Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Advances in Support for Joint Pain

Arthritis effects 43 million Americans.  It is estimated that by the time the average person reaches age 70 nearly 100% will have developed some form of arthritis.  

For years the nutritional industry has touted the use of glucosamine and chondroition for joint support.  And while many do indeed experience some relief from these two compounds, the results are inconsistent.  Some people do very well with glucosamine and chondroiton, and some experience no appreciable results.  Others cannot use glucosamine-based products at all because of sulfur and shellfish allergies.  Since glucosamine has a sulfur component and is derived from shellfish, allergies to glucosamine are a significant concern for some.

With the above in mind, alternatives to glucosamine and chondroiton are being explored in the scientific literature with some promising results.  

Enter, then, undenatured type-II collagen (UC-II).  

UC-II is not sulfur based and is not derived from shellfish, so the potential for allergies are significantly lower.  UC-II is derived from chicken collagen, and actually seems to work better than glucosamine and chondroiton for joint pain by nourishing and supporting chondrocytes (cartilage cells).

In a trial comparing the results of UC-II against a glucosamine/chondroiton (G/C) mix, UC-II outperformed G/C by more than double in terms of pain relief at 90 days (see figure 1 below).  While the G/C produced some pain relief in the first 30 days, the progress leveled off at that point and did not continue to improve past 30 days, whereas the UC-II continued to produce pain relief that progressed to 90 days and beyond.

UC-II also improved joint flexibility and enabled the test subjects to undergo strenuous exercise for longer periods of time compared to placebo.  

Most subjects in these trials began experiencing relief in as little as two weeks, with the most significant pain relief and joint function improvement being seen at 90 days.  No liver, kidney, GI, or cardiovascular toxicity was observed.  

Furthermore, all but three of the test subject were able to discontinue pain medications after 90 days, and the three who remained on the medications were able to reduce the dosage.  Since nearly all pain relief medications carry significant side effects, including GI bleeding and risk of death due to heart attacks, discontinuing or reducing these medications is an important health benefit. 

Some studies have shown that UC-II is also effective support for those suffering from autoimmune-related rheumatoid arthritis.   

Since there is more than one type of supplemental collagen on the market, it must be emphasized that the Undenatured Type-II collagen is the kind used in these studies.  Denatured collagen or Type-I collagen would likely not produce the same results.

Also of note in the battle against joint pain is a natural anti-inflammatory compound from hops called, tetra-hydro iso-alpha acids (THIAA).  THIAA may also improve joint function and provide a different mechanism of pain relief by reducing inflammatory chemicals, thereby possibly accelerating the pain relief process when combined with UC-II.