The Whole is Greater than the Parts
Fortunately, we are not at a loss for the natural deterioration of joints after years of wear and tear. Nature has made available nutrients that we can use, at a supplemental level, to help relieve and heal joints gone astray. We developed the Ultimate Joint Mobility formula to help the joint healing process.
We were unable to find a product that addressed the three main areas of joint healing:
1. Inflammation and pain reduction.
2. Penetrators to help the nutrients get into the joint.
3. Nutrients to then help the joint heal.
The nutrients we have combined together reduce the inflammation and pain, help the nutrients penetrate into the joints, and then gives the joints what they need to heal themselves. In difficult or advanced situations, they can dramatically slow the deterioration process.
We are presenting what our research and experience confirm as the best and most important nutrients the body would naturally use to heal itself. Many of these supplements have been well researched and used in large capacities in Europe for decades. Now they are beginning to find their way to the U.S.
What we are finding is that a person can use less of some nutrients – if they are properly combined with other supporting nutrients! Many of the nutrients in our Ultimate Foundation multi-vitamin / nutrient also work together with the joint nutrients for general joint maintenance. Our joint formula assumes a person is already taking The Ultimate Foundation – or another good multivitamin.
Explanation of Key Nutrients
The Big Three Supplements
1. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane):
It is hard to choose the best additional supplements for joint health because the top few are pretty close. However, I’ll place MSM first. Glucosamine and chrondroitin usually get the attention, but MSM is a precursor to them.
People with arthritis are usually lacking in sulfur. Many are surprised that sulfur is the fourth most abundant mineral in human tissue. As such, sulfur is critical to cartilage integrity and health! The fundamental building blocks of joint cartilage are GAG molecules. They are linked together in chains making cartilage firm and resilient. Sulfur maintains this structure of connective tissue by forming cross-linkage disulfide bonds. Therefore, sulfur strengthens the tissues that make up the joint. MSM (34% sulfur by weight) effectively delivers sulfur to the body in a very absorbable and useable way. In this way, MSM is working to help the joints replace damaged cartilage cells.
MSM is also often referred to as a “penetrator.” Along with bromelain and magnesium, it makes the walls of individual cells more “permeable.” This means that the cells can more easily get rid of the toxins that are constantly being created inside the cell. The cell can also absorb nutrients more easily. This may be why a study, published in Clinical Drug Investigations, in July 2004 made headlines. The study found that the combination of glucosamine and MSM was far more effective against osteoarthritis than either nutrient alone. The MSM may be helping the glucosamine (and other nutrients) get into the cells where it can help.
The majority of people also report much of their pain disappearing with MSM. However, MSM appears to do this not by dulling the pain, but helping mend the damage that causes the pain to begin with. Why some treatments don’t include MSM is beyond me.
2. Glucosamine Sulfate:
What can we say? Glucosamine has been used so long in Europe, with excellent results, that even the medical authorities in the U.S. have had to acknowledge it. (This can be tough for them since it can interfere with expensive drug sales and joint replacement surgery.)
Glucosamine stimulates cartilage cells to produce proteoglycans and collagen. These are two proteins essential for the proper function of joints. It has reduced symptoms of chronic osteorarthritis by 80% in a month or two in over 300 studies in Europe. The effects are long lasting and accumulate over time. This is an indication that it is actually helping the joint cartilage heal! Even better is the lack of side effects. (Oh, what are the drug companies going to do? They can’t patent it!)
Miracle Cures, by Jean Carper, does an excellent job of documenting glucosamine, chondroitin and many other supplements.
Our bodies produce it and it is a major constituent of cartilage. You get it when you eat meat gristle, or you can take a supplement. However, it is a large molecule so only about 15% of oral supplements are absorbed. What is absorbed does seems to enhance and work with glucosamine. Scientists are not sure exactly what it does, but curbing inflammation and pain is a large part of its action. It also seems to have some ability to slow the progression of new osteroarthritis development. This may help it protect existing cartilage from breaking down better than glucosamine.
However, some studies have also linked it to the spread of some cancers when used in larger amounts. Since we are already addressing inflammation and pain issues with other supplements, we are keeping the amount of chrondroitin to a safer lower amount than many other supplements do.
Additional Important Supplements
Boswellia (extract): This Indian herb has been used for centuries to greatly reduce the inflammatory aspect of arthritis and bursitis. In reducing the swelling, it is helping to relieve pain and help the joint cells be more able to mend themselves. Recent India studies have confirmed that boswellic acids produce significant reductions in swelling and pain in both osterarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are also indications that it may help improve blood supply to inflamed joints. It takes a month or two to see the full effects. Studies have shown that it helps to decrease knee pain and swelling of the knee and increase knee flexion.
Bromelain: As we mentioned, getting the nutrients to the synovial fluid so it can disperse them to the joint cells is a challenge. The ability of the bromelain enzyme to actually make it intact into the bloodstream seems to also help carry the other supplements recommended into the synovial fluid, increasing their effectiveness. In addition, it is a helpful digestive enzyme that helps your body digest proteins properly. (Improperly digested proteins are the primary cause of food allergies. Allergies as a cause of arthritis are discussed in our joint and arthritis article.)
Cat’s Claw: Cat’s claw is a rich source of sterols that some studies have found to reduce swelling by almost 50%. This is a benefit we don’t want to pass up for the pain reduction benefits alone. It also helps maintain a proper level of macrophages by decreasing or increasing them when needed.
Ginger: Ginger is a remedy used around the world for reducing inflammation and pain – and research backs it up! It inhibits cytokines that create a long term tendency towards inflammation. It also inhibits PAF allergy reactions that can affect arthritis.
Magnesium: Hyaluronic acid is often injected into knee joints as a temporary treatment for osteoarthritis. It is effective but expensive. To our rescue comes the residents of Yuzurihara, Japan! They have led the way in being known for having few joint problems – and increased levels of hyaluronic acid. In looking at why this happens, researchers found that the region was not suitable for growing rice. Instead, these people grow vegetables that happen to be high in magnesium – which is related to high levels of hyaluronic acid, and far fewer joint problems. (This is another reason we have higher levels of magnesium in our Ultimate Foundation multivitamin formula than many others. If you are not following that formula, you may want to increase your intake of magnesium along with the Ultimate Joint Mobility formula.)
Manganese: A deficiency of manganese can lead to osteoarthritis, and it can happen since it is lacking in processed foods. Arthritis sufferers are often low in manganese. It is a good antioxidant but is especially important in the synthesis of cartilage components and in the formation and increasing of bone density. It also enhances the effectiveness and absorption of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates.
Niacinamide: This is not mentioned as much in other joint promotions, but niacinamide is a powerful, yet very inexpensive supplement to help joint health. Dr. William Kaufman has documented hundreds of case histories of patients having a remarkable decrease in pain, inflammation and increased mobility with niacinamide. As with other B vitamins, niacinamide does not act directly in the body, but as a catalyst to help other nutrients work better. It seems to have an ability to trigger actual repair of the joint surfaces. Niacinamide is often one of the “missing” ingredients in many joint formulas.
Sea Cucumber: It has tremendous anti-inflammatory properties and also appears to promotes the repair of cartilage. It does this by inhibiting the catabolic processes found in arthritis. Sea cucumber has been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure, help in the healing of ulcers, joint pain to include injury to soft tissue as well as joint trauma, bursitis, prostatitis, and lower back pain to include sciatica.
More importantly, it is one of the few nutrients having success treating rheumatoid arthritis, as well as osteoarthritis and connective tissue disorders. (Australia has approved the use of sea cucumber as an over-the-counter treatment for arthritis.) Sea cucumber is a rich source of mucopolysaccharides; mainly chondroitin sulfate.
Turmeric: Curcumin from turmeric eases acute pain in a manner similar to hydrocortisone without the side effects. It also helps deactivate immune cells that may cause inflammation without harming other aspects of the immune system.
Type II Collagen: Collagen is the protein building block in skin, ligaments, tendons, bone, cartilage, blood vessels, and other connective tissue. Collagen II is the most abundant in the human body and is found in joints most affected by arthritis where there is a selective destruction of collagen II. It is thought this may lead to rheumatoid arthritis. Oral collagen type II is thought to help prevent an immune response through oral tolerance. No side effects are evident and studies show oral supplementation may help rheumatoid arthritis, in particular.
Vitamin B-5, B-12, C, E: The B vitamins work together with niacinamide. B-5 helps reduce swelling, B-12 helps with cell formation, mylin and nerve protection. Vitamin E helps the fish oil be more effective in reducing swelling while fighting free radicals, increasing joint flexibility.
(SAMe: s-adenosylmethionine) – We mention SAMe because it has had some publicity lately as helping joint health. However, its effectiveness has been primarily in regard to its anti-inflammatory effects. However, more double blind tests are needed and it is very expensive. Since we have other supplements that address the inflammation issue, we feel SAMe is not needed at this time and you receive a better value with the other nutrients. In addition, the vitamin B-12 we add helps the body make SAMe.
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