A TIMELY REMINDER THAT WE SHOULD ALL PROTECT OURSELVES AS BEST WE CAN FROM THE RAVAGES OF OSTEOARTHRITIS
THIS article is written to commemorate World Arthritis Day 2010, which falls this month. Millions of ageing adults with osteoarthritis all over the world wish for simple things that we all take for granted – such as playing with their grandchildren, going dancing, eating out with the family, or gardening.
Osteoarthritis, also called osteoarthroses or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. The word ‘osteo’ means bone in Greek.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition. In fact, unless the progression is stopped, it will get worse over time.
In simple terms, it is the result of cartilage loss between the bones at the joint. As the padding is depleted, movement becomes more difficult and painful, until little or no cartilage is left in the affected joint, causing bone to grind against bone.
Your joints may even make creaking sounds. The resulting pain and stiffness is typical of advanced osteoarthritis. A healthy cartilage on the other hand is extremely strong and flexible, and allows the joints to move smoothly and painlessly. Osteoarthritis typically affects only certain joints, such as the hips, hands, knees, lower back, and neck. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently as we age. Before 45 years of age, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After 55, it occurs more frequently in females.
Suffering from osteoarthritic pain and discomfort is not something we look forward to. However, as individuals age, it can become part of everyday life unless we seek ways to reduce the discomfort and slow down the progression of the disease.
In general, osteoarthritis sufferers should do the following:
- Regular exercise keeps joints flexible and maintains or improves muscle strength.
- Weight loss of only 15 pounds (6.8kg) can cut knee pain in half for overweight individuals with arthritis. Small weight losses can yield significant improvements in knee osteoarthritis symptoms.
In addition, there are a few nutritional supplements that can help alleviate joint pain and discomfort.
Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in healthy cartilage. It is a normal constituent of glycsoaminoglycans in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid. This molecule is used in the formation and repair of cartilage.
Chondroitin is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan in cartilage and is responsible for the resiliency of cartilage. It acts as a “water magnet”. The ability of chondroitin to hold water gives rigidity to the cartilage and also acts as a “shock absorber”.
Supplementation with Glucosamine & chondroitin helps to:
- Relieve joint pain
- Rebuilds cartilage
- Improves flexibility
- Lubricates joints
- Promotes healthy connective tissues
- Reduces stiffness
In recent years, studies have shown that two-in-one Glucosamine & chondroitin supplements are far more effective in treating moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis than potent anti-inflammatory drugs or even glucosamine or chondroitin taken separately by themselves.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), a natural sulphur compound with many health benefits, is widely used together in combination with Glucosamine & chondroitin for effective relief of joint pains.
Many nations across the globe such as the US, UK, Europe, Australia, etc. regularly observe very positive results in the treatment of osteoarthritis when oral MSM supplements are added to Glucosamine & chondroitin nutritional therapy.
MSM is found in the normal diets of humans and almost all other animals. It is made up of 34% sulphur, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Sulphur is necessary for the structure of every cell in the body. It is needed for the structural integrity of joint cartilage and connective tissue such as skin, hair and nails.
Many amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulphur as a component. Hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and antioxidants all depend on it. And because the body utilises and expends it on a daily basis, sulphur must be continually replenished for optimal nutrition and health.
The Arthritis Foundation of America recommends starting with a low dosage of 500mg MSM twice a day and increasing gradually to 1,000 mg MSM twice a day.
Together with regular exercise and a healthy diet, these natural joint rebuilding substances can help keep osteoarthritis at bay and allow you to enjoy the simple, everyday activities that used to elude you.
When choosing a Glucosamine & chondroitin supplement, don’t forget to add on MSM for optimal joint benefits.