The knees (and hips) are critical in movement – and in repose. Take a moment now to look at how you are sitting. More than likely, your knees are bent to a degree. If you have osteoarthritis (OA), sitting and then getting up, bending, can be painful.
OA is a condition that worsens over time and is characterized by the disintegration of cartilage, in amount and integrity, reducing the healthy cushion between the bones. At its worst, there is little to no cartilage left and the femur and tibia have nothing between them. Through time, pain and loss of mobility set in.
There is no real surefire way of preventing your joints from the wear-and-tear that causes osteoarthritis, but there are ways of preserving knee structure and function so that if you do develop OA, you may develop it later in life or to a lesser degree of degradation.
According to a March 2014 presentation by the Mayo Clinic at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), an estimated 4.7 million Americans have undergone total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and 2.5 million have undergone total hip arthroplasty (THA) and are living with implants. Prevalence is higher in women than in men: 3 million women and 1.7 million men are living with TKA, and 1.4 million women and 1.1 million men are living with THA.
May Clinic lead investigator Daniel J Berry, MD, noted at the time that there are approximately 1.5 times more people living in the US with a knee or hip replacement as there are people living with heart failure.
The study also provides valuable insights into possible future trends in orthopedic care. These include the need to provide specialized health care services for individuals with joint replacements, ranging from chronic care of aging implants to the management of revision surgeries and long-term complications from wear debris or other issues.
According to another study, the incidence of knee OA is rising as a result of longer life expectancy and increasing BMI in the population. From 1991 to 2006, the rates of total knee replacement (TKR) more than tripled in and men.
An observational study investigated changes in TKR patient profiles in two 4-year time periods,10 years apart. Group one consisted of patients who had TKR between December 1994 and August 1998 and group two consisted of patients who had TKR between January 2009 and November 2012. The researchers noted a couple of trends – one, the mean age of the second (newer) group was greater than those in group one, and the newer group were also significantly more overweight.
The study team concluded, “Our study has shown that the prevalence of obesity has significantly increased in patients undergoing TKR. We additionally found that a greater proportion of both older and younger patients were undergoing TKR and that patients are being operated on at a lower threshold of disease severity.”
If you are overweight, start a reasonable diet and exercise lifestyle modification, under supervision of your physician.
Take stock of your typical movements and how you perform your routine activities. Be aware of how your knees feel after certain activities. For example, if you bend down and the right knee hurts, bend with your left and have your right straightened out, leaning towards your left.
Exercise is vital – it builds the strength of the muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting and surrounding your knees. Both walking and swimming are highly recommended. Regular exercise and/or physical therapy prevents the muscles from atrophying, which will cause the knees to further degrade.
One way physicians help manage the discomfort of knee OA is to recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or will prescribe something stronger such as celcoxib, which is a COX-2 selective inhibitor. COX-2 – or cyclooxygenase-2 is a pro-inflammatory compound that causes tenderness and discomfort. So by inhibiting the body’s production of COX-2, there should be less pain.
However, NSAIDS come with a price – they can destroy your stomach lining. Therefore, supplements can help. Especially a supplement that naturally manages inflammation response in people with OA.
Andrographis Steps In
One supplement that is a potent contributor to knee mobility wellness is ParActin, a patented extract of the herb Andrographis paniculata.
A brand new study examined the efficacy of doses of 300 and 600 mg ParActin® or placebo daily for 84 days on Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores of pain reduction in 103 adults with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. Parameters tested were joint stiffness, changes in the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire, physical function and fatigue scale.
Among the study findings, the WOMAC pain scores showed a significant and progressive reduction in both ParActin® groups starting at day 28 compared to placebo. The reduction in pain scores from baseline to day 84 within the groups was also highly statistically significant in both ParActin® groups but not in the placebo group. Additionally, the stiffness score was significantly reduced in the ParActin® group by day 84 while there was no improvement in this area in the placebo group. In the quality of life scores, ParActin® groups showed highly significant improvements in physical function score, bodily pain score, and social function score. In addition, markers of fatigue improved in the ParActin® group.
The researchers concluded, “Overall, our study is the first clinical placebo-controlled trial that supports a potential use of ParActin® in knee OA patients. We propose that ParActin® can decrease the pain and discomfort of knee osteoarthritis and improve the patient’s general condition and quality of daily life, with no major adverse events.”
This newest study adds to the significant and growing body of research showing ParActin’s efficacy in supporting joint health as well as its unique and potent mechanisms of action. Recent studies showed that Andrographolide inhibited cartilage matrix-degrading enzymes. In addition, Andrographolide protects chondrocytes from oxidative stress injury by increasing antioxidant enzyme activity via the activation of the Keap1–Nrf2–Are signaling pathway. This in vitro study showed that andrographolide increases both catalase and superoxide dismutase in treated chondrocytes, exerting chondroprotective effects, which may slow down the progression of OA.
Further, ParActin supports overall healthy mobility – other studies have proven it can support healthy bones, cartilage structure, muscle function and structure, and immune response.