3 Supplement Alternatives to Chronic Anti Inflammatory Medications

Our weekly Live broadcast 20200902.

3 Supplement options instead of anti inflammatory medications for pain.
-Glucosamine chondroitin

Hello, this is Siddharth Tambar from Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine. Welcome to our Weekly Live Broadcast. It is September 2nd, 2020, I hope everyone’s doing well and I hope everyone’s healthy. So I am talking about three different supplements that you can use in place of chronic anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis and tendonitis. Before I get to that as a reminder, here at Chicago Arthritis Regenerative Medicine, we’re focused on evaluation and treatment of arthritis, tendonitis injuries and back pain, utilizing the most cutting edge treatments and processes available that are non-surgical and orientation that are meant to maximize your functional level and minimize your pain.

It’s interesting, I started playing tennis again yesterday. It’s been about five months since I last played and I’ve stayed relatively in shape and exercising over the summer, despite COVID and getting back into sort of playing tennis competitive shape was a challenge. And part of that was trying to get the muscle memory back, felt like doing more work for the same kind of effect. But part of it also was actually wearing a mask while I was actually playing, which is a rule at the tennis club that I play at. And it’s an appropriate rule, cause there’s a good number of people there, but definitely adds a level of additional cardiovascular challenge that normally is not there, but that is the new normal. Can you do better under more difficult circumstances? And can you do better with less?

So in regards to the topic of today, so there’s an interesting study that came out of Canada recently. That essentially looked at, what happens with osteoarthritis patients when it comes to their cardiovascular risk. So they looked at roughly 7,000 plus osteoarthritis patients in Canada and 20 some thousand age and demographic match patients who did not have osteoarthritis and a few interesting things that they found. Number one, is they found that patients who have osteoarthritis are significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease as compared to the general population, fascinating. Number one, certainly folks who’ve got osteoarthritis likely have some degree of functional limitations in some cases that could put them at higher risk for progressive cardiovascular issues, including risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome. Number two, there are certain arthritis patients that also have higher rates of inflammation and inflammation on its own can make you more prone to metabolic syndrome, which can then make issues like diabetes and blood pressure more likely, which can then make things like heart disease and cardiovascular disease more likely. So osteoarthritis connected with heart disease outcomes is interesting. On top of that, though, what they found was that, for folks who were taking chronic anti-inflammatory medications, we’re talking about Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Diclofenac, Celebrex, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, that they had a dramatically higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the general population. And that risk was up to 40% higher risk that is dramatic. And so while I will generally tell patients, look, we need to find other options for treating your musculoskeletal condition that go beyond just chronic pain medications and chronic anti-inflammatory medications. Here’s a study that really emphasizes that in a more dramatic fashion. And I think that has to be respected because there’s other ways to treat pain and there’s other ways to treat and maximize your musculoskeletal health and wellness. And we all know about the risk of chronic narcotics in terms of pain relief, but maybe we don’t pay quite enough attention to the cardiovascular risk that comes with more routine over the counter pain medications, like the antiinflammatory medications. A lot of people assume, that just because of medication is sold over the counter at their local pharmacy and that, people that they know are using these meds sort of. Almost like it’s candy, just for pain relief that they may feel like those are low risk options. And medically, a lot of physicians, do see it as a lower risk option than other treatment options. But the reality is there’s definitely risks and the cardiovascular disease risk is a realistic one.

So what are other supplements that you can use in place of anti-inflammatory medications that could be beneficial? Well, without a doubt, glucosamine chondroitin makes sense. So glucosamine chondroitin has been around for a long time studies that go back, I think over 15 years ago, that showed that, in the setting of knee osteoarthritis, 50% of people who take glucosamine chondroitin will get pain, relief and benefit. Now, most people when they hear that number 50% in their mind, they’re thinking, is that just a coin flip? What is the point of that? How is that going to make a big difference for me? The reality is when you look at treatments that are available for arthritis and tendonitis, that 50% number, not only is it statistically significant in those studies, that is a real life significant number. And I think if a significant number of people can get relief with something as benign as glucosamine chondroitin, that it’s a no brainer to consider that, especially if you can replace chronic anti-inflammatory meds and other pain medications. So without a doubt, a good first line option.

Number two is Omega-3. Omega-3 is interesting. So there are studies that show that if you’re taking a high dose of Omega-3, that can actually help with pain, swelling, stiffness, and overall quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It can help with inflammation. We know that inflammation is important, not only in severe rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis and other autoimmune inflammatory conditions. But we also know, that there is a component of inflammation at a milder level in osteoarthritis as well. So again, Omega-3 no brainer to use that as well. So you can get Omega-3 in a few different products with generally you can get it in either flaxseed oil or fish oil or other versions of fish oil, krill oil, things like that. So the studies for Omega-3 in rheumatoid arthritis, we’re utilizing fish oil. So is it apples to apples with flaxseed oil not necessarily? I think flaxseed oil is sometimes easier to tolerate for some people. And so should definitely certainly consider that, on the other hand, Omega-3 from fish oil, some people don’t fully tolerate that very well. I think as a good general rule of thumb, if your fish oil product has a fishy odor to it, it’s not a good quality product, either that or it’s been tainted or spoiled old. And so you should probably get a newer version or a better version than the one that you’re using. The other thing about omega-3 is you have to take a relatively high dose. So in rheumatoid arthritis, the studies were done using 3000 milligrams of Omega-3 3000 milligrams is a pretty high dosage. It’s very unlikely. You would get that, with just eating a normal Western diet of fish. If you happen to live, like they knew it, up in the Arctic and you’re utilizing whale blubber for some of your condiments, you might be getting enough Omega-3 but otherwise it’s hard to get enough Omega-3 without getting mercury poisoning here in America, I would definitely recommend taking Omega-3 supplements.

The last is curcumin or turmeric. So curcumin is the active significant molecule that we’re talking about in turmeric. Turmeric you find that in a lot of South Asian cooking South East Asian cooking as well, and curcumin has been shown when you compare it to something like diclofenac, a fairly hardcore anti-inflammatory medication in knee arthritis to have equivalent results in terms of pain relief. The trick with curcumin is number one, the dosage in that study was up to 1500 milligrams per day, In addition. So you need to make sure you’re getting enough. It’s going to be hard for most Western diets to get enough curcumin. Frankly. I think even if you’re South Asian and you’re eating a heavy South Asian diet, I don’t know if a lot of people are going to get quite that much curcumin. Number two is, you have to also tie that in with black pepper as well. And so in turmeric or curcumin supplements, you want to make sure it also has a product called Bioperine. That’ll help with the absorption and bioavailability of curcumin in the body as well. So again, another really low risk option that I think is very helpful for pain and inflammation.

So those are the three ones, Glucosamine chondroitin, Omega-3, Curcumin. Those are the three, that if you’ve got musculoskeletal issues that you want to focus on, I certainly have patients that are taking other types of supplements as well, but those are really the three big ones that have fairly good evidence and data, and that are routinely available. And that I think are useful if you’re looking for pain relief from arthritis and tendonitis, injuries and back pain, and that in addition can help to replace some of the commonly used over the counter pain medications that people utilize.

Okay, well, thank you for your time. As a reminder, we do… I do a Weekly Live Stream Mondays and Wednesdays every single week and after the Live Stream, we’ll also rebroadcast it after it’s been post edited. Another announcement, I have a Live Webinar, 5:00 PM Central Standard Time today called The Truth about Regenerative Medicine. Really a lot of stuff that you may or may not know that I think is helpful. If you have a musculoskeletal condition that needs additional treatment besides just conservative care. And I will have a link to that in the show notes or underneath wherever this is actually published. Until next time, hope everyone stays healthy, have a good day and live well. Bye bye.

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About this video
In this video Siddharth Tambar MD from Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine discusses 3 Supplement options instead of anti inflammatory medications for pain.