22% of all adults over the age of 18 have some form of osteoarthritis. This equates to roughly 27 million people in the US and 8 million sufferers in the UK. By the age of 65 about 1 in 2 will be afflicted with this painful condition. With figures like these, there is a huge industry for providing natural joint care supplements. Of course the big question is “Do they really work?”
Osteoarthritis can be extremely painful, disfiguring, and lead to decreased joint flexibility and mobility. Extreme cases can require joint replacements. Commonly affected joints include the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, fingers, and toes. Osteoarthritis can be caused by repetitive sporting strains and injuries, genetics, aging, and being overweight. In fact, just losing 11 pounds can decrease your chances of getting osteoarthritis in the knees by 50%.
Doctor prescribed medications for arthritis can include non steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) and other arthritis specific drugs. Some of these NSAID’s have received press due to the unpleasant side effects that can occur for some sufferers.
Types of joint care supplements.
There are several types of medically recognized daily vitamin supplements that can be used to alleviate osteoarthritis. These are:
* Glucosamine is a natural substance (an amino sugar) already found in the cartilage cells of our body. Glucosamine helps lubricates the joints, allowing more freedom of movement, and also helps build up the depleted cartilage. Glucosamine is usually made from shellfish.
* Chondroitin is again a natural substance (a protein) found in cartilage and is already in our bodies. Most chondroitin supplements are manufactured from the cartilage of sharks. Chondroitin improves the elasticity of the cartilage in the diseased joints, allowing for more insulation of the painful joint.
* Omega 3 oils such as cod liver oil will help some arthritis sufferers with their joint mobility. These types of oils can have strong anti-inflammatory properties for many.
All of the above supplements can take from 6 weeks to 3 months for results to be felt. If at the end of 3 months your condition has not improved you may need to see your medical practitioner for further treatment.
People suffering from shellfish allergies are advised against glucosamine as it is often derived from crushed shellfish.
These joint supplements generally work well in conjunction with prescription arthritis medicines. You should never abandon your prescribed medications without first consulting your doctor. Those taking warfarin (a blood thinner) especially need to consult their doctor before starting any arthritis supplements.
When purchasing a joint care supplement it is important to compare ingredients. Less expensive products may well be a false economy if you need to take more of the formula to obtain the same result.
Joint care supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, especially when used in conjunction together, are highly effective treatments for osteoarthritis. Many sufferers find their pain is reduced, and their mobility increased. Some arthritis patients can actually experience an improvement in their arthritis after long term continued use of joint nutrition. Often these supplements can mean a decrease in pain relief and anti-inflammatories. Glucosamine and chondroitin are especially beneficial for osteoarthritis of the knees. Joint supplements can be a safe and natural treatment that will provide some form of relief for most arthritis sufferers.