cartilage building nutrients...

Cartilage is very different to bone and has its own very special properties and nutrient needs. Cartilage is tough, yet elastic enough to act as a shock absorber. It is found in most areas where there are joints and allows for their easy movement. It also covers and protects the bones in the joint space lining the articular bone ends.

Unlike most tissues in the body cartilage has no blood vessels within it. Cartilage gets its nutrients from the thin film of fluid in the joint cavity called the synovial fluid. The fluid itself is derived from the blood vessels in the joint capsule.

The Building Blocks of Cartilage
Cartilage is actually a type of connective tissue and is made up of the following:

» Collagens, which give the tissue the ability to resist tension. There are two different types of collagen:- type 1, is found in bones, tendons, ligaments and skin, while type 2 is found in cartilage.

» Proteoglycans within the collagen mesh have the ability to absorb water, thus increasing the tension within the collagen network and giving the tissue the ability to resist compression. This is a remarkable function because it means that the cartilage is not at all static and is able to meet different requirements of pressure depending on the needs placed on it.

» Cartilage cells called chondrocytes, which control the synthesis and degradation of the cartilage.

» The interstitial fluid that surrounds the chondrocytes and bathes them with nutrients.

Pressure on the cartilage is essential for its good health and one of the reasons why exercise is so important. Constant pressure and release creates a pumping action that has the effect of activating chondrocyte activity, moving fluid around and absorbing nutrition to supply all parts of the cartilage.

NSAIDs can work very well to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, but they also interfere with cartilage repair and therefore accelerate degeneration. 

Keeping Cartilage Healthy
The number one rule for healthy cartilage is exercise. The pressure and release effect is essential. The nutrients reaching the cartilage should also be of good quality.  oor food choices mean poor nutrients reaching cartilage surface and being absorbed into the connective tissue matrix.

A number of nutrients are essential for cartilage health...
» Glucosamine: This is an essential building block for cartilage and has been shown in a number of studies to be as good as or even better than anti-inflammatories. The body can make its own glucosamine, but as with other nutrients increasing the supply will ensure that there is enough for areas that particularly need it. It should be taken for a prolonged period and has no side-effects of note, (Cartilage is not the only tissue that requires a good supply of this nutrient).

» Chondroitin Sulphate: This is another essential nutrient for cartilage health and is usually combined with glucosamine for maximum absorption by the body. 

» Collagen: All large molecules like Type 2 collagen are broken down into their constituent parts by enzymatic action, and it is the constituent parts that contain the nutrients necessary for cartilage health.

» Shark Cartilage: Cartilage from the shark (or bovine cartilage) has all the elements needed to support human cartilage, and as noted by clinicians who use them, these products help in patients with joint osteoarthritis.

» Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): MSM contains sulphur, a key element in tissue health. It is often combined with some of the other nutrients mentioned previously. If pain is a major factor then higher doses of MSM are usually required than found in combination joint formulas.

» Sea Cucumber: This provides glycosaminoglycans necessary for cartilage health and can be used instead of chondroitin sulphate.

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