Adjoin Your Joints

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Natural Insight

Adjoin your Joints

By Sabeen Faquir

This article was originally published at AroundWellington.com May 1, 2016

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Do you suffer from arthritis? This is inflammation of the joints caused by the degeneration of cartilage in the joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, a grating sensation, or bone spurs. If you experience joint pain and stiffness for more than a few weeks, it is advisable to see a doctor.

Talk to you doctor about the following options to alleviate some of your discomfort from arthritis pain: fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin, or collagen. While I have found research supporting the use of fish oils for brain health, I have found less information supporting its use for inflammation. In fact recently, researchers have failed to prove the anti-inflammatory benefits of fish oils for obesity or atrial fibrillation (Root et al).  But, DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid, a constituent of fish oil, was found to have anti-inflammatory properties through the induction of PGE2 or prostaglandin E2, an inhibitor of the pro-inflammatory COX 2 (cyclooxygenase 2) enzyme (Liu et al).  And studies support the use of fish oils for global assessments of pain and activity of disease for those with rheumatoid arthritis (Proudman et al).

Also ask your doctor about glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen. To understand why to take these, it is important to understand the anatomy and physiology of a joint. A normal joint is where two ends of bone meet. The ends of each bone are covered in cartilage and the joint is surrounded in synovial fluid. The cartilage is made of cells that produce collagen. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are found in cartilage. Cartilage is a generally flexible tissue without much blood flow. Because of this reason, getting nutrients to the joint is difficult.

How do glucosamine and chondroitin work? Well, glucosamine builds cartilage and chondroitin draws water into the joint. This water keeps the joint spongy. In one study, patients with low back pain, were given an oral dose of 500mg of glucosamine hydrochloride and 500mg of chondroitin sulfate twice a day for the first month and then once a day for the next two months. In this open, uncontrolled study, participants reported a 90% reduction in the consumption of NSAIDs (Singh et al).  Now, if this was due to the placebo effect, it is uncertain.

More than glucosamine and chondroitin, I recommend collagen. Recent studies prove it improves the state of the cartilage in joints.  It would be the same as a doctor recommending stock made from chicken bones to a patient. In one study, WOMAC scores from the use of a type II collagen supplement were compared to those of glucosamine with chondroitin and a placebo group. The scores of the collagen group were significantly better than those of the other groups (Lugo et al, 2016). In another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 40mg of a patented undenatured UCII supplement improved knee-joint extension in healthy individuals who experienced problems in joint function and pain due to a strong exercise regimen. It even allowed the participants to exercise pain-free for longer periods of time (Lugo et al, 2013).

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.

Sources

Catherine L Hill, Lynette M March, Dawn Aitken, Susan E Lester, Ruth Battersby, Kristin Hynes, Tanya Fedorova, Susanna M Proudman, Michael James, Leslie G Cleland, Graeme Jones. Fish oil in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised clinical trial of low dose versus high dose. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 2014-207169

Yan Chen, Yong-Can Huang, William W Lu. Low-dose versus high-dose fish oil for pain reduction and function improvement in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 2015-208754

Martin Root, Scott R Collier, Kevin A Zwetsloot, Katrina L West and Megan C McGinn. A randomized trial of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on arterial health, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome in a young healthy population. Nutrition Journal201312:40

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Yueqin Liu, Li-Yuan Chen, Milena Sokolowska, Michael Eberlein, Sara Alsaaty, Asuncion Martinez-Anton, Carolea Logun, Hai-Yan Qi1 andJames H. Shelhamer. The fish oil ingredient, docosahexaenoic acid, activates cytosolic phospholipase A2 via GPR120 receptor to produce prostaglandin E2 and plays an anti-inflammatory role in macrophages. Immunology. Volume 143, Issue 1, pages 81–95, September 2014

Susanna M Proudman, Michael J James, Llewellyn D Spargo, Robert G Metcalf, Thomas R Sullivan, Maureen Rischmueller, Katerina Flabouris, Mihir D Wechalekar, Anita T Lee, Leslie G Cleland. Fish oil in recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised, double-blind controlled trial within algorithm-based drug use. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 2013-204145

Singh, L. Alekseeva, V. Alekseev, G. Triadafilopoulos. SAT0419 Glucosamine–Chondroitin Sulfate Reduces Pain, Disability and Nsaid Consumption in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Large, Community-Based, Pilot, Open Prospective Observational Study. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 2013;72:A724

James P. Lugo, Zainulabedin M. Saiyed and Nancy E. Lane. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrition Journal 2016 15:14

James P Lugo, Zainulabedin M Saiyed, Francis C Lau, Jhanna Pamela L Molina, Michael N Pakdaman, Arya Nick Shamie and Jay K Udani. Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II®) for joint support: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:48