Bone and Joint Health 101 – Part 1
By Gloria Gilbère, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D.
In my clinical experience with thousands of FMS/CFS clients, I’m asked daily to explain specific terms used in supplements, and what makes-up bone and joint health. Clients also want to know what natural ingredients can be used to not only manage soft and connective tissue pain and inflammation, but how to reverse it. The following definitions are important; however, equally as important is to keep in mind that we must also address detoxification procedures and elimination of the group of foods called the “nightshades” in order to obtain long-term wellness.
Glucosamine: What It Is and What It Does
Glucosamine is the agent that restores cartilage by providing the material needed for chondrocytes to regenerate cartilage tissue. It makes up the building blocks in the body that build cartilage, eases pain and connective tissue inflammation (as in fibromyalgia and arthritis) and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Glucosamine molecules are quite small, allowing for rapid absorption into the intestinal tract, subsequently easily distributed to bones and cartilage. Because of rapid absorption, sources of Glucosamine extracted from crab, lobster or shrimp shells are not considered a good source because of the potential for heavy metal contamination. For this reason, it’s imperative that the source of Glucosamine is fully absorbable and, most of all, from a natural whole food source.
Chondroitin: What It Is and What It Does
Cartilage contains chondroitin sulfate, believed to function by drawing fluid into the tissue to give it elasticity and slowdown degeneration by protecting it from enzyme destruction. Cartilage alone, containing no blood supply, presents a challenge in transporting new material to where it is needed most.
Studies show that chondroitin supplementation slows joint degeneration, improves function and eases pain. Nourishing connective tissue and cartilage is essential for cushioning the joints – a type of shock absorber. The body depends on specific nutrients to assist in maintaining healthy cartilage and connective tissue. Research indicates that chondroitin sulfate can assist the body in its ongoing production and repair process.
Chondroitin sulfate assists in maintaining healthy synovial fluid levels, the fluid found between joints that keep them well-cushioned and hydrated. It also works in synchronicity with vitamin C in the production and stabilization of collagen, the chief fibrous protein component of connective tissue.
Cartilage: What It Is and What It Does
Cartilage is a specialized form of a very dense connective tissue. It consists of cells embedded in a firm, compact ground substance or matrix. It constitutes part of the skeleton, and is found in parts of the nose, ribs, ears, throat, between the vertebrae, and covers the surface of bones. It is composed of chiefly water, collagen, and a group of compounds called glycosaminoglycans – the main one being chondroitin sulfate.
Collagen: What It Is and Where It Is Contained
Collagen is the principle structural protein in cartilage – providing strength, flexibility and joint support. According to recent studies at HarvardUniversityMedicalSchool, Type II Collagen derived from Chicken Cartilage works in synchronicity with the immune system when the collagen used is free of chemical processing or high temperature heating. In addition, studies also show this type of collagen promotes healthy joints and improves mobility and flexibility. Type II Chicken Collagen is used in many products. However, it is imperative that this collagen is derived from free-range chickens; free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and insecticides.
Since the source is a whole food concentrate,itallows maximum absorption, and has no known side-effects. It is naturally accepted for absorption to the body because it recognizes the molecular structure as a whole food. This type of collagen maintains its integrity and molecular configuration; meaning the molecule hasn’t been altered through chemical processing or high temperatures.
The Role of Calcium
All of us hear of the importance of calcium to bone health. What we don’t hear is that without the correct balance of minerals, the calcium is either not absorbed, or is “stored” in unhealthy amounts in various organs – possibly manifesting as bone spurs, or calcium deposits on joints, and kidney stones, to name a few.
A natural mineral combination is vital for maintaining proper chemical balance and keeping the calcium in solution (fluid); preventing it from depositing in joints and other areas.
The mineral combination must be in a form that is absorbed with ease for even the most compromised digestive systems. Since maximum absorption is critical to bone health, the source must be bio-available.
It is, therefore, critical that we supplement our minerals and electrolytes with a substance that will provide maximum absorption from a whole food source. Minerals derived from fresh, goat milk whey is the best source for proper balance. They are essentially predigested and, therefore, the body absorbs them like a sponge.
The Role of pH in Bone Health
Research has confirmed that the standard American diet, high in meat and low in alkalizing fruits and vegetables, leaves an acid residue in the body. This acid residue is associated with bone loss and low bone density. The only mineral I have found that performs the job of supporting bone health, muscle integrity and neutralizes acid waste better than any other form is minerals derived from fresh, free-range, goat milk whey. It’s an innovative concept, but not a new one. It is said that in parts of Eastern Europe, goat milk whey is sold for more money per pound than gold.
In addition to containing more than 20 naturally occurring minerals, necessary for peak performance, goat milk whey contains healthy amounts of sodium to control the acid-alkaline balances, essential for healthy muscles and bones. This type of goat milk whey has been used for decades to promote bone density as well as for its ability to relieve aching, painful joints and connective tissue pain as in fibromyalgia sufferers. (For specific information about the health benefits of goat milk products, please refer to my 80 page book Nature’s Prescription Milk.)
Dr. Gloria Gilbère is internationally respected as an authoritative influence in the discovery of the causes, effects and drug-free solutions for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, leaky gut syndrome and chemically induced immune system disorders. She is author of I was Poisoned by my Body, Invisible Illnesses, Nature’s Prescription Milk and Pain and Inflammation Matters, available at http://fibrocoalition.org/books.php.