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Arthritis – what is it?

Arthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a common joint ailment. The affected joints are increasingly damaged and slowly destroyed, causing progressing pain and motor restrictions. In severe cases, it eventually becomes necessary to operate and insert an artificial joint.

The main causes of arthritis are the overloading and incorrect loading of the joints. Signs of arthritis can be observed in almost everybody aged 70 and above. As a rule, arthritis can occur at any joint. However, the joints of the hips, knees, wrists and ankles, and the spine are often affected the most.

Arthritis begins with an injury to the joint cartilage. This protective, sliding layer is often damaged by being overloaded or as the result of an accident. Consequently, the cartilage can no longer perform its normal functions and this leads to cartilage abrasion, swellings, and often inflammation and deformation of the joints.

In order to stop the disease from progressing, it is advisable to correct improper loading, to lose excess weight, and to strengthen the muscles. It is also essential to promote the cartilage structure and the formation of synovial fluid to improve mobility and reduce pain. Physiotherapy and baths are also beneficial.

Tips for healthy bones, joints and muscles

  • Regular exercise strengthens bones, muscles and joints:
    Bones and cartilage are better supplied with nutrients. Bone and muscle growth are promoted, a premature degradation is prevented.

  • Low-impact sports:
    Walking, cycling and swimming are ideal. They put minimal strain on your joints, and they also promotes the cardiovascular function.
  • The right body weight makes things easier:
    Excessive body weight is also harmful for the joints. Daily exercise helps you to keep your weight in check – or lose weight. This way, not only the joints stay healthy.
  • A varied and balanced diet:
    Enough fruit, vegetables, wholegrain products and low-fat dairy products are ideal foods to supply the bones, joints and muscles with sufficient nutrients. In addition, these foods contain protective substances with an antioxidant effect which are particularly important for the long-term preservation of the joints.
  • Specific dietary supplements:
    We do not always manage to eat an ideal diet. So dietary supplements that can specifically supply the bones, joints and muscles with important nutrients can be very helpful.

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Green-lipped mussel

Vitamin capsules with mussel concentrate from ascopharm are made from the green-lipped mussel, found only in New Zealand (perna canaliculus). It has a characteristic green lip on the inside of the shell. This gives it its name and differentiates it from all the other mussels in New Zealand.

With great effort, a concentrate is obtained from the green-lipped mussel, which contains a high proportion of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). This term refers to a number of different substances that play a major role in the structure and functioning of the joints, cartilage and connective tissue.

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Calcium for strong bones

For some people, natural bone loss starts when they are 35. From then on, more bone is lost than grows anew. The bones lose their stability more and more quickly. If the loss falls below a critical value, bone fractures can occur more frequently.

Women are often affected during the menopause, and men can have problems in old age. That is why it makes sense to promote bone growth, even as early as in childhood, and throughout later life, and to supply the body with sufficient quantities of all the necessary nutrients.

Two substances that are especially important for bone formation are calcium and vitamin D, and also vitamin C, vitamin K as well as trace elements such as zinc and copper. For an adequate calcium intake, it is recommended that you drink 1/2 litre of milk and eat two servings of low-fat cheese daily. Also recommended: green vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and fennel. If you cannot manage this, you can also take dietary supplements.

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Rheumatism – a disease with many faces

The term “rheumatism” refers to a number of different diseases of the locomotor and support system. Rheumatism can occur at any age, but older people are affected particularly often.

Rheumatic diseases can be divided into different groups. The most common types are the degenerative forms (osteoarthrosis, “degenerative joint disease”), which are especially common in the knees and hips, but also in the spine. Progressive functional impairment and deformities of the joints occur due to incorrect loading and overloading, and sometimes also because of inflammatory swelling. There is an increasing number of cases of “soft tissue rheumatism”, especially in the form of fibromyalgia (tendomyopathy). This is a chronic, painful disease of the musculoskeletal system, which leads to pain being felt all over the body, as well as to tension, exhaustion, chronic fatigue and greatly reduced efficiency.

Inflammatory rheumatic diseases are characterised by massive involvement of the immune system. This leads to inflammation of the synovium (synovitis) inside the affected joints. As a result, the joint cartilage and the bone areas around the joint are damaged. In many rheumatic diseases, the administration of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and selenium can be helpful, especially when inflammatory symptoms occur.

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Vital substances and nutrients to provide useful support to the musculoskeletal system, with scientifically well-documented efficacy

Vitamin D is needed so that the body can make use of the calcium contained in food. This is why vitamin D is exceptionally important in building and preserving our bones. Vitamin D is now also known for its support to the immune system and the muscle function.

In Germany, more than 80% of men and 90% of women consume too little vitamin D with their diet as there are only a few foods which provide sufficient vitamin D. Fatty fish is a good source of vitamin D, for example. By contrast, milk and dairy products provide relatively little vitamin D but contain a lot of calcium. Although the human organism is able to produce vitamin D with the help of sunlight, requires enough exposure to the sun. Thus we often experience an undersupply of vitamin D, especially during the dark winter months.

This has caused the German Nutrition Society to react and increase the recommended intake in cases of insufficient endogenous vitamin D synthesis to 20 µg a day for children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Vitamin C
– also known as ascorbic acid – is produced by most plants and animals. Unfortunately we humans are not equipped with this ability – we must have lost it in the course of evolution. This is why we have to rely on its supply by our diet. We now know that vitamin C is an essential building block of the connective tissue which is required for normal collagen formation. This, in turn, is important for the bone and cartilage function.

Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid
are involved in the regulation of the homocystein metabolism. This also contributes to healthy bones.

A protein intake as needed contributes to the preservation of a normal bone and muscle mass.

is of vital importance for bone formation and mineralisation, and contributes to the normal functioning of our muscles. Around one third of all 19 to 65-year-olds do not reach the recommended daily intake of calcium with their diet. Milk and dairy products may contain less vitamin D, but they do contain a lot of calcium and should therefore be included in your everyday diet along with calcium-rich mineral water.

is not only involved in bone formation but also indispensable for the functioning of muscles and nerves. This mineral also contributes to the preservation of a normal energy metabolism.

Zinc, manganese and copper
are valuable trace elements in the bone metabolism. While manganese and zinc contribute to the preservation of a normal bone mass, copper is involved in the formation of connective tissues. Bones and joints consist to a large extent of connective tissue. In addition, zinc plays a role in cell division. The cell division mechanism is a prerequisite for growth processes within the organism.

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