One of the best combinations is glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. Glucosamine is found in joint cartilage and it is what keeps it healthy and lubricated. Glucosamine seems to slow cartilage deterioration, relieve arthritic pain, as well as improve joint mobility. When combined with chondroitin, which also occurs naturally in cartilage, which also has pain reducing pain and anti-inflammatory properties, the two work well to improve joint function, and slow progression of osteoarthritis. The combination is also believed to aid cartilage to retain water, keep joints lubricated, and possibly reverse cartilage loss. Add to this already potent combination the sulphur compound MSM, which is a naturally occurring substance in the body, as MSM has proved effective in reducing joint pain and inflammation. MSM contains sulphur, which the body needs to form connective tissue and seems to act as a painkiller. Be sure to take an correctly formulated combination as glucosamine and chondroitin do compete for absorption. Please note however that people allergic to shellfish should consult with their health care practitioner before using this supplement, as glucosamine is extracted from shellfish.
Bromelain is a powerful anti-inflammatory. When taken as an anti-inflammatory it should be taken between meals on an empty stomach. Bromelain is effective at decreasing arthritic joint pain, inflammation and thereby increasing mobility. Before supplementing with bromelain, ensure that you do not have any of the following allergies - pineapples, latex, bees or grass pollens.
One of the most effective pain relievers I have come across is the South African herb, Devil’s Claw, which is used to relieve joint pain and inflammation, back pain, and headache. The great thing is that it is an all-round pain reliever of joint pain, muscular pain, knee, hip, elbow or shoulder pain and for treating lower back pain.
Boswellia also known as frankincense has shown potential in reducing inflammation, the active components, boswellic acids have strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Some further studies have also shown potential to aid in the prevention of cartilage loss. It has proven particularly effective in both patients with osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. The great thing is it seems to have the same effect as NSAIDs without the long-term side effects of stomach irritation and or ulceration.
From down under hails the much touted New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, which has shown great promise for improving joint health and mobility, both in humans and animals. Researchers are still studying exactly how it works, but so far the have determined that the high levels of glycoproteins in green lipped mussel reduces inflammation in arthritic joints. Green lipped mussel also contains a combination of naturally occurring nutrients, such as chondroitin and Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplement daily with dosages as professionally prescribed. Please note however that people allergic to shellfish should avoid using this supplement.
Another lovely herb to add to the list is turmeric. Yes, the herb you use when making Indian dishes. Turmeric contains curcumin and it has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for arthritis for many, many years. Turmeric has shown promise in reducing arthritic joint pain, as an anti-inflammatory, and also seems to relieve stiffness. Just as an extra bonus Turmeric is also known as a digestive aid. Please note that people on blood thinners should use caution when taking turmeric.
Omega 3 has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, particularly on rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis, as well as osteoarthritis. As the body is unable to manufacture omega 3 it is vital to ensure that enough is either gotten in through diet and or supplementation. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish, but it is also found in nuts, flaxseeds and hemp oil. The best fish sources are cold-water fish like anchovy, mackerel, salmon and sardines. Omega fats play a critical part in maintaining healthy cells throughout the body, including the joints and boosting the production of chemicals that help control inflammation in the joints, bloodstream, and tissues. Please exercise caution when supplementing and ensure that the fish oil has been purified and is no longer contaminated with substances such as mercury, PCBs, and pesticides. Ensure that the supplement you chose contains adequate levels of the active components; DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Dosages vary between 1 and 3 grams a day of DHA and EPA together, providing a total of 3-10 grams of total fish oil per day. If you are on blood thinners, please consult a health care practitioner before using large dosages.
And last but not least please don’t forget the calcium and vitamin D combination. Yes, we are discussing joint health, but calcium is vital for more than just bone health. Consider this, every time your heart works, any muscle in your body contracts, calcium is necessary. If your diet is calcium deficient your body will deplete the calcium in your bones. Most people need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of elemental calcium a day and it should be combined with vitamin D, which is vital for the absorption of calcium. Stick to the calcium citrate form, rather than the cheaper and not well absorbed calcium carbonate form. Calcium deficiency seems to be linked with an increased risk of arthritis progressing at a far rapider rate. Also recent studies have found shown a greater risk of bone loss and fracture in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. So do not under estimate the importance of calcium supplements.
As mentioned right at the beginning the most important factor to consider is that many of these natural supplements for arthritis and joint pain may clash with medications. Please first discuss any supplementation with your health care practitioner to learn whether they are safe for you.
About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
(Read more posts by Charlie)