with Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine - Q&A
Q What is arthritis?
A Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. The most common
form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is also known as degenerative
joint disease because it is characterized by joint degeneration and loss
of cartilage - the shock absorbing gel like material between joints.
The percentage of people with
osteoarthritis increases dramatically with age. Surveys have indicated
that over 40 million Americans have osteoarthritis, including 80% of
persons over the age of 50. Under the age of 45, it is much more common
Q What joints are affected in
A The weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine,
as well as the hands, are the joints most often affected with the
degenerative changes of osteoarthritis. These joints are under greater
stress because of weight and use.
Q How does a person know if he or she
A The onset of osteoarthritis can be subtle. Morning joint
stiffness is often the first symptom. As the disease progresses, there
is pain during motion of the involved joint, which is made worse by
prolonged activity and relieved by rest
Osteoarthritis is usually quite easily
distinguished from other types of arthritis. In more inflammatory forms
of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and gout, the joints will appear
red, spongy and warm. In osteoarthritis, however, the joint will
generally be cooler and bony hard. If you think you have arthritis
consult a physician for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnostic summary of osteoarthritis.
Symptoms: mild early morning stiffness, following periods of rest, pain
that worsens on joint use, and loss of joint function.
Signs: local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, joint crepitus, bony
swelling, restricted mobility, Heberedn’s nodes, and other sign of
degenerative loss of articular cartilage.
Q What causes osteoarthritis?
A Osteoarthritis is divided into two categories, primary and
secondary. In primary osteoarthritis, the degenerative “ wear and tear”
process occurs after a person turns 40 years of age. The cumulative
effects of decades of use leads to the degenerative changes by stressing
the collagen matrix of the cartilage. Damage to the cartilage results in
the release of enzymes that destroy cartilage components. With aging,
the ability to restore and manufacture normal cartilage structures
decreases. So, what I am saying is that aging is the primary cause of
osteoarthritis. But, just because you may be getting older doesn’t mean
that you have to suffer from the pain of osteoarthritis.
Secondary osteoarthritis is associated
with some predisposing factor which is responsible for the degenerative
changes. These predisposing factors include: inherited abnormalities in
joint structure or function; trauma (fractures along joint surfaces,
surgery, etc.); presence of abnormal cartilage; and previous
inflammatory disease of the joint (rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc.).
Q What is the conventional medical
treatment for osteoarthritis?
A The primary drugs used in the treatment of osteoarthritis are
the so-called “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs” which
includes asprin. Although these drugs are extensively used in the united
states, research indicates that they may actually accelerate the
progression of joint destruction and cause more problems down the road.
These drugs are also associated with side effects including
gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and dizziness, and are therefore
recommended for only short periods of time.
Q How do they accelerate joint
A NSAIDs work by inhibiting enzymes involved in the production of
inflammatory compounds. Enzymes are molecules that speed up chemical
reactions. They either join molecules or split them by making or
breaking the chemical bonds that keep molecules together. NSAIDs not
only suppress the enzymes that produce inflammatory compounds, but they
also inhibit enzymes that manufacture cartilage components.
So, you see why the use of NSAIDs in the
treatment of osteoarthritis is a classic example of a drug suppressing
the symptom while promoting the progression of the disease process. A
person may feel free from pain while on the NSAID, but his or her
arthritis is silently getting worse as noted in several clinical studies
that have shown that NSAID use is associated with acceleration or
osteoarthritis and increased joint destruction.
Q What can be used instead of NSAIDs
in the treatment of osteoarthritis?
A Glucosamine! Glucosamine is a simple molecule that can be
naturally produced in the body. The main function of glucosamine on
joints is to stimulate the manufacture of molecules known as
glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) key structural components of cartilage. It
Appears that as some people age, they lose the ability to manufacture
sufficient levels of glucosamine. The result is that cartilage loses its
ability to act as a shock absorber. The body’s inability to manufacture
glucosamine has been suggested to be the major factor leading to
osteoarthritis. That’s why supplementing your diet with stabilized
glucosamine is so vitally important.
Total Health Recommended Glucosmine
Q Are there scientific studies that
show Glucosamine is effective?
A Yes. Glucosamine has been the subject of more than 300
scientific investigations and over 20 double blind clinical studies.
The benefits of Glucosamine in the
treatment of osteoarthritis are impressive. In one of the more recent
studies comparing Glucosamine to a placebo, 252 patients with
osteoarthritis of the knee were given either a placebo or 500mg of
Glucosamine three times daily for four weeks. Glucosamine was
significantly effective in improving pain and movement after only four
weeks of use. Previous studies have shown that the longer Glucosamine is
used the more obvious the therapeutic benefit. These results are
consistent with other double blind studies versus a placebo.
Q Have there been studies comparing
Glucosamine to NSAIDS?
A Yes. In these head to head double blind studies Glucosamine was
shown to produce better results than NSAIDs in relieving the pain and
inflammation of osteoarthritis despite the fact that Glucosamine
exhibits very little direct anti inflammatory effect and no direct
analgesic or pain relieving effects. While NSAIDs offer purely
symptomatic relief and may actually promote the disease process,
Glucosamine appears to address the cause of osteoarthritis. By treating
the root of the problem through actually building joint cartilage,
Glucosamine not only improves the symptoms, including pain, it also
helps the body repair damaged joints. The clinical effect is impressive,
especially when Glucosamine’s safety and lack of side effects is
Q How long before results are seen
A With Glucosamine supplementation, most people will experience
significant improvement within two to eight weeks. However, the longer
it is used the more obvious the results. The effects are cumulative and
Q Does Glucosamine interact with any
A There have been no reports of any adverse drug interactions
with Glucosamine. The only caveat is that individuals taking diuretics
may need to take higher dosages
Q I am a diabetic. Can I Take
A Yes 98% of glucosamine is absorbed intact and has absolutely no
effect on blood sugar levels.