By Alexander Shikhman, MD, PhD, FACR
As the number of aging baby boomers with degenerative ailments begins to rise, public and clinical interest in integrative therapy and the effectiveness of dietary supplements is bound to follow suit. And while adult use of joint health supplements has been fairly flat for the past fifteen years, recent study results presented at the World Congress on
show that herbal remedies may in fact trump traditional pain medications when it comes to patient relief -- a finding that stands to have a major impact on the next generation of osteoarthritis patients nationwide.
According to a recent report in
, the time is ripe for joint health ingredients to begin playing a bigger role in the natural supplements market. Industry experts explain that consumers are seeking products that demonstrate proven efficacy – not just for pain relief, but for functional improvements and overall health benefits as well. Combined with the sobering fact that nearly 16 million Americans currently suffer from osteoarthritis (a mere fraction of the nearly 40 million current arthritis patients nationwide), these consumer trends speak to the need for an increased focus on joint health supplement development that caters to integrative health goals, cost consciousness and individual medical needs – all while aiding in cartilage tissue growth and contributing to a more comfortable and active quality of life.
reported late last month, new research in the field of osteoarthritis prevention and treatment now stands to complement these trends – and to provide patients with added resources for holistic therapy and relief through the use of herbal extracts. After comparing the pain and mobility management effects of the prescription drug celecoxib (generic for Celebrex®) with that of herbal supplements comprised of turmeric root and boswellia extracts, scientists at the Anugraha Medical Center in India concluded that the herbal products demonstrated superior results for patients – and did so without significant or dangerous side-effects. According to the study, about 93 percent of the patients taking herbal remedies reported improvement in or even elimination of pain, while only 79 percent of those taking the drug confirmed successful pain management. In addition, 93 percent of those taking the herbal extracts succeeded in walking more than 1000 meters after treatment: by contrast, only 83 percent of those taking the drug celecoxib reported similar results.
Harnessing the power of holistic medicine with expertly-crafted herbal supplements
Given the ubiquitous nature of degenerative osteoarthritis in virtually all individuals over the age of 50, the successful application of herbal remedies for arthritis symptom relief is a major breakthrough for the baby boomer generation. Administered correctly and with professional guidance, herb and food supplements can successfully aid patients with the following therapeutic goals:
- Pain and inflammation control
- Preservation of joint anatomy and mechanics
- Prevention of disease exacerbation
- Preservation of muscle function
However, while supplements can serve a vital purpose for osteoarthritis patients and effect beneficial change without inducing major side effects, they are also inherently powerful substances and should not be used without custom advice and informed recommendation from a qualified medical professional.