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Combating Arthritis Pain

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A new Canadian study shows that a natural substance combination can help reduce pain and stiffness due to arthritis, a chronic disease affecting four million Canadians

A new Canadian study shows that a natural substance combination can help reduce pain and stiffness due to arthritis, a chronic disease affecting four million Canadians. The 10-week study, which was conducted by naturopathic physician Penny Kendall-Reed in Toronto, showed that more than 80 per cent of participants reported a reduction in pain while taking an effervescent drink crystal complex combining glucosamine sulphate, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulphate and methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM). In addition, close to 85 percent of participants reported a reduction in joint stiffness.

"In my practice, I have never seen such a dramatic result with arthritic joints in a 10-week period," said Dr. Kendall-Reed about the combination complex. "I have been using glucosamine/MSM complexes with my patients for years with fair to good results."

As we age, humans lose the ability to synthesize sufficient levels of hyaluronic acid in the joints. Hyaluronic acid forms an essential part of the matrix "glue" that binds articular joint cartilage together, attracts moisture and provides structural properties to withstand forces within the joints. Thus any additional hyaluronic acid in supplement form will help to repair inflamed cartilage in the joints and relieve the associated pain and stiffness.

Glucosamine sulphate is a substance from the exoskeletons of crustaceans that increases the production of hyaluronic acid in the joint and in the synovial fluid. In addition, glucosamine helps to attract more water to the cartilage, increasing its elasticity and flexibility within the cartilage, thereby increasing its resilience to increased wear and tear.

Chondroitin sulphate is another natural substance that is widely used in the treatment of arthritis. This ingredient inhibits or decreases the activity of the enzymes that wear the cartilage down and create inflammatory damage. Finally, MSM helps to attract water to further lubricate the joint. Combined together, these natural substances provide cartilage-protecting properties to every joint as we age, decreasing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

MSM, a substance originally extracted from the byproducts of wood, provides a crucial role in the maintenance of cartilage. MSM donates sulphur as a building material for cartilage. This becomes very important to those people with arthritis, as their cartilage is always significantly lower in sulphur. Sulphur is required to form connective tissue, attract moisture to the tissue and increase integrity of the cartilage. In this way, MSM performs many different functions in the relief of arthritic symptoms.

Ginger is another natural substance used in the treatment of arthritis. It works in two different ways. First, ginger helps to decrease the release of inflammatory substances from white blood cells that are liberated in high concentration in arthritic joints, thereby decreasing the inflammation and destruction of the cartilage. Second, ginger helps to regulate the production of inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, much like traditional anti-inflammatories do. Thus, ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory used effectively in the treatment of arthritis.

By far, the most conclusive dietary relief for arthritic joints is weight loss. By following an effective weight-loss plan, the forces and pressure exerted on each joint with every step will lessen, therefore decreasing further damage to the joints.

Other dietary considerations involve the nightshade foods in the Solanacea family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tobacco. These foods are quite alkaloid in nature, and it is thought that the alkaloids inhibit normal collagen repair in the joints and actually promote the degenerative inflammation within the joint itself. Despite the fact that there is no significant clinical data to support this theory, some patients have reported great relief of arthritic symptoms through the removal of these foods from their diet.

All of the above recommendations should be considered by patients searching for relief from their painful arthritis symptoms.

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