Osteoarthritis is primarily a disorder of hyaline cartilage and subchondral bone, with all surrounding tissues becoming hypertrophic. It occurs in almost all vertebrates, even those that live supported by water, but interestingly, not in those two vertebrates that hang upside down, sloths & bats!
Hence it is often considered a problem occurring due to ‘wear & tear’ rather than a specific disease. OA is generally classified as (a) primary or idiopathic, or (b) secondary or due to some known cause which can be anything that changes the microclimate of the chondrocyte, including fracture, trauma, overuse, infection, genetic defect etc.
It is thought that due to changes around the joint, the bone becomes stiffer microfractures, callus formation and eventually the formation of osteophytes and a roughening of the surface of the hyaline cartilage. Proliferation of synovial fluid and inflammation follow.
Remedies that can be effective in helping severe osteoarthritis are:
Glucosamine sulphate, Green Lipped mussel extract, Evening
primrose oil, Flaxseed oil or salmon oil, Vitamins B12 and B6 and some
A good source of minerals is also very important – try Colloidal minerals or Spirulina.
– Glucosamine is an amino sugar derived from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. It helps regenerate the damaged cartilage by providing the substrate for the production of proteoglycans which are the extra cellular component of cartilage. When using Glucosamine sulphate (or Glucosamine HCI) be sure to use at least 250mg three times daily for six to eight weeks before deciding whether it works or not as results are results are very gradual. Many brands available now contain Chrondroitin sulphate and/or herbs such as White willow bark for extra effectiveness.
– Green Lipped mussel extract (Seatone TM) is excellent as this is a natural source of glucosamine. Dose is generally around 250-500mg daily. Both Green Lipped muscle extract and Glucosamine need to be used over long periods, as the anti-inflammatory effect slowly builds up to an effective level, then needs to be maintained. It is also purported that in the long term they can reverse some of the damage done by osteoarthritis. They are definitely safer to use in long term than NSAIDs.
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– Bovine cartilage is also effective as it contains Glucosamine.
– Evening Primrose oil needs to be used in 3000mg doses two to three
times daily. Use this as well as Flaxseed oil (at a dose of at least 1tbsp daily). Evening primrose oil gives an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, whereas Flaxseed oil improves circulation to the joints – thus both oils are effective but work in different ways.
– Salmon oil or any deep sea fish oil will work in a similar manner to flaxseed oil but should be used more sparingly.
– Vitamin B12 is effective for the deep, burning type of pain that often occurs with OA and also greatly improves energy levels. At least 250mcg is needed daily and if used orally, be sure to take it on an empty stomach to improve absorption.
I often reccommend the use of a B12/Potassium Iodide blend (Tracel TM) that is specifically made for osteoarthritis sufferers and works extremely well.
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– Vitamin B6 can often have good effect in helping relieve the more aching type of pain and also relieve swelling. Generally a dose of 25-100mg daily is needed. Both B12 and B6 should be taken in conjunction with a B complex tablet.
– There are also many herbs that can help in cases of osteoarthritis. Devil’s claw, Yucca, Gotu kola, Wild yam, Celery seed, Wood betony, White willow bark and Boswellia all have their place in herbal treatments.
For menopausal or post menopausal women increasing and balancing hormonal
levels can greatly reduce pain and improve well being.
See page on ‘Menopause’.
Another very effective form of treatment is the use of Magnets. They are extremely effective at removing pain and inflammation, and in doing so can greatly improve mobility. They are known to improve circulation through the body and in doing so can greatly improve the health of the joints.
See page on ‘ Magnetic Therapy’