Sunday July 1, 2012
People with arthritis can try out a new supplement that decreases the levels of certain enzymes that play a role in breaking down our joint structure.
JOINT problems do not only inflict physical suffering upon people with arthritis. The loss of independence also brings with it the loss of dignity.
Things that you once did without a second thought, such as lifting your arm to draw the curtains or bending down to do some gardening, now become a source of frustration.
Joint problems can affect any part of our body. It commonly affects the knees, but can also occur in the shoulders, neck, back, fingers, or anywhere two bones meet.
Millions of people suffer from arthritis of different forms; some of which cause severe joint deformities, or in extreme cases, immobility.
Arthritis is a disease of wear and tear. Due to ageing and continuous usage, our joints become worn out.
One of the biochemical changes indicated in arthritis is an increase in the levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the body.
All of us have certain levels of MMPs that normally exist in a balanced state within our bodies.
In arthritis, the levels of these MMPs are significantly higher, which plays a part in causing our joints to break down.
Although our joints try to correct this condition, they are often unsuccessful because of the persistent high levels of these enzymes.
This eventually leads to the formation of bone spurs, causing limited joint movement and pain.
And to add insult to injury, joint damage further provokes the immune system to trigger inflammatory pathways leading to inflamed, swollen and painful joints.
A natural solution
It was noticed a few decades ago that the native Maoris living along the coast of New Zealand did not suffer so much from arthritis.
This was discovered to be due to their intake of fresh, raw New Zealand green-lipped mussels.
This discovery led to the development and production of a natural extract called Biolane® made from these mussels.
Although it has been sold all over the world since the 1970s, it has only been within the last decade that this extract’s benefits have been scientifically proven.
The mussel extract is able to inhibit the MMPs.
When these enzymes are controlled, it allows the joint to repair and “clean up” the damaged areas.
The extract also has antioxidant properties, and demonstrates several significant anti-inflammatory actions, including preventing immune cells from indiscriminately attacking our joints.
It works differently from the other well-known supplement for arthritis, glucosamine.
Glucosamine can be likened to a supply of raw ingredients for joint cells to utilise to repair damaged cartilage. It does not affect the activities of the MMPs.
Even medical doctors are becoming aware of this extract. In an address to pharmacists at the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society Conference recently, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr Lee Joon Kiong opined: “Community pharmacists play an important role in educating their patients about supplements such as Biolane®. Taking the right dose for long enough makes a significant difference”.
A study led by Drs RV Kendall, JW Lawson and LA Hurley in 2000 showed that the extract had a 70% success rate in allowing participants to lower their non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and painkiller intake, as well as feeling a overall improvement in their condition.
However, patients had to take it for at least three months before the effects were felt.
The study also found that the extract protected against stomach-related side effects of painkillers, with a reduction in gastric lesions by over 50% seen in the participants.
■ This article is courtesy of the Nuvaceuticals Division of Nuvanta Sdn Bhd. For more information, please call 03-55694337/03-5569 3758, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.