By Wayne Terai, BSc, DC, CLT
Don’t let “good old Arthur” interfere with your enjoyment of a full and active life.
Millions of people suffer from joint pain, most commonly from the progressively degenerative condition known as osteoarthritis (OA). As many of my patients say, “good old Arthur has come to visit!” Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, instability, and weakness. We know that 4.5 million Canadians over the age of 15 are affected by some form of arthritis. A large portion of those affected with OA are still active and in their working years. Over time, these aches and pains worsen and eventually stop sufferers from participating in everyday activities.
Two of the most commonly used medications for joint pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and COX-2 inhibitors. Both can cause intestinal tract ulcers (with internal bleeding) and liver and kidney damage with long-term use. Over the last couple of decades, there is a better understanding of the degenerative nature of OA and joint pain. Clinical research is showing that dietary changes and supplementation can have a profound effect on managing joint pain, especially in conjunction with other therapies such as chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Here are three supplements that I commonly recommend:
- Glucosamine. is the main component of cartilage. After 40, one of the wonderful things we can look forward to is the decline in the body’s ability to produce glucosamine—and the consequent wear/degeneration of our joints. A large body of scientific evidence is showing that supplementing with glucosamine sulphate can help the body build and repair joint cartilage damage, and slow down the wear and tear process.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good fats,” used for the production of anti-inflammatory hormones called prostaglandins (PG-1 and PG-3). Good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids are fish and flaxseed oil (for PG-3) and evening primrose, borage, and black currant oils (for PG-1). Olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil are also sources of omega-3s that may be used as substitutes when cooking. The “bad fats” from high-fat meat, dairy products, corn oil, sunflower seed oil, and safflower oil stimulate the production of another prostaglandin (PG-2) which actually promotes inflammation. These are things you want to avoid or minimize if you have arthritis.
- Multi-vitamins and minerals. There are biochemical reactions going on in your body, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each of these chemical reactions requires enzymes, co-enzymes, and minerals. Most importantly, the production of PG-1 and PG-3 requires vitamins B6, E, and C, niacin, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
More often than not, the average diet is insufficient to supply you with what is required to actually help with the pain of inflammation. Clinically, I have found supplementing with a 1-2-3 punch of glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, and a high-potency multi-vitamin and mineral complex to be a great asset in managing the inflammation of OA. The key to an effective supplementation program, however, is to discuss your health concerns with a qualified health care practitioner. He or she will be able to develop a program based on your health status and your desired outcome.
Wayne M. Terai, B.Sc., D.C., C.L.T., is the owner and clinical director of Burtch Chiropractic and Kelowna Laser Therapy. In practice for 20 years, Dr. Terai has helped thousands of Okanagan families achieve their health and wellness goals through a holistic Òmind-body communicationÓ approach. This is based on the premise that being healthy is normal and a loss of health is a result of interference. He is advanced proficiency rated in activator methods chiropractic technique and also holds an advanced certification in laser therapy. Dr. Terai continues to improve his clinical knowledge with over 1000 hours of post-graduate training, ultimately providing patients with different options for care.
*Reprint from our Winter 2017 Issue