Osteoarthritis rarely develops before the age of 40; however, it may also be triggered prematurely by trauma, the weight bearing stress of obesity or repetitive motion and joint use. It takes its toll gradually, with symptoms becoming worse over the years.
Not everyone with osteoarthritis realize that they have it because they experience no discomfort. For some, pain and stiffness are mild and for others this disease is painful and progressive, severely interfering with their daily lives. Although it is not dangerous, it can lead to varying degrees of disability.
Usually the first sign of osteoarthritis is joint stiffness. Especially in the morning or after any long periods of rest. Other early symptoms may include joint tenderness and slight swelling, cracking and creaky joints, loss of range of motion and aching and pain when the joint is used.
The only proven cure for arthritis is surgical joint replacement. However, there are many healing supplements to alleviate discomfort, improve flexibility and that may even slow progression of this disease.
For most with arthritis, merely a change in diet and appropriate supplements may produce a desired outcome, not to mention the additional health benefits. Try upgrading your diet with ample fruits, vegetables and whole grains; limiting or eliminating alcohol and concentrated sweets, and cutting down on fats.
Nutrition experts frequently advise individual supplements; such as the antioxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, also referred to as ACES by some doctors. The antioxidants may help reduce age related and free radical cellular damage to the cartilage surrounding painful joints, resulting in freer movement and less pain over time. Recommended and generally safe dosages are as follows:
Vitamin A – 5,000 IU daily
Vitamin C – 500 mg daily
Vitamin E – 400 IU daily
Selenium – 200 mcg daily (higher doses can be harmful to some people)
Supplementary capsules of evening primrose oil and flaxseed oils just may help in oiling up those joints. Both are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids.
Another fatty acid solution is extract of borage seed oil; it contains one of the highest amounts of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), also know as omega-6 fatty acid. Studies have shown that GLA taken in large doses has a noticeable effect on pain and swelling. Check the dosage with your doctor.
Flavonoids found in sweet cherries, blackberries and blueberries will also increase fatty acids in your system, which can affect muscle tissue and lessen swelling.
Additionally, the supplement quercetin can help block the release of histamines into the blood, which means less inflammation. Suggested dosage: 100 – 500 mg daily.
A supplemental approach to managing arthritis pain is coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10). It has been reported to have the ability to stabilize cell membranes, resulting in the prevention of cells breaking down in the joints. Suggested dosage: 100 – 150 mg daily.
Copper, zinc and vitamin A are required for the production of collagen and cartilage. A deficiency of any one of them can cause joint degeneration.
Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate help with the formation of cartilage. Taking these supplements may reverse the effects of osteoarthritis. Combination supplements are available at health food stores.
Use of the following herbal supplements may be beneficial to one who has arthritis: alfalfa leaves, black cohosh, celery seed, chaparral leaves, comfrey, devil’s claw tea, feverfew, parsley tea, valerian root and yucca extract.
Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements and be sure to ask about possible side effects and drug-herb interactions if you are taking any prescription medications.