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:




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:


The Versatile Vitamin C

Most people associate Vitamin C with help in reducing cold symptoms. Indeed studies have shown that taking high-dose Vitamin C (500- 1000mg every hour) at the first sign of a cold can shorten its duration by one-third, helping to relieve symptoms faster. Vitamin C revs up the immune system by increasing the body’s production of antibodies, white blood cells, and interferon (a natural antiviral), and so it may be effective against many infections.

But that’s not the only way Vitamin C can keep you healthy. Here’s another major benefit of this versatile vitamin:

Joint health. Vitamin C’s anti-inflammatory properties help the body maintain cartilage, the all-important connective tissue that keeps your joints working smoothly. It’s also important to note that NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), a whole group of drugs commonly used for arthritis pain, regularly deplete Vitamin C, so anyone taking these medications (which range from aspirin to prescription items like Celebrex) absolutely needs to replace the lost Vitamin C. In short, supplementing with 1000-3000mg of Vitamin C per day is essential if you’re also taking NSAIDS.

For some Vitamin C supplement choices, see NYBC’s descriptions of:

C1000- Ascorbic Acid Plus Olea

Vitamin C – Buffered

C-Esterol (Allergy Research Group)

The New York Times on turmeric (curcumin) for joint pain

Our hometown newspaper, The New York Times, has featured a report on turmeric (also known by its most active medicinal ingredient, curcumin) for joint pain. The recommending physician is Dr. Minerva Santos, director of integrative medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York:

“I use a lot of turmeric in my practice,” she said. “It’s an amazing spice. Usually what I do is I make sure nothing else is going on, that it’s just plain old inflammation from wear and tear.”

While many people may encounter turmeric only in curry dishes and South Asian restaurants, Dr. Santos advises her patients to find it in health food stores in pill or capsule form. She recommends a dose of 1,000 milligrams a day. The benefit of buying it in a bottle, she said, is that it’s usually combined with a compound called piperine, which aids absorption.

NYBC stocks Curcumin (Jarrow) in two formats:

Curcumin 500mg/60

Curcumin 500mg/120

As new studies of Curcumin have emerged, NYBC also began stocking additional forms from Vibrant Health, which add bioperine (black pepper extract) for enhanced absorption:

Curcuminoids 1000 mg/30c w/bioperine

Curcuminoids 1000 mg/60c w/bioperine

Read the full story at

Vitamins C and D for osteoarthritis

There’s a lot of scientific evidence that simply supplementing with key vitamins C, D, E and B complex can improve joint health and reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease and a leading cause of disability in older people. The usual recommendations for managing the disease concentrate on relief of symptoms, using agents such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs – “pain relievers”). These drugs, however, do have significant side effects and don’t slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Perhaps the most important of all the vitamins for osteoarthritis is vitamin C, which slows inflammatory response in the body (and moreover has many other health benefits, such as reduction of cardiovascular risk). Here are two important studies on vitamin C and osteoarthritis:

•The Framingham Osteoarthritis Cohort Study found that moderate intake of vitamin C (120-200 mg/day) yielded a three-fold lower risk of osteoarthritis progression. The association was strong and highly significant, and was consistent between sexes and across different severities of the disease. The higher vitamin C intake also reduced the likelihood of development of knee pain.

•A smaller 2003 study from Denmark carefully tested 1 gram/day of calcium ascorbate (containing 898mg Vitamin C) versus placebo for people with verified osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee. The main finding was that vitamin C reduced pain significantly compared to placebo.

As for Vitamin D: bone and cartilage metabolism depend on the presence of vitamin D. Several studies of vitamin D suggest adequate intake of vitamin D may slow the progression and possibly help prevent the development of osteoarthritis. See, for example, the older study, “Vitamin D and bone health in the elderly,” in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1982; and again, in the Framingham study mentioned above, risk of osteoarthritis progression was seen to increase three-fold in participants with the lowest levels of vitamin D intake and serum levels of vitamin D.

For recommendations on how best to take these vitamins see NYBC entries at

D3: Still another treatment note on the “sunshine vitamin”

We get a lot of health newsletters and offers of same in the mail, especially newsletters that focus on dietary supplements. Sometimes it’s hard to get through the pile, but we do keep sifting in search of notes of interest.

So here’s a tidbit from the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. It’s in the form of a thank you note from one of their subscribers, who followed the newsletter’s advice and tried daily Vitamin D supplementation for “unspecified musculo-skeletal pain”–in his case, long-term, nightly knee pain that led to sleep loss and did not respond to physical therapy or acupuncture. The result of Vitamin D supplementation, taken with food every evening: the pain was relieved, and he was able to sleep soundly.

Of course we know much about the role of Vitamin D and calcium in maintaining healthy bones, but this little anecdote suggests that the Vitamin may also have application to some specific everyday quality of life issues. Certainly it’s a low-cost, low-impact intervention!

For more on Vitamin D (the best-absorbed form is D3), see the NYBC entry

D-3 (Douglas)

Many will want to consider this Vitamin D3 + Calcium combination supplement, which provides dosages similar to those used in a number of recent research studies on Vitamin D:

Bone Up (Jarrow)
(available at

The Problem with Celebrex and other NSAIDS: Another Reason to Consider Glucosamine and Chondroitin as Alternative for Osteoarthritis Pain

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.