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Joint Pain - Hyaluronic Acid May Provide Relief

posted Apr 11, 2016, 2:26 PM by Walk Strong Calgary
The US federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that one in three adults is affected by the number one cause of disability in America - arthritis. Stiffness, inflammation and pain can keep patients on the couch, yet we know that inactivity brings its own set of health concerns such as risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Inactivity can also make painful joints worse according to Dr. Jason Theodosakis in an article in Total Health Magazine

There are treatment options, some of which improve function in addition to treating pain. One of these options involves injecting hyaluronic acid (HA) into the affected joint, a treatment that's been available since the 90's. According to Dr. Theodosakis, HA is essential for healthy cartilage and is "the principal functional component of synovial fluid" - the 'juice in our joints.' With osteoarthritis, HA levels in the joints drop, sometimes up to 75% or more depending on severity, which changes the consistency of synovial fluid, which should be thick and glutinous. As a result, there's less shock absorption and lubrication. With these injections (viscosupplementation), lubrication is restored and the joint is stimulated to produce more HA. According to the Banff Sport Medicine Clinic, 75% of patients treated see an improvement in symptoms. 

Aside from some risk factors listed in a handout provided by the Banff Sport Medicine Clinic, there's
also a cost involved, depending on your medical coverage (the benefits of the injections last from 2-6 months). 

Hyaluronic acid is also available as an oral supplement, and according Dr. Theodosakis, these can be quite effective, provided they're of high quality sources. He recommends a concentrated extraction from avian cartilage over either animal extractions (mixed with large amounts of inactive collagen) or supplements derived from fermentation of bacteria, which doesn't have some of the natural active components found in avian cartilage. 

Talk with your doctor about which option is best for you, and if you opt for oral supplementation, speak with your local health food store about how the products they carry are derived - if they don't know, ask them to find out. Prices likely vary, but I've seen a couple of sources who carry 60-capsule bottles for just under $40 Cdn. 


Nancy Ehle is a Certified Walk Leader and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She holds several other industry certifications and specialties including Sports Nutrition, Health Coach, and Pilates Instructor. Her passion for helping people achieve their wellness goals is infectious! Follow her on Facebook and Twitter: facebook.com/WalkStrongCalgary twitter.com/NEhle99

The above article is for information only and is not meant to serve as medical advice. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise programs or supplementation regimes. 
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