Solv­ing joint pain

Hamilton Metro News - - HEALTH - John Arts ■ John Arts (B Soc Sci, Dip Tch, Adv Dip Nut Med) is a nu­tri­tional medicine prac­ti­tioner and founder of Abun­dant Health Ltd. For ques­tions or ad­vice con­tact John on 0800 423559 or email john@abun­ Join his full weekly news­let­ter at ww

Last edi­tion we dis­cussed how high lev­els of chon­droitin sul­phate (CS) help joints af­fected by os­teoarthri­tis (OA). An ex­cel­lent 2010 study “Chon­droitin sul­phate in the treat­ment of os­teoarthri­tis“(Y. Herotin, PhD) iden­ti­fied the ac­tions of CS on arthritic joints.

They iden­ti­fied more than 30 pos­i­tive changes in arthritic joints with high doses of chon­droitin sul­phate. It is worth not­ing that the dosages in the study were much higher than in many joint prod­ucts. Most prod­ucts have around 250mg of CS whereas the study used 800mg or more. I gen­er­ally com­mence ther­apy with 1500mg of high grade chon­droitin.

The anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects of high doses of CS ap­pear to in­hibit in­flam­ma­tory chem­i­cals in­clud­ing prostaglandins and COX-2 en­zymes. Th­ese are the tar­gets of anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs which is why they can be ef­fec­tive at re­duc­ing pain.

Se­condly, high lev­els of CS ap­pear to slow the rate of car­ti­lage loss. One sug­gested mech­a­nism is that CS ap­pears to pro­tect the chon­dro­cyte cells re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing car­ti­lage.

Re­search showed that CS can ac­tu­ally pre­vent the death of chon­dro­cytes which is the real driver be­hind car­ti­lage loss.

Thirdly high lev­els of CS ap­pear to be an­abolic — it ap­pears to be able to gen­er­ate new car­ti­lage. The mech­a­nisms seem to be that CS stim­u­lates chon­dro­cyte cells to in­crease pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen and other com­pounds needed to make new car­ti­lage.

I have been help­ing some­one with OA in her knees, back and hands. She had been us­ing a joint sup­ple­ment heav­ily weighted to­wards glu­cosamine rather than chon­droitin. We added a sup­ple­ment with high lev­els of CS with no­tice­able im­prove­ments on this com­bi­na­tion with less pain and more mo­bil­ity. I am sure the ex­tra cur­cumin and Omega 3 all helped.

Os­teoarthri­tis is all about loss of car­ti­lage, sub­se­quent in­flam­ma­tion and changes to bone and joint struc­ture. The re­sult is pain and loss of mo­bil­ity. The ends of bones such as the fe­mur are cov­ered in tough ar­tic­u­lar car­ti­lage. It is com­monly called gris­tle and may sur­prise that de­spite its tough ap­pear­ance and tex­ture it is ac­tu­ally 80 per cent water.

Car­ti­lage is a com­bi­na­tion of liv­ing cells, the ma­trix they pro­duce plus water. Th­ese cells are called chon­dro­cytes and their job is to se­crete and main­tain car­ti­lage. They re­pair small amounts of dam­age as it oc­curs.

The ma­trix of car­ti­lage is a com­bi­na­tion of chon­dro­cytes, water and the ma­trix of col­la­gen, chon­droitin sul­phate and hyaluronic acid. The ma­trix binds the col­la­gen and other pro­tein fi­bres in place. The re­sult is tis­sue that is both tough and flex­i­ble. The high water lev­els mean that it re­sists dam­age from com­pres­sion and acts like a shock ab­sorber.

Os­teoarthri­tis starts when chon­dro­cyte cells die. While there are a num­ber of things that can dam­age chon­dro­cytes the pre­vail­ing thought is that nitro­gen free rad­i­cals dam­age chon­dro­cytes to the point that they die.

If enough chon­dro­cytes die the re­sult is a loss of car­ti­lage vol­ume. This is then fol­lowed by un­wanted in­flam­ma­tion in the joint cap­sule that fur­ther damages car­ti­lage. Even­tu­ally the bone it­self be­comes com­pro­mised and the net re­sult is pain and re­stricted mo­bil­ity.

Nu­tri­tional ther­apy can be help­ful es­pe­cially in re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion, slow­ing the rate of car­ti­lage loss and im­prov­ing the func­tion of ex­ist­ing car­ti­lage. One client in his 80s had been told that he was in­el­i­gi­ble for a knee re­place­ment de­spite ad­vanced and painful arthri­tis. Af­ter six months he has less pain, less swelling and much im­proved mo­bil­ity.

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