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Articular diseases–such as arthritis–negatively affect the integrity, structure, and function of joints. Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent and common form of arthritis affecting more than 20 million Americans, is a degenerative disease in which the articular cartilage of the joints progressively deteriorate causing pain and a cascade of limitations and burdens in everyday life (15).
While no definitive cure has been discovered, physicians have been prescribing and recommending an array of medicinal drugs, supplements, and treatments to assuage this debilitating pain and discomfort. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil are three supplements that are common to the orthopedic community, yet have demonstrated to be subpar in alleviating pain, and most importantly, having preventative and regenerative effects.
We are proud to offer a product that has been researched and designed by expert physicians in the field of orthopedics: Artic Flex, the bone and joint krill oil formula for all your articular needs. What are the other articular supplements and what does current research say about them?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements–taken both together and separately–that have been popular for the past two decades in hopes of decreasing pain and stiffness caused by loss of cartilage. These molecular structures occur naturally within the body and are helpful in keeping joints healthy. Unfortunately, levels of glucosamine and chondroitin decrease with age, contributing to the degenerative process of cartilage and thus painful bone-on-bone contact in the joint (22).
Due to this natural decline, it is logical to assume that supplementing glucosamine and chondroitin would slow or help prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. Researchers, however, have found their effects to be less promising.
Studies have demonstrated glucosamine and chondroitin’s inability to produce significant effects on joint pain, function, stiffness, and joint space width (14,23). One group of researchers conducted a placebo-controlled study over the span of two years, looking at 357 people (581 qualifying knees) and the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin supplementation on the progression of their loss of joint space width. They found that, after two years of treatment, glucosamine and chondroitin did not achieve any clinical significant difference compared to the placebo group (15). Additionally, there was no difference in pain and function scores between the experimental and placebo groups as well (16).
Another clinical study focused on the supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin on pain in those with osteoarthritic knees. With the 1,583 patients in their study, the researchers concluded glucosamine and chondroitin–alone or in combination with one another–failed to reduce pain effectively (4).
When compared to placebo and the use of NSAIDs, glucosamine demonstrated no significant effect on minimizing joint space narrowing and an increased risk in the occurrence of adverse events (9).
Fish oil is taken as a supplement for a number of reasons, from improving blood triglyceride levels to lowering risk of coronary heart disease, due to its high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
It is known to alleviate rheumatoid arthritic symptoms, however, there is no evidence that supports its use in the treatment or prevention of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis (1,24).
Why is this the case? Although rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis fall beneath the umbrella of the general disease of arthritis, they are two different conditions–rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder and osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease–and thus have different mechanisms of degradation at the joint.
Fortunately, where fish oil lacks the support of clinical trials for those diagnosed with osteoarthritis, krill oil has shown to be an effective supplement for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (1,20,21). Studies have even demonstrated that supplementing krill oil along with fish oil enhances the effects of pain relief as well as reducing levels of inflammatory cytokines within the bloodstream (11).
Krill oil is a superior, evidence-based alternative to glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil supplementation due to its successful outcomes after multiple clinical trials. Patients with osteoarthritis have experienced pain relief, reduced inflammation, and enhanced bone and joint support by incorporating a capsule of krill oil per day into their dietary routines (5,6,7,12).
Unlike fish oil whose omega-3 fatty acids come attached to triglycerides, the omega-3’s of krill oil are bound to phospholipids, allowing them to be readily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body (19,21).
Why do phospholipids matter?
Every cell in our body has a phospholipid membrane–or outer layer–making the phospholipids of the krill oil highly recognizable and bioavailable. In other words, when you take Artic Flex krill oil…your body is able to use the omega-3’s, vitamins, and minerals to enhance the health of your joints!
One group of researchers concluded that although fish oil has nearly double the amount of omega-3’s when compared to krill oil, “the concentration of omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] in plasma was very similar between the two groups suggesting a higher bioavailability of krill oil or that the content of omega-3 PUFAs in krill oil is enough to obtain maximum plasma concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids” (19).
Bioavailability is imperative when choosing the right supplement to address your needs simply because it directly translates into whether or not your body accepts the nutrients within the supplement or allows it to pass through unused by your body’s waste management system: the urinary tract.
Artic Flex allows for optimal digestion, absorption, and utilization of omega-3’s, Vitamin D3, zinc, strontium, and astaxanthin, ultimately leading to the improvement of health in your joints and bones!