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Arthritis Center

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Wellness Plan | Pharmacist Recommendations | Related Health Concerns | Additional Information

General Health Information

There are many kinds of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common type. It is a degenerative joint disease that increases with age. Osteoarthritis attacks the joint cartilage causing inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness. Cumulative years of wear-and-tear on joints weakens the collagen support structure of the cartilage, the shock absorbing rubbery material that covers the ends of bones.

Nutritional supplements that help our bodies rebuild and replace cartilage may offer support for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Two cartilage supporting supplements in this category are glucosamine and chondroitin, the best-documented being glucosamine. Because it is an amine, a natural building-block for cartilage, glucosamine stimulates cartilage to rebuild. Working in a similar way, chondroitin also shows good evidence of reducing the pain associated with poor joint function and may even help slow down cartilage breakdown.

Rising as a popular supportive supplement for osteoarthritis is SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), a naturally occuring substance in our body that plays a role in many biochemical functions. Originally studied as an antidepressant, it was accidentally discovered to be beneficial for the support of osteoarthritis. SAMe may not only help reduce the symptoms associated with poor joint health, but also may help to promote long term joint integrity by protecting cartilage from damage.

There are other nutritional supplements that may be beneficial for reducing cartilage degradation and promoting overall joint health. Niacinamide has also been shown to lessen the symptoms of unhealthy joints. Other nutritional considerations include evidence that supplementing with the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene may slow the progression of declining joint health. Anti-inflammatory herbal supplements such as boswellia, turmeric, devil?s claw, and bromelain may also be helpful in reducing the swelling and stiffness associated with poor joint function.

Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial condition, so there are other dietary and lifestyle considerations that are important also. A diet low in meat, dairy, and eggs is helpful. Avoid the nightshade family of vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, as they tend to exacerbate osteoarthritis. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that limits alcohol intake and is smoke-free is helpful. Weight control and regular exercise also help joints function at their best. Supplementing with essential fatty acids along with a high quality multivitamin and mineral is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle and good joint health.

Wellness Plan

Dietary & Lifestyle

  • Follow a low meat, dairy, and egg diet
  • Avoid nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant
  • Get regular exercise
  • Weight control
  • Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol intake

Dietary Supplements to Consider

Herbs and Phytonutrients - glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, boswellia, turmeric, devil’s claw, yucca, horsetail, white willow, SAM-e, cayenne
Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements - all are important, especially vitamin C, niacinamide, betacarotene, boron, manganese
Enzymes - bromelain
Amino Acids - phenylalanine
Essential Fatty Acids - omega-3 and omega-6, especially fish oils
Antioxidants - vitamin E, selenium, grape seed extract

Wellness Centers Related to Arthritis

Aging Autoimmune
Bones and Joints Immune System
Osteoporosis Pain and Headaches
Seniors Health Sports and Fitness

Additional Information on Arthritis

  • Questions and Answers About Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease - published by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  • ARTHRITIS AND EXERCISE - excellent discussion by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases