Osteoarthritis is a slow and debilitating condition that is extremely common in ageing populations. Indeed it is thought that approximately 80% of us will have some form of the condition by the time we reach our mid 70s. New research from Germany, however, suggests that a combination of omega-3 and glucosamine is even more effective than glucosamine alone in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
During the progression of osteoarthritis the cartilage, which acts to protect the bone in our joints, gradually wears, roughens and thins, causing the bone underneath to thicken considerably. As this bone grows and develops ‘spurs’ (small rough growths of bone), the amount of synovial fluid between the joints increases. This can cause swelling and inflammation in the joint, resulting in mild to moderate, sometimes even intense, pain depending on the severity of the disease.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are routinely prescribed, but with these come unpleasant side-effects such as indigestion, diarrhoea, ankle swelling and skin rashes. NSAIDs can also have detrimental effects on the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems, and recent research suggests that long-term use of NSAIDs in adults over 65 increases the risk of dementia. It is not surprising therefore that alternative treatments or preventative measures are of interest.
The use of glucosamine in the treatment of osteoarthritis has been widely studied and has well documented therapeutic benefits in alleviating the pain and disability of the condition. Since glucosamine is a precursor of glycosaminoglycans, the major component of joint cartilage, it is not surprising that supplementing can help to prevent cartilage degeneration and treat arthritis. This recent study, in which glucosamine was combined with omega-3 fatty acids, suggests that even greater benefits can be seen in patients with osteoarthritis compared with glucosamine alone.
Omega-3 fatty acids, with particular reference to the long-chain fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), have well documented anti-inflammatory properties which are well known to give relief to may inflammatory conditions. EPA is a direct precursor to anti-inflammatory hormone-like substances called eicosanoids, which effectively work in the same way as NSAIDs, but without the side effects associated with these pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, EPA and glucosamine can be taken long-term to aid joint health and mobility, whereas NSAIDs cannot. What this study suggests is that omega-3 and glucosamine work together synergistically, providing a two-pronged attack on deteriorative joint conditions. EPA provides natural relief from pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis, whilst glucosamine supports the rebuilding of lost and degraded cartilage.
Our patented health supplement OmegaFlex combines glucosamine hydrochloride with pure EPA omega-3 fish oil, in a nourishing formula with anti-inflammatory GLA and oleic acid. These scientifically-supported natural ingredients relieve inflammation and pain, and help to rebuild joint cartilage. Taking 6 OmegaFlex capsules daily (recommended adult dosage) provides the necessary nutrients to protect against the wear and tear of age and activity, helping to keep you mobile for longer.
Breitner JC, Haneuse SJ, Walker R, Dublin S, Crane PK, Gray SL, Larson EB. (2009) Risk of dementia and AD with prior exposure to NSAIDs in an elderly community-based cohort. Neurology. 72: 1899-905. Epub 2009 Apr 22.
Gruenwald J, Petzold E, Busch R, Petzold HP, Graubaum HJ. (2009) Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis. Adv Ther. [Epub ahead of print]