Waking up feeling like the tin man every morning is no way to live a healthy, happy or productive life.  Yet, for over 4.6 million Canadians this is their grim reality of living with arthritis.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA).  Often a result of the aging process or injury, OA occurs when cartilage, the material covering and protecting the ends of bones, begins to wear away.   The eventual result is pain, stiffness, swelling and bone-on-bone movement in the affected joint.

The common course of treatment for OA is to use readily available non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve, or the prescription COX-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex.  Some folks don’t like continuously taking these medications or suffer side effects.  Worse yet, these medications have been suggested to increase the rate of cartilage break down, and shorten the time to joint replacement.[1]  That’s a pretty daunting thought when you need to reduce pain, yet want to preserve cartilage!

Natural Alternatives for Joint Pain

The good news is that natural alternatives can go a long way to helping reduce those creaky joints.  Stalwart classics include glucosamine and chondroitin, but there are some other choices that you may not know as much about and you may want to consider along with you regular joint care regime

Natural Egg Shell Membrane (NEM)

NEM is a natural source of type I collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and calcium – the building blocks of cartilage. NEM also supports the body’s production of type II collagen and the production of fluids that lubricate joints.  NEM at 500mg per day has been shown to significantly and quickly reduce joint pain and stiffness, with one study showing a minimum 20% reduction in 7-10 days.[2]  Most recently, a 2014 study found that 500mg NEM once daily reduced pain rapidly (within 10 days) and continuously (60 days).[3]  These studies also showed no side effects!

Krill Oil

Krill oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and phospholipids, which can help reduce inflammation and joint pain. In one study, Krill oil was investigated in ninety patients suffering from chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms.  After 30 days, inflammation had declined by 31% in those taking krill (but rose in the placebo group). After 7 days of treatment, krill users experienced reduced pain by 29%, stiffness by 20% and functional impairment by 23%.[4]

So, whether you’re looking to help improve mobility, manage pain and stiffness or just prevent the onset of OA, take note of these options and “oil up” those joints so you aren’t the creaky tin man every morning!

References:

  1. Hauser, Ross A. “The Acceleration of Articular Cartilage Degeneration in Osteoarthritis by Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs.” Journal of Prolotherapy 2.1 (2010): 305-322. Print.
  2. Ruff, KJ, De Vore DP, Leu MD and MA Robinson.  “Eggshell Membrean: A Possible New Natural Therapeutic for Joint and Connective Tissue Disorders. Results From Two Open-labeled Human Clinical Studies.  Clinical Interventions in Aging 4 (2009): 235-240. Print.
  3. Danesch, U,  Seybold,  M,  Rittinghausen, R, Treibel, W, and N Bitterlich. “NEM Brand Eggshell Membrane Effective in the Treatment of Pain Associated with Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis: Results from a Six Center, Open Label German Clinical Study.” Journal of Arthritis  3.3 (2014):136.
  4. Deutsch, L. “Evaluation of the effect of Neptune krill oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. “Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26.1 (2007): 39-48.