You Have Joint Problems: What Can You Do About It?
Switch to An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Regardless of the reason for joint problems, controlling inflammation with your diet – avoiding refined carbs, sugar, processed meats, and fast food – can go a long way to making joints healthier and more functional. Natural, unprocessed protein, healthy fats, and many servings of fruits and vegetables (but not sugar-laden fruit juices) are a much better way to control the inflammatory responses that create havoc on your joints. And, they’re just better for you, too.
Rebuild Your Joints
TYPE II COLLAGEN is clinically researched for helping rebuild damaged joints. Type II collagen makes up to 90 percent of your articular cartilage – the cartilage in your joints. It is critical for fighting the damage and pain of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other joint disorders.
GLUCOSAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE & CHONDROITIN SULFATE are two of the best known raw materials your body uses to build and maintain strong, flexible joints. Having both in your regimen gives you a broader range of joint-repairing nutrients. Both glucosamine and chondroitin strengthen cartilage, reduce inflammation and pain, and chondroitin strengthens the bones in joints.
HYALURONIC ACID is a required component of collagen, cartilage, and joint fluid. It helps nourish the shock-absorbing “cushions” in your spine and joints, helps lubricate them for flexibility, reduces pain, and helps you stay mobile.
BOSWELLIA (Boswellia serrata) stops pain and inflammatory damage that wears away at the cartilage and bone in your joints. It is one of the few, effective ways of stopping 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase) inflammation, which is a major factor in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The right boswellia extract does more than reduce pain – it helps your body heal.
Common Joint Diseases
Your knees ache, your back feels stiff, and the joints in your fingers are swollen and clumsy. You’ve noticed these symptoms more and more lately and wonder what you can do about it. Or you may notice a slowing down in your walk, a little more trouble getting out of bed in the morning, or a stiffer gait when you move. Joint pain can sneak up on you.
Maybe you’re one of the millions of Americans with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other joint disorders. If you have a physically-demanding job, you probably feel some amount of joint pain every day – and you may be taking potentially dangerous medicines to counter it.
These are all signs that your joints are in serious need of repair and stabilization.
If your knees or back have begun to make “cracking and popping” noises, or your joints seem to grind together after being on your feet (or getting up after a long period of being seated), you may have osteoarthritis (OA). It’s the number one joint disorder, affecting 30 million American adults, and is generally thought of as the “wear and tear” form of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage deteriorates. Over time, the space where bones meet at a joint narrows and the surfaces of the bones change shape. The resulting friction causes pain and joint damage, and is common in the knees, hips, lower back, neck, and fingers.
Previous injuries can increase risk for this form of arthritis. Many aging athletes struggle with accelerated rates of degenerative joint changes.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) differs from osteoarthritis in that it is not associated with joint wear and tear, but rather with the autoimmune system attacking healthy joint tissue. It affects approximately 1.5 million Americans, and while symptoms increase with age for those already diagnosed with the disease, the disease can strike younger people, too.
One of the characteristics of RA is that it involves a very specific type of inflammation enzyme called “5-LOX” (5-lipoxygenase). Because of this, 5-LOX activity has been a target of treatment for the disease. But as it happens, 5-LOX inflammation is difficult to overcome, though one herb shows tremendous benefits (but more about that later).
What Can Fix These Problems? Powerful Nutrients.
TYPE II COLLAGEN is one of many forms of the protein, but it is also the most important for articular joints – the ones that move. In fact, it makes up to 90 percent of the collagen in those structures. While collagen is obviously produced naturally in our bodies, supplemental sources can be very effective, too.
For at least twenty years, researchers have investigated the role of supplemental type II collagen in people with joint pain (typically knee pain) due to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Overall, results have been impressive. Like all joint-rebuilding nutrients, it can take time – some of the studies last for three months or more. Aside from stopping pain symptoms, supplemental type II collagen may also interfere with T-cells that attack existing collagen in the joints, as you’d see in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
In one clinical study, type II collagen was used alongside acetaminophen (one brand name is Tylenol) and tested against acetaminophen alone in two groups of volunteers with osteoarthritis. The group using type II collagen definitely came out ahead – they had significantly less knee pain, better knee flexibility, and better walking scores. In fact, looking at the study, it’s tough to see how much impact the over-the-counter drug acetaminophen had at all.
Of course, you don’t have to be affected with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis to reap the benefits of type II collagen. A clinical study of healthy, active people found that it helped them exercise longer without pain, alleviate pain from exercise, and improve knee extension and flexibility.
In another six-month human study, researchers found that by combining type II collagen with glucosamine and chondroitin, individuals with symptoms of hand osteoarthritis fared better than those just using glucosamine and chondroitin alone. The researchers also noted that those receiving the extra boost from type II collagen improved faster and more steadily over the year with further improvements and better symptom relief.
GLUCOSAMINE hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate are also very helpful for your joints. Both these nutrients are raw materials that your body uses to repair and rebuild joints. Because of this, they work more slowly than type II collagen but are quite valuable. Combining them with other nutrients can make them even more effective for preventing and repairing joint damage, and relieving joint pain.
In the body, glucosamine is a polysaccharide compound naturally found in cartilage. For people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it not only helps rebuild those cushioning, shock-absorbing structures, but over time, relieves pain as well.
CHONDROITIN SULFATE is a glycosaminoglycan (often shortened to GAG) which, in turn, makes up cartilage, connective tissue, bone, and skin. It helps extend the life and activity of chondrocytes (cartilage producing cells), reduces inflammation, and strengthens the load-bearing bones in the joints that sit just under the cartilage, called “subchondral” bone.
Often researched in combination, the chondroitin and glucosamine I prefer are a powerful pair: they are equal to the prescription drug celecoxib (also known as Celebrex) for stopping knee pain. Even the chondroitin alone has been objectively shown to reduce pain sensation on MRI brain scans of patients in a clinical study.
Both the glucosamine/chondroitin and the celecoxib groups saw about 50 percent reductions in pain swelling, fluid around the joints, and other knee osteoarthritis symptoms by the end of the six month trial. Bear in mind that these were patients with severe osteoarthritis knee pain, and that glucosamine and chondroitin don’t cause dangerous side effects like the body aches, diarrhea, gas, insomnia, and risk of congestive heart failure seen with celecoxib. So in that sense, the nutrient option is far superior – it fixes the problem without causing complications.
HYALURONIC ACID, another GAG, is one of the building blocks of collagen and cartilage. It adds to the spacing between joints, scavenges free radicals, and is critical for joint lubrication, so you want to have hyaluronic acid on board with any joint-rebuilding regimen. As osteoarthritis progresses, hyaluronic acid loses its shape and structure as the condition wears down its molecular weight. When this happens, it can’t properly lubricate joints or keep them from grinding together.
The supplemental hyaluronic acid nutrient I recommend has been shown to improve muscle aches and joint pain by 75 percent in just eight weeks.
In a three-month study, this same ingredient not only relieved muscle pain and reduced synovial fluid pooling in knees, it actually helped regenerate muscle, too. It really shows how important hyaluronic acid can be in your joint-restoring regimen.
BOSWELLIA SERRATA is noted for joint pain, and has over 2,500 years of use in classic Ayurvedic practice in India, where it was prescribed for everything from asthma to ringworm.
One of the key compounds in boswellia is called acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid, popularly known as AKBA. In fact, in most boswellia research, AKBA is cited as a primary reason the extract works so well to relieve pain, digestive inflammation, respiratory conditions, and may even protect the brain against stroke.
Based on this, I believe higher levels of AKBA are a must – but within limits. It’s not unusual to find extracts that have artificially increased (spiked) levels of AKBA, or are essentially all AKBA. That is a problem, because there are other compounds in the plant that are beneficial, too.
One compound that is not beneficial in boswellia is called beta-boswellic acid (BBA). This boswellic acid makes up 25% of the family and is pro-inflammatory. The most medicinal and powerful boswellia extracts are purified and standardized to virtually eliminate BBA, keeping it under 5%. That is why the boswellia extract I recommend is standardized so that you’re getting at least 10 percent AKBA and virtually no beta-boswellic acids.
Boswellia is a natural medicine powerhouse. Researchers have found that boswellic acids are better than certain conventional drugs (and other botanicals, too) at stopping a specific type of inflammation known for joint damage called “5-LOX.”
Officially known as “5-lipoxygenase”, 5-LOX is an inflammatory enzyme often associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. This type of inflammation flares up in damaged joints, so getting it under control is a necessity for fighting pain and further joint destruction.
Aside from reducing 5-LOX, scientific research shows that boswellia inhibits cartilage-destroying enzymes similar to the actions of glucosamine, so it doesn’t just stop pain, it stops the actual progression of damage in joints and muscles. Unlike conventional prescription or over-the-counter drugs, it isn’t masking anything – it’s healing the joints.
Stop Joint Pain – Be Active and Mobile
The pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis and joint damage are difficult to live with, and the prescription drugs so often used to treat it can create devastating complications. These drugs do not facilitate repair and strengthening. The combination I’ve discussed here relieves pain and helps rebuild the cushioning structure of the joints. If you’re tired of conventional approaches to dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or just routine joint pain that comes with high levels of physical activity, it’s time to consider these amazing, effective ingredients and rediscover mobility and relief without the risks.
If you are looking to rebuild and restore joints, preserve and repair cartilage, and protect the bones of your joints, I recommend a combination of boswellia (Boswellia serrata), glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and type II collagen taken daily.