Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes a breakdown of cartilage in the joints. It causes chronic joint pain, swelling, and reduced motion, and usually affects the hands, knees, hips, neck or back. Two recent landmark research studies have been done that tested natural sulfur-containing remedies for osteoarthritis joint relief, which is the most common form of arthritis.
Sulfur-containing compounds such as glucosamine sulfate and MSM hold great promise for people with joint-cartilage problems. They have been shown in studies to remedy arthritis and provide relief. Sulfur is particularly concentrated in the joints, nails, skin, hair and connective tissues and deficiencies in sulfur may lead to arthritis symptoms.
Cartilage is the tough, elastic connective tissue that coats the ends of the bones inside the joints. When cartilage deteriorates, the bones can begin to grind together, causing pain and limitations in movement and flexibility. Up until now,anti-inflammatory drugs have been the most common treatment for arthritis symptoms, but they can have major side effects.
MSM sulfur is a white, water-soluble element found in nature and in foods such as milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. Food processing methods such as heating, washing and freezing, all deplete MSM in foods, making regular replenishment beneficial.
In one study of MSM, University of California School of Medicine professor Ronald Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., followed 16 patients with degenerative arthritis – a form of joint disease. The patients who took MSM daily for six weeks reported arthritis pain relief with an 80 percent reduction in pain. Dr. Lawrence has also conducted studies showing that MSM increases hair growth and brilliance, as well as nail thickness and length.
Glucosamine is licensed in parts of Europe as a drug, but it is widely available in the UK and USA as a nutritional supplement. An arthritis study was published in “The Lancet” that researched the long term use of glucosamine sulphate as a natural arthritis treatment.
Researcher Jean Yves Reginster of Belgium and his colleagues discovered that glucosamine sulphate not only improves the uncomfortable symptoms of arthritis, but can protect and benefit the actual structure of the joints as well. Both MSM and glucosamine are natural substances found in cartilage that may reduce with age.
In the trial, 212 patients with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned 1500 mg. of glucosamine sulphate or placebo once daily for 3 years. Researchers measured the joint space width in the knee joint at the beginning of the study and again after 1 and 3 years.
The patients on placebo had a progressive joint-space narrowing, whereas there was no joint space loss in the patients on glucosamine sulphate. The researchers noted joint pain relief and increased function after treatment with glucosamine.
MSM and glucosamine should be the first natural remedies one turns to if they have arthritis aches and pains.