Arthritis – combination supplement with Vitamin D

Dr Paul Clayton 2005

There are a lot of arthritic knees knocking about. According to Arthritis Research, more than 7 million adults in the UK – 15 per cent of the population – have long-term health problems due to arthritis and related conditions; and 550,000 of these have moderate to severe osteoarthritis in their knees. In the red corner is the pharmaceutical industry’s solution, the COX-2 inhibitors, like Vioxx, which have been a disaster. In the blue corner, a range of natural compounds that claim to achieve the same end result, and far more safely – but which is best?

Supplements of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) have been around for a while, but although some people swear by it for arthritis, others haven’t found it useful at all. Claims that it could repair worn and damaged joints were clearly untrue. However, a new study has shown that it does, at least, have mild analgesic properties.

Researchers from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Arthritis Health Centre in Arizona have just presented a paper on the effects of MSM on knee pain due to osteoarthritis (1). The study showed that 3g of MSM twice a day for 12 weeks improved pain and physical function in patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis without major adverse events. The clinical effect compared to placebo was, however, modest. The findings therefore suggest MSM may be considered for short-term use in osteoarthritis pain when other treatments are ineffective or contra-indicated.

To achieve more significant gains, however, such as the actual reconstruction of the affected joint, a different approach is needed. First, the inflammatory enzymes involved in the destruction of cartilage must be blocked.

In recent studies flavonoids extracted from plant sources as diverse as the Scotch pine (2), more familiar to many as the traditional Christmas tree; the raspberry (3), olive oil (4) and the fashionable pomegranate (5), have all been shown to be potent anti-inflammatory agents, capable of switching off the inflammation sequence and thus reducing pain and disability.

Blocking the inflammatory enzymes, however, is only half of the equation. To re-build the damaged joint(s) you must also supply the building blocks for new cartilage; and if there is a strong auto-immune, tissuedestroying reaction, as occurs in rheumatoid arthritis, that must be switched off as well to allow the rebuilding to take place.

We have developed a supplement (JointShield) that does all of these things. It combines anti-inflammatory curcuminoids (the flavonoids in turmeric) with the building block glucosamine, and the immuno-modulators beta sitosterol and vitamin D. Initial reports from several thousand users in Norway indicate that this powerful combination alleviates pain within an hour of ingestion, and improves joint function in patients with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis alike.

I used this myself to deal with the pain of an old sports injury to the shoulder, and found it very effective. It gets to work within the hour, and on a regime of 2 tablets am and pm keeps me pain-free round the clock. Just as important, it doesn’t cause indigestion. Admittedly there are sideeffects; but positive ones! The curcuminoids, as potent members of the flavonoid family, protect against heart disease and cancer (6-9).


1 Kim L et al, “Efficacy of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: A Pilot Clinical Trial”. Presented at 20th Annual Meeting of American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, August 24-27 ’05, Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, AZ.

2 Karonen M et al, Phenolic extractives from the bark of Pinus sylvestris L. and their effects on inflammatory mediators nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2, J Agric Food Chem, 2004 Dec 15, 52(25):7532-40.

3 Vuorela S et al, Preclinical evaluation of rapeseed, raspberry, and pine bark phenolics for health related effects, J Agric Food Chem, 2005 Jul 27, 53(15):5922-31.

4 Beauchamp GK et al, Phytochemistry: ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil, Nature, 2005 Sep 1, 437(7055):45-6.

5 Ahmed S et al, Punica granatum L. Extract Inhibits IL-1{beta}-Induced Expression of Matrix Metalloproteinases by Inhibiting the Activation of MAP Kinases and NF- {kappa}B in Human Chondrocytes In Vitro, J Nutr, 2005 Sep, 135(9):2096-102.

6 Mohanty I et al, Protective effects of Curcuma longa on ischemia-reperfusion induced myocardial injuries and their mechanisms, Life Sci, 2004 Aug 20, 75(14):1701-11.

7 Kumar A et al, Curcumin (Diferuloylmethane) inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-mediated adhesion of monocytes to endothelial cells by suppression of cell surface expression of adhesion molecules and of nuclear factor-kappaB activation, Biochem Pharmacol, 1998 Mar 15, 55(6):775-83.

8 Ruby AJ et al, Anti-tumour and antioxidant activity of natural curcuminoids, Cancer Letters 94(1):79-83 (1995).

9 Huang MT et al, Inhibitory effect of curcumin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and ferulic acid on tumour promotion in mouse skin by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13- acetate, 1988, Cancer Res, 48:5941-5946