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What is osteoarthritis?
Cartilage acts as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. As we get older. Or through excessive exercise this cushion is worn away Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that features the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently as we age. Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After 55 years of age, it occurs more frequently in females.
Osteoarthritis usually affects the hands, feet, elbows, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Glucosamine is used to make a molecule involved in the formation and repair of cartilage, the rubbery substance that cushions joints. Although it's still not clear exactly how glucosamine in pill-form works, it's believed to allow more of cartilage building blocks to be made. Chondroitin sulfate appears to to block cartilage-destroying enzymes and help joint cartilage remain elastic and supple.
Studies with glucosamine have found a reduction in the pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis. It is also thought to prevent structural damage to joints. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, participants took glucosamine or placebo for three years and were x-rayed each year to assess structural changes. Participants who took the placebo had progressive joint space narrowing, a sign of cartilage degeneration, but those who took glucosamine had no significant narrowing of joint spaces
The World Health Organization has identified more than 40 conditions that acupuncture can treat, including osteoarthritis. Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into acupoints in the body. It is believed to rebalance the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. Studies have found that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving substances such as endorphins and serotonin.
A study involving 294 people with osteoarthritis knee pain found that after eight weeks of treatment, participants who had acupuncture experienced a significant improvement in pain and joint function compared to those who had sham acupuncture or placebo.
Nutrition for osteoarthritis
There are many other vitamins and herbs that may help with osteoarthritis. A small selection can be found below.