Bones are held together in a joint socket by a network of ligaments, tendons and muscles. Articular cartilage is a mix of collagens, proteoglycans and non-collagenous proteins. It is primarily composed of water (around 85%), and not only lubricates the joint allowing smooth movement of the bones but also acts as a cushion and a sort of a shock absorber. Cartilage consistency is lost with age (about 70%) leading to stiffness in the joints and difficulty with movement, and ultimately to arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA), also called osteoarthrosis or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis.
OA is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.
Glucosamine is a natural substance found abundantly in our bodies. It plays an important role in the health and resiliency of our cartilage. As we age, we begin to lose some of the glucosamine and other substances in our cartilage. This can lead to a thinning of the cartilage and the onset and progression of osteoarthritis. Supplementing with glucosamine can help regenerate the deteriorating cartilage, thereby relieving the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin is another component of cartilage. There have not been as many studies done on the use of chondroitin as there have been on glucosamine. However, preliminary research has shown that chondroitin sulfate interferes with enzymes that break cartilage down. It has anti-inflammatory properties and supplies the material for the production of new cartilage.
Both chondroitin and glucosamine can be taken individually. There is some recognition that there is a definite synergy that occurs when they are taken together.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound that is found in small quantities in the body and in food. It is the main healing ingredient of DMSO.
Besides these three most known to general public osteoarthritis remedies, there is a number of other nutritional and herbal supplements which may be quite helpful in managing osteoarthritis. I have noticed that proper hormonal replacement therapy aids the body in restoring cartilage. In particular, it works well in men treated with testosterone for andropause.
As we know, testosterone has an anabolic effect. It means that it increases protein synthesis. There is a number of relatively inexpensive therapeutic physiotherapy devices for home use designed to stimulate healing process in the cartilage tissue.
When our body is provided with properly balanced nutritional supplements structurally identical to the cartilage components along with bio-identical hormones (in certain cases) and physical therapy, the regeneration process takes place. Pain subsides or goes away and joint mobility advances.