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Supplements for Osteoarthritis

By :Itay Zamir 0 comments
Supplements for Osteoarthritis

Image credit:  @andranik.h90, Freepik

 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis and can cause chronic pain and disability.


Degenerative joint disease, another term for OA, is a better description of the wear-and-tear process that gradually softens and breaks down the joint cartilage, normally preventing the bones from rubbing together. Radiographs of osteoarthritic joints often show joint space narrowing and destructive changes in the adjacent bone.


OA patients usually complain of joint pain and stiffness, particularly after physical activity. The hips, knees, ankles, and spine are the most susceptible to OA because they absorb the force of gravity. The fingers and neck are also prone to developing OA.


Joint cartilage is made of cells called chondrocytes, embedded in a substance called the extracellular matrix. One of the primary components of this matrix is ​​a material called proteoglycan. This helps the cartilage absorb frictional forces.


With the normal aging process, the proteoglycan content of the matrix decreases. This decline can be accelerated by injury, excessive mechanical force, or joint deformity. This explains why certain people in occupations such as machine operators and athletes are more affected by OA than the rest of us. It also explains why obesity, which greatly increases pressure on lower extremity joints, significantly increases the risk of OA, particularly in the knees.


Even after OA begins to appear, there is evidence that regular exercise can slow or prevent the onset of pain and disability. Aerobic activity protects against obesity, while weight training promotes strengthening and flexibility of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints, which improves joint stability and strength. Consider that acute injuries and repetitive strains increase the risk of OA. Therefore, exercise is only beneficial to joint health if done gradually and with the proper preparation and equipment.

Standard treatments for symptomatic OA include:


Physical therapy to increase the strength and flexibility of affected joints

Prescription and nonprescription pain relievers (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Joint injections of more potent steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Joint replacement with surgery


Although often effective in reducing pain, these interventions do not slow or reverse cartilage deterioration. Therefore, researchers have become interested in two natural constituents of human cartilage that are believed to preserve or improve cartilage integrity: glucosamine and chondroitin.


Glucosamine and chondroitin are believed to stimulate proteoglycan production, stopping its breakdown. Glucosamine is derived from the exoskeletons of shrimp, lobster, and crab. Chondroitin is manufactured from natural sources, such as bovine and shark cartilage.


Several clinical studies have evaluated these supplements' effectiveness in treating OA of the knee and hip. Some studies have shown glucosamine or chondroitin to be moderately more effective than placebo, with no significant side effects. However, more recent studies have not shown these supplements to be effective. The manufacturers funded many of the studies that had positive results. Neutral researchers found no benefits.


Glucosamine and chondroitin are just some natural products that have been tried as a possible treatment for OA. In addition, researchers have studied many other supplements, such as:


S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe): There is some evidence that SAMe can relieve symptoms of arthritis and be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs.

Soybean/Avocado Oil Extracts: Results so far are promising for these extracts in the treatment of OA.

Cetylated fatty acids: These naturally occurring fatty acids, available as oral supplements and creams, have also shown some promise.

If you're interested in trying a natural approach to OA relief, make an appointment with your doctor. This is an important measure because, in some cases, supplements can interact with other medications you take or affect other conditions you may have. Also, because these products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is difficult to know the supplement's purity. Also, keep in mind that researchers are still studying ways to help people find relief from joint pain and stiffness so that a new treatment may be discovered.

 

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