Article by Angela Haldane
Q. My friend has been trying glucosamine with chondroitin for aches in joints, she has found it has not helped with pain in the hand/thumb joints but has in ankle, what do you think what could she try?
A. Chondroitin sulphate is an endogenous glycosaminoglycan (GAG) – it is also consumed in diets containing meats. Although chondroitin sulphate is often referred to as a singular (homogenous) substance, it is actually several compounds. Chondroitin sulphate is mostly bound to collagen and serves as constituents of the fundamental substance of connective tissue thereby preventing joint destruction.
In regard to joint inflammation, chondroitin may reduce inflammation owing to its powerful antioxidant abilities and it may inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells in an allergic condition.
The chondroitin 4-sulphate stimulates the synthesis of endogenous glucosamine by chondroblasts (cartilage forming cells) which is beneficial for osteoarthritis patients. Recent studies have shown that supplements of chondroitin AND glucosamine work better than when taken singularly.
I recommend a specialised formula designed to improve joint/cartilage function and treat osteoarthritis which contains chondroitin sulphate combined with glucosamine and methyl sulfonylmethane (MSM) and vital cofactors such as selenium, boron, and silica.
To address the pain in the hand and thumb joints I would recommend some excellent herbal medicine treatments such as ginger, devils claw or boswellia. These are available from your registered medical herbalist (MNZAMH) or naturopath.
Try to eliminate any food intolerances, this can markedly improve joint inflammation also. Have a read about the allergy test which we do at the clinic (under the About section).
Fish oils which are rich in omega 3 are also good for reducing pain and inflammation.