Joint damage and cartilage repair
What can be taken for joint health that will cause the body to grow back the cartilage that the joint is missing?
The cartilage is essentially avascular (has no blood or nerve supply) and is therefore quite a difficult area to heal. Long term therapy is essential in ensuring healthy repair so that further complications are not experienced in the future. Cartilage is the soft tissue padding which is present between all joint and bones and acts like a shock absorber. Understandably the cartilage experiences a lot of wear, tear and damage over time. The best way to improve the health of the cartilage is to reduce wear and tear, inflammation, increase nutrients and antioxidants to the area and provide the joints with substances to rebuild. The damage that occurs to the cartilage occurs over a long period of time, any changes towards improvement will also take time. Depending on the severity of the degradation to the area depends on which supplement to choose and how long it may take to begin to notice beneficial results.
Diet tips for joint health
- Ensure adequate hydration as low water consumption can cause the cartilage to become dry and may contribute to further degrading of the cartilage material
- Reduce acidic foods as these can contribute to inflammation and acidity which wears down the cartilage and joints. Foods which are acidic are red meats, dairy, wheat, sugar, tea, coffee, alcohol, preserved and processed foods
- Increase alkalising foods to reduce inflammation and acidity. Foods which have an alkalising effect are water, lemon juice, sprouts, nuts, seeds, fish, grains and alive foods (Green Barley powder, Spirulina)
- Increase essential fatty acids in your diet from foods such as fish, avocadoes, flax seed oil and raw oils
Natural remedies for joint health
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin are two components of the cartilage structure which is needed to help repair and strengthen the joint. Breakdown of the soft, cushioning cartilage occurs when high amounts of inflammation are present and these nutrients help to further protect the joint and reduce damage. There are many studies to support the claim of using these joint nutrients long term to help stabilise the joint and rebuild cartilage.
- The Chinese medicine herb Tienchi Ginseng is traditionally used to invigorate the blood and to assist in the dispersal of stagnant blood and the resolution of inflammation, bleeding, trauma, swelling and pain. This herb may be of assistance to decrease inflammation, encourage better circulation and nutrients to the area and improve range of movement.
- Magnesium is needed to relieve muscle aches, pains and spasms. Many people are deficient in this important mineral for the nerve and muscles as it declines rapidly due to stress.
- Fish oil contains potent anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling and may also increase circulation to the site of injury.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) powder may be of assistance in reducing pain and inflammation and improve the formation of cartilage and reduce wear and tear on the joint.
- Topical application of warming and circulatory stimulant gels or creams may give some pain relief. A cream which contains natural anti-inflammatory herbs and applied at least 3-4 times each day.
- Herbs which have a direct anti-inflammatory effect on the musculo-skeletal system and may be taken internally are: White willow bark, Boswellia, Ginger, Curcumin, Cayenne, Eucommia, Acanthopanax and Devils Claw.
- Reduce free radicals by taking an anti-oxidant supplement containing Zinc, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin A & E, CoEnzyme Q10 and Selenium to reduce the amount of damage to the cartilage.
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Supplements to help with cartilage repair
Many people claim that taking a joint food supplement helps to decrease inflammation and improve their range of movement, however not every supplement works for everyone. For example if your joint problem is occuring due to the bone rubbing on bone there may be little in regards to natural supplements which can be done, this is because there is no cartilage present to build on. Osteoarthritis can respond well to joint supportive nutrients, however if your condition is rheumatoid arthritis this requires a different strategy.
The pain, inflammation and reduced range of motion that afflict arthritic joints are a consequence of destructive changes to the affected tissues, many of which involve the cartilage lining the joint surfaces.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural building blocks required by the body for the production of new cartilage, and along with MSM, may help to relieve joint inflammation, tenderness and pain, while also reducing stiffness and improving mobility (making it easier for you to manage activities like climbing stairs or maintaining your exercise regime).