Rebuilding Cartilage


Apr 07
Painful Knee

If we’re going to rebuild cartilage, we have to take in all those things that make up our cartilage, and a few things to cool down the fire and protect it.

You Are What You Eat

For your body to make anything, it must have all the ingredients. Even if your body synthesizes a chemical, the ingredients that must be used in the synthesis process must exist. And where are they found?

One of my favorite teaching memes is this:

In high school biology, there is a question on every final exam: Where does your blood (red blood cells, most of your white blood cells, and platelets) come from? Where do they start?

The answer, of course, is the “bone marrow.”

However, in Chinese Medicine, that answer is quite different.

“They start on the end of your fork.”

Everything in your body begins on the end of your fork. We are, in the end, what we eat.

Therefore, and this is very simple logic, for your body to make cartilage, it needs all of the ingredients.

Continuing on with simple logic, if you are reading this, we can assume that you not only want to rebuild cartilage, you are suffering from a tinge of arthritis too. So, you will want to skim our huge article on Chronic Inflammation and choose a number of foods and supplements you’ll want to take while rebuilding cartilage. We will also be adding to those things here in this article, specifically for combating osteoarthritis (OA).

The Ingredients

Heads up here, because we’ve joined an affiliate program for a product that contains almost everything you need to make new cartilage. Yes, you are free to add to it. And yes, we here use these products because, well, they are the best on the market. And we have searched high and low for the best products because we are worth the best.

Are you?

Of course you are.

So let’s start listing them.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin sulfate: Who hasn’t heard of these two sulfates? I put them together because they are sold together and listed together. Personally, I’ve never heard of one without the other. And there is only one problem with glucosamine is that someone started a rumor that people with shellfish allergies should not take it. That seems to be a myth that is commonly accepted, for as you can see here:

Shellfish allergy is caused by IgE antibodies to antigens in the flesh of the shellfish and not the shell; therefore it should be safe for patients with shellfish allergy to take glucosamine supplements. With approval from the Saint Louis University Institutional Review Board, patients with shellfish allergy were identified on the basis of history and positive skin test responses on chart review. [Ref]

And because of the myth, non shellfish derived glucosamine sales are up. We recommend Swanson’s because you can’t beat the price and they are our best affiliate program (and you bet we buy from them; today, as I write this, they are preparing an order that was nearly $200.00 for us). Here is a link to their Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplements (some come with sulfur).

Hyaluronan (Hyaluronic acid or HA): both injected and oral forms have been shown stop the progression of OA and improves angiogenesis (allowing blood to flow to the location), and as a positive effect on the growth of chondrocytes (cells that secrete the matrix of cartilage). Some people swear by creams with HA, because it penetrates so well. [Ref1, Ref2]. Swanson’s even has a version with both glucosamine and chondroitin.

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe): If you’ve heard of this, you’ve probably heard it in connection with depression. It is also used to treat liver disease and OA. If you are deficient in SAMe, the integrity of your cartilage is compromised. At Swanson’s they write: “SAMe works to promote both joint mobility and emotional stability.”

Antioxidants: We need antioxidants. Period. Numerous studies have shown them helpful in preventing and treating OA, but here are two:

  1. Associations between dietary antioxidants intake and radiographic knee osteoarthritis.
  2. Association Between Dietary Intake of Antioxidants and Prevalence of Femoral Head Cartilage Defects and Bone Marrow Lesions in Community-based Adults.

Niacinamide: Or as most know it, Niacin. Warning: never use time released niacin. Your author didn’t listen to the warnings, thinking they were silly, and passed out while driving, and suffered visual hallucinations. Personally, I don’t even know why the product is made. But niacin, taken twice daily (it passes through you quickly) “improved the global impact of osteoarthritis, improved joint flexibility, reduced inflammation, and allowed for reduction in standard anti-inflammatory medications when compared to placebo.” [Ref]Reeds Ginger Brew

Ginger: In our paper Chronic Inflammation, we talked about ginger, and a recent study [Ref] found that a combination of this and Echinacea purpurea worked for people who were not responding to NSAIDs. Ginger just inhibits inflammatory cytokines (and if you make stir fries, you need to use a lot of ginger). There is also some real ginger ales that have real ginger that you can find everywhere (Reed’s is one of the best). They’re great for stomach disorders and stomach flu too, and great for kids. Just make sure you sip them slowly.

Ashwagandha, Boswellia, and Curcumin: These are quite literally the ABCs of healing OA. And they work together synergistically, meaning they work better together than they do separately. We found an ashwagandha at Swanson’s that is the top of the line, and their boswellia is very afordable. There are three forms of curcumin that we’ve used and they are all top of the line.

  1. NOW Foods CurcuFRESH 
  2. LifeForce by the Ecklonia Cava people
  3. Global Healing Center’s Turmeric

Proteolytic Enzymes: They are bromelain, chymotrypsin, papain, rutin, trypsin and a few others. Again, we talked about them in our paper Chronic Inflammation, and though you can purchase many of these separately, the best of the best is always going to be Wobenzyme®. You’ll find the best price on Wobenzyme® at Swanson’s. 

Finally, to rebuild cartilage (collagen) you’re goiVital Proteinsng to need collagen. As stated in our article Chronic Inflammation, the products we use are from Vital Proteins and they not only contain the amino acids required to rebuild cartilage, they contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.