Search Term: " Curcuma "
Adaptogens for a Stressful World
August 16, 2017 09:14 AM
The hottest selling botanicals fall under the category of adaptogens. Business in this area is thriving very well. This could be due to the influence of two different consumer targets that are interested in it. The differences are in age mostly. Recently, curcumin has been one of the top selling nutritional ingredients in the United States of America. Curcumin is an anti inflammatory agent and it comes from the golden yellow turmeric plant. This is an important health benefit.
"In recent years, curcumin (Curcuma longa) has been among the top-selling nutritional ingredients in the U.S. market."
Read more: https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2017/07/adaptogens-for-a-stressful-world.aspx
How Does Curcumin Reduce Inlammation In The Body?
March 15, 2012 07:53 AM
Curcumin Health Benefits
Curcumin is an active component in turmeric plant (Curcuma Longa) and it is the component that gives yellow color in turmeric plant. The concentration of this component in turmeric plant is around 2-5%. Turmeric plant is a rather tall plant and it is mainly grown in India and other Asian countries.
For centuries, Curcumin has been used for Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine, and other Asian traditional medicine due to its various healing properties and low side effects. Besides being used for traditional medicine, this natural component is also used to increase energy, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation in the body.
The modern medical research of curcumin started in 1910. Since then, this turmeric's component is researched extensively by scientists worldwide to find its various health benefits. The followings are some of the benefits of curcumin and an explanation on how this natural component can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Benefits of Curcumin
Many medical studies have shown that Curcumin has many benefits for human health. The first benefit is to cure digestive disorders. This natural component improves digestion by stimulating bile production in the gallbladder. Naturally, an increase in bile production can worsen stomach ulcers symptoms but many studies show that when the curcumin increases the bile production, it also reduce so stomach ulcers symptoms.
The second benefit of Curcumin is to cure heart disease. Heart attack occurs because there is atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries. Curcumin helps people with heart disease by preventing the development of atherosclerosis. Many studies also show that this natural component is also helpful to lower cholesterol level in the body.
Another important benefit of this natural component is to cure cancer. This natural component has anti-cancer properties and many studies have shown that it can cure various types of cancers such as colon, skin, breast, and prostate cancer. It is able to limit the number of blood flow to the malignant tumors so the growth of cancer can be stopped.
How Curcumin reduces inflammation in the body
There are many ongoing studies that analyze the benefits of Curcumin to reduce inflammation. However in a 2006, a study has shown that this natural component is able to prevent joint inflammation in arthritis. The study shows that to reduce inflammation in the body, curcumin stops platelets from coagulating into blood clots and lowers the amount of two inflammatory enzymes, LOX and COX-2. Unfortunately, the study recommends consuming turmeric and not just the curcumin extract because turmeric has other properties that are helpful to reduce inflammation.
Curcumin can easily be found in market as a spice but today it is also available in dietary supplement. Although it is safe to be consumed, there are several side effects that might occur after consuming this natural component such as diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach and heartburn. People who have gallbladder problems are recommended to avoid it because this natural component can induce gallbladder contraction. Pregnant women are also not recommended to consume it because it is a mild uterine stimulant. curcumin can be found under names like curamin, or turmeric at your local vitamin store.
Fight Inflammation With Herbs from Planetary Herbals
June 02, 2010 04:39 PM
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health.
These lifestyles and environmental change can challenge immune health, so that the various components of the immune system are not able to carry out their protective functions. Or our immune systems can go into overdrive, often leading to a state called metabolic inflammation.
A Powerful Herbal Blend
Inflamma-Care is a potent, herbal response to the metabolic inflammation that can result from inappropriate immune response. The main component of inflama-care is the rhizome of the Curcuma spicies, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (Curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines – inflammation messengers.
This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes, and ginger an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skullcap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
Inflama-care also contains systemic enzymes to clear and protect the arteries and circulatory system. Systemic enzymes like bromelain and papain cleanse the bloodstream and enable the blood to flow smoothly. A free-flowing bloodstream helps the body by circulating important nutrients to the cells while clearing the body of wastes.
Immune Activating Mushroom
Planetary Herbals also offers you new Full Spectrum Chaga in 1000mg tablets and a 1:4 liquid extract. Preliminary studies suggest that chaga triggers immune responses and protects the cells with antioxidant activity.
Chaga is a mushroom that is found attached to trees like birch, alder, beach, and other hardwoods, throughout the northern latitudes. A polyphore, the mushroom looks somewhat like coal – a brownish black mass often seen in tree trunks. In China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland and North America, ancient and native peoples have long known the benefits of chaga. In an acient treaties, the Chinese monk shen nog declared in 100 BC that chaga is “a precious gift of nature.”
In modern research, chaga has been shown to have 215 phytonutrients, including 29 beta-glucans. Chaga also absorbs a nutrient from the outer birch tree bark: betulin, a natural anti-inflammatory. Among the components in chaga are triterpenes, sterols, beta-glucans, flavonoids, melanins, polyphenols, saponins, lignin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This fascinating combination of nutrients is being studied worldwide.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Both inflama-care and full spectrum chaga are formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. The result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
Fight Inflammation With Inflama-Care - Anti-inflammatory herbal combination
March 22, 2010 09:07 PM
Turmeric / Boswellia Complex
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as great challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient-imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health. These unhealthy lifestyles and environmental changes have set our immune system on overdrive, a state call metabolic inflammation. Planetary Herbals Inflama-Care is a potent, herbal response to these modern challenges.
The Inflammation Cycle
As toxins and stress begin to alter our body chemistry and change the function of vital tissues, our body reacts with metabolic inflammation just as if it were being attacked. This reaction may result in a perpetual cycle of chemical imbalances and suboptimal health. Yet metabolic inflammation is often below the threshold of perception, not noticed or felt for years after its starts. It is only much later that the altered biochemistry and the system imbalances that it generates are noticed.
A Powerful Herbal Blend Inflama-Care helps support the body’s natural response to metabolic inflammation. The main component of the formula is the rhizome of the Curcuma species, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (Curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines—inflammation messengers. This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits proinflammatory enzymes, and ginger, an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skull cap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Planetary Herbals presents inflama-Care to help maintain the body’s biochemical balance and integrity. Inflama-care was formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. Thie result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
Complete Liver Cleanse
April 19, 2007 04:17 PM
Complete Liver Cleanse
Technical Data Sheet
The liver performs over 500 functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins, synthesizing and storing vitamins, and regulating hormones – naming just a few. To do this job, the liver is also required to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, every day.
One way to support the liver is through periodic supplementation with the proper balance of herbal ingredients, phytosterols, and fiber. Complete Liver Cleanse is a convenient, multi-ingredient formula that supports overall liver health and detoxification.
Complete Liver Cleanse:
Includes ingredients for various aspects of liver and gallbladder support:
-Herbal ingredients that support liver and gallbladder health
-Detoxifying ingredients that keep bound toxins from being reabsorbed
-Phytosterols to block cholesterol absorption in the intestines
-Fiber that moves cholesterol and toxins out of the body
-Oat beta-glucan fiber with up to 4 times higher viscosity than other beta-glucan
-Simple, two week liver cleanse program
Each 3 capsules contain:
Calcium (as calcium D-glucarate) 13 mg
Proprietary PuraFiber Blend: 1 mg
Viscofiber Oat B-Gucan Concentrate, phytosterols
(beta sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol,
and other plant sterols), and glucomannan
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) Fruit Phytosome 220 mg
One part Milk Thistle Extract, standardized to contain 80%
Silymarin bound to two parts phosphatidylcholine (soy) using
a patented process
Burdock (Arctium lappa) Root Extract 4:1 100 mg
Calcium D-Glucarate 100 mg
Boldo (Peumus boldus) Leaf Extract 2:1 75 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract 50 mg
Standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) Root Extract 4:1 50 mg
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf Extract 30 mg
Standardized to contain 13-18% caffeylquinic
Acids calculated as chlorogenic acid
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, ingredients of animal origin, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Other ingredients: See label for most current information
Viscofiber is a registered trademark of Cebena Bioproducts, Inc. The use and composition of the Viscofiber proprietary formula is protected by patients and patent applications filed in the
This product contains calcium D-glucarate, the use of which is licensed from Applied Food Sciences, LLC, and protected by
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every day, the liver must process an almost unbelievable amount of blood – at a rate of three pints every minute. All the while, the liver performs over 500 physiologic functions, including protein and glucose synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, vitamin and mineral storage, synthesis of clotting factors, urea formation, metabolism of medications, and the production of bile. The liver also assists in hormonal regulation, blood glucose control, and other regulatory functions.
Harmful substances that have been neutralized by the liver are carried to the intestines and kidneys for excretion. They are transported by bile, a greenish, watery solution that is synthesized, and continuously being excreted, by the liver. Stored in the gallbladder, a small sac cupped in the under surface of the liver, bile is also required for the digestion of dietary fats. However, in the case of toxins, bile is primarily an early transporter of the toxic compounds to the intestines, where they can be bound to fiber that helps transport them out of the body. Environmental toxins, including lipid (fat) soluble toxins, are broken into water-soluble components by bile to be excreted through the kidneys or colon.
Detoxification refers to the process of excreting potentially harmful compounds that are both generated by the body and acquired through exposure to the environment. In the body, toxins are generated as by-products of cellular metabolic processes. Examples include dead and digested bacteria, hydrogen peroxide, cellular debris, and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the amount of environmental toxins in the air, groundwater, and soil has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, the use of pesticides has doubled every ten years since 1945. Americans are increasingly exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and other harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that traces of toxic chemicals can now be found in nearly every American.
Herbal Liver Support
One of the major components in Complete Liver Cleanse is its milk thistle extract, standardized to contain 80% silymarin, the plant’s most bioactive compound. Milk Thistle provides support, at a cellular level, for healthy liver function. A patented delivery system, known as the Phytosome process, provides superior absorption of the milk thistle extract.
Silymarin, a key compound found in milk thistle, is a mixture of flavonoids with a long history of liver support. Silymarin supports the health of Kupffer cells, specialized liver cells responsible for removing bacteria, old blood cells, and other foreign matter from the liver’s blood supply. Silymarin scavenges free radicals (superoxide anion radical and nitric oxide) produced by activated Kupffer cells, supports healthy leukotriene levels, and supports glutathione production that is used in detoxification.
Silymarin also supports the health of hepatocytes, highly versatile liver cells with unique physiologic functions. Studies of silymarin have demonstrated that it supports the health of the hepatocyte outer membrane, which is crucial to the liver’s detoxification processes. Silymarin also supports the healthy regenerative ability of the liver through support of protein synthesis in the hepatocytes.
A special, patented proves known as Phytosome enhances the absorption of milk thistle in Complete Liver Cleanse. The Phytosome process pairs herbal ingredients with phosphatidylcholine molecules. Phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring substance found in soybeans, egg yolks, and some vegetables. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is an important building block of cell membranes.
When milk thistle (or other herbs) are bound with phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylcholine molecule facilitates absorption through the intestines into the bloodstream. Research has shown increased blood and serum levels for phytosome herbs in comparison to the individual herb alone.
To test whether binding an herb with phosphatidylcholine increased its bioavailability, researchers gave volunteers identical amounts of either milk thistle alone, or milk thistle phytosome. The researchers then took blood sample from the participants and measured the level of silybin (a key compound in milk thistle). The measurements showed that silybin levels in participants taking the phytosome form of milk thistle were higher, and that silybin was detected for a longer time, than those who took milk thistle without the phytosome delivery system.
Other Herbal Liver Supportive Ingredients
Herbal extracts are often at their best when they are working synergistically – that is, when different constituents of each plant work together and support each other. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a variety of herbal extracts that have noted benefits for supporting the body’s healthy bile flow and free-radical scavenging effects. These ingredients provide a wide spectrum of liver supportive benefits.
For instance, dandelion root extract supports healthy bile flow from the gallbladder.
Burdock is originally native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) supports the natural physiologic processes of organs involved in detoxification and elimination: notably, the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
Bolodo (pemus boldus) is a small evergreen native to South America, but naturalized to southern
In scientific studies, boldo appears to have strong free-radical scavenging ability, mostly attributed to the catechin and flavonoids content of its leaves. In a clinical study, boldo also appears to relax smooth muscle and support intestinal transit time.
Artichoke Leaf extract specifically supports healthy bile production in the liver and healthy gastrointestinal function in general. Research into artichoke’s gastrointestinal supportive properties has included at least three clinical trials. Artichoke’s role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits has also been investigated.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial shrub native to southern
More recently, turmeric has been investigated for its support of healthy bile secretion, and pancreatic and gastric function.
In a scientific study, dietary curcuminoids derived from turmeric supported healthy lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels already within normal limits.
Curcumin has also been shown in scientific studies to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase - an enzyme responsible for linking glutathione (one of the body’s natural antioxidants) with toxins to help remove them from the body. In this way, it provides additional support for healthy liver function.
The process of detoxification is the breakdown and excretion of substances that are no longer needed or may be harmful to the body. One of the ways in which the body excretes hormones and toxins is by binding them to glucuronic acid in the liver, and then excreting this compound in the bile.
However, this process can be disrupted by B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is produced by intestinal bacteria. This enzyme has the ability to break (uncouple) the chemical bond established by glucuronic acid. This action releases the bound toxins, which are then reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted.
Calcium D-Glucarate is the calcium salt of d-glucaric acid. It is found in both the human body, and in some plant sources, including broccoli and oranges.
Calcium d0glucarate enhances the body’s detoxification systems by inhibiting the actions of beta-glucuronidase. This helps decrease the portion of active compounds that could be hazardous to the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is vital to fat digestion, cell structure, nerve insulation and hormone production. Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary or “exogenous” cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, and “endogenous” cholesterol formed mostly by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Cholesterol occurs in two forms known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins act as transports that carry fat s to and from the cells.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries low lipid density cholesterol (LDL) away from arterial walls and returns it to the bloodstream. LDL then travels back to the liver, which processes and eliminates it. While high levels of HDL cholesterol is desirable, high amounts of LDL cholesterol is not supportive of optimal health.
LDL-cholesterol is both synthesized in the body, or absorbed into the bloodstream through receptor sites in the intestines. Think of these receptors as “parking spaces” for cholesterol. As it happens, the liver can receive up to 500 mg per day of cholesterol from intestinal absorption. (It can also produce as much as 1000 mg per day).
One way to help reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol molecules it to occupy their “parking places” in the intestines. Phytosterols in Liver Cleanse are essentially the “fat” of plants. They’re found in nuts, corn and rice and are some of the “good” fats associated with the benefits of olive oil, flaxseed oil and other healthy oils.
The structure of phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that they fit perfectly in the specially-shaped intestinal parking spaces that LDL-cholesterol would normally occupy.
Taken with, or just before meals, phytosterols block the cholesterol receptor sites so that cholesterol is excreted from the body rather than absorbed. Phytosterols also have the additional role of helping promote healthy bile salt excretion in the intestines.
The phytosterol blend in Complete Liver Cleanse can help minimize the absorption of cholesterol from high-protein food sources, help retain healthy cholesterol levels that are within normal limits, and move bile sat through the digestive system.
Fiber and detoxification
Fiber plays a key role in the removal and excretion of intestinal toxins in detoxification. Only fibers that can effectively bind toxins will be successful in eliminating these harmful substances. Due to the unique benefits of individual fibers, the best binding, removal, and elimination effects are noted when combining different fiber types. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a combination of oat beta-glucan and konjac fiber that has been shown in scientific studies to bind to bile salts.
Dietary fibers are complex mixtures of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilage, and gums, which are resistant to digestive fluids or enzymes – that is, they aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream. So, while fiber itself doesn’t necessarily provide nutrients, it does promote laxation and modulate gastric and intestinal physiology. Intestinal flora that normally reside within the colon utilize fiber as a medium for microbial fermentation, resulting in the synthesis of the vitamins, vitamin K and biotin, and the formation of short chain fatty acids, or SCFA.
SCFA have a simple, but important job: to be absorbed by the colon mucosa, increasing fecal matter bulk and providing energy. Fiber has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies to provide support of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine function health.
Complete Liver Cleanse also features two unique fibers to promote detoxification – konjac and oat beta-glucan.
Konjac, (Amorphophallus Konjac) is a tuber native to
As a fiber, konjac has shown positive results maintaining healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits in clinical studies. This beneficial effect is due to konjac’s ability to boost excretion of bile acid.
Oat beta-glucan has been a widely studied fiber source for supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits.
In a randomized clinical study, oat beta-glucan showed support of healthy HDL/LDL ratios already within normal limits in individuals over a three week trial.
Closely linked to cholesterol, oat beta-glucan has also been studied for its support of healthy bile excretion.
Fiber has benefits beyond maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal limits. It also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels already within normal limits. In a double-blind, clinical study, the oat beta-glucan fiber used in Liver Cleanse was shown to have 4 times higher viscosity than another high concentrate beta-glucan fiber.
Viscosity – the resistance to flow – is an important factor in beta-glucan, and all fiber. Water, for instance, would have a low viscosity, because it provides very little resistance to movement. Fiber, on the other hand, should have a higher viscosity in order to maximize its transit time through the GI tract, providing a gentle “scrubbing” on the intestinal walls. Therefore, the higher the viscosity, the greater the potential benefit.
Three capsules in the morning and three capsules at bedtime for 14 days.
Warnings: Do not use if you know or suspect you have an obstructed bile duct or problematic gallstones. If pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children.
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)
August 24, 2006 03:55 PM
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) damages or destroys cartilage and its supportive collagen structure. As many as 40 million Americans, including the majority of people over age fifty, are thought to suffer from some form of this disease. Primary osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” form, is due to normal use and age-related causes. Secondary osteoarthritis results from repeated joint trauma, inherited predisposition, or previous inflammatory conditions. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treat symptoms only, a natural, holistic approach strives to improve the environment of the cartilage and joint as a whole by providing protective and restorative nourishment, increased circulation, decreased inflammation and reduced free radical damage.
High levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Widely regarded as the first defense in protecting joints, glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate have been shown to effectively control joint pain and slow down or reverse the progression of cartilage deterioration. The integrity of joint gliding surfaces as well as the health of tendons, ligaments, joint fluids, skin, bones, heart valves and virtually all structural elements in the body is dependent upon the proper synthesis and availability of proteoglycans, integral components of joint cartilage.
Glucosamine provides two components critical to the synthesis of proteoglycans: hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
Chondroitin sulfate represents an important group of GAGs. It is not a single compound, but rather a class of compounds with different molecular weights that each have specialized functions within the body.
Numerous studies have shown that long-term safety, reduction in pain and protection of cartilage with body chondroitin and glucosamine are comparable or superior to results obtained with NSAIDs.
MSM. (Methylsulfonylmethane) MSM is a rich source of sulfur, a mineral required for GAG synthesis. A preliminary study suggests that MSM may help reduce pain in persons with degenerative arthritis.
Gota Kola. (Centella asiatica) known to support collagen synthesis and stimulate GAG’s, Gota Kola has been used for many years in Europe to promote wound healing and blood vessel integrity. It also has been shown to improve circulation in small vessels.
Turmeric. (Curcuma longa) this saffron-colored root offers a wide range of benefits. It naturally inhibits the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, reduces pain and is a potent antioxidant that protects the liver and other cells. High antioxidant diets may inhibit joint deterioration.
Bromelain. Derived from pineapple cores, Bromelain is most commonly used for healing soft tissue injuries and inflammation. It contains potent selective proteases (protein-digesting enzymes) and other substances which serve to block destruction of GAGs.
Trace Minerals. Micronutrients play many distinct roles in support of healthy joint connective tissue and joint cartilage matrix.
Black Pepper Extract. Bioperine is a highly concentrated extract (95% - 98% piperine) of black pepper. Used as a bioavailability enhancer, it has been shown to increase the absorption of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
In addition to its
Turmeric is named in
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The Flex Factor
June 11, 2005 05:18 PM
The Flex Factor by Thomas Dunville Energy Times, February 10, 2004
Arthritis, according to recent research, presents its sufferers with a Catch-22: The nagging pain of this condition can send your spirits plummeting. But, then, the depression spurred by the disconsolate persistence of arthritic pain can make the condition worse.
Part of the trick is not to give in. If you can keep a bright mood even as your joints start to ache, the pain may lessen.
While nobody can offer a guaranteed, 100% effective cure for arthritis, you don't have to be a passive victim. Exercise, the proper nutrients and a positive, can-do attitude can ease arthritis pain so effectively that scientists have been able to measure the difference. While medical researchers recognize the existence of over 100 types of arthritis, most people with achy joints suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by everyday wear and is found in just about everyone over age 60. When this condition occurs, the body's cushioning, its cartilage, thins and the inner surfaces of joints grind together painfully.
Although aging itself increases your chances of enduring achy joints, other factors can also put you in the way of osteoarthritis. If you carry too much weight, it can wear on your joints. In addition, suffering a joint injury when you're young can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age.
In another prevalent form of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes lining the joints, causing swelling and pain. About 2 million Americans suffer from RA, which affects women about twice as often as men.
Exercise Away Arthritic Woes
Weekend warriors, don't despair! Arthritis doesn't have to mean the end of your weekend athletic wars. Matter of fact, in many cases, experts now recommend exercise to reduce the effects of arthritis.
While that might sound counterintuitive, a study out of the Netherlands shows that folks in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis who work out twice a week for about an hour each session may enjoy better physical and mental health than couch potatoes who receive physical therapy.
The Dutch study took 150 people, many of whom had just started to suffer from rheumatism, and enrolled them in RAPIT, an acronym for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Training. Rather than letting these folks rest their inflamed joints, twice a week the research team took them to the gym where they did:
When the researchers compared the physical changes in these arthritis sufferers with 150 others with similar arthritis complaints who underwent physical therapy without organized physical activity, they found that after two years the exercisers had benefited greatly. They were stronger and more aerobically fit, could perform everyday tasks more effectively and possessed a better, more optimistic mental attitude (Arthritis and Rheumatism 2003; 48(9):2415-24).
However, the exercisers who were already suffering severe rheumatoid arthritis did experience some extra joint damage, so the researchers believe this kind of program is better for those in the early stages of the disease. " This study demonstrates that participation in long-term high-intensity exercise classes decreases the level of psychological distress in RA patients," says researcher Zuzana de Jong, MD, a professor at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Fish Oil Lowers Arthritis Risk
Fish oil-in particular, cod liver oil-may be able to help ease osteoarthritis.
In looking at the effects of fish oil, researchers at Cardiff, Wales, discovered indications that "...the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce cartilage degradation and inflammation in arthritic disease," according to Bruce Caterson, PhD, one of the scientists involved.
Dr. Caterson adds, "Our most recent work shows that by exposing human osteoarthritic cartilage to cod liver oil in the laboratory for just 24 hours we can turn off, or reverse, the action of the degradative enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue." John Harwood, PhD, another member of the Cardiff research team, adds, "This is where science and old wives' tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease."
Dr. Caterson further explains that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil inhibit enzymes that break down aggrecan and collagen, substances that cushion joints. Consequently, cartilage stays healthier, inflammation is lessened and arthritic pain decreases. The anti-inflammatory action of omega-3s in fighting rheumatoid arthritis is also supported by studies performed in the US (Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71(1 Suppl):349S-51S).
Other research shows that if you take natural vitamin E along with fish oil, you may improve even further your odds of relieving arthritis or lessening its effects (JACN 10/30/00).
Glucosamine, the stuff that cartilage is made from, has been shown to lower the risk of arthritis and possibly relieve its pain. This natural substance, made from a sugar and a molecule called an amine, is a building block of joint tissue. As a result, experts believe, when you take it in supplemental form, the body may use it to repair joints that have been damaged by arthritis. For instance, an investigation of osteoarthritis of the knee performed at the University of Liege in Belgium showed that taking glucosamine could stop joints from deteriorating.
The study, which involved more than 200 people suffering from osteoarthritis, found that in three years of taking glucosamine supplements, many arthritis sufferers found that their condition actually improved (Lancet 2001 Jan 27; 357).
Other Arthritis Fighters
Chondroitin sulfate is another material that goes into the making of cartilage. Chondroitin helps cartilage stay hydrated and permits the flow of nutrients through the joint tissues. In addition, researchers believe that chondroitin helps fight inflammation, which can otherwise cause pain and stiffness as well as joint destruction.
Taken together with glucosamine, chondroitin is believed to hasten the healing of bone and cartilage. Another substance that may help ease the ache of arthritis is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a naturally occurring sulfur-bearing compound. "MSM appears to have anti-inflammatory effects when administered orally, intravenously or topically," says MSM researcher Stanley Jacob, MD, FACS, of the Oregon Health & Science University. That means it has shown an ability to reduce the heat, pain and swelling associated with arthritic conditions. MSM may also be able to reduce muscle spasms around joints and reduce the formation of scar tissue.
Herbal medicine has long been used by folks with achy joints. The yellow spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), a staple of Indian cooking, is a traditional Indian remedy for arthritis because of its painkilling properties. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), another culinary favorite, restrains the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. And willow bark (Salix sp), the source of aspirin, is longer-acting and doesn't irritate the stomach lining.
Those who suffer arthritis know that its pain and discomfort are often no laughing matter. But if you don't take arthritis lying down and manage to keep a smile on your face-and avail yourself of nature's remedies-you can get the upper hand on this often debilitating condition.