There is a difference between arthritis and rheumatism. Inflammatory pain from joint(s) is arthritis; and from tissues around the joints such as tendon, liagament, muscle or bone is rheumatism. These conditions have long been considered to be chronic, degenerative and incurable. Standard medical treatment consists of aspirin, corticosteroidsand other non-steroidal anti-flammatory drugs which alleviate pain. Unfortunately, long term use of these drugs cause side effects like risk of liver and kidney damage, and they exacerbate cartilage breakdown and inhibit the body’s natural repair mechanisms.
There are now several natural substances that may just change all these. While these natural substance sometimes takes lone to show results, but in the long run, they may be just as effective as conventional treatments without the side effects.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin : Both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate belong to a class of compounds called glycosaminoglycans. Glucosamine furnishes the basic building block of mucopolysaccharides which is the integral components of synovial fluid that form the framework of bones, cartilage, nails, hair and skin. Increased amounts of glucosamine stimulates the activity of specialised cells called chondrocytes. These cells then build the framework of bone cartilage with mucopolysaccharides.
Chondroitin sulfate acts as bait, attracting fluid into the weblike cartilage that covers the bones of the joint. The fluid attracted into the cartilage provides shock absorption for surrounding bones and supplies nutrients to the cartilage, thus supporting its regeneration and growth. Joint cartilage does not possess a blood supply, so its nutritional needs must be met by the fluid surrounding the joint.
Supplemental sources of glucosamine is available in 3 forms : sulfate, hydrochloride and n-acetyl, but glucosamine sulfate has been studied the most. Chondroitin is available in animal tissues such as gristles around joints. Chondroitin works synergistically with glucosamine to prevent premature breakdown of cartilage and stimulate production of new cartilage.
MSM (mehylsulfonylmethane) : This has become popular as a pain reliever for those suffering from arthritis.
MSM is a highly bioavailable source of sulfur, which is one of the prevalent minerals in the body’s physical structure, including protein, collagen, glucosamine, hair, skin and nails. MSM is also the basis of many essential biochemicals and important enzymatic functions. MSM helps to ease inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Sulfur makes cells more permeable which allows fluid and nutrients to flow more freely through the cell wall, removing toxins in the cell, reducing pain and inflammation and promoting tissue healing.
Besides relief of joint and muscle pain, allegy, parasitic and other inflammatory conditions also respond well to the addition of MSM.
CM (cetyl myristoleate) : It has 3 function capacities. It lubricates joints and muscles, making them soft and pliable. It also acts as an immune system modulator. This may be the reason it has been found to be effective in managing autoimmune diseases such as rheumatiod arthritis, systemic lupus and multiple sclerosis. It mediates inflammatory processes.
Bromelain : This enzyme is a mainstay for treating muscle injuries, but its anti-inflammatory actions also ease arthritic pain. Bromelain breaks down scar tissue, reduces water retention and blocks inflammation.
Bamboosil : This is well known for its high content in silica which helps support and remineralises the bones.
Antioxidants : These are nutrients that stabilise free radials. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that attack tissues, including joint tissues. Antioxidants prevent free-radical induced tissue damage and resulting inflammation.
Antioxiadnts include OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selemium, etc.
Essential Fatty Acids : The joint inflammation is regulated in large part by essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. While omega-3 fatty acids prevent the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), omega-6 fatty acids help produce the beneficial prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). A balance intake of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is necessary.
While many of the supplements mentioned above are beneficial in easing the pain and inflammation often associated with arthritis or rheumatism, their most important role lies in preventing these conditions. Neither arthritis nor rheumatism is inevitable. Daily supplementation of essential nutrients, as well as regular exercise and a healthy diet are integral to overall bone, joint and ligaments health.