Cartilage Rebuilding Is the Key to Reversing Arthritis
Joints are unique structures that receive a considerable amount of "wear and tear" throughout a lifetime. And, in all honesty, if you live long enough, work hard enough, and play hard enough, you will probably have to deal with some degree of joint damage sometime in your life.
Cartilage gets its strength from interlocking millimetre-long collagen fibres that work in a similar way to the load-bearing steel rods in reinforced concrete. But the precise structure of these fibres or 'fibrils' has remained a mystery for more than 40 years, so hindering any progress towards the development of potential therapies. Now, the sophisticated electron microscope techniques to uncover the molecular structure of the thinner of the two types of collagen fibrils. Now the challenge is to understand how the fibrils form and develop in healthy cartilage, they can then investigate what happens when things go wrong in diseases like osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates are popular supplements for joint health. Glucosamine sulfate works by building the proteins that make up healthy cartilage, and chondroitin sulfate provides a constant supply of the nutrients needed to repair damaged protein and build new protein. Unfortunately, there seems to be a large group of individuals for whom glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates provide little, if any, relief. One reason might be because many of the problems with joints stem from the fact that the cartilage surfaces that make up joints have little, if any, direct blood supply.
It helps if you visualize this cartilage as being similar to a sponge. A sponge is useless unless it's soaked in fluid. Likewise, your cartilage gets most of its nutrients for repair from the fluid within the joint capsule itself. This fluid, known as synovial fluid, contains a couple of compounds called hyaluronic acid and lubricin. As the joint is moved throughout its range of motion, the "sponge" is compressed and released.
This compressing action helps "squeeze" out waste material from the living cartilage cells. And, just as a sponge absorbs water, when pressure on the cartilage is released nutrients are then "pulled" into the cartilage cells. Since the survival of every cell of the cartilage surface depends on this regular exchange of waste material and nutrients, moving each joint through its full range of motion daily is one of the first steps for keeping it healthy. The synovial fluid also provides the lubrication and shock absorption for your joints. Thus, nourishing your synovial fluid is a critical step in supporting healthy joints.