How to Effectively Protect Your Joints
Joint pains have become so commonplace that the younger folks are also getting it; even in their twenties. Finding means to manage this problem is crucial to future joint health. One of the leading condition causing pain and disability is Osteoarthritis (OA).
It is important to under stand how OA starts as a way to understand and combat the condition. OA begins in the cartilage, the smooth, slippery tissue that covers the end of the bone as they come together in joints. Healthy cartilage is extremely strong and flexible and allows the joint to move freely and painlessly, but in OA, the cartilage is damaged and eventually and gradually wears away.
The process of wear and tear continues with time until little or no cartilage is left in the affected joint, causing the bone to rub against bone. The frightening thought of it happening will prompt many to take better care of their joints. The resulting pain, which can be severe, and stiffness is typical of advanced OA. Hopefully with the right intervention it does not have to reach this stage.
If you have consistently pain in the joint, a visit to the doctor is advisable. The doctor can confirm a diagnosis of OA by taking x-rays that show the typical joint space narrowing due to to loss of cartilage, accompanied eventually by the increased density of the bones near the joint and joint spurs.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
A clear tell-tale sign is pain. The pain usually begins gradually. It can remain mild or can build up to a level of severity that is disabling. If OA progresses to an advanced stage, the pain can become so severe and constant that it even interferes.
The second symptom is stiffness. Morning stiffness is common, but it usually resolves within 20 minutes. People who have painful joints tend to be inactive, and the inactivity leads to a third symptom, muscle weakness. It is a vicious cycle. Don''t worry as exercise can break the chain of disability. In fact, exercise and physical therapy are important treatments for OA.
Modern medicine does not have much to offer for these chronic conditions, only symptomatic, temporary relief. painkillers, including NSAIDs, anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal drugs, are helpful in reducing symptoms quickly but often cause side-effects such as ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. And they do not stop the progression of the disease.
Rebuilding flexible, strong cartilage
Rebuilding cartilage can reduce the amount of pain suffered by the individual as the amount of bone-to-bone friction is decreased. Rebuilding and regenerating it can be done naturally. However, in OA cartilage is synthesized (rebuilt), The key-limiting step in the rebuilding of cartilage is production of glucosaminoglycans (GAGs), from which glucosamine is the main building block.
Glucosamine however, does not act alone. Other cartilage-building components such as type II colagen is the most abundant structural component found in the joint cartilage matrix. Interwoven in collagen type II matrixes are glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. These altogether give the cartilage its amazing shock-absorbing properties.
Osteoarthritis and nutritional support
Having a strong flexible cartilage is the the first step to healthy joints. So one needs to supply essential nutrients to build strong, flexible joints. The below covers the necessary nutrients involved in regenerating healthy cartilage:
Glucosamine sulphate - Glucosamine is a small molecule that is easily absorbed into the blood and joints when taken as a supplement.
Supplement with glucosamine helps to build and repair cartilage; slow progression of OA; decrease joint pain and tenderness; and improve ease of movement.
Chondroitin sulphate - Chondroitin is another component of cartilage acting as a water water-magnet. This simply means that the ability of chondroitin to hold water gives rigidity to the cartilage and also acts as a shock-absorber.
Supplementation with chondroitin helps to build and repair cartilage; protect existing cartilage from premature breakdown; lubricate the joint; and decrease joint pain and stiffness.
Collagen type II and hyaluronic acid (HA) - The richest source of collagen type II, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin is from chicken sternum. There 14 different types of collagen found in the body, but only type II is the most abundant in the joint matrix. Collagen type II helps promote new cartilage synthesis. As we age, there is a decrease in the production and concentration of collagen type II in the joints. The lack of collagen type II leads to cartilage degeneration.
Hyaluronic acid is also a key nutrient in joint health. HA seems to work by restoration of more normal synovial fluid, with improved viscoelasticity.
Ordinary collagen type II and hyaluronic acid are not so easily absorbed. The hydrolysed and denatured form using a patented process can help increase the absorption into bloodstream.
Supplementation with hyhrolyzed form of collagen type II and hyaluronic acid help to build and repair cartilage.; slow progression of OA; lower joint pain and stiffness; and lubricate the joint. Dr. Ramon B. Gustilo, MD, Chair in Orthopedic Surgery at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation treats arthritis patients with a natural, non-prescription material - Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II - so effective in treating rheumatoid and osteoarthritis that Dr. Gustilo will soon begin a double-blind study on its specific benefits.
Combination of nutrients works better for osteoarthritis
When people search for relief in anti-arthritic drugs, they will eventually come across a safer and gentler alternative, which can be found in nutrient like glucosamine. Over the past decades, sales of glucosamine and chondroitin in the US have soared, partly because they are free from potential side effects associated with drugs. To find out how effective glucosamine and chondroitin are for OA pain, a large-scale study was conducted by National Institute of Health, US.
The study is known as GAIT (Glucosamine/ Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial), and involved about 1,600 patients with knee OA.
Participants were randomly given either glucosamine or chondroitin or a combination of
glucosamine and chondroitin, or celecoxib, or a placebo. The results showed that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin reported a more significant reduction in pain scores, especially for moderate to severe OA. The anti-arthritis benefits of sulphur (the sulphate part of the glucosamine compound) are very well documented.
It is good to remember that there is no single ingredient that can provide all the materials needed to build cartilage and provide comfort. Many people only take glucosamine and stop there. There are more cartilage building components, even glucosamine with chondroitin is better.
If you take the whole package of chondroitin, collagen type II and hyaluronic acid together with glucosamine, your joint cartilage gets all the necessary nourishment it needs to grow and healthy cartilage.
Supplementing for joint health: