by Dr. Gordon Chang, PhD.
Arthritis is usually considered to be a disease affecting the joints and connective tissue, yet there are three major forms of arthritis: gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. In all forms of arthritis it is important that inflammation be addressed, yet controlling the inflammation process is only part of the job. The body must also have the right raw materials in a sufficient quantity in order to repair the damaged joint.
The Importance of Glucosamine and Other Nutrients
One of the key ingredients necessary for cartilage repair is glucosamine. Normally, in healthy individuals, the body can produce sufficient glucosamine to provide for joint repair. Under arthritic conditions, the body’s need for glucosamine increases. If the body cannot provide enough glucosamine to meet this increased need then the joint repair process suffers and you end up with a damaged joint. There is no simple dietary source of glucosamine. The most common sources of glucosamine are in the shells and cartilage of crustaceans such as crab, lobster and shrimp. The major problem with these sources to provide glucosamine is that they are not easily digested. The other alternative is to obtain glucosamine as a dietary supplement. However not all forms of glucosamine are the same. In the human body all glucosamine exists in the D-isomer form. During the manufacturing process to make glucosamine from crustacean shells you get a mixture of D-glucosamine and L-glucosamine. Even though the body absorbs both D-glucosamine and L-glucosamine, it is only able to incorporate the D-glucosamine into the body tissue. The L-glucosamine is merely broken down and excreted. This is the reason that all of Alpha Science Lab’s glucosamine products contain only the D version. When choosing any glucosamine product, ensure that it contains primarily D-glucosamine for maximum benefit.
Addressing the Inflammation of Arthritis
As stated earlier it is vitally important to control the inflammatory process, otherwise there will be further damage to the joint and inhibition of the joint repair process. There are several herbs that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects: Boswellia serrata, Yucca schidigera and Curcuma longa have all long been shown to provide anti-inflammatory relief from arthritis. The mineral manganese has been shown to be important for naturally occurring anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant biochemical pathways in the body. The use of manganese is necessary as it allows the body to inhibit inflammation at its source and thus control the inflammation process more effectively. The supplement Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is also useful to help control the inflammation. MSM provides the body with sulfur which is a key element in many compounds manufactured by the body to help control pain and inflammation.
All of these herbs and minerals are contained in Alpha Science Lab’s capsule glucosamine complex (Arthriplex) and/or our liquid formula (Joint-FX). There are also many other factors that contribute to the onset and severity of arthritis such as poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, undiagnosed food allergies and food sensitivities, toxins from the environment, and toxins generated by the micro-organisms in the body. Being overweight and lack of exercise can be addressed by making wiser lifestyle choices. Undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities can be lessened by being tested for food intolerances then avoiding those foods that cause inflammation or allergic reaction. An overabundance of toxins in the body can be dealt with by doing liver and lung cleanses periodically to decrease the toxin burden to the key organs that detoxify the body. (Please review our primary detoxification products Liver Cleanse, Lung Cleanse and Kidney Cleanse).
In conclusion, one can live with arthritis yet still have a high quality lifestyle. To control arthritic pain it is important to provide the body with the right nutrients for tissue repair; control and reduce the related joint and tissue inflammation; and assist the body in diminishing and detoxifying the body of toxic contaminants.