This degenerative disease is usually associated with aging. Osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis are the most common form of joint disease and the leading cause of musculoskeletal disability. Osteoarthritis is not just effects the elderly, many people display the symptoms of osteoarthritis in their thirties.

The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis are clinically manifested by pain and stiffness, and are more visible in when waking up in the morning or after a period of immobility. Inflammatory pain is often diminished by movement. Over time, these symptoms become more persistent and widespread. A progressive deterioration and loss of cartilage is observed in the patients.

The usually smooth cartilage surface cracks and hollows. Fragments of cartilage may break away and become calcified. There can be even tissue calcification adjacent to the joint, restricting movement. Mechanical pain is apparent during an effort or if the movements are repeated.

Injury, some metabolic diseases, obesity and bone deformities may promote joint degeneration.

Medical Treatment of Osteoarthritis

The medical treatment of OA focuses on relieving symptoms with the use of analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, selective inhibitors of cyclo-oxygenase-2 (Celebrex and Vioxx). This therapeutic approach relieves but does not prevent the progressive degeneration of cartilage, not to mention the side effects of these drugs on the gastrointestinal tract.

Free Radicals and Osteoarthritis: In the Heart of Research

To clarify the role of antioxidants in the etiology of osteoarthritis, a researcher from the Department of Biochemistry at the Institute of Medical Science and Research Foundation in India, Dr. P. Siddharth, published in January 2007 the results of a study showing that there is a production of oxygen free radicals which contributes to the development of osteoarthritis. Recently, a group of researchers from the orthopedic research laboratory have demonstrated that not only do these free radicals directly damage chondrocytes, but they also have an important influence on the inflammatory process and cell damage.

To avoid damage caused by free radicals, it is not enough to provide some antioxidant vitamins in our body, but rather to identify the source or the causes and eliminate them. For example, free radicals caused by excessive caffeine consumption may exceed the neutralizing capacity of antioxidant treatment protocol. We must also ensure good digestion so that the nutrients are well absorbed and achieve their therapeutic goals.

In 1984, when they were in the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Vermont College in Burlington, Dr. John H. Bland and Dr. Sheldon Cooper wrote that osteoarthritis was reversible if we look after the causes.

The Causes and Therapy

All nutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin C deficiency, are probably the most common cause. This vitamin is important because it stimulates the synthesis of collagen and even that of cartilage cells. And glucosamine? Glucosamine sulfate alone is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, especially when combined with chondroitin sulfate.

The cartilage tissue is not irrigated by a network of blood vessels and the repair process is slower than muscles. Herbal medicines and enzymes have the potential to rapidly reduce inflammation, which contributes to the healing process. Besides sulphates glucosamine and chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has proven beneficial in reducing pain in patients affected by osteoarthritis of the knee.

Winning therapy should include fish oils (omega-3) for their undoubted anti-inflammatory properties. Copper is also important. It potentiates the anti-inflammatory properties of other nutrients. The therapeutic formulas with extracts of hops, rosemary and olive leaf are other natural alternatives to consider.