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Joint Health By Archana Gogna, MS, CNS, MBA


nutrition articles

Catalog - Summer 2016

Joint Health by Archana Gogna, MS, CNS, MBA

Arthritis is a chronic disease that results from the inflammation of one or more joints. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis, typically osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. There are more than a 100 forms of arthritis, and they all have something in common: inflammation. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of inflammatory joint disease, characterized by the degradation of articular cartilage (found on many joint surfaces), with periarticular (tissues surrounding a joint) bone response often damaging the end of bone.1 Clinical manifestations of OA of the knee include pain in and around the joint, stiffness of the joint after rest, crepitation (crackling sound) on motion and limited joint motion, among others.2

Natural Alternatives to Support Joint Health

Lifestyle changes including exercise, weight loss, an anti-inflammatory diet, and other therapies have been recommended but typically acetaminophen and NSAIDs are used to manage the symptoms of arthritis, especially pain. The long-term use of these drugs, however, is associated with enhanced risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, hypertension, congestive heart failure and renal insufficiency.3 NSAID and other prescription drugs may cause Nutritional deficiencies. People suffering from arthritis have turned to nutraceuticals or natural products to ease their pain and discomfort. A number of these nutraceuticals have been studied and used for many years and have proven to be well tolerated, as well as safe. Supplements can assist in regenerating healthy joint cartilage, and address the pain and inflammation that otherwise trigger a cascade causing further break down of healthy cartilage.

Chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid (HA) are glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), or long chain polysaccharides, naturally present in joints. Chondroitin sulfate is a component of the proteoglycans (the ground substance in the extracellular matrix of connective tissue with lubricant and support functions) that comprise healthy cartilage. Chondroitin is also said to block certain enzymes that can break cartilage down. HA plays dual roles, first as an essential component of the proteoglycans in cartilage and secondly as a major lubricating component of synovial fluid (found in the cavities of synovial joints to reduce friction between the articular cartilage of these joints).4

Glucosamine sulfate, an amino sugar, serves as a precursor to chondroitin sulfate, as well as HA.  Thus, supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and HA can alleviate the effects of deteriorating joint GAGs caused by aging, overweight, or chronic arthritis.5 Extensive research over the past half century has shown that curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric (curcuma longa), can modulate multiple cell signaling pathways. Data suggests that supplements of a patented, high bioavailability curcumin may match a prescription rheumatoid arthritis drug for joint health benefits, and with fewer side effects.6 Several studies on the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, as well as for the management of knee osteoarthritis, have demonstrated that those receiving BCM-95 (a high bioavailability) curcumin 500 mg twice daily, showed improvement for pain and swelling in joints and in joint flexibility, without serious adverse effects.7,8

In recent years, the gum resin extracted from the ancient herb Boswellia serrata has gained much attention as a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic agent.9 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) is the most active component of Boswellia extract and has been demonstrated to be a potent inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), which is a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of pain related leukotrienes in the cellular inflammatory cascade.10

An emerging novel nutraceutical ingredient known as UC-II, has received considerable attention in the treatment of OA and RA.11,12 UC-II is a novel undenatured type II collagen derived from chicken sternum cartilage. It is the primary form of collagen contained in cartilage. Type II collagen extracts contain the amino acids found in the framework of human cartilage. These amino acids are required for the synthesis and repair of connective tissue throughout the body.  UC-II supports knee function and comfort and sends messages to the body’s joints to clear up any worn out joint tissue, which allows new joint tissue (cartilage) to be made. This improves the function and comfort of the joint. It is so effective that you only need a small amount of this undenatured form of type 2 collagen once a day to support joint health. 

Fortunately, the multitude of nutraceuticals with their safety profile are proving to be efficacious in the management of the most common types of arthritis and making the need to avoid dangerous drugs more possible.

[6] Phytotherapy Research:  “A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis”
Authors:  B. Chandran, A. Goel.
[7] Chandran B, Goel A. A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Phytother Res. March 9, 2012 doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639.
[8] Antony B, Kizhakedath R, Benny M, Kuruvilla BT. Clinical Evaluation of a herbal product (Rhulief™) in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Abstract 316.Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011;19(S1):S145-S146.
[9,10] “Boswellia.” Natural Standard – The Authority on Integrative Medicine.  Natural Standard, 2013.
“Indian Frankincense.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.  Therapeutic Research Faculty,2013. 8 November 2013.
[11] Barnett ML, Kremer JM, St Clair EW, Clegg DO, Furst D, Weisman M, Fletcher MJ, Chasan-Taber S, Finger E, Morales A, Le CH, Trentham DE. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with oral type II collagen. Results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum.1998;41(2):290–7.
[12] Bagchi D, Misner B, Bagchi M, Kothari SC, Downs BW, Fafard RD, Preuss HG. Effects of orally administered undenatured type II collagen against arthritic inflammatory diseases: a mechanistic exploration. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2002;22(3-4):101–10. 


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