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Joint Pain

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Gout Information and Treatments

Gout causes painful joints, most commonly the big toe. Gout is one of the most painful rheumatic diseases. It results from deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in the connective tissue, joint spaces, or both. These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Arthritis is a term that is often used to refer to the more than 100 different rheumatic diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and bones, and may also affect other connective tissues. Gout accounts for about 5 percent of all cases of arthritis. Pseudogout, also a crystal-induced arthritis, is a condition with similar symptoms that results from deposits of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals in the joints. It is sometimes called calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, crystal deposition disease, or chondrocalcinosis.

Arthritis Information and Treatments

A joint (the place where two bones meet) is surrounded by a capsule that protects and supports it. The joint capsule is lined with a type of tissue called synovium, which produces synovial fluid that lubricates and nourishes joint tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium becomes inflamed, causing warmth, redness, swelling, and pain. As the disease progresses, the inflamed synovium invades and damages the cartilage and bone of the joint. Surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons become weakened. Rheumatoid arthritis also can cause more generalized bone loss that may lead to osteoporosis (fragile bones that are prone to fracture). Most conventional physicians today treat arthritis with drugs designed to minimize inflammation and attempt to control or manage joint pain. A Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) will most likely be prescribed. Available over-the-counter drugs include ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn, Clinoril and others. Although these NSAIDs are affective in managing the effects of Arthritis, they do not come without considerable risks and/or side effects of their own. They are rapidly becoming a concern in the medical and health communities Studies show that NSAIDs deteriorate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. According to the National Institute of Health, consistent use of NSAIDs over prolonged time periods increase the incidence of hospitalization for stomach ulcers by six and a half times. The most serious problem from taking NSAIDs is their degenerating effect on cartilage; NSAIDs actually prevent the growth of collagen in the joints. When researchers added aspirin to normal and osteoarthritic cartilage cultures from animals and humans, they found that the synthesis of proteoglycans (the water absorbing cells in cartilage) slows down significantly. The doses used in lab-dish cultures equaled the usual doses taken by arthritic sufferers for pain. This means that aspirin, when taken internally prevents cartilage from repairing itself and speeds up the progression of osteoarthritis! In similar experiments with animal cultures, other NSAIDs inhibited cartilage synthesis. In an ironic twist of medical fate, the only NSAID that stimulates proteoglycans is benoxaprofen, now banned for causing liver and kidney damage related deaths. Further potential damage caused by the use of NSAIDs is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, memory loss, inability to concentrate and allergic reactions.

Osteoarthritis Information and Treatments

Early in osteoarthritis chemical changes result in the loss of two types of fibers, proteoglycans and collagen, which help give cartilage its resiliency. At the same time, enzymes called proteases--which normally destroy old cartilage so it can be replaced by new growth--begin destroying cartilage much faster than it can be replaced. This process seems to happen faster in some people and studies are under way to find out why.

Another key question is how the immune system protects the body from the destruction of inflammatory types of arthritis. In the immune system, there are specialized cells and a special family of proteins, called antibodies, as well as other chemical substances that help control and modify how the system responds. Among these chemical substances are interleukins and gamma interferon, which are made by the immune cells. These substances appear to be involved with certain types of arthritis.

Inflammation, which involves swelling, redness and heat, is one of the immune system's responses in several types of arthritis. Studies have found that high levels of a group of chemicals, called prostaglandins, result in inflammation. Researchers have found, for instance, that aspirin interferes with the production of prostaglandins. One Possible treatment for the loss of cartilage is UC-II (Type II collagen.
Most type II chicken collagen sold in dietary supplements is denatured, or hydrolyzed, which is another way of saying that the chemicals and high-heat used to process and refine it have changed its molecular configuration. An undenatured extract is made using little or no heat and limited processing. It is usually extracted using pepsin with just enough processing to concentrate the collagen and make it soluble. Denatured or hydrolyzed extracts, on the other hand, typically use high heat, acids, and enzymes to make the protein molecules more soluble; but these methods fundamentally alter the structure of the protein. Denatured proteins are often called hydrolyzed proteins -- thus denatured collagen is often called hydrolyzed collagen. This does not make it useless. Hydrolyzed type II chicken collagen still has value as a source of some of the components of aggrecan, including collagen itself, hyaluronic acid, chondrotin sulfate, and glucosamine. But to receive this benefit you need to consume it in large amounts, as much as 3-10 grams a day. But more importantly, one significant thing does change in the process of denaturing. When denatured, type II chicken collagen loses its immunomodulating ability. Type II collagen must be in its native (undenatured) form to be effective in this capacity.

UC-II is extracted from chicken sternum cartilage using a patented, low-temperature process that ensures the undenatured biological activity of the type II collagen even when exposed to digestive juices for 90 minutes or more. As mentioned earlier, undenatured collagen administered orally works with the immune system to promote healthy joints by a process called oral tolerization. This process helps the body to differentiate between foreign invaders, such as bacteria, and elements that are good for the body, such as nutrients. The process of oral tolerization takes place in the small intestine where food is absorbed. Through a complex process, lymphoid tissue in the mucosal lining of the small intestine screens incoming compounds and serves as a "switch," turning the body's immune response on or off to foreign substances, depending upon what that substance is. In the case of undenatured type II chicken collagen, small amounts (typically around 10 milligrams) taken orally have been shown to correct a faulty immune response specifically targeted at the type II collagen present in bone joint cartilage -- in effect, modulating the body's immune response so it works correctly once again. At a cost of over $17,000 per kilogram of active ingredient, UC-II is undoubtedly the single most expensive ingredient I have ever used in a formula. Fortunately, it only takes 10 mg a day of its active ingredient for maximum effect. (In fact, it loses effectiveness if too much is used, losing all effectiveness at levels over 20 mg a day). But cost aside, the fact that it specifically addresses the problem of the immune system destroying the body's own cartilage mandates you try this alternative if relief and regeneration of the cartilage.

I recommend Wonder Laboratories for the overall best quality and price when considering vitamins, herbs and supplements.

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