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Osteoarthritis can make it uncomfortable to move your knees and other joints. Ease pain and build cartilage with alternative natural therapies.
Your body has cartilage pads at joints, such as the knees, to soften the impact of walking and running and to prevent bone from rubbing against bone. Osteoarthritis refers to the inflammation, pain, and breakdown of this cartilage. The disease most commonly affects knee joints, but it can also develop in the elbows, hip, and back.
The age-related breakdown of these cartilage pads can be exacerbated by injury and inflammation. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and water form part of the matrix of these pads, and vitamin C is needed to form the cartilage in this matrix.
Medical treatments focus on analgesic drugs to reduce pain and on surgery to replace knee joints. Some of the prescription pain-relieving drugs such as celecoxib can increase the risk of heart attack and heart failure. There is also compelling research indicating that ibuprofen and other analgesic drugs accelerate the breakdown of cartilage.
Strive for an anti-inflammatory diet that includes coldwater fish and a diversity of vegetables. Homemade or store-bought organic bone broth likely contains cartilage constituents. Nightshade plants, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, pimentos, and eggplant, can exacerbate the pain in some people.
Several supplements can lower the risk of, and reduce pain from, osteoarthritis. They don’t work as fast as drugs, but they are far safer.
Collagen is one of the proteins that make up your joints, and there’s more than one type in supplemental collagen. Several studies have found that BioCell Collagen, a propriety form of hydrolyzed collagen, can reduce pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are among the building blocks of cartilage, and dozens of studies have found that supplements of one or both can reduce osteoarthritic pain. A 2015 study of 194 patients found that chondroitin sulfate supplements worked better than the drug celecoxib (Celebrex) in preserving joint cartilage and reducing swelling. Scans showed that people taking chondroitin had less cartilage loss after both 12 and 24 months. Both chondroitin and the drug reduced pain. European studies found that glucosamine actually can increase joint cartilage and reduce the subsequent need for knee-replacement surgery. Take: Approximately 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin daily.
Undenatured Type 2 Collagen (UC-11).
In a 2016 study, gave this form of collagen for six months to 190 patients with mild to severe osteoarthritis of the knees. UC-11 significantly reduced the patients’ pain and stiffness and improved their physical function compared with people taking placebos. Take: 40 mg daily.
Some research suggests that nutritional sulfur might be helpful in osteoarthritis because cartilage contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds. MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane, a supplement that is one-third sulfur. In fact, studies have found that MSM supplements can lead to reduction in osteoarthritic knee pain. Take: 1,000 mg daily, increasing slowly to 1,500–2,000 mg.
Also rich in sulfur, SAMe (pronounced sammy) is technically known as S-adenosylmethionine. Six controlled human studies have found that it works as well as prescription drugs in reducing osteoarthritis pain. Take: 400–1,200 mg daily.
A powerful natural anti-inflammatory and extract of the spice turmeric, curcumin has benefits in osteoarthritis. Numerous studies have found that curcumin alone, or in combination with glucosamine, can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. Take: 200–750 mg daily.
Vitamins B1, B6, and B12 have analgesic properties, and less-than-optimal intake of these vitamins increases sensitivity to pain. In one study, a combination of these vitamins enabled patients to reduce the amount of pain-relieving drugs needed after surgery. Niacinamide, the nonflushing form of vitamin B3, might also be beneficial, according to research by William Kaufman, MD, in the 1940s and 1950s. He gave subjects 900–4,000 mg of B3daily, depending on the severity of symptoms. Benefits were noticed after about one month. Take: 1,000–4,000 mg daily.
This nutrient is needed to make collagen and cartilage, so some glucosamine and chondroitin supplements contain it. A combination of these nutrients led to less osteoarthritic pain in a one study. Other research has found that taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for two weeks results in less osteoarthritic pain of the hips and knees. Take: 1,000–3,000 mg daily, in divided doses.
Advanced Therapeutics Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Ultra-Rx Joint Triple Strength