It’s a viscous circle – you are in pain so you take NSAD (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to ease the pain and inflammation. These pills do nothing to encourage healing, evidence is showing they can actually contribute to the pain and deterioration by inhibiting cartilage formation. These NSADs if used on a longer basis can cause un-welcomed side-effects such as gastro-intestinal bleeding, ulcers, kidney, and liver problems.
There are millions of suffers of osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis), which affects the joints like knees, hips, spine, fingers and toes. For some reason twice as many women suffer than men! It’s generally a wear and tear disease with a the breakdown in cartilage of the joints.
Cartilage in the joints is the smooth, soft substance attached to the end of bones that acts as a slippery padding to allow easy pain-free movement of the joints. It also acts as a shock absorber and has some elastic type qualities.
Set amongst the cartilage are numerous little factories called chondrocytes they manufacture collagen and proteoglycans molecules and at the same time release enzymes that destroy the old ones. Proteoglycans are essential for healthy cartilage, they give it its shock absorbency properties that are so important. They hold many times their weight in water acting like a sponge, when the joint is under pressure the sponge releases water when the pressure is eased it reabsorbs the water again. This fluid also hydrates and nourishes the joint.
For some people as they age this cushioning system breaks down and the joints become painful. Small fractures start to appear and under normal circumstances the body produces more to fill these cracks. However the usual smooth slippery cartilage becomes rough making so easy, smooth pain-free movements is no longer possible.
Research has shown that some nutrition supplements actually helps, in two ways reducing pain and encouraging better repair of the cartilage. Glucosamine – made up of glucose and an amino acid, glutamine. This is the major component of those all important proteoglycans. The presence of glucosamine acts as a stimulus to the chondrocytes to produce proteoglycans, the more abundant this nutrient the more it will produce, whereas a shortage means the production is slowed right down. This means destruction is faster than repair. Research confirms that glucosamine, whether made by the body or given to the body as a supplement, helps relieve pain and encourages a better function of the joint this in contrast to NSAD.
Then there is chondroitin another nutritional supplement that works in a different way but has a synergistic affect (they enhance each other). Chondroitin like a magnet attracts nutrient rich, shock-absorbing fluids to the to the water loving proteoglycans.
To take these two supplements, the cheapest way is to buy it in powder form as quite large doses are needed for a few weeks. How much you need depends on your size, for glucosamine anything from a 1000mg to 2000mgand chrondroitin 800mg to 1600mg . Remember it depends on your size. The supplements are enhanced by taking vitamin C at the same time and your maintenance dose should be about half of your original dosage.