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Osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

If you are looking for a magic bullet that will fix your joint pain, then this blog will burst that bubble. It does not exist. Joints are complex structures (read more about that here) and therefore, when damaged, require support on multiple levels. Added to that, everyone is different and what works for one, may not work for another. There is good news, however. Where some magic may begin to happen is with a combination of compounds, all working on joint structure and joint pain, but in different ways. This blog looks at the science behind supplementation for osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help.

Osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is naturally made in the body. However it appears that our internal production declines as we age. It is a key raw material for the building of cartilage and important therefore for maintaining joint health. There are no edible forms of this substance – it does occur in gristle but we tend not to eat that! – so we need to look to supplemental forms.

Research studies on the impact of glucosamine on osteoarthritis – both pain and joint degeneration – have most often used the glucosamine sulphate form at a dose around 1,400mg daily. However, the hydrochloride form is regularly used now in top quality supplements for a number of reasons. This newer form delivers a higher concentration of glucosamine so you can achieve therapeutic levels in a smaller number of capsules. The sulphate form also requires additional substances to stabilise it, such as sodium chloride. This can be provide up to 30% of recommended sodium intakes which could adversely affect renal function and blood pressure.

Glucosamine is naturally made in the body but it appears that our internal production declines as we age

But does it work? Well, the evidence is contradictory. It appears that it may have more effect if taken before joint degeneration becomes too severe. You also have to persevere with glucosamine to know whether it is working for you – studies are mostly done over  a 2 year period.

Stages of knee osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

So, there is a question about whether this works but it may be worth a try. c. 1,400mg of glucosamine daily is recommended. This is best taken with a protein meal.

As with all supplements, always check for interactions with any medications. Nutritional Therapists are trained to do this and will always check supplements against your medications.

As with all supplements, always check for interactions with any medications

Chondroitin Sulphate. Osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

Chondroitin is a component of cartilage and consists of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These provide structure, hold water and nutrients, and allow other molecules to move through the cartilage. This is important, as cartilage does not have its own blood supply, so it relies on GAGs to bring in the nutrients it requires. Some studies suggest that supplementation of chondroitin can reduce water retention in inflamed joints, improve mobility and reduce pain. It may also reduce cartilage loss and therefore slow progression of osteoarthritis.

Doses up to 1200mg of chondroitin sulphate daily may be effective. Powder forms dissolved in water may be better absorbed. A reduction in symptoms typically occurs within 2-3 months.

There may be synergy between chondroitin and glucosamine. Many products on the market are sold in combination. Keep reading for more on osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help.

There may be synergy between chondroitin and glucosamine. Many products on the market are sold in combination

Again, always check for interactions with any medications. Nutritional Therapists are trained to do this and will always check supplements against your medications.

Woman with knee osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is the principle structural and mechanical support for connective tissue, muscle and skin, bone and joints – particularly cartilage. Current research suggests that collagen supplementation may reduce swelling, joint pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis. It may also reduce the speed of cartilage loss. It also improves bone strength, muscle mass and collagen density in the skin.

If you are interested in investigating this further, aim for 5-10g of hydrolysate collagen daily.

Key Take Aways. Osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help

So what are the take aways here? Whilst still not a magic bullet, there may be benefits to taking a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen in supplemental form. Always seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner trained in the art of supplementation and able to check for interactions. Clare is not able to offer this service on its own, as she needs to have a full case history to ensure safe practice. However, she will always check your medications for safety with any recommended supplement as part of a consultation.


Next month, the blog will look at some anti-inflammatories, such as curcumin, ginger and Boswellia and the research in relation to osteoarthritis. Watch out for that!

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and would like to discuss your own osteoarthritis and how a supplement combo may help, you can book a free call with me. I’ve worked successfully with OA clients, who report reduced pain and improved quality of life. I will always check supplementation for safety with any medications you are taking and work to find alternatives if necessary and implicated. Call me to find out more.

If you are looking for some recipes, grab a free eBook with 10 delicious recipes focusing on cruciferous vegetables. Good for our livers and the creation of the master antioxidant, glutathione, which can help modify pain. Grab it here! This blog talks about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet and OA and this one gives top ten tips for OA.

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