Arthritis is a broad term used for several conditions that affect the soft tissues, tendons, muscles, and joints of the body. Most commonly associated with the wear and tear of tissues and muscles that come with old age, arthritis can cause pain, discomfort, and disability in varying degrees.
Arthritis in its varying forms, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, can affect people of any age, although it is most commonly and most prevalent in people over the age of 50.
Arthritis is most commonly treated with anti-inflammatory medication or immunosuppressants, even though these medications tend to provide unsatisfactory success levels and a high number of side effects.
Following several successful clinical trials, there is a large and growing body of evidence to suggest that a long-term, high-dose course of proteolytic enzymes can improve the symptoms and prognosis of arthritis.
The Cause of Arthritis
Despite the sheer number of people that deal with arthritis in one form or another, very little is definitively known about the causes of arthritis. However, scientists who have studied extensively in the field of proteolytic enzymes collectively share the view that arthritis is very closely related to pathogenic immune complexes that, by way of synovial fluid, have infiltrated the cartilage within the affected joint. These scientists argue that the way to deal with arthritis is to detect, degrade, and ultimately dispose of these pathogenic immune complexes.
The Relationship between Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis
In many ways, treating arthritis involves many of the same considerations as treating some of the predominant symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Click for a more general discussion of the role of proteolytic enzymes in the treatment of MS and to find out more about treating multiple sclerosis with proteolytic enzymes.
Of course, there are several important differences between multiple sclerosis and arthritis, most notably regarding the sense of hopelessness that MS patients and their families deal with every day. While it is certainly true that arthritis can have an increasingly debilitating effect on a person’s body, particularly relating to fine motor skills using the fingers, the prognosis for an arthritis patient is notably more positive than that for someone dealing with multiple sclerosis. While MS is a disease that will shorten the lifespan of its patients, people dealing with arthritis must deal with ongoing pain and lessening mobility, but not the shortening of the lifespan itself.
Common Arthritis Treatments
A number of different methods for treating arthritis have been trialed over the years, each providing limited success. Treatment with steroid hormones was initially thought to be the successful arthritis cure that had long been searched for since it can both provide quick alleviation of arthritic symptoms while simultaneously halting the further deterioration of the joints. Unfortunately, steroid hormones by their very nature cause the body’s defense system to become suppressed, ultimately leading to other disorders which can provide much greater problems than the initial arthritis being experienced.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories remain a common treatment for arthritis. Ibuprofen, for example, can provide some pain relief and temporarily allow increased mobility in the affected joints. However, such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories do not affect the ongoing degeneration of the arthritic joints. In addition, ongoing use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can break down the body’s natural defense systems which would otherwise prevent stomach acid from attacking the gastrointestinal tract. Similarly, ongoing use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can deplete the body’s supply of platelets and its natural ability to form blood clots. When these defense systems break down, the results can include bleeding and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract.
Known as a basic therapeutic agent, gold has been used to treat arthritis for decades. Gold has been proven to be an effective arthritis treatment for many people, yet has fallen out of favor in recent years due to the prevalence of steroid hormones and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories in more common arthritis treatments. One of the major drawbacks of treating arthritis with gold is the side effects, which affect on average one in every three arthritis patients receiving gold treatments. Gold is also not recommended as a long-term treatment, as it can accumulate in the body and cause skin allergies, anemia, eye problems, and can even cause vascular toxicity. In any event, it seems that the previously reported success rates for gold treatments for arthritis have been exaggerated, with a more realistic expectation being around a 90 percent chance of symptom improvement following gold treatment. This sobering statistic, coupled with the potential for serious long-term side-effects, has seen gold fall out of favor as an effective arthritis treatment.
Proteolytic Enzyme Preparations: New Hope for Arthritic Patients
Proteolytic enzyme treatments can be used to treat the varying symptoms of arthritis, including increasing the patient’s ability to bend their joints, improving grip strength, lessening swelling of the joints, reducing pain, and aiding in reducing morning stiffness.
Proteolytic enzyme preparations are a viable treatment option for arthritis patients and have repeatedly shown to provide all the benefits of gold treatments but without the worrying side-effects. A clinical trial took place in Austria under the supervision of Dr. Klein at the Rehabilitation Centre for Rheumatic Disorders and Cardiovascular Disease over a six-month period in which arthritis patients with varying degrees of severity, and who had been dealing with the disease for varying lengths of time, were treated with either an anti-inflammatory enzyme preparation or gold.
During the clinical study, it became evident that people who had been dealing with arthritis for a longer period were more likely to respond positively to an anti-inflammatory enzyme preparation than gold treatment. It is a well-known property of arthritis that the longer a patient has been dealing with the disease, the harder it is to treat and the less likely it is that the patient will experience any type of reversal of symptoms.
During this clinical trial, however, researchers were surprised to find that even those arthritis patients who had been dealing with arthritis for a long period and whose arthritis was in advanced stages were still able to experience a lessening of symptoms and even a reversal of the progressive nature of the disease.
In addition, the patients showed promising levels of tolerance for the proteolytic enzymes, especially when compared to gold treatments. On average, one in five arthritis patients treated with gold during the clinical trial presented with side-effects, while only one in 20 patients treated with the enzyme preparation had similar complaints. Of further significance is the type of side-effects complained of. As noted above, the side-effects of gold treatments can be worrying and severe and can include anemia, vascular toxicity, problems with the eyes, and skin allergies. Limited side-effects associated with the proteolytic enzyme preparations used in the clinical trial were of much lower severity and included diarrhea, unpleasant-smelling bowel movements, and even simply the number of tablets required to be taken each day.
Following the conclusion of the clinical trial, researchers agreed that the enzyme preparation treatments administered to arthritis patients were not only virtually without side-effects, but also provided favorable outcomes far above those experienced by arthritis patients treated with gold.
Following other clinical trials, more than 1000 arthritis patients were treated by 141 physicians with an enzyme preparation. The results of each treatment were collated and ultimately presented in a clinical report.
Patients with arthritis of different types and of varying severity were treated, and the results reported individually and collaboratively. The final report showed an improvement in 76 to 96 percent of patients. Regarding tolerance, less than one percent of the 1004 patients treated with the enzyme preparation reported side effects or otherwise poor tolerance of the treatment.
The results of these trials and reports are an overwhelming consensus that proteolytic enzyme formulations can significantly reduce symptoms of arthritis, including alleviating pain and increasing levels of movement. In addition, proteolytic enzymes do not just ease current symptoms in the way that a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen can.
Indeed, it has been shown that enzyme preparations can stop the progressive nature of the deterioration of the tissues and joints affected by arthritis.
Vitalzym products are specially formulated preparations combining a specific set of proteolytic enzymes with essential complimentary antioxidants and other naturally-occurring ingredients to provide systematic anti-inflammatory properties to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other conditions, including multiple sclerosis. Check out the full range of Vitalzym products, learn more about World Nutrition’s proprietary formulas, or learn more about the benefits of systemic enzyme therapy.