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Hepatitis C-Friendly Ingredients to Help Your Joints

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. July 17, 2013

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Joint pain is one of the most common reasons to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Unfortunately, these drugs may be hazardous to those with chronic Hepatitis C. Thankfully, these five substances are not only friendly to the liver – but they also help improve joint health.

Joint pain is an exceedingly common problem in adults. Just about anybody can experience joint pain, regardless of whether or not they have chronic Hepatitis C. Sadly, the most common approach for managing joint pain inadvertently stresses the liver – a burden those with Hepatitis C could do without. By peering outside the traditional pharmaceutical box of solutions, several substances falling under the supplement category offer an intriguing alternative for easing joint pain.

About Joint Pain

Technically described as the junction between two bones, joints endure great amounts of pressure. Their responsibility of carrying weight and transmitting force while allowing for movement makes them especially prone to painful conditions. Assuming Lyme’s disease and Lupus have been ruled out, three of the most common reasons for joint pain include:

  1. Osteoarthritis – Also referred to as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage between joints wears down. This most common type of arthritis causes the bones to rub against each other causing joint pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of joint function. Osteoarthritis is seen most often in the large, weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees and low back.
  2.  Bursitis – Frequently confused with arthritis, bursitis involves inflammation of the bursa around a joint (rather than the joint itself). Designed to ease friction, bursae are smooth, slippery fluid-filled cushions strategically located between two moving objects. When irritated, bursae generate excess fluid, which causes pain and limits mobility. Often occurring near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion or must sustain long periods of pressure, bursitis typically affects the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, heel and the base of the big toe.
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis – An autoimmune condition where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues, rheumatoid arthritis can affect various joints, especially the hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

Joint pain can be mild, causing soreness each time the joint is moved or it can be severe, making it impossible to use the joint. Rarely signifying an emergency, most cases of mild joint pain can be successfully managed at home.

Easing Joint Pain – Drugs

Over-the-counter pain medications are the first thing most people grab for joint pain relief. Alas, the liver of someone with Hepatitis C has to work extra hard, and may have a difficult time processing these medications. The primary over-the-counter painkillers contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin. All three of these have some impact on the liver, and can cause liver damage when taken in excess. While occasional, restricted use may be safe for someone with Hepatitis C, there are many variables impacting what is safe for a liver defending against this virus. Thus, a doctor should be consulted about the best type of pain reliever and the maximum allowable frequency for each person with Hepatitis C.

Easing Joint Pain – Supplements

Luckily, there are safer, non-pharmaceutical ways to ease joint pain. Fueled by a need for alternatives to drugs and increased awareness about the efficacy of supplements, the following five substances have a lot to offer those who suffer from joint pain – without putting any additional stress on the liver:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Usually partnered together, these two nutritional supplements help rebuild damaged cartilage. In a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) demonstrated that these supplements are effective in treating moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis. In fact, the degree of pain relief and improvement in range of motion led the researchers to conclude that glucosamine and chondroitin were more effective for joint pain than medications like acetaminophen.
  • Chicken Collagen Type II – A protein extracted from the cartilage of chicken breast, this supplement has been used for centuries by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Known as a safe route to repair joint cartilage, chicken collagen type II reduces joint pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. According to research published in the Arthritis Research and Therapy journal, chicken collagen type II exerts its beneficial effects by controlling inflammatory responses in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  • Phellodendron Amurense – Extracted from the bark of a common North American deciduous tree, this substance is known as a potent anti-inflammatory substance. Reported to ease redness, swelling and heat in inflamed joints, phellodendron has a long history of easing inflammation in herbal medicine.
  • MSM – Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) is a form of organic sulfur that is found in the fluid and tissues of all living organisms. Used to repair damaged cells and promote the growth of new cells, MSM is necessary for collagen synthesis – a vital component of healthy, flexible joint structure.

Despite being all-natural and available without a prescription, a physician should always be consulted before taking new supplements. Upon doing so, the five, liver-friendly ingredients described above are worth that extra effort for people with Hepatitis C who want to relieve their joint pain.

References:

http://nutrition.about.com/b/2005/11/17/glucosamine-and-chondroitin-for-osteoarthritis.htm, Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Osteoarthritis, Shereen Jegtvig, Retrieved March 27, 2011, about.com, 2011.

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sportsmedicine/a/blbursitis.htm, Bursitis, Jonathan Cluett, MD, Retrieved March 27, 2011, about.com, 2011.

http://www.enivamembers.com/MainSitePR/Prod_Flex.aspx?ID=www, Flex, Retrieved March
27, 2011, Eniva Corporation, 2011.

http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2007/05/is_there_pain_r.html, Pain Relievers and Hepatitis C, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved March 27, 2011, Natural Wellness, 2011.

http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2010/10/arthritis_advic.html, Arthritis Advice fro Those with Hepatitis C, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved March 27, 2011, natural Wellness, 2011.

http://www.integrative-healthcare.org/mt/archives/2010/12/when_clients_pr.html, When Clients Present with Joint Pain, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved March 26, 2011, Natural Wellness, 2011.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/joint-pain/MY00187, Joint Pain, Retrieved March 25, 2011, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2011.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19951408, A multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled phase III clinical trial of chicken type II collagen in rheumatoid arthritis, Wei W, et al, Arthritis Research and Therapy, December 2009.

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  • jcfried

    Contrast baths are even safer. I go to a local Y where i sit in the hot tub for 2.5 minutes followed by the pool (cold but not freezing, no plunges, thanks) for 2.5 minutes. I repeat this 5 times twice per week. The result is that all of my joint pain is very well managed and i don’t need to take ANY supplements or medications. Given my Hep C, not taking meds/supplements is what is best for me. One caveat, if you have Atherosclerosis, as i and Hep C people frequently do, you should keep the area above your hips and elbows out of the process because it could loosen plaque. I wear a light wetsuit top to keep my chest at a relatively constant temperature during the contrast baths.

  • I am not much in favor of using supplements all the time. For a year long, I had been plaguing from back pain along with the neck pain. Later on, after the pain reached its peak level and became unbearable, I started with natural treatment to get rid of it. I was surprised to see that natural therapies also were a flop. I was in a very confused state whether to go for a joint pain supplement or not. Then I came to know about supple drink which is very helpful in treating joint pains. After using for 4 weeks, there was huge improvement in the condition of my back and neck. I was very happy with it and able to do my work as earlier.