Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects your joints and stops them from moving smoothly - specifically when a joint develops osteoarthritis, the cartilage at the ends of the bones becomes rough and thin over time, and the bone underneath thickens. This is what ultimately impedes movement of the joint.
The condition is caused by wear and tear rather than an autoimmune response in the body and is incurable. It affects the lives of 8.5 million Britons, according to Arthritis Research UK and there is no known cure.
However research has revealed that sufferers of osteoarthritis could see symptoms eased by taking a supplement called Pycnogenol® - an extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree.
Pycnogenol® reduces dampens immune cell ‘trigger’ for inflammation
A study published in the Journal of Inflammation concluded that Pycnogenol® effectively prevented inflammation disorders in patients by moderating the immune system’s response.
It is known that the initial stages of arthritis can be blamed on wear and tear, however the later stages are due to inflammation.
This inflammation is caused by cartilage cells responding to impact on joints by releasing pro-inflammatory properties called NF Kappa-B, the immune cell ‘trigger’ for inflammation - Pycnogenol® was seen to lower the sensitivity of NF Kappa-B thereby reducing inflammation.
Furthermore immune system cells release damaging substances in the joints such as free radicals and enzymes that break down connective tissue - this in turn speeds up the degeneration of cartilage and exacerbates the condition. These processes are also controlled by NF Kappa-B and the effect that Pycnogenol® has on NF Kappa-B reduces the damage these substances have on the cells.
Pycnogenol® inhibits enzymes responsible for joint pain
Joint pain is the main symptom of osteoarthritis, which can be debilitating in severe cases - Pycnogenol® was shown to naturally inhibit COX1 and COX2 enzymes which are primarily responsible for joint pain. Patients that supplemented with Pycnogenol® noted a decrease in pain and inflammation by lowering COX1 and COX2 enzyme activity.
As we know the latter stages of osteoarthritis is caused by inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver that increases in the presence of inflammation in the body however researchers found Pycnogenol® to significantly lower the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein by 72%.
Pycnogenol® is a powerful antioxidant
The study also found a significant reduction of reactive oxygen species in arthritis patients by 30% - a finding supporting the function of Pycnogenol® as a hugely powerful antioxidant.
The research concluded that the anti-inflammatory activity of Pycnogenol® is effective in relieving symptoms of arthritis suffered by patients.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.