on the label.
As an example, in a recently published study done at the Pharmacy School at the University of Maryland, 32 bottles of chondroitin sulfate were purchased at pharmacies and health food stores. Only 2 of the products met label claims while 14 of the 32 bottles purchased contained 10% or less of the label claim. What were the buyer’s chances of having a good product when only 2 of 32 products met their label claim?
Other Factors in Joint Health
Diet plays an integral role in joint health. Certain foods can aggravate pain and inflammation – including tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants and bell peppers. In addition, you may also eat foods that could improve the repair process and decrease inflammation!
In addition there are many therapies, nutrients and herbs and specific supplements that you can use to dramatically improve your joint health. Natural therapies can be extremely effective for those suffering from arthritis and other joint injury. Studies have proven that natural remedies, diet and certain kinds of exercise can slow down the progression of joint disease and even reverse it in many cases.
Dr. Chad has studied, lectured and taught throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Peru and southern Africa. He is very active in teaching natural healing techniques and has given presentations to tens and thousands of people worldwide. He is a faculty member at the University of Natural Medicine where he teaches doctors and other medical care practitioners the worthiness of alternative testing techniques in the healing process.