The two hundred bones in your body are made from calcium and other minerals. Bones protect, shape and support your body.
Your joints are the point where two bones meet – they’re a bit like hinges, structures that allow for flexible movement. To protect them and maintain suppleness, joints contain fluids and other substances that cushion the area so they can then slide against each other without friction. With age and through injury, for example, your joints can become damaged, causing pain and inflammation. This can lead to a condition called osteoarthritis.
‘Osteo’ is the Latin word for bone and arthritis is a general term that’s used to describe a number of painful conditions affecting the joints and bones. It is associated with discomfort, irritation, swelling and inflammation.
In osteoarthritis, small amounts of cartilage break away from bone so that the bones rub together; this strains the ligaments (strong tissues that hold bones together). The joints can become brittle and bone thickens and spreads forming osteophytes (knobbly growths). Inside the joint, the fluid gets thinner and the space that contains fluid becomes smaller. You feel pain when the bones rub together and/or the joints move out of their natural positions.
Ageing cuts the body’s ability to repair and renew cartilage (a flexible type of connective tissue). The breakdown of cartilage reduces the shock-absorbing capacity in the joints and osteoarthritis (OA) can occur. The kind of damage that results from wear and tear tends to affect the large weight-bearing joints most often – the hips, knees and ankles for example. But OA can also affect the hands and the fingers.
Although it isn’t generally life-threatening, osteoarthritis is a major cause of physical disability for millions of people worldwide. And, as our population gets older and heavier, its dramatic influence on healthcare costs and quality of life is likely to get worse.
If you have symptoms, taking analgesics and/or anti-inflammatories and rubbing antiinflammatory cream/gel into the joint can ease pain although your doctor may advise steroids and/or surgery.
What are the symptoms?
Pain or stiffness after sitting or lying down for some time is common in OA. And, mild and/or occasional joint pain and stiffness can progress to more frequent and severe pain with affected joints becoming increasingly difficult to move. The muscles that usually move the joint get tighter and shorter as they are used less and less and it becomes increasingly difficult to straighten the joint.
What can you do?
Get into a healthy weight range
If you have OA and are overweight, getting into a healthy weight range is one of the best things you can do to help your condition.
Enjoy plenty of fruits and veggies, wholegrain cereals, pulses, dairy or calciumenriched soya produce, fish and lean meat or vegetarian alternatives. Try to make fish the dish of the day at least twice a week, especially oily fish like salmon, fresh tuna and sardines. These supply valuable omega-3 fats which have anti-inflammatory effects. Cut down on fatty and/or sugary foods and drinks and alcohol. Speak with your doctor or an Accredited Practicing Dietitian or look into the benefits of USANA’s RESET™ Weight Management Program.
Try modest exercise and supplements
Moderate exercise brings lots of health benefits. For example, if you have OA of the knee, you may have weak leg muscles because you naturally favour the non-painful joint. But doing exercises to strengthen the major muscles may boost your daily activity and your stamina, too.
Studies have found that the ancient eastern practice of Tai Chi can improve fitness, strengthen muscles, boost flexibility, reduce body fat and lower the risk of falls in the elderly. In a study of people with OA of the knee or hip, those who practiced Tai Chi twice a week for three months showed improvement in overall sense of quality of life, less stress/tension and easier self management of arthritis symptoms.
Combining moderate activity with glucosamine, one of the active ingredients in USANA Procosamine® may bring even better results.
One study from the University of Queensland found that people with OA who embarked on a three-day a week walking program and took a glucosamine supplement felt less OA-related pain.
The volunteers in the small study took 1500mg glucosamine daily for six weeks and reported that their pain levels had fallen by 13 per cent. Then, they were asked to start regular exercise as well as continuing to take the glucosamine supplements. At the end of six months, patients said that both their pain and stiffness had been cut by half, as reported in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Lead researcher Queensland University’s Dr Kristiann Heesch said that their findings: ‘Provide preliminary evidence that osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from a combination of glucosamine sulphate and walking 3,000 steps per day for exercise, in bouts of at least 1500 steps each, on at least three days per week.’ USANA’s Procosamine® provides a high potency vegetarian form of glucosamine to support normal healthy joints and cartilage. So, you can benefit from the same results as taking regular glucosamine sulphate but without the potential for shellfish allergies in susceptible people and it’s suitable for vegetarians, too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation of Australia… The Cochrane Collaboration, an extremely conservative medical review group has stated that ‘there is good evidence that glucosamine is both effective and safe in treating osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine and Procosamine®
Glucosamine is a substance that’s naturally produced by the body; it’s one of the building blocks of collagen, bone, blood vessels, joints and ligaments. It is also a precursor or substance used to make larger molecules called glycosaminoglycans which are involved in the formation and repair of cartilage and collagen.
Glucosamine maintains the gumminess of joints by inhibiting the enzymes that may breakdown cartilage. We produce less of it with ageing and including it in your diet may be a good way to bolster your body’s natural recovery from daily wear and tear.
Supplementary benefits of Procosamine
Procosamine helps to reduce joint inflammation, reduce swelling and increase joint mobility associated with arthritis not just because of the glucosamine it contains, but also due to its added blend of key joint-supporting minerals.
Turmeric extract. Curcuminoids in turmeric (the bright yellow spice that gives a golden glow to Indian curries and curry powder) contains potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Traditional curcumin from turmeric isn’t absorbed well (isn’t able to enter cells easily). So, in to deliver any real benefits you would have to consume very large amounts. Scientists suggest around 10 grams (around two teaspoons) daily to achieve blood concentrations that correspond to preclinical studies. USANA’s Procosamine® contains patented Meriva® Curcumin to enhance curcumin’s health benefits. The active anti-inflammatory ingredient is wrapped in a protective lecithin (fatty substance) layer which helps to prevent it from breaking down in the stomach allowing for better absorption in the small intestine. The Meriva Curcumin complex allows for 29-times better absorption than standard forms of curcumin.
Meriva is an important ingredient that can improve joint comfort and function and support a normal, healthy inflammatory response. OA is a chronic (long-term) condition that requires ongoing treatment, some of which includes pain killers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). NSAIDs and corticosteroids can have severe side effects when used long-term. Meriva is an effective and safe antiinflammatory in the complementary management of OA. Plus, studies of Meriva and NSAIDs have shown a decreased use of NSAIDs in treatment groups. So, Meriva may have a potential use in the reduction of NSAID use for mild-to-moderate OA. Also, a clear reduction of NSAID-associated gastrointestinal problems has been seen in treatment groups. This may be due also to the reduced intake of NSAIDs, to the protective effects of curcumin, or to a combination of both.
Vitamin C. This is a potent antioxidant needed for the production of cartilage and is also an important immune function booster.
Manganese. A mineral that plays a key role in the production of a component of cartilage.
Glucosamine sulphate or hydrochloride – what’s the difference?
Most research has focused on the health benefits of glucosamine sulphate whilst Procosamine contains a vegetarian source of glucosamine hydrochloride. USANA scientists have added potassium sulphate to the Procosamine formulation in order to provide the same benefits as shellfish-sourced glucosamine sulphate.
Vitamins A, C & E
Glucosamine is used to make cartilage which needs the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and the antioxidant mineral selenium for its production. Glucosamine is essential for bone building and for the production of skin, nails, tendons and cartilage. Boosting A, C and E and selenium may thus help to protect the joints.
The results of a small six month long trial called the GUIDE trial conducted in Spain and Portugal, measured the effects of a 1500mg daily dose of glucosamine sulphate against a 3000mg daily dose of the analgesic (pain killer) acetaminophen (paracetamol) or placebo in 318 people with knee OA. Glucosamine relieved pain significantly better than the acetaminophen or placebo say the researchers.
‘Glucosamine is a safe compound and its use should be considered in the early stages of OA,’ says Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont MD lead author of the GUIDE trial.
USANA Essentials™ contains Vitamin D. This helps the body to absorb calcium for strong bones. Some studies suggest low levels of vitamin D in people with joint diseases. The fluid in an inflamed joint can contain significant amounts of free radicals which are not found in a normal knee joint. Essentials contains a potent and wide-ranging mix of antioxidants.
BiOmega™III contains omega-3 fats. These essential oils are known for their antiinflammatory properties; they are also converted in the body into substances called prostaglandins which may help to improve joint mobility and reduce joint stiffness and resulting pain.
Using USANA Procosamine: take three tablets daily, preferably with meals.