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Arthritis is a painful condition affecting the joints and bones. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and occurs when the cartilage that lies between the bones gradually wears away. As the function of cartilage is to protect the surface of the bone, its absence allows the bones to rub against each other, resulting in damage and pain. The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, spine, knees and hips. Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative joint disease, tends to be uncommon in people under 40. Risk factors include being overweight and having an injury, operation or repeated strain on a joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is less common, but more severe. Unlike osteoarthritis, the body’s immune system actually attacks and destroys the joint, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. This can lead to a reduction of movement, and the breakdown of bone and cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis usually develops between the age of 30 and 50. Whilst osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are relatively well known, there are approximately 200 types of arthritis which are classified into three categories: Inflammatory Arthritis, Non-Inflammatory Arthritis and Connective Tissue Disease.
It is thought that arthritis affects around 1 in 5 people in the UK, with common treatments including use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physiotherapy and surgery. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the action of an enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) and prevent the production of inflammatory and pain-producing products called prostaglandins, which are derived from an omega-6 fatty acid called AA. Whilst these drugs are very effective in reducing inflammation they also have detrimental side effects including serious gastrointestinal and cardiovascular complications, making long-term use risky. Many independent tests have shown that adding concentrated fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can result in a significant lessening of chronic pain and joint pain in arthritis sufferers. EPA is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid which actually works in several ways. Firstly it is converted to its own series of prostaglandins but, unlike those derived from AA, these are anti-inflammatory and provide pain relief. Secondly, if EPA levels in the diet are increased it can lower the amount of AA in the body. Thirdly, it actually competes with AA for the COX enzyme, working in a very similar way to NSAIDs by preventing the formation of inflammatory products – except without the associated side effects. It appears, however, that if another fatty acid called GLA (gamma linolenic acid – an anti-inflammatory omega-6) is present with EPA, then all these factors are intensified – in other words, there is a synergistic effect between these two substances such that, when taken in combination, they work even better in the fight against inflammation. Glucosamine, made naturally in the body (by combining glucose and glutamine – an amino acid), is involved in the production of compounds called proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). It is these compounds which make up the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones in the joints. These amino sugars absorb water and provide lubrication (synovial fluid) and shock absorption for the cartilage, as well as inhibiting the production of enzymes that degrade cartilage. Cartilage and other related structures like discs, tendons and ligaments are continuously being remodelled, being worn away during activity and then reformed again afterwards. As we get older we are unable to produce enough glucosamine to meet the body’s needs. Also, if demands are increased by activity (such as with active individuals or athletes) and glucosamine needs not met, then damage may occur. Supplementing with glucosamine not only helps rebuild cartilage and decrease joint deterioration without side-effects, but also provides pain relief, equivalent in effect to some NSAIDs.
We recommend Omegaflex DUO
, taken daily at the following doses:
- For general wellbeing: adults and children aged twelve years and over should take 2 glucosamine & calcium capsules (blue blister) and 1 E-EPA 70 capsule daily (silver blister).
- For individuals who are especially active or those who require additional joint & bone support in later life: take 4 glucosamine & calcium capsules and 2 E-EPA 70 capsules daily
Please note: Omegaflex DUO is not suitable for children below the age of 12, nor pregnant and breastfeeding women. Diabetics should consult their doctor before taking Omegaflex DUO. It may also be beneficial to take an additional 2 Vegepa E-EPA 70 capsules daily if injury has been sustained, to increase intake of EPA for anti-inflammatory benefits.