If you suffer from osteoarthritis or other inflammatory joint problems, you’ve probably been advised to take glucosamine and chondroitin. But this traditional combination doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, up to 50 percent of people using these two joint nutrients report that they don’t help at all. And so these folks often live in constant pain, or worse yet, pop aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help them make it through their everyday activities.
Osteoarthritis develops when there is a breakdown in joint cartilage. Often, it occurs with age. But it can also be caused by a joint injury or stress on the joints from a specific job, sport or simply from being overweight. Over time, some people experience extreme inflammation and permanent damage to the joint.
Attempting to “live with the pain” is often not an option. But, as I’ve said, relying on NSAID drugs can be even worse. Even though these drugs block the activity of enzymes and prostaglandins that cause pain and inflammation, they do not alleviate the underlying cause of osteoarthritis. And surprisingly, long-term use of NSAIDs damages joint cartilage, making osteoarthritis much worse over time. These drugs also have dangerous side effects. NSAID use has been shown to cause life-threatening ulcers, as well as side effects such as diarrhea, headaches and nausea.
Fortunately, there are a number of natural alternatives that offer both long-term and immediate benefits to painful joints. One of the most under-reported is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). MSM is a key source of sulfur in the body, and numerous studies have demonstrated that sulfur is important for joint function. According to a placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 50 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, taking 3 grams of MSM twice a day for 12 weeks significantly improved both pain and physical function. More importantly, researchers at the University of California, San Diego confirmed that MSM relieves inflammation and protects joint cartilage.
As you can see, MSM can take several weeks (even months) to work. For people needing quicker pain relief, nature provides a variety of anti-inflammatories. Topping the list is curcumin, an ayurvedic remedy from the curry spice tumeric. Curcumin helps prevent inflammatory damage on a cellular level. Boswellia is another ayurvedic herb that prevents inflammation by binding to the COX-2 enzyme. In one study, patients suffering from knee arthritis experienced less pain and swelling, more flexibility and were able to walk further after taking boswellia for eight weeks.
Other herbs can also provide significant pain relief. Among the most effective are ginger, feverfew and white willow bark. In a study of 261 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who received a ginger extract twice daily experienced less pain and required fewer pain-killing medications compared to those who received a placebo. Feverfew, long used to treat migraine headaches, also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds that directly inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Willow has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Although pain relief from willow supplementation may be slow in coming, it may last longer than pain relief from aspirin.
While these herbs are all incredibly safe and effective on their own, they are even more powerful when taken together. A few years ago, researchers from several colleges and hospitals in India teamed up to investigate the potential of combining these anti-inflammatory herbs like willow, ginger, boswellia and curcumin. They recruited 358 patients with knee pain. Of those, 90 were chosen to take either the herbal anti-inflammatory or a placebo for 32 weeks. The researchers found that the herbal combination cut the pain and inflammation in half by the end of the study—a better outcome than when any of the herbs are taken alone.
But, as effective as the combination of these natural arthritis relievers are, many people don’t want to take a handful of pills every day. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can get everything you need to calm inflamed joints and soothe arthritis pain in an all-in-one supplement just look for one that combines natural joint-building compounds like MSM, green-lipped mussel extract and type II collagen with these potent herbal anti-inflammatories. The unique synergy of these joint building pain relievers can make a combination supplement up to 11 times more effective than one ingredient joint formulas on the market. You don’t need to put up with arthritis pain any longer. Experience fast pain relief as well as long-term joint benefits for yourself with these all natural pain relievers.
Chopra A, et al. A 32-Week Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Evaluation of RA-11, an Ayurvedic Drug, on Osteoarthritis of the Knees. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 2004;10:236-245.
Kim LS, et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2006;14: 286-294.
Sur R, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of parthenolide-depleted Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Inflammopharmacology. 2009;17:42-49.
Dr. David J. Blyweiss began his medical career as a clinical pharmacist in South Florida prior to earning his medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine in 1982.
His dual background allowed him to appreciate the relevance of conventional pharmaceutical/surgical based treatments in acute medical conditions, and recognize where these approaches fell short in treating the majority of patients who suffered from the chronic degenerative diseases of "western civilization origin."
Over the last twenty years, with the nutritional medical knowledge base expanding in the fields of nutrigenomics, protemics, and other related "orthomolecular" disciplines directed towards patients' biochemical individuality, Dr. Blyweiss became an early adherent and experienced practitioner of what would become known as "functional medicine." This knowledge allows him to effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms related to the most "difficult-to-treat" conditions by addressing the underlying causes, allowing the body to heal itself.
Dr. Blyweiss was one of the initial researchers doing the early work on chlorhexidine (Phisohex) while earning his first post graduate degree at Temple University School of Pharmacy. During medical school he worked with the WHO (World Health Organization) in vaccinating children in the islands of the Carribbean. He has traveled much of the world, most recently to Belize, Central America, Gabon, Africa, and Zagreb, Croatia working closely with teams of specialists to identify new plant life and natural products for possible human benefit as well as researchers and their stem cell transplantation teams. He has consulted for and created state-of-the-art nutritional supplements for multiple nutritional companies since 1999. He is currently in private practice in South Florida where he resides with his family.
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