Natural Arthritis Treatments
How Glucosamine works on arthritis:
Glucosamine sulfate is a natural substance that can be found around the cartilage cells. Glucosamine is actually an amino sugar that the body synthesizes and then distributes it to connective tissues. The body produces an exact amount of glucosamine which is used for the maintenance of healthy joints. As we grow older, the body loses its ability to produce enough glucosamine to maintain very good joint health. Current research shows that glucosamine may slow down the progression of arthritis by keeping the joint cartilage healthy. It also helps in easing the pain caused by osteoarthritis, rehabilitation of cartilage, joint repair, stimulation of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, and renewal of synovial fluid.
Side Effects and Precautions of Glucosamine:
Glucosamine is fairly safe and does not carry the worrying side effects of NSAIDs. Some people may experience stomach cramps or loose stools.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of Glucosamine:
Adults: 1,500 mg a day given as 500 mg tablets or capsules three times a day.
Pregnant Women: It is best not to take glucosamine until more is known about the effects of this supplement.
Children: Not recommended
How Chondroitin works on Arthritis:
Chondroitin is necessary for the resiliency of the cartilage and is a component of the cartilage itself. Studies show that Chondroitin keeps the enzyme that causes the breakdown of cartilage at lower levels and also helps fight inflammation. It also stimulates the synthesis of cartilage tissues for healthier joints. It is best to take Chondroitin with Glucosamine because they work synergistically.
Side Effects and Precautions of Chondroitin:
The most common side effect is increased intestinal gas and soft stools. It may cause bleeding in people who have bledding disorder. Take extra caution if you have diabetes or if you are allergic to shellfish. Some cases of nausea and heartburn is reported. Chondroitin may also cause bleeding in persons with bleeding disorders.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of Chondroitin:
Adults: Chondroitin sulfate: 1200 mg daily taken as 400 mg capsules or tablets three times a day. Glucosamine HCl dosage: 1500 mg daily taken as 500 mg capsules or tablets three times a day.
Pregnant Women: Consult your doctor before taking this medication.
Children: There is no proven effective dose in children.
How SAM-e works on Arthritis:
S-adenosyl-methionine is a natural substance that is almost present in the fluids and tissues of the human body. SAM-e reduces the pain, inflammation and stiffness associated with arthritis. SAM-e provides methyl molecules which are needed in producing the chemical compounds necessary for controlling pain, inflammation and the repair of cartilage. Studies done by Mayo Clinic in 2002 ( “Alternative Arthritis Treatments” ) showed that SAM-e may relieve the pain caused by osteoarthritis just as good as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, but SAM-e use has fewer side effects.
SAM-e also helps fight depression by increasing the levels of serotonin which makes us feel good. SAM-e also helps in liver detoxification by increasing the amount of glutathione that removes the poison from alcohol damaged liver.
Side Effects and Precautions of SAM-e:
There are no reported interactions with other supplements or medications. Higher intake levels of SAM-e may lead to an increase in homocysteine which contributes to heart disease. To avoid conversion of SAM-e into homocysteine, take Vitamin [email protected], [email protected] and Folic [email protected].
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of SAM-e:
Adults: For joint health take 2 tablets a day (400mg) preferably on empty stomach 1 hour away from food. Increase the dosage up to 800mg as needed. Since SAM-e is unstable at high temperatures, it is best to keep this food supplement refrigerated.
Pregnant Women: Not recommended.
Children: Not recommended.
How MSM works on Arthritis:
MSM is one of the nutrients that supports the formation of healthy connective tissues. It also provides the chemicals needed to generate collagen which is the foundation of connective tissues, healthy hair, nails and skin. It is important to know that MSM does not treat arthritis. MSM only helps in relieving joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. When you stop taking MSM, the swelling and inflammation from arthritis also returns in a few days. MSM works best if it is combined with other joint supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 and niacinamide because they work synergistically.
Side Effects and Precautions of MSM:
Little to no side effects with MSM supplementation. Some may experience mild gastrointestinal disorder.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of MSM:
Adults: The suggested dose for MSM is from 1,000 mg to 7,000 mg per day.
Pregnant Women: Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid MSM.
Childrens: Generally safe and well tolerated.
How Manganese works on Arthritis:
Manganese helps in the formation of connective tissues and bone. A person with rheumatoid arthritis has the tendency to have lower levels of Manganese Super Oxide Dismutase (MnSOD) which helps and protect the joints from damage. Supplementation of manganese may increase the activity of MnSOD. Research suggest that combining manganese with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. In a double-blind placebo controlled study about knee osteoarthritis, manganese ascorbate combined with glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate helps alleviate the symptoms of this condition.
Side Effects and Precautions of Manganese:
Manganese is toxic when taken at high doses. Symptoms of manganese toxicity include loss of appetite, nerve damage, memory loss, hallucinations, elevation of blood pressure and liver damage. Manganese supplementation is contraindicated in persons with liver failure. Persons taking contraceptives or antacids may need higher intake of manganese.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names:
Available as manganese gluconate, manganese sulfate, manganese ascorbate, manganese amino acid chelates. It works best when combined with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and ascorbic acid.
Adults: The typical dose of manganese supplementation ranges from 2 to 5 milligrams per day.
Pregnant Women: The maximum safe dosage is 2 milligrams per day.
Children: The dosage is determined by your doctor.
How Niacinamide works on Arthritis:
Niacinamide helps in reducing the pain and swelling of arthritis and it has been show to prevent the degeneration of join tissue. Niacinamide inhibits Nitric Oxide which is a cell-killing free radical that is associated with the breakdown of joint cartilage. Do not take niacin because it has a different biological effect on the body. Improvement on pain and swelling can be seen within twelve to sixteen weeks. Prolonged use of niacinamide helps in keeping improved joint flexibility. Another good effect of Niacinamide is that it improves depression.
Side Effects and Precautions of Niacinamide:
There has been no reported adverse side effects associated with niacinamide use.
Forms, Dosage and Brandnames:
Adults: It is recommended to take from 500 to 1000 milligrams of Niacinamide two to three times a day with Vitamin-C. There are lots of store brand niacinamide and generic brands on the market, look for niacinamide packed on thin gel capsules for better digestive track absorption. Dr. William Kaufman recommends as high as 4,000 mg per day (divided into three doses per day for 1 to 3 months) for patients who are severely crippled with arthritis.
Pregnant Women: Safe and well tolerated.
Children: Safe and well tolerated.
How Turmeric works on Arthritis:
The active ingredient in turmeric is the chemical compound known as curcumin. Turmeric powder is composed of 0.3 to 5.4% curcumin. Current research on turmeric shows that curcumin inhibits the action of a protein called Nuclear Factor kappa-B ( NF-KB). NF-KB would attach to the genes of a cell and it would trigger the generation of lots and lots of inflammatory chemicals causing joint degradation and destruction. Some studies show that turmeric may prevent bone resorption and osteoporosis. Curcumin also works in the body to stabilize cell membranes and thereby prevent the release of inflammatory agents.
Side Effects and Precautions:
No bad side effects have been reported. No associated toxicity.
Forms, Dosage and Brandnames:
Adults: Recommended dosage is 400-600mg, three times a day
Pregnant Women: It is unknown if turmeric ingestion is safe during pregnancy.
Children: There is no proven or safe medical dose of turmeric in children
How Ginger extract works on Arthritis:
Current research shows that ginger inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene production. These two chemicals are associated with pain and inflammation. One study involving 261 people with osteoarthritis reports that those subjects who received ginger extract twice a day experienced lesser pain and swelling compared to those who are receiving placebo. Preliminary studies report that ginger may lower cholesterol levels and prevents blood clotting. It may also protect the blood vessels from blockage and thus reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Side Effects and Precautions of Ginger extract:
Ginger is very safe and side effects are very rare. Overdose of ginger may cause mild heartburn, belching or upset stomach. If you have gallstone, bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood thinning medication, seek first the advice of your doctor before taking ginger.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of Ginger extract products:
Adults: Ginger products are available from fresh or dried ginger root, oil from steam distillation of the root, tinctures and capsules. Fresh ginger can be used also as a tea. The general dosage is 75 – 2,000 mg per day in divided dose. Do not exceed more than 4 grams a day.
Pregnant Women: Generally safe and well tolerated.
Children: Generally safe and well tolerated.
How Capsaicin works on Arthritis:
Capsaicin is the chemical substance which makes chili peppers hot. Commercial capsaicin is the purified extract from chili peppers that functions as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. This product can relieve pain by reducing “substance P” which is involved in the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Pain relief from capsaicin is not instantaneous and would take several weeks before you can benefit from its full effect. One study involving Capsaicin cream has found out that there is a 33% reduction on knee osteoarthritis pain and 57% reduction in rheumatoid arthritis pain. Capsaicin is very effective for temporarily relieving arthritis pain in joints that are close to the skin surface, such as the joints of the fingers, knees and elbows. It may also reduce the pain from damaged nerves caused by shingles or diabetes.
Side Effects and Precautions of Capsaicin:
Do not apply capsaicin cream on open wounds, burned skin and irritated skin. Do not apply capsaicin near the eyes, nose and mouth. Capsaicin has very little side effect except for burning and stinging sensation of the skin. Wash your hands after application and if possible use disposable gloves during the topical application of this medicine.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of Capsaicin:
0.025-0.075% capsaicin cream in 45 gram tubes applied 3 to 4 times daily on affected areas. Capzasin-P, Dolorac, Zostrix are some of the common brand names of capsaicin cream.
Adults: 0.025% Capsaicin cream applied four times daily. If it is not effective stup up to 0.075% capsaicin cream applied four times daily.
Pregnant Women: the safety of capsaicin cream on pregnant women has not been studied. Consult your doctor if you plan to use capsaicin cream.
Children: generally well tolerated.
How Vitamin-C works on Arthritis:
Vitamin-C is a key component in the production of collagen. Collagen is needed for the maintenance of bones, cartilage and connective tissues. The joint cartilage is made up of Type-2 collagen which deteriorates in osteoarthritis. Since vitamin-C is a cofactor in protein synthesis, it is important to maintain a baseline level of vitamin-C inside the body to help repair the cartilage. Another study suggest that Vitamin-C reduces the risk of cartilage loss and the progression of the disease among persons who are suffering knee osteoarthritis.
Side Effects and Precautions of Vitamin-C:
High dosage intake may cause hyperacidity.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names:
Adults: Norman Shealy of “The Complete Family Guide to Alternative Medicine” suggests consuming 2 g/day of Ascorbic Acid. It is available as Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Ascorbate, Sodium Ascorbate and Magnesium Ascorbate in capsule or tablet form.
Pregnant Women: Safe and Well tolerated.
Children: Safe and Well tolerated.