by Dr. Fred G. Arnold —
Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the world, affecting 43 million persons.
One of the most common conditions that will affect most of us to some degree is osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is a breakdown of joints, including cartilage, ligaments and bone. It can also affect the tendons that connect muscles to bone, which allow for movement of the joint.
Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the world, affecting 43 million persons. In the U.S., symptomatic knee OA is present in up to 6 percent of the population beyond the age of 30 years and has an overall incidence of 360,000 cases per year.
Traditional treatment generally involves a combination of exercise, lifestyle modification and a variety of pain medications, including steroids. While these modalities may help some patients, none has been proven to provide lasting pain control for most patients with OA. If pain continues or worsens, joint replacement surgery may be recommended.
Collagen, joints and vitamin C
Collagen is a protein that forms fibrous tissues, such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons associated with a joint. The strength and integrity of any joint is dependent upon the body’s ability to manufacture collagen for strong joints and the ability to resist stress on the joint. Other fibrous tissues of the body rich in collagen include the skin, cornea, bone, blood vessels, gut and intervertebral disc. The fibroblast is the most common cell that creates collagen.
Vitamin C does a lot of good things for the body. It prevents diseases like scurvy and can lower the risk of certain forms of heart disease, but perhaps one of its most important functions is its role in collagen production. It helps our bodies produce collagen, which strengthens the connective tissue that forms our ligaments, tendons and cartilage. If we are injured, the requirements for vitamin C seem to increase. If too little is consumed, the healing process is hindered. Getting enough vitamin C also helps promote healing while limiting further injury to damaged tissue and muscles.
Vitamin C production
The vast majority of animals, such as birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and other mammals, produce their own vitamin C. It plays an essential role in protecting them from infections, toxins and disease, and allows them to enjoy a full and healthy life, eventually dying of old age. Rarely do any of these animals experience strokes, heart attacks, cancer or contract infectious diseases. Nor do they spend their lives in a chronically ill state.
Unfortunately, humans do not share this ability to produce their own vitamin C. We belong to a select group of mammals, along with monkeys and guinea pigs, that must satisfy their vitamin C requirements through diet or supplementation. A study by the Cambridge University showed that “individuals with the highest levels of vitamin C had nearly half the death rate of those with the lowest levels — from all causes.”
Vitamin C and arthritis
Since we are unable to manufacture our own vitamin C, it is critical that we adequately supplement it in our daily diet to treat and prevent arthritis. Numerous studies link low levels of vitamin C to arthritis and at least one animal study shows how high-dose vitamin C reduces the inflammation, swelling and associated inflammation of arthritic joints.
Although many different forms of vitamin C are available on the market, I consider liposome-encapsulated vitamin C the best form for supplementation. Liposome vitamin C allows for much lower doses to be consumed for maximum absorption in the body: 1000 mg of liposomal vitamin C is equal to taking 3000 mg to 4000 mg of powdered vitamin C.
Regenerative medicine and vitamin C
Regenerative medicine injections used in prolotherapy, prolozone and platelet-rich plasma treatments can rebuild and strengthen osteoarthritic joints. Vitamin C provides the building material for the production of collagen and is essential for the formation of ligaments, tendons and cartilage involving those joints.
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition that affects most of us as we age. Numerous studies have linked low levels of vitamin C to OA. Since we are unable to manufacture our own vitamin C for collagen production, regenerative medicine injections and supplementation should be a consideration for overall health and the prevention and treatment of OA. Liposomal vitamin C allows for maximum absorption compared to other forms of vitamin C.
1. Osborn. T., Gear, J., “Possible relation between ability to synthesize vitamin C and reaction to Tubercle bacillus.” Nature. 1940, 145:974.
2. Nishikimi, M., et al., “Occurance in humans and guinea pigs of the gene related to their missing enzyme L-gulonalactone oxidase.” Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 1988, 267(2):842-846.
3. Levy, Thomas E., M.D., J.D., Primal Panacea. MedFox Publishing, 2011, pg. 203.
Fred G. Arnold, D.C., N.M.D., has more than 20 years of clinical experience and specializes in pain rehabilitation services. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Health Care Providers, Fellow of American Academy of Ozonotherapy, member of American Association of Orthopedic Medicine and is one of the few physicians in the nation with both a naturopathic medical degree and chiropractic degree. prolotherapyphoenix.com or 602-292-2978.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 6, December 2013/January 2014.