Natural Solutions for Joint Pain and Inflammation
Degenerative joint disease, the most common form of arthritis, affects millions of Americans each year. From 2010-2012, an estimated 49.7% of adults 65 years or older reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and an estimated 52.5 million US adults (22.7%) annually received a diagnosis of some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.1 Those are staggering numbers. Symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, and stiffness resulting from a narrowing of the joint space and inflammation. The pain alone can be very debilitating, greatly reducing daily function and quality of life. Joint disease typically affects the knees, hips, hands, and shoulders, especially if any of these areas were subject to injury or trauma.
One strategy for reducing the pain associated with arthritis involves controlling the inflammation at the site. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have historically been taken to ease the pain, but carry with them risks of heart disease, stroke, and gastro-intestinal complications. Practitioners, as well as their patients, are turning to alternative treatments designed to alleviate symptoms by addressing the root cause of the inflammation.
The foundation of health is a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, adequate and restful sleep, and stress management are the building blocks of a healthy and balanced body. When dealing with an acute injury or chronic condition, an extra level of support may be required. There are no contra-indications to health, however; treatments must, first and foremost, do no harm.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy: Systemic enzymes, used throughout Europe and Asia for decades, play an integral role in maintaining and supporting every function within the body. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for thousands of chemical reactions necessary for life. Enzymes are essential for sparking these reactions in the functions of growth, repair, reproduction, digestion, and metabolism system-wide. They also play a key role in regulating inflammation and fibrin in the body, signaling the body when to stop producing fibrin, as well as eliminating excess fibrin that has accumulated.
The strength and concentration of our enzymes is directly related to how well our bodies fight disease and infection, repair injured tissue, and sustain the body’s multitude of functions. Without an adequate supply of systemic enzymes, we can suffer from impairment in digestion, scar tissue/fibrin regulation, blood coagulation, reproduction, respiration, and the immune system. A chief complaint common to all these impairments is pain. Enzymes are truly vital for a healthy body, one that is free of chronic pain.
Systemic enzymes support the health and well-being of the body with their significant ability to:
- Combat chronic inflammation
- Neutralize rogue proteins in the blood that can trigger a hyper-autoimmune response
- Break down excess fibrin that contributes to scar tissue and fibrosis
- Reduce build-up in the arteries thus improving blood flow and circulation
Restoring each of these functions in the body targets specific health concerns and conditions, like arthritis, through the following pathways:
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Regulating the immune system
- Removing excess fibrin and scar tissue
- Restoring healthy blood flow
The Function of Proteolytic Enzymes
Systemic enzymes help prevent the body from excessive self-protection. When a bone, joint, ligament, or muscle is injured, the body builds a protective wall of fibrin around the internal wound, similar to the way a scab facilitates healing of an external injury. The fibrin conducts platelets that release growth factors to the injury. It then forms scar tissue around the injured area to keep it from motion that might make the injury worse. In the early stages of recovery, both inflammation and fibrin (scar tissue) are productive. Failure to turn off this process leads to excess or damaging levels of inflammation and fibrin.
Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme whose main function is to regulate this process, effectively turning off production so as not to build up scar tissue beyond what is necessary and productive. This enzyme simply dissolves fibrin by breaking it down into its proteins. The body’s lymphatic and detoxifying systems can then eliminate these proteins through normal channels.
Removing the excess fibrin and/or resulting scar tissue can help relieve pain and improve range of motion in the affected area. The proteolytic activity of serrapeptase is amplified by other protein-dissolving enzymes, namely bromelain and papain. These co-enzymes are found naturally in pineapples and papaya. A quality systemic enzyme product, like Vitalzym® Xe, may also include the digestive enzymes amylase and lipase to neutralize any partially undigested carbohydrates and fats left lingering in the bloodstream.*
Systemic Enzymes and MSM/Chondroitin/Glucosamine
Methylsulfonylmethane is a chemical compound known commonly as MSM. It occurs in nature, but only in small amounts. For example, you would need to eat approximately two tons of Swiss chard to ingest the amount of MSM in a 300 mg capsule of an MSM supplement.
More than one hundred studies of MSM support its use and efficacy in the treatment of pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with arthritis and sports-related injuries. Glucosamine and chondroitin are often recommended for joint and muscle health. They contain the building blocks for healthy connective tissue, vital in the protection of joints and muscles.
Flexera™ is formulated with the highest quality joint health compounds, including OptiMSM™, BioCell Collagen II™, glucosamine, chondroitin, magnesium, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B complex, and turmeric. Taken in conjunction with the pure, potent, and powerful proteolytic enzyme blend found in Vitalzym® Xe, arthritis sufferers may find the relief they need.*
In addition to superior and targeted supplementation, patients are encouraged to support the pancreas and its efficiency in producing enzymes by regular exercise and healthy nutrition. Exercise and proper human nutrition will ease the burden on the pancreas by reducing its workload. Both these strategies will promote healthy weight management which in turn supports healthy pancreatic function.
Certain foods are highly inflammatory because they release cytokines in the body when ingested. Reducing this activity may be achieved by avoiding the following foods:
- Saturated fats (pizza, cheese, meat, dairy)
- Trans fats (processed/fast foods)
- Omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable oils)
- Refined foods
Increasing foods that naturally reduce inflammation in the body is a major consideration in the treatment of pain and inflammation. To read more about anti-inflammatory foods to include in a weekly nutrition plan, please click here.
A successful strategy for reducing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis includes proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, and the support of Systemic Enzyme Therapy.
For more information on Systemic Enzyme Therapy and how it can support your patients, call us today at 800.548.2710 or fill out the contact form for a dedicated product specialist to contact you.
1 Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Theis KA, Murphy LB, Hootman JM, Brady TJ, et al. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2010–2012. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013;62(44):869-873. PubMed PMID: 24196662