joint inflammation

  • Bone Broths Are Good For What Ails You

    Bone Broths Are Good For What Ails You Dallas Clouatre

    Bone broths are highly valued for their benefits, especially for joints and the digestive tract. Name almost any major cuisine in the world and broths and stocks are essential components. In pre-late 20th Century households, these liquids provided the foundation for sauces, soups, stews and numerous other products of the kitchen. However, they went beyond this to provide the bases for nutrient rich tonic foods considered to be good for the bones, joints, digestive system, immune system and general vigor.

    The traditional expectations of bone broths are given in numerous books and articles on the topic, but are unlikely to find substantiation as such on PubMed because modern medical research focuses on pure compounds and on items that can be patented. Bone broth benefits from the broths themselves generally are observations from history, not from the scientific literature. For those who are interested, a full history of gelatins and similar usage and science focusing on knowledge and use up to the end of the 19th Century can be found in Gotthoffer, NR, Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine(Graylake IL, Grayslake Gelatin Company, 1945), which can be purchased as a Kindle edition on amazon. Another book on the topic worth reading is Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel. More history, but also modern science focusing on individual broth components is wonderfully reviewed in "Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease," by Allison Siebecker in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (2005).1

    The benefits of traditional bone broth reflect an emphasis on the building blocks for tissues as the sources of repair. The idea is not to substitute for the body’s own mechanisms, but instead to assist the body in making its repairs. In line with this approach, collagen and gelatin components, such as chondroitin sulfate, found in bone broth support the tissues in the body that themselves are constructed or repaired from these components, for example, the joints and their cartilage, the skin, and connective tissues in general. Similarly, minerals from bone broth support or even stimulate the repair of various tissues. Keep in mind that bone broths traditionally were foods, which are to say, consumed in considerable quantity in gram amounts, not milligram amounts. Efficacy in milligrams only is important for tablets and capsules and often focuses only on the narrowest of ranges of benefits. Total Health has touched on this issue before in terms of the entourage effect (September 2015). This issue has been examined in medical circles, for instance, "Whole Food versus Supplement: Comparing the Clinical Evidence of Tomato Intake and Lycopene Supplementation on Cardiovascular Risk Factors."2

    Bone Broth Nutrition Basics
    Before examining one bone broth component–chondroitin sulfate–in depth, below is a short listing of the a few of the nutrients found in bone broths.

    Amino Acids
    Bone broths throughout history have been associated with healing, whether of the gut, the joints, or more generally in response to illness. Part of the reason for this involves immune-supporting amino acids. Depending on the broth, these include arginine, cysteine, glycine and proline. These are found in beef and chicken bones, marrow, etc. Fish broths offer different nutrient mixtures from those found in land-based animal broths. For those interested in the roles of proline and glycine in digestive health, the Weston Price Foundation has published "Why Broth is Beautiful/Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin."3

    Collagen and Chondroitin
    More specific nutrition factors include bioactive Type I and Type II collagen peptides and cartilage chondroitin sulfate. Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, representing about 25-30 percent of total protein in the body. It is the main component of skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bones. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid (a component of Collagen Type II) are the chief components of the extracellular matrix.

    Collagen Type I is associated with the preservation of bone mineral density; in conjunction with hydroxyapatite, it accelerates osteogenesis. There is a further association with the health of the immune system known as oral tolerance that may be important for joint health.

    Collagen Type II is a low molecular weight, water-soluble glycosaminoglycan complex that supports joint health and skin hydration.

    Chondroitin Sulfate acts like a biological version of a "liquid magnet," attracting fluid into proteoglycans, protein chains that form the basis of cartilage and the extracellular matrix. This fluid acts as a shock absorber and also brings nutrients with it into the cartilage. Perhaps of greater significance than its fluid-enhancing properties, chondroitin protects existing cartilage through its modulatory effects on enzymes that degrade cartilage. Furthermore, chondroitin stimulates the production of proteoglycans and collagen that are needed for healthy new cartilage.

    Natural Cartilage Components Heal The Joints
    A just released study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (May 2017) shows that a relatively small quantity of the supplement chondroitin sulfate is effective in improving the symptoms of osteoarthritis.4 Pitted against either the prescription drug celecoxib (Celebrex) or placebo in a blinded trial, 800 mg chondroitin sulfate per day led to improvements in pain and joint function that were significantly greater after six months (chondroitin sulfate) and three months (celecoxib). Joint function improved more quickly in patients taking celecoxib, but there were no overall differences in the effectiveness and the benefit-risk profile strongly favored the chondroitin sulfate treatment. These results should be viewed in light of a 2016 study that demonstrated in a 2-year randomized controlled trial that treatment with 1,200 mg per day chondroitin sulfate was superior to celecoxib in preventing cartilage volume loss.5

    Such results offer the promise of help to large numbers of individuals. Joint pain and connective tissue injuries are amongst the most common complaints of older individuals and affect 15 percent or more Americans whom exhibit some form of arthritis. Not just the elderly, but even young and fit athletes through overuse can exceed the repair capacity of the joints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) can relieve pain and initially help with joint inflammation and swelling, yet at the cost of slowing healing and for some individuals causing irritation and bleeding of the stomach. This has led to a search for alternatives. The idea that natural compounds such as glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate might have therapeutic effects in treating osteoarthritis by providing the substrates for the repair of cartilage has been around since the mid-1950s. Major issues have included determining which forms and how much of such supplements are necessary for benefits. For instance, confirming earlier studies, research published in 2005 involving approximately 1,500 osteoarthritis patients demonstrated that a daily dose of 1,500 mg glucosamine hydrochloride in combination with 1,200 mg chondroitin sulfate was equally as effective with fewer side effects than 200 mg of prescription celecoxib in treating moderate to severe knee pain, albeit relief took longer to appear. At the same forum, it was reported that 1,500 mg glucosamine sulfate was superior to acetaminophen in relief. Both of these studies involved quite large dosages of supplements leaving open the question of whether such large amounts are necessary. The 2017 study demonstrated efficacy with a dose of chondroitin sulfate that was less than half of that which had been tested previously and shown to be effective.

    Study Summary
    Chondroitin sulfate is a sulfated glycosami¬noglycan composed of chains of alternating D-glu¬curonic acid and N-acetyl-Dgalactosamine.6 It is a major component of cartilage, a tissue in which it exists attached to proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are commonly described as looking like tree trunks with many branches to which are connected bottle brush-like bristles. Chondroitin sulfate is especially important in joint synovial fluid and for the fluid-retaining qualities of the proteoglycans.7 In the 2017 study, the primary issue was whether chondroitin sulfate could be effectively used for long-term treatment of osteoarthritis, in particular in an aging population.

    For study purposes, 604 patients diagnosed with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to one of three daily treatments in what is known as a double-blind, double-dummy design. In the chondroitin sulfate group, 199 patients were given 800 mg chondroitin sulfate; the second group made up of 200 patients received 200 mg celecoxib; the third group consisting of 205 patients received dummy tablets. Pain, joint function, and overall patient acceptability were assessed using validated scoring systems on days 30, 91 and 182. Improvements in pain and joint function were significantly greater after six months (chondroitin sulfate) and three months (celecoxib). Joint function improved more quickly in patients taking celecoxib, but there were no overall differences in the effectiveness. The benefit-risk profile favored the chondroitin sulfate treatment, meaning benefits fewer or no side effects.

    The authors of the study concluded that a daily dose of 800 mg of pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate was better than a dummy product and as good as celecoxib in reducing pain and improving joint function in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. However, the researchers advised care in selecting the form of chondroitin sulfate utilized: "Chondroitin sulfate is available as pharmaceutical-grade and nutraceutical-grade products, the latter exhibiting striking variations in preparation, composition, purity as well as clinical effects." In other words, the quality of the vendor should be the guide to choosing a product.

    Chondroitin Sulfate Heals More Than The Joints
    Chondroitin sulfate has many roles in the body other than in contributing to the health of the joints. Connective tissues which depend upon chondroitin sulfate are widely dispersed, which is to say that they are found not only as cartilage, but also as bone, tendon, skin, blood vessel walls, and mucous membranes. Any one or all of these tissues may benefit from supplementation with chondroitin sulfate.

    Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is a case in point. Over a six-year period in a study involving one hundred and twenty subjects already suffering from diagnosed atherosclerosis and undergoing medical treatment, the group which supplemented daily with 1,500 mg of chondroitin sulfate fared strikingly better. The supplemented group had only one third as many deaths (4 versus 13) and one seventh the number of total cardiovascular incidents of types (6 versus 42). Inasmuch as this study lasted for six years, the safety of a large daily ingestion of chondroitin sulfate also was shown.

    Chondroitin sulfate has a number of effects that have been demonstrated, but not always clearly explained. For instance, mucopolysaccharides in some tests have proven to be interesting immunomodulators that increased immune activity when it was too low and helped to turn it down when it was too high, such as in autoimmune conditions. Chondroitin sulfate has anti-inflammatory benefits and wound healing benefits. Some tests have indicated that chondroitin sulfate can help to regulate normal cell division. The range of benefits becomes clearer when it is realized that the following items all contain forms of chondroitin: bone broths, bovine cartilage extracts, shark cartilage extracts, extracts from sea cucumber and the green-lipped mussel.

    Conclusions
    Bone broths no doubt date back to prehistoric times and are staples in a number of established medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. The principles remain the same today as in centuries past. Mineral and protein-rich broths containing the building blocks of the digestive system and connective tissues are surprisingly versatile in helping the body to heal itself. Although modern medical research typically does not examine complex food such as bone broths, research into the benefits of individual components often yields impressive results. Chondroitin sulfate is a case in point. Properly made, even seemingly small amounts can yield joint health benefits equal to those found with modern drugs along with other benefits, such as for the cardiovascular system. But why depend on pills when you can brew bone broth yourself?

    References:

    1. http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2005/broth0205.htm
    2. Burton-Freeman B, Sesso HD. Whole food versus supplement: comparing the clinical evidence of tomato intake and lycopene supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors. Adv Nutr. 2014 Sep;5(5):457–85.
    3. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/why-broth-is-beautifulessential-roles-for-proline-glycine-and-gelatin/
    4. Reginster JY, Dudler J, Blicharski T, Pavelka K. Pharmaceutical-grade Chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT). Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 May 22. pii: annrheumdis-2016–210860. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016–210860. [Epub ahead of print]
    5. Pelletier JP, Raynauld JP, Beaulieu AD, Bessette L, Morin F, de Brum-Fernandes AJ, Delorme P, Dorais M, Paiement P, Abram F, Martel-Pelletier J. Chondroitin sulfate efficacy versus celecoxib on knee osteoarthritis structural changes using magnetic resonance imaging: a 2-year multicentre exploratory study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2016 Nov 3;18(1):256.
    6. Martel-Pelletier J, Farran A, Montell E, et al. Discrepancies in composition and biological effects of different formulations of chondroitin sulfate. Molecules2015;20:4277–89.
    7. Crolle G, D’Este E. Glucosamine sulphate for the management of arthrosis: a controlled clinical investigation. Curr Med Res Opin. 1980;7(2):104–9.
  • Curcumin A Natural Treatment for Depression

    Depression now affects one in ten adults in the U.S. and is projected to be the second leading cause of disability in the world by the year 2020. Depression is also one of the leading causes of workplace healthcare expense, costing employers and employees billions of dollars in medical costs, absenteeism, and presenteeism. Attempts to find a medication to treat depression have been going on for over 50 years with surprisingly poor results. Some evidence indicates that response rates to the top medications are often as low as 17 percent and about 63 percent of patients experience side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and thoughts of suicide.

    In 2013 there was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing curcumin to Prozac and curcumin was just as effective, but without the potentially harmful side effects. Over time most prescription medications lose their effectiveness while producing ever-increasing negative side effects. Curcumin, on the other hand, has increasingly beneficial side effects including improved attentiveness, better sleep, emotions and learning. It accomplishes this through the increase of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine as well as the reduction of inflammation in the brain.

    It should be noted that the curcumin used in the above mentioned study was a special form of curcumin called BCM-95. The form is seven times more bioavailable than any other form of curcumin.

    There are some even more significant positive side effects or benefits to taking curcumin beyond its ability to improve brain function. Curcumin also suppresses the growth of inflammatory cells in our joints, thus helping to prevent and even reverse many cases of osteoarthritis. By preventing the breakdown of joint-lining cartilage curcumin has even been shown to provide significant relief for people with rheumatoid arthritis, a genetic and more difficult to treat disease.

    And finally, curcumin may very well be one of the leading natural methods for the prevention and the treatment of cancer. Scientific evidence has shown the ability of curcumin to help in the following types of cancer: breast; uterine; cervical; prostate; brain; lung; throat; bladder; pancreas and gastrointestinal. Curcumin actually has been shown to intervene and disrupt cancer at virtually every stage of its development. It achieves this primarily through the suppression of inflammation, which is one of the major contributors to most forms of cancer. By preventing the proliferation, migration and thus the very survival of cancer, curcumin helps the body's natural defense mechanisms, as well as the conventional and the natural treatments that have been proven to kill cancer cells. This natural compound derived from the spice turmeric deserves serious consideration for the treatment of depression as well as the other chronic diseases mentioned here.

  • Sierrasil, A Joint Pain Product That Works, Naturally

    Results from a clinical trial published in the international Journal of Inflammation demonstrate that SierraSil®, a powerful, uniquely balanced blend of numerous naturally occurring macro and trace minerals, is safe and effective for significantly decreasing pain and inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis.*

    Mark Miller, Ph.D., and Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences and Pediatrics at Albany Medical College (NY), supervised the study and was instrumental in the in-depth analysis of its data. “SierraSil,” said Miller, “may offer exciting new approaches to limiting the joint destruction and lack of mobility associated with arthritis.”

    The SierraSil product for this study was provided by Sierra Mountain Minerals, Inc. Michael Bentley, the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, is more than pleased with this latest testament to the effectiveness of SierraSil.

    “We know from past trials, patient testimonials and reports from physicians that SierraSil improves joint mobility and flexibility,”* said Bentley. “Now, we see how important it can be as a support to those suffering from the pain of osteoarthritis.”*

    An emerging supplement in the battle against inflammation, SierraSil is found only in the high Sierra Mountains.

    The human body can make many vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and their derivative molecules, but it cannot make a single mineral. Due to mineral depletion in soil, some doctors say people cannot rely on getting all of these necessary nutrients from food. Also, when minerals are not consumed in adequate amounts, the body will resort to stealing minerals from its fluids, soft tissues and bones.

    That’s why many health professionals advise people to use supplements rich in macro and trace minerals. SierraSil is considered an excellent mineral supplement because it is comprised of numerous naturally occurring macro- and trace minerals including calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, vanadium, chromium, boron and molybdenum in a form that possesses unusual health-promoting properties.

    SierraSil helped pro golfer Ken Venturi. A former US Open Champion and 1964 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, Venturi gave up playing golf due to hand injuries. Finally, after a distinguished 35-year career of broadcasting as CBS Golf Analyst, Ken is playing golf again—thanks to SierraSil. Venturi says, “I believe in this product so very much that I’m willing to endorse it. It can help you, because it helped me. And what it’s done for me most of all, it’s given me back the game of golf, which I love so much. Without it I wouldn’t be able to hit golf balls.”

    Is Ken alone in his discovery? Absolutely not! Al Stonehouse, Senior Men’s Captain at Kelowna Golf and Country Club read about Ken’s success with SierraSil and gave it a try. “I have achieved remarkable success with SierraSil,” Stonehouse said. “Normally I am very reluctant to try any form of drug or supplement but after reading about the success achieved by Ken Venturi, I decided to give it a try. Within days I noticed improved flexibility with my golf swing, increased driving distance and reduced carpal-tunnel pain in my hands. It’s great to be able to play three to four rounds a week and not have to go through the pain and suffering that I had been accustomed to for the past few years. I’m hitting the ball further than ever! I have had no hesitation in recommending SierraSil to my golfing friends. Thanks for making golf the pleasurable experience it should be.”

    SierraSil is completely natural and vegetarian. It contains no glucosamine or chondroitin and exhibits beneficial properties even in small amounts. Only two to three grams a day are needed. Unlike other well-known joint support supplements, like glucosamine and chondroitin, which reportedly take up to three months to work, many SierraSil users are reporting noticeable benefits in less than two weeks.*

    The past Vioxx recall led a number of health care professionals and consumers to take a closer look at natural approaches to joint health. Even the Arthritis Foundation, which only twelve years ago discouraged the use of supplements, is now encouraging its members to explore exercise, a healthy diet and dietary supplements. “Dietary supplements present a safe and effective long-term option, and consumers have a wide range of options when deciding which approach is right for them,” said James LaValle, R.Ph., N.D., an expert on naturopathic medicine. “The Vioxx recall should serve as a wake-up call. The truth of the matter is that in some cases there are serious side effects with prescription drugs,” Dr. LaValle said. “The good news is that there are safe and effective dietary supplements that are a better first choice for improving joint health.”

    For more information please visit www.SierraSil.com.

    The complete clinical trial report is available at the Journal of Inflammation's website:
    www.journal-inflammation.com/content/2/1/11/abstract.

  • SierraSil: A New Joint Pain Solution

    Some diseases, or health conditions, seem to be women’s issues. Arthritis and osteoporosis are in that category. Although men also struggle with joint inflammation and bone loss, the literature focuses on women. Are women at greater risk? According to the research, they are. Over 50 percent of women will suffer an osteoporotic bone break, while just one in eight men will experience an episode of fracture due to bone loss. Arthritis statistics are similar. While younger men are more likely to experience arthritis, due to accidents and injuries, the disease is three times more prevalent in women after the age of 45.


    The bones and joints are not the only parts of the body affected by inflammation. Research now correlates chronic inflammation with obesity, hypothyroidism, heart disease (yes, heart disease is a woman’s issue), diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is clear, then, that if women are to thrive through their senior years, they must develop a strategy for dealing with “the body on fire.”

    Fortunately, minerals from the rocky reaches of the Sierra Nevada mountains provide an excellent way to dampen the fires of inflammation, wherever they occur in the body. SierraSil® is a blend of over 65 naturally-occurring minerals that have been shown, in both in vitro and human studies, to “shut off the genetic switch to inflammation.”

    What Is It About Minerals?
    When we discuss chronic inflammation, we seldom mention minerals, but these essential nutrients play a vital role in bone and joint integrity, and they confer powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. The research community is just now delving into the world of minerals and beginning to understand their diverse and complex roles in the human body. They participate in the structural integrity of the body and catalyze enzymatic reactions. They help regulate the pH of the body.

    One of the most important tasks of minerals, particularly the unique blend of minerals in SierraSil, is that they help regulate the genetic expression of inflammation. To understand how this works, Sierra Mountain Minerals embarked on a series of human studies to assess both the safety and efficacy of SierraSil. One hundred twenty study participants were asked to answer the following question: Is SierraSil safe, and is SierraSil effective in reducing osteoarthritis symptoms?

    The treatment protocol lasted for eight weeks, and at the conclusion of the trial, researchers and patients found that every marker of arthritis (pain, stiffness and function) was greatly improved. Equally important, SierraSil was completely safe.

    SierraSil has been used clinically to relieve the pain of injury, fibromyalgia, colitis, and many other sources of pain. Benefits generally appear within seven to ten days, and without side effects. The recommended dose is three capsules each morning on an empty stomach.

    One medical doctor in Canada is testing C-reactive protein levels (a marker for inflammation) in his pain patients who have been using SierraSil for several years, and finds that their inflammatory markers are low, a sign that the inflammation, wherever it has lodged in the body, is abating.

    What else can women (and men) do to improve joint and bone health? Remove inflammatory foods like red meat, sugar, alcohol, and grains from the diet. Red meat contains a fatty acid called arachidonic acid, a precursor to pro-inflammatory hormones called eicosanoids. Grains, sugar and alcohol are highly acidic foods; low pH levels are associated with inflammation. Grains, particularly wheat and corn, are problematic in terms of allergies, an inflammatory process.

    An anti-inflammatory diet provides seven to eight servings of fresh vegetables per day, plenty of oils like fish, flax and olive oil, and good sources of protein like organic poultry, wild-raised seafood and lamb (preferably organic).

    Lifestyle factors can be either pro- or anti-inflammatory as well. Get plenty of sleep; it is during the dark hours of the night that the body repairs itself and the bones are built. Stress can heighten inflammation. Women often juggle two full-time jobs: employment outside the home and the care of the home and family. Since they seldom take time to rest and recover, the continual stress can cause pain.

    Restoring the integrity of the bones and resolving joint inflammation starts with diet and lifestyle, but well-chosen supplements are a vital part of the diet. Since both osteoporosis and arthritis share a common link in inflammation, as well as the other “illnesses of inflammation,” it makes sense to supplement with an anti-inflammatory mineral blend like SierraSil.