LE: Life Extension Update 2001.02.02

From: Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 09:08:18 MST

LEF Email List1 - http://www.lef.org


Longterm arthritis benefits proven for glucosamine; PROTOCOL: Arthritis;
FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: ArthroPro System, Glucosamine Sulfate

Longterm arthritis benefits proven for glucosamine

The prestigious medical journal The Lancet published an article in their
January 27, 2001 issue confirming the benefit of glucosamine sulfate
supplements in the longterm treatment of arthritis. Medical treatment of
arthritis has consisted of symptom relief with the use of drugs that
produce side effects or even worsen the condition if taken over a long
period of time. While medicine has sought compounds that could halt or
reverse the progression of joint damage that occurs with arthritis,
nutritionists and alternative physicians have been recommending
supplements containing glucosamine for their arthritis patients with
excellent results. Glucosamine is a constituent of the glycosaminoglycans
in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid of the joints

Two hundred twelve patients with mild to moderate arthritis were randomly
assigned a 1500 mg daily glucosamine sulfate supplement or a placebo for a
period of three years in a double-blind trial. X-ray films of the knee
were taken at the beginning and the conclusion of the study to measure
joint space width, in order to assess cartilage loss. The study
participants completed questionnaires in which symptoms such as pain,
joint function and stiffness were scored.

At the conclusion of the study, participants who received the placebo had
significant mean and minimum joint-space narrowing, showing cartilage
loss. The majority of the group of 106 patients receiving glucosamine
sulfate had no significant joint-space narrowing. Evaluation of the
questionnaires showed an improvement of symptoms in the glucosamine group
and a worsening of symptoms in the placebo group. Even in the small group
of patients who received glucosamine and experienced joint-space
narrowing, symptomatic relief was noted.

One of the concerns recently voiced in regard to glucosamine is its
possible adverse effect on blood sugar levels. However, no effect but a
slight decrease in fasting glucose levels was observed in the group
receiving glucosamine sulfate. No other metabolic changes were noted.

The authors conclude that glucosamine's combined structure-modifying and
symptom-modifying benefits in arthritis could modify the progression of
the disease and they suggest further studies.


To understand the pathological processes in the joint, we need to take a
look at the normal healthy joint. Joints are held together by a joint
capsule and designed to allow smooth movement between adjacent bones. In
the type of joint commonly affected by arthritic diseases, the highly
movable joints, we find the bone ends covered by articular cartilage and
the joint space enclosed by a synovial membrane. This thin membrane
secretes synovial fluid that lubricates the space between the
cartilage-covered joint-forming bones. The cartilage contains no blood
vessels or nerves and receives its nutrients by diffusion from the
synovial fluid and from the bone.

Joint function depends on the health of the cartilage in the joint.
Cartilage is a gel-like substance that acts as a shock absorber, essential
for smooth and easy movement in the joint. Cartilage gets its elasticity
from collagen fibers and its sponge-like quality from water, held by a
structure of big molecules called proteoglycans. Collagen and
proteoglycans are produced by special cells, called chondrocytes, in the
cartilage. Joints can withstand enormous pressure by slowly releasing
water from the cartilage.
As we age, the ability to restore and maintain a normal cartilage
structure seems to decrease. The activity of important repair enzymes is
reduced, the water content diminished, and the joints become more prone to
damage. But the full pathological mechanism for arthritis development is
not yet known.

Osteoarthritis/arthrosis is a disease mainly characterized by degenerative
processes of the articular cartilage, but changes also involve the
synovial membrane and the bone next to the cartilage. It is a gradual
decay that most often affects the weight- bearing joints (knees, hips, and
spinal joints) and the joints of the hand. A breakdown of the cartilage
matrix leads to cracks and ulcers and a thinning of the cartilage with a
loss of shock absorption. The underlying bone starts to thicken as a
response to the increasing stress, and bone spurs are formed. In the
advanced phases of osteoarthritis, an inflammatory reaction in the
synovial membrane can be seen. This severe degeneration causes pain,
swelling, deformation, and reduced range of motion.

New factors have been identified in the pathology of both common forms of
arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This research has
enabled scientists to develop novel natural therapies that work along
multiple pathways not taken into account by FDA-approved drugs. These
botanical extracts and natural agents have an extraordinary safety profile
and a long track record of clinical success in Europe.

 The most popular prescription drug in the United States works by
suppressing the proinflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2).
Cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase cause the formation of prostaglandin E2
and leukotriene B4, two proinflammatory agents that stimulate other
enzymes to degrade cartilage in the joint. Nettle leaf extract contains a
variety of natural cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase inhibitors. While COX-2
inhibition can be obtained from either nettle leaf extract or FDA-approved
drugs, only nettle has been shown to also interfere with the TNF-a and
IL-1B activation of cartilage destroying enzymes. Nettle leaf has a long
tradition of use as a safe adjuvant remedy in the treatment of arthritis
in Germany.


ArthroPro System

Unlike toxic FDA approved drugs, natural therapies provide safe relief
from chronic inflammation and pain. While FDA approved drugs can cause
cartilage destruction, natural therapies help promote regeneration of the
cartilage matrix. The Life Extension Foundation has taken the natural
ingredients that are used to treat arthritis in Europe and combined them
into one formulation called ArthroPro. ArthroPro provides pharmaceutical
extracts from the nettle leaf, ginger root and willow bark. To avoid
stomach discomfort sometimes associated with fish oil, ArthroPro provides
enterically coated fish-ginger oil softgels that dissolve in the small
intestine. ArthroPro uses only European origin glucosamine and chondroitin
sulfates, along with N-acetyl-D-glucosamine.

The natural ingredients in ArthroPro protect the joint cartilage, while
reducing chronic inflammation and pain by:

Inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)
Suppressing tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta
Inhibiting the formation of prostaglandin E2
Promoting the synthesis of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans in the
Suppressing cartilage destroying enzymes collagenase and phopholipase
Attracting water to the cartilage to enhance synovial lubrication

Glucosamine sulfate 750 mg tablets

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring amino sugar synthesized in the body
from L-glutamine and glucose. As a supplement, it comes in several
different forms of which the sulfated, hydrochloric acid, and N-acetylated
are commonly available. Amino sugars are the key components of larger
compounds called glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins which allow cells in
tissues to hold together. They are necessary for the construction and
maintenance of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in
the body -tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone matrix, skin, joint fluid,
intestinal lining, and mucous membranes. In particular, N-acetyl
glucosamine is the final form which together with glucuronic acid is
polymerized to make the joint lubricant hyaluronic acid.

Arthritis Update: Drugs that inhibit COX-2 may cause tissue damage by
William Faloon

The scales tilt on the side of nature

Drugs that inhibit the cyclooxyenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme have shown efficacy
in alleviating inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Celebrex and
Vioxx are two popular COX-2 inhibitors that are being aggressively
marketed to arthritis patients by drug companies. A new study published
in the Journal of Immunology acknowledges the temporary benefits of COX-2
inhibitors, but identifies a potential long-term problem that could lead
to cartilage and other tissue degeneration if these drugs are taken over
an extended time period.

The authors of this study found that COX-2 inhibitors cause metabolic
imbalances that can result in the over production of two toxic cytokines,
tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin one beta (IL1B). Both
TNF-a and IL-1B have been shown to play a role in the cartilage
destruction and the inflammation process. TNF-a and IL-1B have been found
to be elevated in the synovial fluid and the cartilage of osteoarthritis
patients. Thus, the short term beneficial effects of these agents on
arthritic pain and inflammation may be achieved at the cost of an
increased propensity to long term tissue damage caused by TNF-a and IL1B.

Too much TNF-a results in a host of aging-related disorders including
autoimmune disease, congestive heart failure, insulin resistance and
catabolic wasting. When TNF-a attacks the linings of the joints, the
result is inflammation, pain and eventual immobility.


For the benefit of those customers who could not get through to Life
Extension during the last minute rush to take advantage of Super Sale, the
deadline has been extended to Saturday, February 3. This is your last
opportunity until the next Super Sale in December to receive 10% off all
product purchases. Members of the Life Extension Foundation receive their
25% discount in addition to the 10% Super Sale price reduction. Volume
discounts are available on many items. To view the list of products
available from Life Extension and place an order online, go to:

Or to place an order by telephone, call 1-800-544-4440.

If you have any questions or comments concerning this issue or back issues
of Life Extension Update, email ddye@lifeextension.com

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation

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