Supplements for Arthritis
Dietary supplements are increasingly becoming popular in the treatment of arthritis. They are mostly just as effective as conventional arthritis medications and safer too. Some countries even recognize them as arthritis drugs. Find out the most effective supplements and supplement products for treating arthritis.
by Brad Chase
The dietary supplement market is already a big market with many products and manufacturers. Unlike the drugs, dietary supplements are not as tightly regulated by government bodies or controlled by the big pharmaceutical companies.
By its nature, osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis are well suited for the supplement market. First, these musculoskeletal diseases mostly affect athletes and the elderly and these are people who do regularly take supplements.
Secondly, supplements are natural and mostly effective alternatives to conventional arthritis medications. They are safe to use and cause far less side effects.
Thirdly, while most conventional drugs simply treat the symptoms (joint pain and inflammation) of osteoarthritis, supplements improve joint health, repair damaged cartilage and produce other lasting effects.
They make take a while to produce results but they do treat the root causes of osteoarthritis.
There are currently thousands of supplements in the market used for treating osteoarthritis. These supplements usually contain the same sets of active ingredients but in different combinations and concentrations.
Glucosamine is an amino acid normally found in bones and bone marrows. The chief source of the glucosamine used in osteoarthritis supplements is shellfish. However, for vegetarians and those who have shellfish allergies, there are other sources of glucosamine.
Glucosamine is used to produce glycosaminoglycans which are then aggregated form cartilages.
There are 3 salts of glucosamine: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine HCl and N-acetyl D-glucosamine. Because glucosamine sulfate is unstable, it is usually stabilized with sodium chloride. To prevent increasing the sodium load in the body, glucosamine sulfate can also be stabilized with potassium chloride.
Glucosamine salts are included in osteoarthritis supplements to slow down the degeneration of cartilages, to repair them and to increase the lubricating properties of synovial fluid.
Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan that is made of two alternating monosaccharides: D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl D-galactosamine. Each of the monosaccharides may carry one, two or no sulfate groups.
Chondroitin contributes to the extracellular matrix that makes up the cartilage. It belongs to a group of glycosaminoglycans called aggrecans.
Aggrecans form together and absorb moisture to give the cartilage its cushioning property.
Chondroitin sulfate molecules carry negative charges. Therefore, when they are aggregated, they produce a net repulsive force that grows as they are further compressed together. This force provides the resistance to impact and the flexibility of the cartilage.
Therefore, the chondroitin sulfate included in osteoarthritis supplements help slow down the degeneration and speed up the regeneration of the cartilage.
The two main sources of the chondroitin used in these supplements are cow and shark cartilages.
Hyaluronic acid is also a glycosaminoglycan. However, unlike chondroitin sulfate, it carries no sulfate group on its molecule.
There is a need for constant supplementation of hyaluronic acid especially after an injury to the cartilage or during old age. This is because one-third of the body’s store of hyaluronic acid is depleted every day and because, as we age, the newly produced hyaluronic acid becomes lighter.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the two lubricants naturally found in the synovial fluid.
It also protects chondrocytes from harmful free radicals and serves as a linkage for glycosaminoglycans and proteins such as collagen during the formation of cartilages.
Therefore, hyaluronic acid is needed for maintaining joint health. It is needed to overcome friction between bones as they slide past one another at joints and it is also needed for the strengthening of the cartilage.
MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a safe sulfur source for the body.
The sulfur obtained from MSM can be used to create the sulfide bonds between amino acids during the production of proteins. Therefore, MSM contributes to the strength of proteins such as collagen which form the connective tissues attaching bones and found at joints.
Cetyl myristoleate or CMO is a relatively new dietary supplement for treating osteoarthritis.
Even though it was introduced to the supplement market in the 1990s, it was actually discovered 25 years later and then shelved. Cetyl myristoleate is the compound that protects mice from becoming arthritic.
Cetyl myristoleate is an immune modulator. Therefore, it can stop the autoimmune attack that causes rheumatoid arthritis. It is still useful for treating osteoarthritis because it also has an anti-inflammatory property.
Cetyl myristoleate is inhibits the production of leukotrienes and prostaglandins. As an anti-inflammatory agent, its effects have been found comparable to those of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Cetyl myristoleate is never used alone in osteoarthritis supplements. It is often combined with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to improve the overall anti-inflammatory and protective effects of the three supplements.
SAM-e or S-adenosyl methionine has also been clinically determined to be as effective as NSAIDs in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain and inflammation while producing lesser side effects.
It is a natural compound produced from adenosine triphosphate or ATP which is the main energy molecule driving cellular metabolism.
The medicinal properties of turmeric are due to its curcumin content.
Curcumin has a number of medicinal properties including anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties.
When used to treat osteoarthritis, curcumin inhibits the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. It also blocks enzymes such as elastase and collagenase which are known to break down collagen.
Lastly, curcumin promotes the production of type II collagen, the specific collagen used in making cartilages.
Ginger is a rhizome and a common remedy used in traditional medicine.
In the treatment of osteoarthritis, two species of ginger has been found effective in clinical studies. These are Zingiber officnale and Alpinia galanga.
Ginger extracts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To reduce joint pain and inflammation, ginger blocks proinflammatory factors such as the leukotriene, LTB4, the prostaglandin, PGE2, and TNF-alpha or tissue necrosis factor-alpha.
Devil’s claw or Harpagophytum procumbens is used in traditional medicine for its analgesic, sedative and diuretic properties.
It contains sterols and glycosides which have anti-arthritis properties. These phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory properties and they are also effective for treating chronic musculoskeletal pains.
Cat’s claw is the name given to two plants in the Uncaria family. These are Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa. Cat’s claw contains antioxidants and other useful phytochemicals such as proanthocyanidins, rutin, catechin and epicatechin.
Different studies have demonstrated the useful of Cat’s claw in relieving joint pain and inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory effect is credited to its ability to block PGE2 and TNF-alpha.
Bromelain is an enzyme system obtained from the stems of pineapples. It has an anti-inflammatory property that is due to the ability of Bromelain to block proinflammatory chemokines.
Rutin is an example of citrus bioflavonoid glycoside. Besides citruses, it is also obtained from berries, buckwheat and asparagus.
Rutin is an antioxidant which mops up harmful free radicals. Specifically, it prevents iron from reacting with hydrogen peroxide to form free radicals.
Rutin also has an anti-inflammatory property.
Boron is a trace, essential mineral in the body.
Its importance to bone health is only just understood. Boron deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of developing arthritis.
Specifically, boron affects hormonal levels. It regulates parathyroid hormone; it increases the blood levels of estrogen and vitamin D; and it reduces the elimination of calcium and magnesium from the body.
These effects promote the re-mineralization of the bone while preventing calcium depletion in these bones.
Boron also protects the synovial membrane from damage caused by free radicals while promoting the cartilage repair by increasing the production of ATP.
GLC 2000 is available as capsule and powder.
Its main active ingredients are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. However, unlike other formulations with these two active ingredients, GLC 2000 follows a patented formulation and includes 4 different salts of glucosamine.
The glucosamine salts in GLC 2000 are glucosamine HCl, glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine potassium and N-acetyl D-glucosamine. All of these glucosamine salts are obtained from shellfish.
By including all known forms of glucosamine, GLC 2000 ranks very high among arthritis remedies using glucosamine. Because each form of glucosamine has a different bioavailability and therapeutic profile, including all of them makes GLC 200 very potent.
GLC 2000 also contains chondroitin sulfate which is often paired with glucosamine. Both supplements produce a synergistic positive effect that is beneficial to arthritis and demonstrated in many clinical studies.
Because the glucosamine used in GLC 2000 is sourced from shellfish, it may cause hypersensitivity reactions in people with shellfish allergy.
GLC 2000 also contains manganese and vitamin C.
Oxycollasyn is formulated with 7 patented ingredients such as Biocell Collagen II, OptiMSM, Regenasure Glucosamine, Celadrin, Fruitex-B, 5-Loxin and SAMe. Each of these is a special formulation of one or more ingredients. Biocell Collagen II, for example contains type II collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Other ingredients found in oxycollasyn include chondroitin sulfate, CMO, Bromelain, Ginger, Turmeric, Cat’s claw and Vitamin C.
Oxycollasyn excels mostly because of its attention to details such as the inclusion of type II collagen which is the specific collagen found in cartilages.
Osteo Sport is a joint support formulate intended for sportsmen and people with active lifestyles. However, it can be used by anyone.
What separates Osteo Sport from most of its competitors is the unique formulation of the active ingredients it contains. Some of these ingredients are released immediately the remedy is taken while others are released over longer periods of time.
The immediate release ingredients of Osteo Sport are Bromelain, Curcumin, Cissus quadrangularis, Bioperine and Vitamin C. Chondroitin sulfate and Glucosamine are the extended release active ingredients while Cetyl myristoleate, MSM and Hyaluronic acid are intermediate release ingredients.
Because of its formulation, Osteo Sport can provide immediate relief from pain and inflammation while also rebuilding damaged cartilages for long-term relief of symptoms.
Flexoplex is another effective joint support formula. It includes the most important natural remedies for arthritis including glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, rutin, trypsin, Bromelain, boswellia extract and cat’s claw.
These active ingredients do provide the kind of supportive care needed to stop and reverse the degeneration of cartilages. However, because the total effect takes a while to kick in, Flexoplex is paired with another product, Flexdermal, from the same manufacturer.
Flexdermal is the part of this Dual Flex System that provides immediate relief for painful joint inflammation. It works very much like NSAIDs but with none of their side effects since it only includes natural remedies.
Flexdermal is a topical preparation that is meant to be applied to the area of skin where arthritis pain is felt. It uses camphor, menthol and eucalyptus to soothe the skin and reduce swelling.
Exomine is an oral joint formulation combining the best ingredients used in proven joint support formulas.
It contains herbal extracts from cat’s claw, grape seed, ginger, turmeric and Boswellia serrata; supportive vitamins such as vitamins C and B3; mineral support bone health such as boron; compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM and hyaluronic acid which are naturally found at joints and intended for rebuilding cartilages; and Biocell Collagen II which supplies type II collagen, the specific collagen found in cartilages.
Exomine is an effective osteoarthritis supplement with a high rate of success with its users.
It provides immediate and long-lasting relief for joint pain and inflammation. Therefore, it can relieve stiffness and soreness as well as improve mobility and help the recovery process for damaged joints.
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