By: Richard E. Buckley, MD
Article used with permission
"It is more important to know the patient who suffers
from the disease than the disease from which the patient suffers."-Sir
Definition: Arthr-itis = Joint inflammation
Do you suffer from inflamed, painful or stiff joints? Inflammation
of joints can be caused by many things. Most commonly, arthritis
is due to accumulated joint injury and stress through constant
wear and tear over time (osteoarthritis). It is important
to have a health care professional assist you in the diagnosis
of your particular kind of arthritis as there are many additional
causes for example genetic abnormalities, cancer, infections…
Interestingly, the medications most often tried for relief
of joint pain caused by osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis)
and rheumatoid arthritis, the so called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) actually inhibit
cartilage repair and accelerate cartilage destruction thus
decreasing the ability of the body to heal itself.
"The Old Ship is not in a state to make many voyages.
But the flag is still at the mast and I am still at the wheel."-Walt
We have learned more of nature’s secrets since Walt’s
time and I would like to pass some of what we discovered along
so that you may find relief from the scourge of arthritis.
Are there ways to not merely suppress arthritic pain symptoms
but rather promote healing?
The design of our body is magnificent and indeed there is
a natural joint repair mechanism in place. Glucosamine, an
amino acid sugar formed in the body from glucose, plays a
major role in the formation of the tissues and fluids necessary
for cartilage to function. It has demonstrated the ability
to restore the gelatinous lubricating consistency of the fluids
and tissues of joints (including the back). Glucosamine is
critical to joint integrity and found in high concentrations
in healthy individuals. Glucosamine stimulates cartilage synthesis
keeping joints repaired thus relieving joint pain, tenderness
Due to excessive demand, wear and the gradual decrease of
glucosamine in the body, it has been recommended that adding
glucosamine to one’s daily nutrition regimen could be
beneficial. Studies around the world appear supportive of
this recommendation. Arthritis patients taking Glucosamine
reported a significant reduction in joint pain, tenderness
and swelling. Glucosamine appears to offer substantial hope
for the many sufferers of arthritis because of its beneficial
effects and apparent lack of undesirable effects.
"To be seventy years young is sometimes more hopeful
than to be forty years old."-Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Yucca root, found in southwestern deserts of the US and
in Mexico, is rich in steroid-like saponins that elevate the
body’s production of cortisone to aid in anti-inflammatory
actions for arthritis and rheumatism relief.
Sea cucumbers are marine relatives of starfish and sea urchins.
They are enriched with many proteins and nutrients including
muccopolysaccharides and chondroitins which can lubricate
joints and connective tissues. Proteins derived from Sea cucumber
appear to have the desirable properties of being prostaglandin
and leukotriene inhibitors.
In recent years a great deal of interest has been focused
on understanding the roles that prostaglandins and leukotrienes
play in our health. These substances can contribute biochemically
to inflammation and pain. Indeed the standard anti-inflammatory
drugs work, in part, through inhibiting prostaglandins and
Extra, Extra-Read all about it!
In the middle of writing this I have just received notification
from a major pharmaceutical company that their nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory analgesic drug introduced in 1997 for pain
has been withdrawn from the market effective immediately.
Why? The company took this action because of "post marketing
reports of severe hepatic (liver) failure, resulting in four
deaths and eight liver transplants." I mention this to
emphasize that the currently used drugs can have nasty side
effects and that other forms of therapy should be considered.
Kidney (renal) failure and stomach ulcers are other common
side effects seen with anti inflammatory drugs.
Strengthening exercises and range of motion movements along
with attention to postural elements can help restore and then
maintain muscle and joint function.
"Overall, a useful rule of thumb is to assume that any
change or any new symptom is due to a potentially treatable
problem, ;not just ‘old age’."-Besdine
As with so many things in life, the answers we seek tend
to be multi-factorial. The information provided herein is
introductory only and the reader is encouraged to continue
investigating along the lines of his or her interest.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Be sure to visit the Glucosamine Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine products broken down by 9 different categories such as price per month, quality and type. Learn what the best products out there are and what criteria was used to ranked each.