Arthritis is a condition associated with swelling and inflammation of the joints, which often results in pain and restriction of movement. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is a breakdown of the cartilage in the joints, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammation of the tissue lining the joints and in severe cases inflammation of other body tissues. In the joints, sustained inflammation leads to hypertrophy of the synovium and the formation of a “pannus”, which spreads over the joint causing erosive destruction of the bone and cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking it’s own organs (joints, bones, internal organs).
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, involves inflammation in the lining of the joints and/or other internal organs. RA typically affects many different joints. It can be chronic or can be a disease of flares and remissions. RA, which affects the entire body, is characterized by the inflammation of the membrane lining the joint, which causes pain, stiffness, warmth, redness and swelling. The inflamed joint lining can invade and damage bone and cartilage. Inflammatory cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage. The involved joint can lose its shape and alignment, resulting in pain and loss of movement.
Glucosamine stimulates the manufacture of collage, which is the protein portion of a fibrous substance that holds joints together. Collagen is also the main component of the shock-absorbing cushion called articular cartilage – the white smooth surface which covers the ends of body joints in the fingers, wrists, knees, etc. Glucosamine helps bind water in the cartilage matrix. It has also been shown to help produce more collagen and also normalizes cartilage metabolism, which helps to keep the cartilage from breaking down. Glucosamine can actually “jump-start” the production of the cartilage’s key elements and can also protect these same elements. Glucosamine can help the body repair eroded and damaged cartilage. Glucosamine not only stimulates the production of cartilage but it can also improve joint function and help reduce the pain of those suffering from osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin sulfates act like “liquid magnets”. They help attract fluid into the proteoglycan molecules. This is important for two reasons; the fluid sweeps nutrients into the cartilage and the fluid acts as a spongy shock absorber. Chondroitin can protect existing cartilage from a premature breakdown. It does this by inhibiting certain enzymes that destroy cartilage and enzymes that prevent the transport of nutrients. Chondroitin sulfates alone have been found to be effective for osteoarthritis sufferers. Often just the glucosamine or chondroitin are used by themselves. However they can work synergistically when taken together to stimulate cartilage production and to help control enzymes that destroy the cartilage.
Using both of these supplements can help the body heal itself. A glucosamine and chondroitin combination is a powerful weapon against osteoarthritis.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It occurs primarily in plants, dairy products, and seafoods. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, for the clotting of the blood and for the functioning of nerve tissue and muscles (including the heart), for enzymatic processes, and for controlling the movement of fluids through cell walls. It also acts to balance the amounts of other minerals and promotes better use of iron by the body. Calcium dissolves in acid but is not affected by heat or light.
In the body, calcium builds and maintains bones and teeth, regulates heart rhythm, helps regulate the passage of nutrients in & out of the cell walls, assists in normal blood clotting, helps maintain proper nerve and muscle function, lowers blood pressure, is important to normal kidney function and based on current medical research reduces the incidence of colon cancer and reduces blood cholesterol levels. Deficiency symptoms may result in arm & leg muscle spasms, softening of bones, back and leg cramps, brittle bones, rickets, poor growth, osteoporosis (a deterioration of the bones), tooth decay and depression.
Once calcium is lost and signs of osteopeonia develop, the medical problem may be hard to reverse. Collapse of bone, and bone fractures (commonly of the pelvis), may occur in some individuals. When people “shrink” with age, it is due to vertebral compression fractures caused by osteopenia, commonly referred to as osteoporosis. Bone density studies will detect patients having osteopenia. Calcium, like vitamin B complex, acts as a membrane stabilizer and natural tranquilizer.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), also known as Bachelor’s Button, is a common flowering aromatic plant. Feverfew was known to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks who regarded it as a valuable remedy to alleviate headaches, joint pain, stomach aches, menstrual pains and fever.
Modern researchers confirm that Feverfew is a valuable herbal remedy that is especially effective in treating migraine headaches and arthritis. Feverfew contains a number of lactones, among them parthenolide, michefuscalide and chrysanthenyl. The main active sesquiterpene lactone, parthenolide, is known to inhibit the production and secretion of prostaglandins ? substances released by blood platelets and white blood cells that contribute to migraines.
White blood cells secrete substances believed to contribute to the kind of inflammatory processes seen in arthritis, and possibly some other auto-immune disorders. Another substance, Serotonin, is also secreted by blood platelets and can constrict blood vessels and contribute to migraine pain. This inhibition of prostaglandins results in reduction in inflammation, decreased secretion of histamine, and a reduction of fevers, thus the name Feverfew.
Phenylalanine is used to help alleviate chronic pain such as occurs with arthritis, dental surgery, premenstrual cramps, lower back pain, migraine headaches, joint pains, whiplash, postoperative pain, cancer, neuralgia, and other long-term pain and constant irritating discomfort. Phenylalanine is a natural anti-inflammatory and its pain relieving properties, especially for arthritis, are probably partially due to its anti-inflammatory properties and reduced swelling. As an anti-inflammatory agent, phenylalanine takes longer to work in the body than synthetic pain-killers. Depending upon the individual and the severity of the pain, it may take from two days to three weeks to have an effect on the chronic pain. However, once taken effect, the dosage may be reduced to a maintenance dose. Often, depending upon the condition and cause of the pain, maintenance dose may not be needed as the pain may not return.