Natural Pain Relief Even Doctors Overlook
Remember lunchtime when you were a kid at school? Trading was a big part of lunch for kids who brought lunch from home. A tuna sandwich for bologna… an apple for an orange… or maybe homemade cookies for a cupcake.
None of these swaps were perfect. They all involved trade-offs. Maybe you didn’t like tuna… but the bologna sandwich didn’t have mustard on it. Or the apple was huge, while the orange was pretty small.
Pain relievers can be like that, too. Some work pretty well, but raise your risk of internal bleeding. Others boost your risk of heart trouble. Some can raise your blood pressure, and others may cause kidney or liver problems.
Trade-offs. When you’re joints ache day after day, taking risks like these may feel worth it. But why take these risks if you don’t have to?
Nature provides a surprising number of solutions for joint pain… and most of them have few – if any – side effects. One of the safest, though least known, is called hyaluronic acid (HA).
HA already exists in your cells, your blood stream, and – especially – in your joints. It’s an important part of your synovial fluid – the liquid that cushions major joints.
You can think of HA as something like the gel that helps cushion some athletic shoes. When you foot strikes the ground, the gel absorbs a lot of the impact and helps ease the shock on your joints.
But it turns out HA does more than just cushion. For one thing, Japanese doctors have discovered it can also act as an antioxidant.
The doctors looked at people suffering with a common cause of chronic joint pain. In these people, HA helped neutralize free radicals, which can add to joint damage and pain.1
A second Japanese team found HA helps block certain molecules that trigger swelling and soreness in joints. In this experiment, doctors took cell samples from volunteers with long-term joint pain.
They added HA to some samples, but not to others. The samples exposed to HA released much lower levels of the molecules linked to joint swelling and irritation.2
Before long, doctors were testing HA injected directly into volunteers’ joints. Many pain sufferers in these studies experienced a high level of relief.3
But these results are a mixed blessing. The relief is only temporary, so folks have to go back for more injections on a regular basis. And seeing a specialist for the shots can be inconvenient… and expensive.
The obvious question becomes, “Is there another way to get the benefit of HA?” And the answer looks to be, “Yes.”
There have been very few studies done on taking HA orally. But there are a few. And using HA as a nutritional supplement seems to be promising.
For example, a Miami research group tested a high-HA supplement on people with long-term joint pain. Over the course of 8 weeks, the volunteers saw steady progress. They gained better joint function and flexibility. And had far less pain.4
In 2008, the World Health Organization also listed HA as a promising new pain reliever. According to the report, HA is safe, and the evidence it works is good.5
Be aware, though, that HA’s relief builds up over time. Because it can take a few weeks to get the full effect, I recommend taking HA as part of a joint formula that also includes faster-acting pain relievers such as boswellia or willow bark.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 Sato, H., et al, “Synovial fluid scavenging effect is enhanced in rheumatoid arthritis patients,” Arthritis Rheum. Jan 1988; 31(1): 63-71.
2 Nonaka, T., et al, “Hyaluronic acid inhibits the expression of u-PA, PAI-1, and u-PAR in human synovial fibroblasts of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis,” J Rheumatol. Apr 2000; 27(4): 997-1004.
3 Miller, L.E. and Block, J.E., “US-Approved Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections are Safe and Effective in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Saline-Controlled Trials,” Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. Sep 1, 2013 ;6: 57-63.
4 Kalman, D.S., et al, “Effect of a natural extract of chicken combs with a high content of hyaluronic acid (Hyal-Joint®) on pain relief and quality of life in subjects with knee osteoarthritis: a pilot randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial,” Nutrition Journal. 2008, 7:3.
5 Bruyère, O., et al, “Evaluation of symptomatic slow-acting drugs in osteoarthritis using the GRADE system,” BMC Musculoskelet Disord. Dec 16, 2008; 9: 165.