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Relief For Joint Aches:
As Easy As 1-2-3

Joint aches and stiffness are perhaps the most common of all physical complaints, affecting almost 50 million Americans. It comes in all forms and shapes: the jogger with creaky, stiff knees, the grandmother having trouble opening a jar...But there is hope! The program that I've been using with my patients for years not only alleviates the symptoms of aching joints, but also helps to repair the joints by regenerating the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones.

1. Good nutrition builds healthy joints

Diet is a powerful therapy for any condition, and joint health is no exception. A low-fat, moderate-protein diet, based around vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains, is what the human body was designed for, and it functions best when fueled properly. Plus, the most important dietary consideration in any inflammatory condition such as joint aches and stiffness is the proper type and amount of fat. For example, cold-water fish and flaxseed are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a healthy inflammatory response. In other words, if you eat cold-water fish several times a week and add flaxseed to your recipes, you'll give your body more of what it needs to fight inflammation. Most other types of fat tend to promote inflammation. The worst culprits are processed oils, saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (such as peanut butter and margarine). Keep your overall fat intake in the 20 percent range, and avoid unhealthy fats as much as possible.

2. Exercise your way to improved joint function

The last thing you may want to do with an aching joint is exercise it. But a vast body of research clearly shows that exercise is extremely effective in restoring function, movement, and flexibility. People with aching or stiff joints who regularly exercise make significant gains in flexibility and mobility and their ability to function. If you've been inactive for awhile or you're over 45, I recommend seeing your doctor or therapist so that your functional status can be assessed and a tailored program based on your current clinical status can be initiated. This evaluation should include a graded exercise stress test as well as joint mobility testing.

3. Take a full spectrum of joint-supporting nutrients

Make sure your body is getting what it needs to support and nourish your joints. The right combination of nutrients will target the root of your joint aches to ease your discomfort and bring you lasting relief.

Glucosamine Builds Healthy, Elastic Cartilage

I have used glucosamine in my practice for years -- a full 8 years before the January 26, 2001, issue of The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, heralded the 'news' that glucosamine sulfate slows deterioration of the joints. I was convinced in 1993 that it is one of the most effective therapies for long-term relief of joint discomfort and that still holds true today.

In fact, hundreds of studies have examined the effects of glucosamine on joint aches, and the vast majority have shown it to be effective in relieving discomfort and restoring flexibility. In a recent three-year study, 212 patients who were already experiencing joint discomfort in the knee received glucosamine or a placebo and their knees were X-rayed at one year and at three years. Researchers found that all the patients who had received the placebo developed joint narrowing, while those who had taken glucosamine showed no detectable changes. In addition, patients taking the placebo evaluated their aches and discomfort as worse, while those on glucosamine reported that their knees felt better.

Chondroitin Sulfate Promotes Cushioning Effect

Like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate is abundant in your cartilage. It has a strong affinity for water and is able to attract and hold it within the cartilage. This is crucial to joint health, since water makes up 85 percent of cartilage and is what gives cartilage its resiliency and cushioning effect. Furthermore, it also helps to inhibit the enzymes that break down cartilage, giving the edge to the reconstructive process.

Studies of chondroitin sulfate support its therapeutic use in the treatment of joint aches. In a recent French study of 104 patients with existing knee discomfort, chondroitin sulfate reduced functional impairment by approximately 50 percent after one year. X-rays of the knee also showed improvement.

Nutrient recommendations in a nutshell...

  • To relieve joint aches and rebuild cartilage, take 1,000-1,500 mg glucosamine daily in divided doses with meals. As you notice improvements, cut back to 500 or 1,000 mg. If your symptoms do not improve, you may take up to 3,000 mg daily, and back down later.

  • Also add 200 mg of chondroitin sulfate, with meals. This can be increased up to 1,200 mg as symptoms warrant or reduced as symptoms improve.

  • If adding each of these supplements seems a bit overwhelming, you'll want to learn about Dr. Whitaker's specially formulated, targeted nutritional supplement that goes to the root of your joint discomfort. It combines two forms of glucosamine for better absorption and chondroitin sulfate along with six other joint enhancing nutrients into a single, comprehensive formula. Dr. Whitaker's patients are reporting excellent results.

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