Three Nutrients for Your Aching Joints

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

May 20, 2015

  • Acetaminophen for Arthritis? Think again.
  • Shut down arthritis pain at the source
  • Build stronger joints without adding to wear and tear

As a regular reader of Advanced Natural Wellness, you probably know my views on acetaminophen.

Just a small amount of acetaminophen can damage the cells in your liver. And today, acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide. Worse, it’s the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.

Now, you might take acetaminophen regularly for back or arthritis pain. In fact, your doctor probably suggested it. After all, most clinical guidelines recommend it as a first line of defense for these conditions.

But guess what? Now we’re finding it doesn’t even work to stop the pain associated with these health problems! And because it doesn’t work, you’re probably taking more – to get it to work.

  • If you have low back pain, acetaminophen isn’t effective in treating it. It also does nothing to reduce disability or improve your quality of life.
  • What about hip or knee osteoarthritis? The effect of acetaminophen on pain and disability is so small that it’s not even worthwhile.
  • More urgently, patients taking acetaminophen are nearly four times more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests.

Additionally, taking this drug is linked with several adverse events. First and foremost, it increases your risk of mortality. It’s also associated with a higher chance of cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems and renal disease.

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Considering that acetaminophen doesn’t appear to reduce pain levels, these are some pretty serious health threats. And you’ll also find acetaminophen in several over-the-counter pain relievers. Some of the most popular include Tylenol, Excedrin and Anacin. It’s also found in many prescription meds, like vicodin, tramadol, percocet and oxycodone.

Today, let’s take a look at a real solution to those aching and cracking joints.

Osteoarthritis is generally caused by a breakdown in your joint cartilage. This can happen for many different reasons: being overweight, a joint injury, or simply stress on the joints from a specific job or sport.

Here’s the problem: Most of the cartilage in your joints is comprised of collagen. As it breaks down and becomes exposed, your immune response goes into overdrive. It’s this inflammatory reaction that produces pain. It also increases the amount of cartilage being destroyed.

Well, acetaminophen won’t do a single thing to shut down that response. And nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen can actually make things worse. These medications are known to accelerate the breakdown of joint cartilage and prevent the formation of new cartilage. They can literally speed up the progression of arthritis!

On the other hand, you don’t want to suffer from painful arthritis in the knees, hips or back as you get older. So the key is to manage pain while shutting down inflammation for good.

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A favorite of mine for joint pain is green lipped mussel extract.

It’s high in something called “furan” fatty acids. These fatty acids scavenge damaging free radicals. Just 150 mg. daily can reduce joint tenderness, morning stiffness and improve pain levels.

I also like an enzyme found in pineapple, called bromelain. It helps stop fibrin from building up around your joints.

Fribin is a protein that races to wounded areas to protect them. But it tends to build up and form deposits in damaged tissue. This creates an inflammatory response.

Bromelain can stop fibrin from building up. I recommend 200 mg daily to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling.

Here’s one more tip to get those joints jumping again.

The best way to beat the pain and stiffness of arthritis is to keep moving. It’s probably the most important thing you can do to support healthy joints.

Now I know it can sometimes be difficult to remain active when you’re in pain. So here’s a neat trick…

Try aquatic exercise. All you need is access to a swimming pool, lake or ocean. The water keeps you buoyant, which reduces the impact on your joints. So you can jog in place, perform jumping jacks or just swim without putting any wear and tear on your joints.

This low-impact type of exercise is easy to do. Better yet, it can strengthen your joints while significantly relieving the aches and pains associated with arthritis.

Larson AM, et al. Acute Liver Failure Study Group (ALFSG). Acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure: results of a United States multicenter, prospective study. Hepatology, 2005 Dec; 42(6):1364-72.

Machado GC, et al. Efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo controlled trials. BMJ. 2015 Mar 31;350:h1225.

Roberts E, et al. Paracetamol: not as safe as we thought? A systematic literature review of observational studies. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Mar 2. pii: annrheumdis-2014-206914.

Adrese M. et al. Recognition of Immune Response for the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoarthritis. Journal of Immunology Research, Article ID 192415, in press.

Hauser, R. The Acceleration of Articular Cartilage Degeneration in Osteoarthritis by Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2010;(2)1:305-322.

Crowley DC, et al. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. Int J Med Sci. 2009 Oct 9;6(6):312-21.

Gibson SL, et al. The treatment of arthritis with a lipid extract of Perna canaliculus: a randomized trial. Comp Ther Med 1998;6:122–6.

Taussig SJ, et al. Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (Ananas comosus) and its clinical application. An update. J Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Feb-Mar;22(2):191-203

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