Arthritis

About the Disorder

Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting the joints. The most widespread form is surely rheumatoid arthritis, typically appearing for the first time between the age of 20 and 40, with greater frequency among women. Other types of arthritis are, for instance: psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis, enteropathic arthritis. All kinds of arthritis share the same inflammatory condition of the synovial tissue covering the joints and in charge of producing the liquid necessary to lubricate the joints. Typical symptoms appearing in all manifestations of arthritis are:

  • serious joint pain involving severe inflammation and arising insidiously in the small joints, gradually extending to all other joints;
  • oedema of soft tissues, erosion of the cartilage and diminution of joint space.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, which as already mentioned is the most widespread form, there is sufficient proof to confirm that the pathology is determined by an autoimmune reaction against  joint tissue components. Causes for this “immune upheaval” have been pinpointed as follows: genetic susceptibility, anomalous intestinal permeability, nutritional factors and lifestyle, food allergies, etc.; rheumatoid arthritis is a typical example of a multifactorial illness.

Despite it being certain by now that genetic predisposition is important, there is no doubt that at the root of the insurgence of this particular disorder there are factors linked to the individual’s lifestyle. In fact, subjects suffering from rheumatoid arthritis present a heightened intestinal permeability to food antigens and to bacteria, as well as featuring an altered condition of the intestinal bacterial flora (dysbiosis).

Altered intestinal permeability contributes in a significant way to the heightened level of endotoxins circulating and of immunocomplexes typical of rheumatoid arthritis. Increased intestinal permeability and dysbiosis can also determine the absorption of food  (or bacterial) antigens that are very similar to certain components of joint tissue, causing an immune response that, once triggered off to counter the access of food (or bacterial) antigens, later gradually ends up destroying joint tissues themselves (this is why it is called an auto-immune pathology).

Intestinal dysbiosis, allergies and food intolerances are therefore root causes underlying the insurgence of this specific disorder. Recognising (and treating) them can at least contribute to diminish the severity of arthritis, even when the autoimmune mechanism has already started, and improve the quality of the life of those affected.

In fact, rheumatoid arthritis requires a broad approach that focusses on reducing factors involved in the pathological process, as well as, of course, contributing to control both inflammation and pain. By contract, intervening only with synthetic medicines, most likely to cause a vast set of side-effects, does not offer patients concrete and effective support.

Treatment of arthritis using conventional medicine   

The official, pharmacological approach in case of arthritis is really very “intense”. In particularly persistent and aggressive cases, besides non steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory, symptomatic medicines (involving many side-effects),  so­-called “anti-rheumatic therapy” is resorted to, which is to be taken long term, if not lifelong.

 Methotrexate is the most typical example. This is an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant that intervenes on basic mechanisms of inflammatory phlogosis, altering its course.

It is used in the most severe cases, when “light” medicines are no longer sufficient. In fact, side-effects it causes are such that its use is by no means justified in cases of inflammations of medium to low severity; one need only consider that, at higher concentrations, it is used as a chemotherapeutic medicine for the treatment of carcinomas.

Some of the side-effects linked to intake of such medicine are: liver and kidney damage, ulcerative stomatitis, nausea, irritation of the gastric mucosa, anorexia, diarrhoea,  vaginal bleeding, abortion, etc. Bearing in mind that this kind of medicine is generally prescribed on a lifelong basis (even if in low dosages), it is clear just how serious potential harm to the patient’s organism can be.

As far as symptomatic therapy is concerned, the main characteristics of commonly used anti-inflammatories are as follows. Cortisone-based medicines: at therapeutic concentrations, they show very strong antiphlogistic and immunosuppressant activities: they inhibit capillary permeability and the formation of exudate, as well as the production of inflammatory and immune mediators (cytokines, prostanoids, etc.); they furthermore inhibit the activity of neutrophils, cell migration and the production of T and B lymphocytes (immunosuppressant action). The most widely employed molecules are surely prednisone, prednisolone, methyl-prednisolone and dexamethasone.

 Cortisol derivatives have a mineralcorticoid effect and therefore at therapeutic doses they present side-effects that are all but light. At low dosages, the following unwanted effects can be expected: glaucoma, intracranial hypertension, bowel performation, gastric ulcer, gastric hemorrhage; at medium dosage: myopathy, high pressure, fragile skin, oedema due to water and sodium retention; hyperlipidemia, diabetes, euphoria, cataract; at high dosages: hyperglycemia, water retention, weight gain, growth retardation, osteoporosis, hair growth, acne, gastric ulcer and reduced immune defences.

NSAIMs (an acronym standing for Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medicines) act by inhibiting synthesis of chemical mediators calles “prostaglandins”: such action generates both pharmacological effects, as well as numerous side-effects. Apart from well-known consequences ranging from simple irritation, lesion, ulcer and gastrointestinal haemorrhage, inhibition of platenet aggregation, renal ischaemia, nephropathy and kidney failure, etc., in case of rheumatoid arthritis it has been noticed that NSAIMs greatly increase the already high level of intestinal permeability in patients affected by this pathology.

This clearly points to the fact that NSAIMs accelerate factors fostering progression of the disease, making their use even less recommended compared to other cases. Moreover, in general, if one considers the fact that the problem is a chronic one and that the therapy needs to be protracted “forever”, then it is all the more clear that synthetic anti-inflammatories are to be avoided at all costs, so as to avoid further burdening the organism’s functionality  as well as side-effects caused by medicines.

 This is why it is important to have a valid natural alternative available, combined with a correct lifestyle, so as to provide relief to painful symptoms and rigidity related to arthrtitis and avoid, or at lest reduce, intake of medicines that are harmful for the organism.

Nature can help you in case of arthritis

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

In order to counter, day by day, typical symptoms characterizing arthritis, such as inflammation, pain and rigidity, thereby avoiding to have to resort to medicines or at least reducing their intake, nature can be of valuable help, thanks to an exclusive formulation based on a selection of plant ingredients with markedly anti-inflammatory properties.

First and foremost among these is BIOSTERINE®, a unique and innovative phytocompound, consisting in 80% Ocimum sanctum (Holy Basil) extract and 20% Salvia officinalis extract, characterized by an extremely high titration in Rosmarinic Acid (40%), obtained through a particular extraction process developed by Prodeco Pharma.

BIOSTERINE® and arthritis

BIOSTERINE® not only combines the recognized, anti-inflammatory properties of phytocomplexes contained in Holy Basil and Salvia Officinalis, but actually amplifies and reinforces them, thanks to the high concentration of Rosmarinic Acid. Numerous studies have, in fact, confirmed the extraordinary properties of Rosmarinic Acid as an anti-inflammatory, investigating its potential mechanisms of action.

In particular, in vivo studies have highlighted the fact that Rosmarinic Acid significantly inhibits inflammatory symptoms of autoimmune arthritis; this ability is considered to be promising for clinical use of Rosmarinic Acid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (ref: Beneficial effects of rosmarinic acid on suppression of collagen induced arthritis. J Rheumatol. 2003 Jun;30(6):1203-7).

Regarding its specific mechanism of action, Rosmarinic Acid’s ability to inhibit inflammatory processes linked to the “complement system” (part of the immune system involved in the inflammatory process) is well-known; besides this specific mechanism of action, considered to be primarily responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of Rosmarinic Acid, it also acts by regulating cyclooxygenase, modulating the synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins (it has been pointed out the Rosmarinic acid contained in Ocimum sanctum exerts a 58% inhibiting action on cyclooxygenase).

The inflammatory efficacy of Ocimum sanctum extracts has turned out to be comparable with that of ibuprofen, of naproxen and of acetylsalicylic acid, yet without generating any side effects: the presence, in the phytocomplex, of other active constituents, in fact, enables the harmonization and modulation of the anti-inflammatory action, without the typical harmful effects reported on synthetic medicines.

This discovery confirms traditionally used Ocimum sanctum as a safe, reliable and effective anti-inflammatory.  The action of rosmarinic acid is also exerted through inhibition of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that is responsible for the degradation of hyaluronic acid, essential for the integrity of connective tissues, in particular cartilages . These properties in particular confer rosmarinic acid with a protective role on tissues, mostly joint tissues, and combines well with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Due to the above-mentioned considerations, in association with specific plant extracts, BIOSTERINE® therefore represents the cornerstone of

a natural approach to eliminate inflammation and pain, day by day, alleviating typical symptoms related to arthritis, yet without any side-effects, even when taken for extended periods.

Nature can help you with…

BIOSTERINE®: as already highlighted, with its powerful health properties as an anti-inflammatory, BIOSTERINE® represents the starting point of our approach. Taken systemically, BIOSTERINE® exerts a marked anti-inflammatory action and reduces phlogosis of tissues affected. Its association with other specific, natural principles, make it possible to reach even more remarkable results.

Boswellia extract possesses recognised anti-inflammatory properties and is particularly effective in painful pathologies affecting the musculo-skeletal apparatus. Its activity is attributable to the presence, in its phytocomplex, of particular compounds called boswellic acids. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed its efficacy, comparable to synthetic medicines, yet without causing any side-effects whatsoever.

The idea of including in the formulation both the dry extract with high titration in boswellic acids (75%) as well as the powder of the whole plant has proven to be a successful one. In fact, this association enables to obtain, on the one hand, adequate supply of the “nobler” forms of active constituents (boswellic acids), ensuring efficacy; on the other it makes it possible to have the entire phytocomplex, for a synergistic and, at the same time, “smoother” effect on the organism, thereby ensuring that the produce will be totally  free from side-effects also in the long run.

Turmeric: turmeric is used in phytotherapy for the treatment of several pathologies involving inflammations, including arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory action is attributable to the presence of particular substances called curcuminoids. Research has pointed out that the efficacy of turmeric extract is linked to its activity on several physiological mechanisms involved in the inflammatory process.

Turmeric therefore acts on the inflammation with a 360° mechanism, without causing any side-effect whatsoever. Some of the fundamental mechanisms involved are as follows:

  1. a) inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 and lipoxygenase enzymes, with a resulting reduced production of prostaglandins and other inflammatory chemical mediators;
  2. b) inhibition of the release of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines and interleukins;
  3. c) inhibition of the production of cell adhesion molecules involved in the early phase of the inflammatory cascade,
  4. d) inhibition of collagen degradation. The idea of including in the formulation both the dry extract, with high titration in curcuminoids (95%), as well as the powder of the entire plant has been a successful one: in fact, this association ensures maximum efficacy and lack of any side-effect whatsoever.

 Hyaluronic Acid: its physiological function is to maintain the right level of hydration in connective tissues. It moreover acts as a cementing substance and as a kind of shock absorbing molecule, as well as being an efficient lubricant (synovial fluid/joints), preventing tissue damage. Its function is therefore fundamental for good health and functionality of skeletal tissue and of the joints.

For this reason, Hyaluronic Acid has been used since it was first discovered to treat joint disorders. Besides the excellent results obtained following its use in intra-articular infiltrations, it has recently been studied to verify its efficacy for oral intake.

Regarding the formulation, Hyaluronic Acid is therefore used in association with Biosterine®, Boswellia and Turmeric, to complete the anti-inflammatory activity of the product. Another activity of Hyaluronic acid has recently been identified, making it particularly useful within the formulation: as a carrier of active molecules to increase bioavailability, once ingested and hydrated, Hyaluronic Acid forms a bioadhesive matrix bringing the active constituents into the solution  and promoting its gradual release, saturating the mucosa and increasing contact time between active constituents and the intestinal mucosa itself.

 It therefore ensures complete absorption of all constituents present in the phytocomplexes included (Biosterine®, Boswellia e Curcuma), optimizing their bioavailability and enhancing their efficacy.

The ideal form of intake of such plant ingredients is represented by swallowable tablets.

Lifestyle

As already highlighted, nutritional lifestyle is heavily involved in problems related to arthritis. This is confirmed by the fact that rheumatoid arthritis is not to be found in societies with more primitive type of eating habits, whereas it occurs very frequently in societies adopting the so-called “Western diet”.

Hence, diets rich in whole foods, vegetables and fibres, low in sugar, meat, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, surely offer adequate protection against the development of arthritis. Moreover, dietary therapy is proving to be incredibly promising in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The main objective of a dietary therapy is:

  • To eliminate allergies and food intolerances
    • To follow a vegetarian diet
    • To modify the intake of fats and oils
    • To increase the intake of antioxidant nutrients

It has been proven that eliminating allergenic foodstuffs offers significant benefits in many cases of rheumatoid arthritis. In principle, any foodstuff involving an allergic response or causing food intolerance can aggravate rheumatoid arthritis, but at any rate foods most frequently involved are wheat, refined cereals, milk and other dairy products, meat and solanaceous foods. A study has highlighted the efficacy of eliminating such foodstuffs, in addition to adopting a healthy diet.

Studies have also proven that improvements were associated to the recovery of a balanced intestinal flora. Moreover, vegetarian diets are also very useful because of the reduced availability of arachidonic acid for the conversion in prostaglandins and inflammatory leukotriens, while integrating linoneic and linolenic acids.

 An important nutritional approach to diminish the inflammatory response is to consume bluefish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, etc. These fish, in fact, are a rich source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), competing against arachidonic acid for the production of prostaglandins and leukotriens. It is moreover useful to take linseed oil, rich in omega-3.

In brief, the following dietary programme is recommended:

 FOODS TO AVOID

  • Simple sugars (white sugar, glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, sorbitol, mannitol, lactose, galactose, maple juice, agave juice, honey, molasses)
    • Milk and dairy products
    • Packaged, preserved, refined food and drinks
    • Foods to which you are intolerant or allergic
    • Red meat

 FOODS TO CONSUME WITH CAUTION

  • Refined cereals (white bread, pasta and glazed rice)
    • Whole cane sugar (only if necessary)

RECOMMENDED FOODS

  • Foods rich in fibres (preferably seasonal vegetables and legumes)
    • Seasonal fruit
    • Whole grain cereals and pasta (kamut, spelt, rye, oats, etc.)
    • Bluefish
    • Oleaginous seeds (nuts, almonds, sesame, sunflower)
    • Linseed and olive oil from first cold pressing

WATER

Drink at least two litres of water daily, at ambient temperature and away from meals, choosing water with fixed residue levels below 50 mg/L and with pH lying between 6 and 7.