The thing about cartilage is that is has no blood vessels, so there’s no way to supply the chondrocytes with nutrients. This means it can’t regenerate easily.
Cartilage wears down gradually with age, especially in active people. It can also wear down due to poor nutrition, autoimmune disorders or certain diseases. This degeneration can cause chronic inflammation in the joint – which, in turn, further breaks down the remaining cartilage over time.
Rebuilding cartilage is possible, but it takes time. Your body needs all the help it can get! That means providing all the nutrients it needs to create the compounds that cartilage is made up of.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that two particular micronutrients have a beneficial effect on reducing osteoarthritis symptoms – and without the side effects of medication. There’s now evidence to suggest that supplementing with these basic nutrients can be beneficial for those with joint problems.
And here they are!
Glucosamine is an amino sugar required for the production of proteoglycans in cartilage, which include hyaluronic acid, heparan sulfate, and keratan sulfate. In fact, the amount of glucosamine produced determines that amount of proteoglycan in the joint.
The chondrocytes that make up cartilage aren’t able to compensate for the loss of collagen type II fibers and proteoglycans.
Glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate are important basic natural components of cartilage and synovial fluid. These micronutrients are naturally formed by the body, but can also be supplemented by foods you eat.
Glucosamine supplements are usually derived from animals that have hard external shells, such as shellfish – shrimp, lobsters and crab. Glucosamine sulfate is your best bet because it contains both the sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride, which have the lightest companion molecules.
Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is another important structural component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the joint. CS works by providing resistance to joint compression. Its negative charge also means that it is responsible for the water retention of the cartilage, which allows it to provide this pressure resistance.
Chondroitin has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints by inhibiting the body’s ability to make various inflammatory compounds.
Chondroitin supplements are usually derived from the cartilaginous tissue of cows, pigs, birds, and fish (sharks). It’s worth knowing that the benefits of taking chondroitin are somewhat modest (about 8 -10 percent improvement) and that it works rather slowly, taking up to 3 months for improvements to be noticed.
MSM colorless organic compound derived from plankton. It’s also found in some plants, fruits, and animals, as well as our own cells.
Research has shown that MSM has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and has important benefits for joint issues such as osteoarthritis.
MSM works by ‘carrying’ sulfate into the cells. Sulfur is an important component of connective tissue in joints, and deficiencies have been linked to joint problems. In this way, MSM helps the body form new joint and muscle tissue. It also fights off free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to joints, while also lowering inflammatory responses that contribute to swelling and stiffness.
An MSM supplement is a natural and effective anti-inflammatory because of how sulfur impacts the immune system and facilitates normal cellular activity. Sulfur needs to be present for our cells to release many byproducts and excess fluids that can accumulate and cause swelling/tenderness.
Here’s the thing about glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM: they work best when taken together. Several clinical studies have now tested chondroitin sulfate together with glucosamine and have found that both components may enhance each other’s efficacy. As the basic components of cartilage and synovial fluid, these two micronutrients help to stimulate the production of new cartilage while also reducing inflammation in the joint. These two important factors help to prevent more cartilage being lost while also reducing pain and regenerating those shock absorbers.
MSM is also often combined with other joint-supporting supplements, particularly those containing glucosamine, boswellic acids, or chondroitin. It’s been shown that this combination has a better overall effect in treating arthritis than using only one micronutrient at a time.
So, now that you know what you need to tackle the pain of arthritis, it’s time to supplement!