Contrary to common belief, arthritis or joint pain is not limited to the elderly alone. More than two-thirds of the arthritis patients in the US are under the age of 65 and some are children. Currently 57 million adult Americans suffer from arthritis and the number is projected to increase to 67 million by 2030. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 10% of men and 18% of women have symptomatic osteoarthritis.
Many diseases can cause some form of joint pain, however osteoarthritis of the knee and hip joints resulting from wear and tear is the most common cause of joint pain. Although females and older adults are prone to osteoarthritis, obesity, trauma and repetitive stress on any joint will increase the risk of arthritis. There is no shortage of over-the-counter or prescription painkillers for arthritis, but unfortunately all of them have serious side effects and are highly dangerous, especially to the elderly. One such painkiller, Vioxx, was recalled from the market in 2004 due to an increased risk of death from heart attacks and strokes. Most commonly used painkillers, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are associated with an increased risk of bleeding and lifethreatening heart abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation.
The key to healthy joint function depends on healthy collagen and connective tissue. This tissue builds cartilage and bones and is a component of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints. Its production depends on micronutrients which our body is not able to produce, such as vitamins C and B6, lysine, proline, and others. In the absence of these micronutrients and regular exercise, chronic inflammation can set in causing painful joints.
In our in vivo studies1, we have shown that the right combination of micronutrients can effectively reduce many inflammation markers, including a 90% reduction of COX-2 enzyme. The recalled arthritis drug, Vioxx, was praised for its COX2 inhibitory properties. However, we have demonstrated that micronutrients can provide the same results without causing adverse side effects.
We also conducted a pilot clinical trial2 to study the effects of micronutrient supplementation on patients (45-84 years old) suffering from arthritis. After 6 months of supplementing with a specific micronutrient combination, 50% of patients showed significant improvement in their arthritis. This was also confirmed by X-ray tests. Moreover, levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP), which are the indicators of inflammation, were reduced by 30%.
Worldwide, arthritis is the leading cause of disability; more than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The global osteoarthritis drug market is expected to grow to $5.5 billion by 2016. Given this background, a simple, safe, and effective supplementation of micronutrients combined with a healthy lifestyle is certainly an easier and better way to improve the quality of life in people who are concerned with arthritis.