ATiny Red Solution for Arthritis Pain

Did You Know…

… that pomegranate can help alleviate the pain and discomfort of arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions? Continue reading

New Benefits of Chondroitin Discovered

Over the past decade, the natural supplement chondroitin has risen into discussion about treating joint pain. It is often teamed with glucosamine for this effect. A great piece of health news has just come out, suggesting that chondroitin sulfate improves hand function and relieves morning stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the world’s leading cause of joint pain. It is caused by the gradual deterioration of cartilage in a joint. The disease affects more than 27 million adults in the U.S., causing pain and stiffness. Approximately 10% of the world population, 60 years and older, have symptomatic osteoarthritis. And prior studies have found that 20% to 30% of adults have osteoarthritis of the hand, with the prevalence rising to more than 50% after 60 years of age. Continue reading

Prevent and Treat Osteoarthritis

Painful osteoarthritis is a major health threat for millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 46 million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. In fact, 50 percent of adults aged 65 and older report they’ve been given a diagnosis of arthritis by a doctor.

Repeated trauma and joint stress, both of which can trigger joint inflammation, are the leading causes. Those people who have widespread joint involvement probably have a strong predetermination to develop the disease which may be triggered by a bad diet, environmental toxins, or infections.

Here are eight tips to both prevent and treat osteoarthritis:

Avoid obesity According to a Centers for Disease Control report on arthritis, 66 percent of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis are overweight or obese. The more weight you have on a joint,  Continue reading

Biotech Treatments for “Non-Curable” Diseases

Going beyond remedies that reduce the symptoms of common cold or heal common ailments, there are now treatments that target those diseases that still haven’t found a medical solution. It is here that biotechnology offers little known but no less effective alternative.

These are drugs that have as their primary mission support to attack serious symptoms and complications of these diseases and improve the quality of life of the patients. Synvisc One, for example, is a medical treatment to treat osteoarthritis or the wear of the knee cartilage, which most commonly occurs in older adults and young athletes or patients with significant degrees of obesity.

It was recently launched in Chile at a seminar  Continue reading

Add These Herbs to Meals to Prevent Hip Pain

A sore hip makes everything more difficult — from sleeping to walking up stairs. But you could keep those hips of yours feeling fine if you’re a lover of garlic and onions.

About 15 percent of older adults regularly deal with hip pain. But in a recent study of women, those who tended to eat lots of produce — particularly herbs from the allium family, such as onions and garlic — showed fewer signs of hip osteoarthritis in x-ray tests.

Arthritis-Fighting Allium
The study analyzed the diets of a large group of middle-aged adult twins, most of whom did not have symptoms of arthritis when the study started. Eating lots of allium herbs correlated with less arthritis in the hip. And in a separate lab analysis, researchers also found that diallyl  Continue reading

Introducing – Glucosamine

Other names: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride, N-acetyl glucosamine, chitosamine

Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Production of glucosamine slows with age.

Glucosamine is available as a nutritional supplement in health food stores and many drug stores. Glucosamine supplements are manufactured in a laboratory from chitin, a substance found in the shells of shrimp, crab, lobster, and other sea creatures. In additional to nutritional supplements, glucosamine is also used in sports drinks and in cosmetics.

Glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin sulfate, a molecule naturally present in cartilage. Chondroitin gives cartilage elasticity and is believed to prevent the destruction of cartilage by enzymes. Glucosamine is sometimes combined with methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, in nutritional supplements.

Why Do People Use Glucosamine?

Osteoarthritis

Glucosamine supplements are widely used for osteoarthritis, particularly knee osteoarthritis. In osteoarthritis, cartilage — the rubbery material that cushions joints — becomes stiff and loses its elasticity. This makes the joint prone to damage and may lead to pain, swelling, loss of movement, and further deterioration.

Since the body’s natural glucosamine is used to make and repair joint cartilage, taking glucosamine as a nutritional supplement is thought to help repair damaged cartilage by augmenting the body’s supply of glucosamine.

There is promising evidence that glucosamine may reduce pain symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and possibly slow the progression of osteoarthritis. For example, a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine examined people with osteoarthritis over three years. Researchers assessed pain and structural improvements seen on x-ray. They gave 202 people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate a day or a placebo.

At the end of the study, researchers found that glucosamine slowed the progression of knee osteoarthritis compared to the placebo. People in the glucosamine group had a significant reduction in pain and stiffness. On x-ray, there was no average change or narrowing of joint spaces in the knees (a sign of deterioration) of the glucosamine group. In contrast, joint spaces of participants taking the placebo narrowed over the three years.

One of the largest studies on glucosamine for osteoarthritis was a 6-month study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Called GAIT, the study compared the effectiveness of glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL), chondroitin sulfate, a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, the drug celecoxib (Celebrex), or a placebo in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine or chondroitin alone or in combination didn’t reduce pain in the overall group, although people in the study with moderate-to-severe knee pain were more likely to respond to glucosamine.

One major drawback of the GAIT Trial was that glucosamine hydrochloride was used rather than the more widely used and researched glucosamine sulfate. A recent analysis of previous studies, including the GAIT Trial, concluded that glucosamine hydrochloride was not effective. The analysis also found that studies on glucosamine sulfate were too different from one another and were not as well-designed as they should be, so they could not properly draw a conclusion. More research is needed.

Still, health care providers often suggest a three month trial of glucosamine and discontinuing it if there is no improvement after three months. A typical dose for osteoarthritis is 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate each day.

Other Conditions

Other conditions for which glucosamine is used include rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), chronic venous insufficiency, and skin conditions, although further evidence is needed.

Side Effects and Safety of Glucosamine

Most studies involving humans have found that short-term use of glucosamine is well-tolerated. Side effects may include drowsiness, headache, insomnia, and mild and temporary digestive complaints such as abdominal pain, poor appetite, nausea, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare human cases, the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has been linked with temporarily elevated blood pressure and heart rate and palpitations.

Since glucosamine supplements may be made from shellfish, people with allergies to shellfish should avoid glucosamine unless it has been confirmed that it is from a non-shellfish source. The source of glucosamine is not required to be printed on the label, so it may require a phone call to the manufacturer.

There is some evidence suggesting that glucosamine, in doses used to treat osteoarthritis, may worsen blood sugar, insulin, and/or hemoglobin A1c (a test that measures how well blood sugar has been controlled during the previous three months) levels in people with diabetes or insulin resistance.

Theoretically, glucosamine may increase the risk of bleeding. People with bleeding disorders, those taking anti-clotting or anti-platelet medication, such as warfarin, clopidogrel, and Ticlid, or people taking supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding, such as garlic, ginkgo, vitamin E, or red clover, should not take glucosamine unless under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

The safety of glucosamine in pregnant or nursing women isn’t known.

Introducing – Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Alternative Names

Ascorbic acid

Function

Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy.

The build up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

Food Sources

All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.

Side Effects

Vitamin C toxicity is very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

  • Dry and splitting hair
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Decreased wound-healing rate
  • Easy bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Weakened tooth enamel
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Anemia
  • Decreased ability to fight infection
  • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.

Recommendations

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Vitamin C should be consumed every day because it is not fat-soluble and, therefore, cannot be stored for later use.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following amounts of vitamin C:

Infants and Children

  • 0 – 6 months: 40 milligrams/day (mg/day)
  • 7 – 12 months: 50 mg/day
  • 1 – 3 years: 15 mg/day
  • 4 – 8 years: 25 mg/day
  • 9 – 13 years: 45 mg/day

Adolescents

  • Girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg/day
  • Boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg/day

Adults

  • Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
  • Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts. Ask your doctor what is best for you.