Sunday, August 4, 2019

3 Common Myths About Osteoarthritis

Myth No. 1 - Cartilage Cannot Heal Itself!

This is the cruel ”truth” everyone with osteoarthritis has to face at the doctor’s office. But how about the astonishing fact that damaged tissues can be fixed by our own body naturally?

When you accidentally cut your hands, new cells multiply in order to develop a bridge between the cut. A protective scab attaches to the wound and falls off when it is no more required. Bones also have the natural ability to heal themselves. When a bone is fractured, an area of soft healing tissue forms to join the broken parts together which gets harder and stronger over the following weeks.

Since it is an undeniable fact that the human body was designed to heal itself, it is indeed strange to assert that cartilage, once worn down, cannot regenerate itself. So what’s wrong with cartilage?!

Generally, efficient blood circulation is essential in tissue repair. The more blood flow you have going to an area, the faster it can heal. Cartilage is unique in a sense that unlike other connective tissues it has no blood supply which explains why it heals slowly. But it doesn't mean it can't heal at all!

During joint movement, the synovial fluid carries nutrients to the articular cartilage providing important building blocks for regeneration. As a matter of fact, spontaneous healing of damaged cartilage is impossible if your body lacks certain nutrients and if it is laden with toxins. But when personal lifestyle and health choices are favorable to the body’s natural processes (diet, hydration, exercise, toxins, overuse, etc. are addressed) cartilage is able to both regenerate and repair spontaneously.

    Myth No. 2 - NSAIDs Are Safe

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used to treat arthritis due to their pain-relief and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the best-known NSAIDs include Aspirin, Cataflam, Ibuprofen, and Voltaren. Unfortunately, NSAIDs do not only reduce inflammation, but also cause kidney dysfunction, stomach upset, and serious gastric bleeding, not to mention other known adverse effects like liver damage and cardiovascular problems.

According to researchers ”16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. […] If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a "silent epidemic," with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore, the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS." (Wolfe M. MD. et al. Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, The New England Journal of Medicine)

These numbers may sound too bad to be true. In fact, it was a popular NSAID which got involved in the biggest drug scandal of recent years. Vioxx was introduced by Merck in 1999 as an effective, safer alternative to drugs for treating osteoarthritis pain. Before Merck withdrew it in 2004, Vioxx was linked to numerous heart attacks. Researchers have alleged that Merck knew of the dangers years earlier, but tweaked statistics and hid data. This NSAID alone has been estimated to kill some 60,000 patients--as many people as died in the Vietnam War!

Myth No. 3. - Chondroitin and Glucosamine Are Effective Against Osteoarthritis

Glucosamine and chondroitin are among the most popular diet supplements: millions of people around the world take them to combat osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the body, which is used as the starting material for tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other body tissues. Chondroitin helps keep cartilage healthy by absorbing water into the connective tissue.

Though the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has been believed to be the best supplement for treating joint pain, according to Swiss researchers at the University of Bern it neither reduces joint pain nor has an effect on joint space narrowing.

Nevertheless, whole collagen capsules made from chicken cartilage are said to be more efficient (and much cheaper) than glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Eating foods like bone marrow, gristle, and broths containing boiled bone and connective parts may also help cartilage repair significantly.

Interestingly, another study reported that whole eggshell membranes also outperformed glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. 500 mg of natural eggshell membrane taken once daily could reduce pain significantly. After 30 days, patients had an astonishing 72% reduction in general pain, a 43% increase in flexibility and a 75% reduction in pain associated with range of motion!

For more invaluable information about osteoarthritis, visit the author's website.


Crowley, David C., et al. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. Int J Med Sci 2009; 6(6):312-321.

Ruff, K. J., et al. Eggshell membrane in the treatment of pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Clin Rheumatol.

Wandel, Simon, et al. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ 2010;341:c4675.

Wolfe M. MD, Lichtenstein D. MD, and Singh Gurkirpal, MD. Gastrointestinal Toxicity of “ Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, The New England Journal of Medicine, June 17, 1999, Vol. 340, No. 24, pp. 1888-1889.

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