Waking up feeling like the tin man every morning is no way to live a healthy, happy or productive life. Yet, for over 4.6 million Canadians this is their grim reality of living with arthritis.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA). Often a result of the aging process or injury, OA occurs when cartilage, the material covering and protecting the ends of bones, begins to wear away. The eventual result is pain, stiffness, swelling and bone-on-bone movement in the affected joint.
The common course of treatment for OA is to use readily available non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve, or the prescription COX-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex. Some folks don’t like continuously taking these medications.
The good news is that natural health products can go a long way to helping reduce those creaky joints. Stalwart classics include glucosamine and chondroitin, but there are some other choices that you may not know as much about, and you may want to consider along with your regular joint care regimen.
MSM is an odourless and tasteless sulphur compound that is found in all living things. MSM is a source of antioxidants and helps decrease joint pain with osteoarthritis. In a study of 49 men and women with knee osteoarthritis, the treatment group received 1.125 g, three times daily, and experienced improvements in pain and physical function. MSM also helps muscle and joint recovery from exercise.
NEM is a natural source of type I collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and calcium – the building blocks of cartilage. NEM also supports the body’s production of type II collagen and the production of fluids that lubricate joints.
NEM at 500 mg per day has been shown to significantly and quickly reduce joint pain and stiffness, with one study showing a minimum 20% reduction in 7–10 days. Most recently, a 2014 study found that 500 mg NEM once daily reduced pain rapidly (within 10 days) and continuously (60 days). These studies also showed no side effects!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is a necessary building block for healthy bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. In a study of randomized controlled trials, collagen has been shown to improve arthritis symptoms, including stiffness. and also supports joint health. Collagen can be combined with other supplements, such as hyaluronic acid for lubrication of joints and improvement of osteoarthritis symptoms.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a well-known herb in Ayurvedic medicine, is now known in the west for its anti-inflammatory properties. In a study of randomized controlled trials, 1000 mg per day of curcumin (the most active component of turmeric) helped reduce inflammation and pain in osteoarthritis treatment.
Other studies with turmeric in osteoarthritis have shown a decrease in inflammation, based on tests such as CRP (C-reactive protein). It also provides antioxidant activity!
Boswellia (Boswellia serrata), also known as frankincense, is another herb known in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellia helps relieve joint pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, in addition to lowering inflammation as measured by CRP testing. It is sometimes combined with turmeric or other anti-inflammatory herbs and substances.
Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, are anti-inflammatory and are a good addition to your joint health regimen. Our omega 3 fish oil is IVO-verified for purity, potency, and sustainability. It also has a clear enteric softgel coating that enhances absorption and prevents fishy aftertaste.
Combination formulas of the above also exist, so you can tailor these to your personal needs. So, whether you’re looking to help improve mobility, manage pain and stiffness, or just prevent the onset of OA, take note of these options and “oil up” those joints, so you aren’t the creaky tin man every morning!
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