In the last edition we acknowledged that osteoarthritis is mostly caused by the loss of cartilage secreting cells called chondrocytes. Their job is to maintain cartilage.
If chondrocytes are damaged or die, they are unable to repair cartilage. The result is that cartilage starts to breakdown. Eventually, whole patches of cartilage are lost causing a bone-on-bone scenario.
While cartilage has no nerves, bone certainly does, and while bone-on-bone causes pain, much of the pain comes from misdirected inflammation.
White blood cells that patrol the joint capsule respond to cartilage loss by bringing in extra fluid and a cocktail of inflammatory chemicals in a vain attempt to repair the cartilage. The result is pain, stiffness and, in some cases, visible swelling.
My approach is firstly to adopt a nutrient dense anti-inflammatory diet. This is high in antioxidants, Omega 3 and other foods that reduce inflammation.
We then add four compounds from supplements. The first is Omega 3 fish oil - usually between 4000 and 6000mg daily. We then add high-grade chondroitin sulphate at 800-1600mg.
Chondroitin sulphate (CS) is the most important joint supplement. CS is an actual component of cartilage, and adding this helps chondrocytes to work properly.
The problem is that most joint supplements only contain around 250mg of CS. In most cases I start clients on 1600mg. We then add the same amount of glucosamine and a potent 95 per cent curcumin extract from turmeric.
As an example, I have one client with osteoarthritis in his knees bad enough to significantly impact mobility. After three months on a personalised programme he is now able to exercise again.
His partner had osteoarthritis in her thumbs and shoulders and is also much better.