Healthy Q & A: Joint Pain


I’ve been gardening since the weather has been beautiful, but this year I’ve found that bending and kneeling are really hurting my joints.  I’d really rather not resort to pain medication every day, so I wanted to see if there was anything natural I could take that would help.


Osteoarthritis affects many of us as we age.  Over time, activities that were once taken for granted can cause more and more pain.  Osteoarthritis is very common, and is basically caused by wear and tear on the joints where the protective cartilage on the ends of bone is worn down over time.  Treatment involves reducing inflammation and pain, and protecting the cartilage left in the joints.


One of the best things for inflammation is the herb turmeric.  It works very well to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints.  It has been researched and found to have a similar effectiveness to ibuprofen, but without being hard on the liver.  It also works very well in conjunction with other herbal anti-inflammatories.  One such supplement is called Solgar 7, a combination of turmeric mixed with several other well researched and effective ingredients for joint pain: boswellia, ginger, and white willow bark, along with type II collagen which helps to promote cartilage health.  The thing I like best about Solgar 7 is that results should be seen within the first week, plus the recommended dose is just one pill a day.


Also, when talking about joints, I would be remiss without mentioning the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin.  For some people, glucosamine and chondroitin can be a difficult supplement to take, since it can sometimes take a long time before results are seen, up to three months.  That being said, I do think glucosamine and chondroitin really work.   Research has linked glucosamine and chondroitin to reduced joint deterioration.  It’s important to take them together, since they work synergistically to aid in joint health.  Glucosamine helps to actually renew and support cartilage, and chondroitin helps to “plump up” cartilage.  Since the two supplements can take some time to work, I’d recommend a supplement like ArthX Relief by Rainbow Light.  It combines the recommended amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin with anti-inflammatory herbs so results are seen quicker (in a two a day formula).


Last, but not least, is exercise.  Exercise benefits joint health and arthritis sufferers immensely.  It seems counterintuitive to exercise painful joints, but in truth, exercise helps to strengthen the muscles around the joints and increase range of motion, while reducing stiffness.   Weight bearing exercise also strengthens bones and aids in weight loss.   Weight loss, even small amounts, makes a huge difference on the wear and tear of joints.  The vice president of the Arthritis Foundation has said, “If a person loses about 10 pounds and keeps exercising, they can cut the pain in their knees by about 50 percent and can even postpone a joint replacement.”  That’s a pretty impressive statement!

Product Spotlight: Curcumin Phytosome


Curcumin (the beneficial extract of turmeric) is a wonderful supplement which is best known for its benefits in fighting inflammation and joint pain.  The only bad thing about curcumin is that it’s very difficult for the body to absorb.


We've recently started carrying a new form of curcumin known as curcumin phytosome which has a much higher absorption rate compared to other forms of curcumin.  Curcumin phytosome is different from regular turmeric extracts because it takes the not very well absorbed curcumin and bonds it to phosphatidyl serine, an essential component of our cells which the body can easily absorb.  This special superior absorbing form is patented and known as Meriva.


One study researched Meriva's superior bioavailability compared to ordinary curcumin.  The study, done not on animals, but humans, demonstrated 29-times greater bioavailability compared to regular turmeric extracts.  The patented Meriva extract resulted in higher blood concentrations of curcumin from a much smaller dose than with ordinary curcumin.

The specialized curcumin extract has been researched with impressive results for joint pain.  A recent study compared 1000mg of the Meriva curcumin phytosome with patients taking the prescription joint drug Voltaren (Diclofenac Sodium).  The curcumin phytosome group had the same reduction in swelling as the prescription drug group, but without the side effects present in the prescription group.


Curcumin has a number of other benefits.  One recent study found that curcumin was as effective as Prozac for treating depression.  Curcumin has also been researched as a possible preventative and treatment for Alzheimer’s, since it may help to reduce the amount of amyloid plaque in the brain, a hallmark of the disease.


There is no doubt that Curcumin has a long list of benefits, so we’re excited to offer a new, better absorbing form.  The brand Jarrow has 500mg capsules of the patented Meriva Curcumin Phytosome, which we highly recommend.  I feel like I'm constantly recommending Jarrow, but they really do have singular products that stand out, which is why we recommend them so often.

Healthy Q & A: Radiation Treatment


My Dad who is 86 will be starting radiation treatment for cancer on one of his vocal cords.  My question is should he be taking any supplements or be applying any sort of lotions or creams on his neck?  He is in good health gets around great, and we would like to keep him that way.


There are a number of supplements which have been found to be beneficial in conjunction with radiation.  A good probiotic supplement can help to prevent the diarrhea that can sometimes be a side effect of radiation therapy.  Ginger can also help with the nausea that frequently accompanies radiation.


Another suggestion would be to supplement with curcumin, the beneficial extract from turmeric.  In animal studies, curcumin helped to prevent the skin damage caused by radiation and the curcumin supplements were associated with fewer burns and blisters.  You can read more about the study here.  Topical aloe vera gel or calendula cream can also be helpful in soothing skin irritated by radiation.


DHA, a beneficial component of omega 3 fatty acids, may also be helpful.  There was a recent groundbreaking study on breast cancer which found that DHA was able to sensitize tumors to respond better to treatment.  In the animal study, tumor size decreased by 60% at 12 days after irradiation in the group that was supplemented with DHA compared to 31% in the control group.  The research on DHA and cancer is still very preliminary, but very exciting.  You can read the study’s abstract here.


Other ideas would be panax ginseng, which could help to counteract the fatigue he may experience.  Eating a diet full of high antioxidant fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) is a good idea as well.


Be sure to mention any alternative therapies you're considering with his physician.  I hope that helps!