This natural treatment program has four main components:
2. Prevent Damage
3. Restore Function
4. Rule Out and Treat Infections and Food Allergies
The joint cartilage can be repaired using a combination of glucosamine sulfate, Condroitin®, and MSM. It is also critical that you get comprehensive nutritional support, as discussed earlier, to promote wound healing. Glucosamine, a cartilage compound that has been shown to actually heal your joints, is as effective as NSAIDs (e.g. Motrin® and other anti-inflammatory drugs). In addition, a recent animal study showed that glucosamine and the anti-inflammatory drugs work synergistically. This means that when the two are taken together, it is much more effective than simply taking either one alone. Using glucosamine can therefore allow you to stop the anti-inflammatory drugs, or at least lower the needed dose. This can improve the safety, effectiveness, and cost of treatment dramatically.
Because of this, for tissue repair I recommend Glucosamine Sulfate, 500 mg, 3 times per day. Also consider MSM, 1.5 to 3 grams a day for 2 to 5 months, and Chondroitin, although these last two are less important. MSM supplies the Sulfur amino acids needed for healing in general. Although most of the research on MSM and arthritis has not been placebo-controlled, two studies were. One showed an 80 percent decrease in arthritis pain after 6 weeks using 1500 mg in the morning and 750 mg at lunchtime. Another showed that Glucosamine and MSM are synergistic for reducing pain and swelling in arthritic joints. One hundred and eighteen patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis were treated 3 times daily with either 500 mg of glucosamine, 500 mg of MSM, a combination of both, or placebo. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the combination treatment had a faster effect on decreasing pain and inflammation compared to Glucosamine or MSM alone.
Glucosamine sulfate is a cartilage building compound that has been found to be helpful in arthritis in many studies. Although its exact mechanism of action is not yet fully understood, it is a major component of the cartilage that is damaged in arthritic joints. Glucosamine taken by mouth is incorporated in the molecules that make up this cartilage, likely contributing to the healing of arthritis. As you may have noted above, I recommend the sulfate form (as opposed to Glucosamine hydrochloride) because the sulfate can also help with wound/joint healing.
Unlike aspirin/NSAIDS that do not slow down destruction of joints in arthritis, Glucosamine has been shown to actually help stabilize, and often heal the joints, as shown on x-ray. Doses of less than 1000 mg a day do not affect symptoms, and the standard dose is 500 mg 3 times a day. It can also be taken as 1500 mg once a day. It can be taken with or without food, and had no more side effects than placebo.6 Chondroitin sulfate is sometimes added to Glucosamine or taken by itself. Its benefits are modest because less than 10 percent of it is absorbed, as opposed to 90 percent for Glucosamine sulfate.7 Because of this, I rarely use Chondroitin®. On the other hand, 1200 mg a day can be helpful in slowing down arthritis and is worth trying if you do not get adequate relief with the other treatments. It can be taken all at once or 400 mg 3 times a day with equal effectiveness.
Overall nutritional support is also critical. For example, low concentrations and low intake of vitamin D seems to be associated with an increased risk of progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, SAM-e can be helpful. This nutrient is produced from methionine (an amino acid) in combination with multiple nutrients, including B vitamins, folate, and inositol. It was initially tested and found to be effective in treating depression. Researchers also noted that it improved patients’ arthritis as effectively as anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). A number of studies were done including one that gave 600 mg a day for 2 weeks followed by 400 mg daily for 2 years. Pain and stiffness decreased within one week and the improvement continued throughout the two-year trial. A study that reviewed seven other studies was inconclusive. A major problem with SAM-e products is that they are not stable and break down easily, with many products not really delivering what they claim. In addition, it is quite expensive. A better alternative is to take the nutrients your body needs to make SAM-e. Combining the nutrients found in the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder and B complex (by Enzymatic Therapy) resulted in increased blood levels of SAM-e similar to those found in people taking 400 to 800 mg of SAM-e daily.