The latest on Vitamin K2: a new therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis and for prostate cancer?

Vitamin K2, which is best known for its role in supporting bone health and its potential for countering osteoporosis, has also been investigated recently for other health benefits. A 2013 study reported that Vitamin K2 significantly decreased disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. And other research, also published in 2013, found evidence that Vitamin K2 is active in suppressing various types of prostate cancer cells. The authors of this study conclude that Vitamin K2 “may be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of prostate cancer.”

For further information about Vitamin K2, see the NYBC catalog entries for the Bone Up, Bone Up Ultra, and Vitamin K supplements (all from Jarrow):

Bone and Joint Supplements

References:

Ebina, K, et al. Vitamin K2 administration is associated with decreased disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Mod Rheumatol. 2013 Sep;23(5):1001-7. doi: 10.1007/s10165-012-0789-4.

Samykutty, A, et al. Vitamin k2, a naturally occurring menaquinone, exerts therapeutic effects on both hormone-dependent and hormone-independent prostate cancer cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:287358. doi: 10.1155/2013/287358.

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Joint Builder ULTRA: A combination supplement for joint health

We recently heard from two NYBC members who have found Jarrow’s Joint Builder ULTRA very effective in supporting healthy joint function. Indeed, they were quite pleased with improvement in joint function within a few weeks to a month of starting to take this combination supplement. So we thought we’d review this formula a little more thoroughly.

First, here’s the list of ingredients, together with the supplier’s recommendation on dosage and how to take:

Ultra Joint Builder (Jarrow) Each bottle, 90 tablets. Each tablet, 500 mg glucosamine sulfate, 500 mg MSM, 167 mg Yucca juice extract (Yucca schidigera, 4:1), 34 mg ApresFLEX (Boswellia serrata extract, 20% 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid); 13.3 mg hyaluronic acid, 1 mg boron (citrate). Suggested use is 3 tablets per day. Studies for inflammation suggest 1.5 grams per day. Start slowly and build up the dose over a few days.

Glucosamine is the most familiar part of this formula, and plays an important and well-documented role in the body’s production of the connective tissue around joints, and the production of synovial fluid (the lubricant in joints, basically). Glucosamine thus has the potential to offset the destructive effects of arthritis and osteoarthritis. MSM, a supplement providing sulfur, also plays a role in these joint supportive processes.

The Jarrow combination also includes two botanicals that have long been used for their anti-inflammatory effects. Yucca schidigera is a medicinal plant which may have beneficial effects in the prevention and treatment of arthritis. Boswellia serrata has a long tradition of use for arthritis in the Ayurvedic tradition; some recent Western study of its effectiveness has suggested benefit, but other research has been less clear.

Note that Vitamin C is another important joint-supporting supplement, since it is required for the synthesis of collagen and cartilage; be sure that your intake of this Vitamin is adequate.

For best results with Joint Builder ULTRA, some suggest also using Jarrow’s Biosil, containing the biologically active form of silicon.

See further information in the NYBC catalog:

JOINT BUILDER ULTRA (JARROW)

and

Biosil

Broccoli compound may help prevent or slow progression of osteoarthritis

A study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism concludes that sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, may slow the progression of osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. Stemming from the breakdown of cartilage and bone in the joints, osteoarthritis can cause pain in the spine, hips, knees, hands and feet, and is one of the most common kinds of debility in aging populations.

The British researchers who are authors of this study noted that, while previous studies have investigated the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of sulforaphane, theirs is the first major research into the compound’s effects on joint health. A principal achievement of their research was to identify the mechanism by which sulforaphane blocks the enzymatic processes that are linked to the destruction of cartilage in the joints. Future clinical studies can be expected to focus on the effect of sulforaphane in the diet of those susceptible to osteoarthritis.

Note that NYBC has stocked the Jarrow product Broccomax for the past several years, particularly because of ongoing scientific interest in the potential health benefits of sulforaphane:

BROCCOMAX

Can Vitamin D Prevent Arthritis? – Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Can Vitamin D Prevent Arthritis?

That’s the title of an online Health Alert from Johns Hopkins (posted 2010, reviewed 2011).

Here’s the lead:

Many researchers now believe that the “sunshine vitamin” may one day play a key role in preventing the development and progression of arthritis. Researchers, including scientists at Johns Hopkins under the direction of Uzma Haque, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins, have been looking at the effect of vitamin D on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and the data are quite suggestive. Vitamin D is proving to be a most promising area for arthritis research.

Read more at http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/arthritis/JohnsHopkinsArthritisHealthAlert_3300-1.html

NYBC stocks Vitamin D at some of the current common recommended dosages:

Vitamin D – 1000IU

Vitamin D – 2500IU

Vitamin D- 5000IU

Glucosamine and omega-3s for arthritis

In a study published in 2009, a combination of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish oil) performed the best in reducing arthritis symptoms. According to this research, while glucosamine improves cartilage metabolism, EPA and DHA (two omega-3 fatty acids) further reduce joint deterioration by suppressing inflammation, which lowers swelling and pain.

Although this seems to be the first study that looked closely at the glucosamine / omega-3 fatty acid combination for arthritis, the results are perhaps not so surprising. After all, clinical studies over the past two decades have repeatedly shown the value of omega-3 fatty acids in treating inflammatory conditions ranging from atherosclerosis to osteoarthritis. And a 2005 study found that In people who have osteoarthritis, increased use of omega-3 fatty acids and adequate intake of monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil (and decreased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids) can improve symptoms and even sometimes permit a reduction in the use of NSAIDs, the pain killers that can have unwanted long-term side effects (Miggiano GA et al 2005).

Reference: Advances in Therapy 2009: “Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis” Authors: J. Gruenwald, E. Petzold, R. Busch, H.-P. Petzold, H.-J. Graubaum

For further recommendations, see NYBC entries under
Glucosamine chondroitin (the most common combination used to date in arthritis management), and the fish oil/ omega-3 fatty acid supplement Max DHA.

SAMe for osteoarthritis

We were interested to see in the recently published Mayo Clinic guide to alternative medicine a fairly strong statement supporting the use of SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine) for osteoarthrititis. So we checked with what regard as one of the best online resources for such questions, the University of Maryland Medical Center. Here’s their report, updated in 2009, which basically backs up the Mayo Clinic view:

A number of well-designed clinical trials show that SAMe may reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, and researchers think it may also promote cartilage repair, although they are not clear about how or why this works. In several short-term studies (ranging 4 – 12 weeks), SAMe supplements were as effective as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen in adults with knee, hip, or spine osteoarthritis. SAMe was as effective as these medications in lessening morning stiffness, decreasing pain, reducing swelling, improving range of motion, and increasing walking pace. Several studies also suggest that SAMe has fewer side effects than NSAIDs. Another study compared SAMe to celecoxib (Celebrex), a type of NSAID called a COX-2 inhibitor, and found that over time SAMe was as effective as celecoxib in relieving pain.

From: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/s-adenosylmethionine-000324.htm

Read more at the NYBC entry for SAMe:
http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?cPath=57&products_id=207

Adverse effects of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

As Dr. Hyla Cass points out in her excellent book Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutrition, NSAIDs (including older ones such as aspirin, as well as newer ones like Celebrex), which are very widely used for arthritis pain, have the unfortunate side effect of inhibiting the enzymes needed to create cartilage. “Essentially,” she writes, “this means that the drugs used to relieve arthritis-related discomfort accelerate the progression of the disease.” (p. 86)

Indeed, as Dr. Cass goes on to note, there’s a study showing that people taking NSAIDs on a regular basis to relieve knee arthritis pain actually have a greater risk of worsening the disease over time than people who take a dummy pill! Moreover, another study showed that people taking NSAIDs for knee arthritis were at higher risk for developing arthritis in the hip or in the other knee, compared to people who did not take these drugs.

Just another reason to consider use of the supplement glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. See additional information, including dosage recommendations, at NYBC’s Glucosamine Chondroitin entry.