The New Way to Protect Joints from Osteoarthritis

Posted on: August 26th, 2016 by Sarah No Comments

Do you ever feel stiffness in your joints after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time?  Do you ever hear crunchy or bone-on-bone sounds when moving?  This could mean that you have, or are developing, the most common form of arthritis – osteoarthritis.

When ignored, osteoarthritis is a debilitating part of aging that is a major reason for “feeling old.”  Fortunately, it can be reduced or, in some cases, even reversed if we know how to use nature to fight it.

To understand how your joints work, consider how ice skates are great for moving across ice but are not going to take you far if you are trying to use them on carpet or grass.  Just like how skates need a slippery surface to function as intended, your joints also need to encounter minimal friction to be effective and avoid wear and tear.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease that mostly affects articular cartilage, which is the tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint and serves as the friction-reducing surface to protect our joints.  When the body has healthy cartilage (usually in our youth), bones glide smoothly over each other.  But increasing age, overuse, obesity, previous injury, weak thigh muscles for the knee, and genetics all play into the physical toll of movement from OA.

The good news is that the latest research shows there is a natural supplement that can protect cartilage and help our joints feel younger even after OA has begun: Undenatured Type II Collagen (or UC-II for short).

What is cartilage?

Articular cartilage is slick and covers the ends of the bones.  Also known as hyaline cartilage, it’s between two and four millimeters thick.  The outer layer is very thin but dense, making up only 10 – 20% of the total thickness of the cartilage, but this layer is believed to be up to 100 times more slippery than ice and the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism notes how cartilage-on-cartilage contact results in 20 times less friction than the latest artificial joint replacements.  This lets our joints slide, glide, and avoid wear and tear over tens of millions of uses; even while withstanding very heavy loads.

Over time, as OA progresses, portions of the smooth outer layer of cartilage wear away and this invokes an immune system response.  The immune system creates more inflammation around the joint, making it more painful, and there is some evidence that the cartilage wears away faster with the immune response.  Cartilage is primarily made up of water. In fact, cartilage is over 70% water.  It’s the water that makes the low-friction surface, which is why the ice skate analogy is so accurate; skates actually glide on water that is created from pressure between the skate and the ice.

The other three components that make up cartilage are the collagen that gives it the strength and structure, the proteoglycans that trap water in the cartilage, and the chondocytes that make new collagen and proteoglycans within the cartilage.  Cartilage does not have a blood supply, so the cells that make up the cartilage are supplied by the movement of the fluid in which it is surrounded.  Cartilage also doesn’t have nerves either – so the pain in your joints from OA is not originating from worn down cartilage, but from tendons and ligaments that stretch from movement and inflammation that causes pain (or if the condition worsens, when bone rubs on bone).

Collagen – The structure of cartilage

Collagen is the most abundant naturally-occurring protein in the body and is most commonly found in the skin, bones, and connective tissue.  Collagen production naturally declines with age, reducing the elasticity and leading to sagging skin and formation of lines and wrinkles.  This is especially true after menopause.  Just about every structural component within our body, including the heart, blood vessels and liver, is dependent on collagen.

UC-II – A unique supplemental form of collagen

UC-II is unique from other kinds of collagen because it retains its original form after being digested.  UC-II is naturally found in the cartilage of the chicken breast.  This particular form is not only well absorbed through digestion, but also accumulates in cartilage and is believed to help stimulate the chondrocytes to make more collagen.

What the science says UC-II can do

A new 2016 study from Nutrition Journal found that UC-II improves joint symptoms in moderate-to-severe knee OA subjects.  The participants in the double blind, randomized study who took UC-II found significantly more relief than those who took a placebo or even another popular joint supplement – glucosamine and chondroitin (G&C).

The rationale to take G&C is that it is what the chondrocytes are made up of and the theory is that G&C boosts their production within the cartilage to make more, but recent studies like this one seem to show that UC-II does a better job of supercharging the chondrocytes which rebuilds the cartilage.

Studies published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and the International Journal of Medical Sciences also conclude that UC-II is beneficial for those with OA and that daily supplementation with 40 mg of UC-II is well tolerated by patients and has the potential to lengthen the period of pain-free strenuous exertion when performing daily activities, such as standing, walking, getting up from a chair, or using stairs.  The latest studies on UC-II also confirm why and how it works for those with osteoarthritis.

Research from Stanford University, published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that ingesting 40 mg a day of UC-II reduces circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines that increase both the incidence and severity of osteoarthritis.  Although the study verifies that UC-II supplementation is effective, the researchers also note that it seems the therapy must be continued or else the progress can be reversed.

Is UC-II the best way to address joint issues?

There are many ways to address osteoarthritis and the breakdown of joint function, but most alternatives to UC-II supplementation are invasive or come with a higher risk of side effects.  For instance, some people turn to injections that supplement the fluid in the knee to increase lubrication and cushioning of the joint.  However, these injections can be costly and only bring temporary relief.

There are even more invasive options such as joint replacement surgery.  These surgeries can be effective for some, but often come with steep price tags and the risk of infection, blood clots, dislocation of the joint replacement, and even nerve and blood vessel injury during the surgery.  Unless your doctor recommends these options, most people are better off turning to the safe, gradual healing power of nature.

Although collagen production slows with age, people that get adequate amounts of vitamins such as C, E, and B, as well as minerals such as iron and zinc, maintain higher levels of collagen production than those who do not.  Getting these vitamins helps, especially with the production of the kind of collagen that helps your skin stay youthful, but most people could greatly benefit from a regular, therapeutic boost of UC-II to ensure that joints stay healthy and protected.  It’s also important to keep moving.  Because there is no blood flow to the cartilage, nutrients get to it best through movement.  The movement shouldn’t be painful, but sitting does not get nutrients to the cartilage tissue.

Anyone looking to protect joints from the effects of osteoarthritis should consider utilizing the high-quality UC-II in Joint Complex by Pure Encapsulations.  Joint Complex is designed to comfort sore joints and promote joint flexibility.  It pairs UC-II with effective anti-inflammatory agents, such as turmeric, to reduce the pain and damage that osteoarthritis can cause.

UC-II appears to be highly effective in stopping the harmful effects of osteoarthritis, but consider pairing it with a glucosamine & chondroitin supplement (like Glucosamine & Chondroitin by Thorne Research) to not only stop the damage but start rebuilding cartilage as well.  Although recent research shows that UC-II appears to be more effective, studies from publications such as International Journal of Rheumatology show that chondroprotectives like G&C are essential components of cartilage metabolism and stimulate important cartilage regeneration processes.

I hope this information encourages you to take care of your joints so you can enjoy an active lifestyle for many years to come.  If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, you can reach our customer service team at 888-460-3091 or e-mail them at customerservice@oakwaynaturals.com.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Yours in health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

Our top pick is...

Joint Complex (single dose) supports joint function and comfort with cartilage building blocks and herbal extracts in convenient one-per-day dosing.

Supports cartilage health with undenatured type II collagen, hyaluronic acid and MSM.

Promotes joint flexibility and comfort with UC-II undenatured type-II collagen complex.

Do you ever feel stiffness in your joints after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time?  Do you ever hear crunchy or bone-on-bone sounds when moving?  This could mean that you have, or are developing, the most common form of arthritis – osteoarthritis.

When ignored, osteoarthritis is a debilitating part of aging that is a major reason for “feeling old.”  Fortunately, it can be reduced or, in some cases, even reversed if we know how to use nature to fight it.

To understand how your joints work, consider how ice skates are great for moving across ice but are not going to take you far if you are trying to use them on carpet or grass.  Just like how skates need a slippery surface to function as intended, your joints also need to encounter minimal friction to be effective and avoid wear and tear.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease that mostly affects articular cartilage, which is the tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint and serves as the friction-reducing surface to protect our joints.  When the body has healthy cartilage (usually in our youth), bones glide smoothly over each other.  But increasing age, overuse, obesity, previous injury, weak thigh muscles for the knee, and genetics all play into the physical toll of movement from OA.

The good news is that the latest research shows there is a natural supplement that can protect cartilage and help our joints feel younger even after OA has begun: Undenatured Type II Collagen (or UC-II for short).

What is cartilage?
What is cartilage?

Articular cartilage is slick and covers the ends of the bones.  Also known as hyaline cartilage, it’s between two and four millimeters thick.

The outer layer is very thin but dense, making up only 10 – 20% of the total thickness of the cartilage, but this layer is believed to be up to 100 times more slippery than ice and the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism notes how cartilage-on-cartilage contact results in 20 times less friction than the latest artificial joint replacements.  This lets our joints slide, glide, and avoid wear and tear over tens of millions of uses; even while withstanding very heavy loads.

Over time, as OA progresses, portions of the smooth outer layer of cartilage wear away and this invokes an immune system response.  The immune system creates more inflammation around the joint, making it more painful, and there is some evidence that the cartilage wears away faster with the immune response.

Cartilage is primarily made up of water.  In fact, cartilage is over 70% water.  The other three components that make up cartilage are the collagen that gives it the strength and structure, the proteoglycans that trap water in the cartilage, and the chondocytes that make new collagen and proteoglycans within the cartilage.

Cartilage does not have nerves – so the pain in your joints from OA is not originating from worn down cartilage, but from tendons and ligaments that stretch from movement and inflammation that causes pain (or if the condition worsens, when bone rubs on bone).

Collagen – The structure of cartilage
Collagen – The structure of cartilage

Collagen is the most abundant naturally-occurring protein in the body and is most commonly found in the skin, bones, and connective tissue.  Collagen production naturally declines with age, reducing the elasticity and leading to sagging skin and formation of lines and wrinkles.  Just about every structural component within our body, including the heart, blood vessels and liver, is dependent on collagen.

UC-II is unique from other kinds of collagen because it retains its original form after being digested.  UC-II is naturally found in the cartilage of the chicken breast.  This particular form is not only well absorbed through digestion, but also accumulates in cartilage and is believed to help stimulate the chondrocytes to make more collagen.

What the science says UC-II can do
What the science says UC-II can do

A new 2016 study from Nutrition Journal found that UC-II improves joint symptoms in moderate-to-severe knee OA subjects.  The participants in the double blind, randomized study who took UC-II found significantly more relief than those who took a placebo or even another popular joint supplement – glucosamine and chondroitin (G&C).

The rationale to take G&C is that it is what the chondrocytes are made up of and the theory is that G&C boosts their production within the cartilage to make more, but recent studies like this one seem to show that UC-II does a better job of supercharging the chondrocytes which rebuilds the cartilage.

Studies have concluded that UC-II is beneficial for those with OA and that daily supplementation with 40 mg of UC-II is well tolerated by patients and has the potential to lengthen the period of pain-free strenuous exertion when performing daily activities, such as standing, walking, getting up from a chair, or using stairs.

Research from Stanford University, found that ingesting 40 mg a day of UC-II reduces circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines that increase both the incidence and severity of osteoarthritis.  Although the study verifies that UC-II supplementation is effective, the researchers also note that it seems the therapy must be continued or else the progress can be reversed.

Is UC-II the best way to address joint issues?
Is UC-II the best way to address joint issues?

There are many ways to address osteoarthritis and the breakdown of joint function, but most alternatives to UC-II supplementation are invasive or come with a higher risk of side effects.  For instance, some people turn to injections that supplement the fluid in the knee to increase lubrication and cushioning of the joint.  However, these injections can be costly and only bring temporary relief.

 There are even more invasive options such as joint replacement surgery.  These surgeries can be effective for some, but often come with steep price tags and the risk of infection, blood clots, dislocation of the joint replacement, and even nerve and blood vessel injury during the surgery.

Although collagen production slows with age, people that get adequate amounts of vitamins such as C, E, and B, as well as minerals such as iron and zinc, maintain higher levels of collagen production than those who do not.  Getting these vitamins helps, especially with the production of the kind of collagen that helps your skin stay youthful, but most people could greatly benefit from a regular, therapeutic boost of UC-II to ensure that joints stay healthy and protected.

Anyone looking to protect joints from the effects of osteoarthritis should consider utilizing the high-quality UC-II in Joint Complex by Pure Encapsulations.  Joint Complex is designed to comfort sore joints and promote joint flexibility.  It pairs UC-II with effective anti-inflammatory agents, such as turmeric, to reduce the pain and damage that osteoarthritis can cause.

UC-II appears to be highly effective in stopping the harmful effects of osteoarthritis, but consider pairing it with a glucosamine & chondroitin supplement (like Glucosamine & Chondroitin by Thorne Research) to not only stop the damage but start rebuilding cartilage as well.  Although recent research shows that UC-II appears to be more effective, studies show that chondroprotectives like G&C are essential components of cartilage metabolism and stimulate important cartilage regeneration processes.

If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, please feel free to fill out our Ask the Doctor form found at the Doctors Corner.

Yours in health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

References

Guilak, Farshid, Ph. D., Arthritis & Rheumatism: The Slippery Slope of Arthritis. 2005

Lugo, James, Ph.D., Nutrition Journal: Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. 2016

Saiyed, Zainulabedin, Ph.D., et al., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) for joint support: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. 2013

Jerosch, Jorg, MD, International Journal of Medical Sciences: Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. 2011

Jerosch, Jorg, MD, International Journal of Rheumatology: Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 2011

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