Joint pain is a common complaint that doesn’t generally require a hospital visit but can greatly affect an individual’s quality of life. Dr David Daguet, Scientific Director at Vidya Europe, reports
Joint pain can be described as different kinds of discomforts, aches and soreness that impact any of the body’s hinges and pivots (knee, shoulder, hips, elbow, etc). Joint pain can be the result of an illness, an injury or simple ageing.
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the two main joint illnesses. Other causes such as tendinitis, gout, injuries and osteoporosis can affect both the joints and their related bones. The global osteoarthritis therapeutics market size, valued at $6.7 billion in 2020 — and predicted to reach $15.7 billion by 2030 — illustrates how joint pain and bone health are important chronic health conditions.
Of course, weight management, getting enough exercise and following a healthy diet can be very helpful. In addition, herbal supplements can be very potent tools to help reduce joint pain, to promote healthier bones and joints, and to gain better mobility and a better quality of life.
Turmeric, Boswellia, ginger and ashwagandha are the pillars of Ayurveda
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Boswellia serrata, ginger and ashwagandha have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The ability of curcumin, the active principle of turmeric, to slow and relieve joint pain has been demonstrated with various animal models.
Curcumin has been found to have anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the enzymes and cytokines involved in cell membrane inflammation, such as OLA2, COX-2 and 5-LOX, and by inhibiting the transcription of NF-ϏB which is the nuclear factor that induces the enhancement of proinflammatory cytokines.
Experiments on cultured human RA synovial fibroblasts from patients have shown that the inhibition of NF-ϏB activation and nuclear translocation suppress IL-1β and OSM-induced MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-9 and MMP-13 gene expression in human chondrocytes, which are responsible for collagen and cartilage degradation.1
A randomised pilot study showed that RA patients treated with curcumin had the highest percentage of improvement compared with those treated with sodium diclofenac.2 In another trial investigating the clinical efficacy of curcuminoids in patients suffering from knee OA, patients assigned to curcuminoids (1500 mg/day in three divided doses for 6 weeks) had a significantly greater reduction in joint pain scores compared with a placebo.3
Vi-Active is Vidya Herbs’ curcumin, which is naturally 222% more bioavailable. Marketed under the brand name Puremeric, Vidya Herbs’ turmeric extracts are characterised using HPLC analysis, isotopic 14C analysis and DNA testing to ensure both a natural origin and the absence of synthetic substitutions. The botanical variety is guaranteed by a botanist and complete traceability is ensured through the Full iD internal quality label. Puremeric extracts also benefit from SFT natural technology that combines an easier formulation of the product and streamlined production while maintaining clean labelling.
Boswellic acid and 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) are the most active components of Boswellia serrata. AKBA is a potent inhibitor of 5-LOX, which plays a key role in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes from arachidonic acid in the cellular inflammatory cascade. Boswellic acid and AKBA can decrease proinflammatory cytokine production (such as IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IFN-γ and TNF-α), which destroy joint tissues and cartilage. Reducing the enzymatic degradation of cartilage is also a mechanism of action.4
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, knee OA patients daily treated with 1000 mg of Boswellia extract for 8 weeks experienced a significant decrease in pain and swelling and an increase in range of motion compared with a placebo.5
Boswellia serrata is also interesting for its analgesic properties, which were confirmed by an increased Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance force/time in a healthy human volunteer pain model experiment.6 In addition, a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study showed that a 30% AKBA Boswellia extract can reduce pain and significantly improve physical functioning in OA patients.
Vidya Herbs offers extracts from 65–90% boswellic acids that are standardised at 30% AKBA content. All Boswellia extracts are completely traceable with botanical certificates of origin and comply with the highest standards of quality.
Moreover, the association between these two plants presents a potent and efficient combination. A mixture of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata has been shown to be more efficient than a standard dose of Celecoxib (a selective COX-2 inhibitor) in the treatment of osteoarthritis.7
Ginger (Ziginber officinalis) is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Preclinical research has demonstrated that ginger acts as an inhibitor of COX, particularly the inducible COX-2, and inhibits lipo-oxygenase, resulting in suppression in the synthesis of the inflammatory leukotrienes. Clinical studies have shown that ginger can be an effective natural treatment for joint pain.
A meta-analysis demonstrated that ginger has a superior effect on OA, pain and disability than a placebo.8 Another important property of ginger is that it is a bioenhancer of curcumin. A range of extracts from 2–10% gingerols is offered by Vidya Herbs with full traceability.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), known as the Indian ginseng because of its adaptogenic properties, also exerts very interesting activities on joint pain and bone health. It was demonstrated on painful knees that this plant can significantly reduce pain. Animal experiments also showed how it can improve bone calcification, which is of interest for osteoporosis and may explain why this plant is often used by women.
More particularly, the withaferin A withanolid stimulates bone formation by osteoblast growth stimulation and exerts an anabolic effect on osteoporotic bones.9 Vidya Herbs offers an ashwagandha extract titrated from 2.5–8.0% withanolids, and Viwithan, which is titrated at NLT 5% withaferin A.
Vitamin C from amla
Because vitamin C is a critical modulator of the production and maturation of collagen, which is the extracellular matrix of bones and cartilages, this vitamin is essential for joints, cartilage and bone health. Vidya Herbs has used a gentle green process to develop an extract of amla (Emblica officinalis), which is standardised at 25% vitamin C.
Zinc from guava
Bones contain approximately 30% of the body’s zinc, an important element for bone and cartilage development, regeneration and homeostasis. Zinc deficiency was found to give rise to bone growth retardation. Guava (Psidium guajava) is very well known for its fruit; however, all parts of the tree have been used to treat medical ailments. Vidya Herbs uses guava leaves, which are known to be rich in minerals, to produce a 4% zinc powder ingredient.
Selenium from Indian mustard
Adequate levels of physiological selenium are required to maintain cartilage homeostasis because selenium deficiency and the dysregulation of selenoproteins are associated with impairments to homeostasis redox in cartilage. With a selection of soil cultivation and appropriate gentle technologies, Vidya Herbs obtains a 0.5% selenium extract from Indian mustard (Brassica juncea).
From the best of Ayurvedic traditions and modern science, Vidya Herbs offers a wide range of high-quality active ingredients, vitamins and minerals of plant origin that are dedicated to joint and bone health.