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Innovative Strategies for Managing Joint Pain
By Clair Whiteman, BioGenesis Nutraceuticals

You may be one of the estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from chronic joint pain. This common condition can range from mildly bothersome to extremely debilitating. The predominant cause of joint pain is osteoarthritis, which accounts for nearly half of all cases. However, many other conditions, including food allergies, autoimmunity, and inflammatory diseases can also lead to joint damage and discomfort. The increased understanding of these systemic influences on joint health have led to new and innovative natural therapies that aim to not only work within the joints, but also target the many underlying causes. This modern approach to managing joint pain provides patients with tools that are both natural and effective.

Currently, the nutraceuticals of choice for managing joint pain are glucosamine and chondroitin, two sulfur-containing compounds that help rebuild the organic matrix of the joint. Numerous long-term studies conducted in the 1990s showed that glucosamine supplementation not only reduced joint pain, but also helped to improve joint function and stability. One of the drawbacks of glucosamine supplementation is that due to the body's compromised blood supply to the cartilage, it can often take considerable time, often months, for patients to see results. Combining glucosamine with adjunctive therapy to reduce pain can offer a viable solution. Effective natural agents for pain management include white willow bark, curcumin (turmeric), and ginger, which inhibit the inflammation inducing cycloxygenase enzymes. BioGenesis ArthroGenx combine therapeutic doses of glucosamine and chondroitin, with ginger, turmeric, and rosemary. ArthroGenx also provides boswellia, which has been shown to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

In addition to therapies targeted towards the joint tissue itself, holistic minded practitioners also take into consideration the systemic factors that may contribute to joint inflammation. Inflammatory destruction to the intestinal wall is a common health issue that may be the result of an inflammatory bowel disease, food sensitivities, or other dietary and lifestyle habits. This chronic damage can lead to gaps between the intestinal cells, allowing for the passive absorption of undesirable molecules such as poorly digested proteins and toxins. This phenomenon, referred to as intestinal hyperpermeability or "leaky gut," causes the body to initiate a low grade inflammatory response similar to that seen in an infection. A study conducted by UCLA scientists found that localized unmediated GI inflammation could potentially promote the genetic instability necessary for the development of GI diseases, immune abnormalities, and cancer. These changes could also influence the health of the joints and connective tissues. In addition, strong connections have been found between food sensitivities and joint pain, including celiac's disease (gluten intolerance), and allergies to dairy, corn, and nightshade vegetables. Many arthritic patients experience resolution of symptoms on allergen elimination diets, further establishing the connection between gastrointestinal immune response and rheumatic disorders.

If you are experiencing joint pain without a clear reason, work with your healthcare practitioner on an elimination diet to elucidate possible sensitivities that may be a hidden cause. In addition to eliminating offending foods, utilizing nutraceuticals is a crucial component of healing and restoring intestinal function. One of the most basic and essential components of a gut-healing protocol is glutamine which is necessary for the healthy regeneration of intestinal absorptive cells (enterocytes). BioGenesis Intestinal Repair Complex is a powdered product which combines glutamine and glucosamine along with mucilaginous herbs and enzymes to support regeneration while soothing inflamed tissues. BioGenesis BioInflammatory Functional Food also provides an excellent option for patients looking to heal the joints and GI simultaneously. BioInflammatory is a macronutrient-balanced, low-allergen meal supplement formula which combines gut-healing nutrients, glucosamine, and anti-inflammatory botanicals.

BioGenesis Nutraceuticals emphasizes synergistic products that help reduce pain and discomfort while providing the body with tools to effectively rebuild tissues. Living with chronic joint pain can be frustrating and interfere with daily activities. It is encouraging that natural products may offer a means of resolution for chronic joint discomfort. When combined with natural agents that reduce inflammation and support joint regeneration, a gut-healing protocol can be the final component of providing relief for aching joints.

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