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Arthritis Programme

Arthritis Program

As a result of injury or ageing, cartilage found between the joints starts to break down. Cartilage helps prevent the joints from rubbing together & when it is no longer produced in sufficient amounts, pain & deterioration of the joint develop.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a group of diseases whose common threads are that they cause pain, inflammation and limited movement of the

joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common.

What causes the pain in arthritis?

As the result of an injury and also as part of the aging process, cartilage, which is found between the joints in our body, starts to breakdown. The cartilage helps prevent the joints from rubbing together and when it is no longer produced in sufficient amounts or when our body becomes inefficient in making this, pain and a deterioration of the joint develop. Osteoarthritis is a common condition that develops from this deterioration.

What is cartilage and what does it do?

Cartilage is a watery substance, made up of 65-80% water, collagen and other tissue. Unfortunately as we age, or as the result of an injury or poor diet, our ability to renew cartilage can be impaired, causing damage to the bone ends, as they rub against each other.

Collagen is a primary connective tissue in the body and a vital part of cartilage. This and other substances helps maintain structure and provide elasticity, while acting as a "shock absorber". The formation of new collagen is especially important to help prevent joint problems and to maintain active mobility.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential elements for the production of collagen and cartilage in the body.

What is Glucosamine? (Glue cos a mean)

Glucosamine is a natural substance made in the body. It is found largely in the cartilage and is an important factor in the structure of bone, skin, nails, hair and body tissues. It is essential for healthy cartilage - to help maintain healthy joints and pain-free mobility. Glucosamine supplements are usually made from the shells of crabs and shrimps.  You can also get non shellfish based glucosamine too.

What is Chondroitin? (con droy tin)

The cartilage in the joints acts as a spongy "shock absorber". To do this it needs special substances to attract fluid. Chondroitin is a substance, made in the body, which attracts fluid to the cartilage like a liquid magnet. In this way, chondroitin protects the cartilage from breakdown and it also stimulates the synthesis of new cartilage, important for healthy joints.

How can we help our body to make more cartilage to protect prevent arthritis, protect our joints.

We can take dietary supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin and this will give our body the ingredients to make new cartilage, ligaments and tendons in the body.

As well as this, supplements containing these can provide an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing pain and swelling. These 2 natural substances, when taken together, can actually halt the arthritis process in its tracks and help the body heal itself.

How much glucosamine and chondroitin do you need to take to rebuild new cartilage?

I have outlined the suggested amounts in the chart below. Most studies have shown that most users need 1200-2000mg of glucosamine daily for a period of 3-6 months (depending on the severity of their problem). Having said this though, a lot of people found that 2500-4000mg of glucosamine daily produced a quicker response and was well tolerated. Similar amounts of chondroitin are recommended.

Are there side effects associated with taking glucosamine & chondroitin?

Glucosamine is non-toxic, even at doses that far exceed normal use. The few side effects that have been reported are limited to minor stomach upsets or nausea. But this was noted when very large amounts of this were taken. Don't take if you cannot have shellfish.

Chondroitin is non-toxic. A six year study tracking people taking doses of 1500mg to 10,000mg per day has shown no toxicity at all. Don't take if you cannot have shellfish.

Why hasn't your doctor talked to you about glucosamine and chondroitin to help with your arthritis?

Most doctors and the pharmaceutical companies are not interested in natural products. This is because drug companies like to put their money into products that they can patent, like drugs. The patent protects their product, allowing them to corner the market and make a lot of money from this. Since they cannot patent natural supplements, they do not want to work with them. They don't invest money to study the supplements and they don't flood doctor's offices with free samples or information about the supplements (as they do with their drugs). Nutritional supplements have traditionally been marketed by smaller companies, who do not have the large advertising budgets that the drug companies do.

Is taking glucosamine and chondroitin all I need to do to help my arthritis?

These 2 natural substances can work wonders on your osteoarthritic joints, but they are only one step. 

OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR ARTHRITIS (OSTEOARTHRITIS) PATIENTS ARE:

1. Take Primrose, Fish Oil & Vitamin E or Efamarine, a natural anti-inflammatory. This is also an important part in the program. The dosage of this should be 2 capsules twice a day. Once you have taken this dosage for 2 months, you could reduce this to 1 capsule twice a day.

2. Have a thorough consultation with your health care professional to determine your health complaint.

3. Take glucosamine and chondroitin to help repair your damaged joints.

4. Take steps to improve the way you treat the joints in your body.

5. Exercise regularly - a lot of people with joint problems stop exercise. This will make the problem far worse.

6. Eat a healthy, joint preserving diet.

7. Maintain your ideal body weight.

I have outlined these individual points below.

TAKE PRIMROSE, FISH OIL AND VITAMIN E, A NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

Efamol Efamarine, which contains Primrose, Fish Oil & Vitamin E can boost the production of the body's own anti-inflammatory agents. It also puts a lubrication between the joints.

HAVE A THOROUGH CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL TO DETERMINE YOUR HEALTH COMPLAINT

A great many conditions mimic the symptoms of osteoarthritis and a lot of people, who self diagnose their problem, do so incorrectly. This means that they do not receive the correct treatment.

TAKE GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN TO HELP REPAIR YOUR ARTHRITIC JOINTS

These 2 supplements are the heart of the program. Doses are usually figured according to your body weight. Although some people may need more and others less, the following dosages are usually effective and serve as a good starting point:

If you weigh?. You should take?.
Less than 55kg 1000mg glucosamine plus 800mg chondroitin
Between 55 and 90kg 1500mg glucosamine plus 1200mg chondroitin
More than 90kg 2000mg glucosamine plus 1600mg chondroitin


Your dosage should be adjusted according to your pain and function. Some people have great results right away and quickly; for others you should try to preservere and be patient. Results will happen!

TAKE STEPS TO IMPROVE THE WAY YOU TREAT THE JOINTS IN YOUR BODY

Improper alignment or incorrect use of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints can cause excessive wear and tear on the body, leading to injury. Just as the wheels on your car will wear badly if they are out of alignment, so can our joints. Seek the advice of someone who specializes in correct postural alignment. It's important to correct the underlying problem that created the joint wear and tear in the first place.

EXERCISE REGULARLY TO HELP PREVENT ARTHRITIS

Regular exercise fends off a host of health problems. It used to be thought that exercise caused arthritis. This has now been disapproved. In fact, regular exercise is a strong protection against osteoarthritis.

When you bear down on a joint, as you do when you are exercising, the nutrient-rich fluid in the cartilage is squeezed out, just like the cartilage was a soggy sponge. Then, when you release the pressure, the fluid rushes back into the cartilage, both nourishing it and keeping it moist.

The continual rushing in and out of fluid is critical to the health of the cartilage and without it the cartilage becomes thin, dry and more susceptible to damage.

Even if you start with a slow easy walk around the block or some gentle swimming in a pool or at the beach, this is a great improvement to no exercise at all.

EAT A HEALTHY, JOINT PRESERVING DIET

What you eat or do not eat can affect your joints. Certain foods can encourage or discourage the joint-busting free radicals, help to increase or decrease inflammation and stimulate cartilage repair.

Foods that neutralize free radicals are those that are high in the antioxidants Vitamin A, C, E, zinc and selenium.
Vitamin A is found in mostly yellow-orange fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is found in many delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, wheat germ, nuts, avocados, whole grain breads and cereals. Zinc is found in pumpkin seeds and oysters and selenium is found in salmon, tuna, cracked wheat bread, sunflower seeds, oysters, yeast and shrimps.

Ideally it is best to get as many vitamins and minerals from your diet, by eating fresh whole foods, fruits and vegetables (preferably from an organic source). Unfortunately, the nutrient content may vary and some foods are very void of nutrients, due to soil depletion from over-worked lands, pollution etc. That is why realistically you should take supplements to top up what you do not get from your food.

Other nutrients that are beneficial include essential fatty acids, such as those found in evening primrose oil and fish oil, such as salmon oil.

At Ideal Health we stock a number of supplements that contain both glucosamine and chondroitin.

You may like to try Cararthron to increase mobility and reduce joint stiffness.

 

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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