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Can Arthritis Be Slowed Down?

In basic terms arthritis is a breaking down and wear and tear of the joint cartilage.   The cartilage is like a bearing surface.  In a normal joint the cartilage is smooth, resilient, lubricated, and has a specific thickness.  In an arthritis joint the cartilage is worn away, rough, weak, and poorly lubricated.  A normal joint has good stability, but an arthritic joint is often unstable.

In a joint there is always an ongoing “balancing act” between REPAIR/MAINTANENCE and BREAKDOWN of a joint.  If there is more BREAKDOWN, then the joint will wear out and become arthritic.  The BREAKDOWN processes are called CATABOLIC processes.   The REPAIR/MAINTANENCE process are called ANABOLIC or ANTI-CATABOLIC processes.

The REPAIR/MAINTANENCE side of the equation includes:

    - healthy chondrocytes

    -  controlled matrix remodeling

    -  normal stability and loads

    -  normal cartilage and bone interfaces

    -  healthy joint cell populations

The BREAKDOWN side of the equation includes:

    -  chondrocyte hypertrophy

    -  uncontrolled matrix breakdown

    -  excessive instability and loads

    -  abnormal cartilage and bone and bone marrow lesions

    -  bad joint cell mix

There are specific molecules/proteins involved in both of these processes.

Molecules that do BAD things, that live in the joint and break the joint down include:

    - MMP’s (matrix metalloproteinases)

          Collagenase - MMP 1,13,18

          Stromelysins - MMP 3,10, 11

          Gelatinases - MMP 2

    - ADAMTS (A disintegrn and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin)

    -  IL-1 (interleukin) and TNF-alpha  - inflammatory molecules that enhance MMP’s function

These BAD molecules break things down, particularly cartilage.

There are GOOD molecules that prevent the BAD molecules from doing their work.  These GOOD molecules are called anti-catabolic cytokines.  Some of these GOOD molecules include:

    -  TGF-beta (tissue growth factor)

    -  TIMP-1 & 2 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases)

    -  IRAP (interleukin receptor antagonist protein)

    -  A2M (alpha 2 macroglobulin)

These GOOD molecules block that BAD molecules from breaking down cartilage, and therefore, help preserve and cartilage.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) reduces the BAD or CATABOLIC molecules and increases the GOOD or ANABOLIC molecules. Several recent studies have shown this. 

    Am J Sport Med 2015  - PRP reduces cartilage breakdown

    Arthroscopy 2015 - Early use of PRP inhibits mechancially induced cartilage cell injury

    Vet Med Int 2015 - PRP stimulates the production of GOOD/ANABOLIC molecules

So, the bottom line is that PRP reduces the breakdown of the joint cartilage that occurs in arthritis.  And to answer the original question - YES, arthritis can be slowed down.

Contact us at The Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation Center of Santa Rosa at (707) 978-4322 to find out more about how we can help with your arthritis.

Is Inflammation Good or Bad??? What about FISH OIL?

Inflammation is both good and bad.  Fish Oil increases the blood levels of the “off switch” that allows inflammation to do the good stuff and stop doing the bad stuff.

J Lipid Res Sep 3 2014

Knee Pain Blue and Red

Knee Inflammation, and in fact other inflammatory processes throughout your body, needs to be properly regulated

Omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil are remarkable.  

Inflammation is two-faced and schizophrenic.  And even doctors have a hard time trying to understand inflammation.  They often unknowingly cause worsening problems when trying to help a patient to decrease inflammation.  The problem is that inflammation is not always bad.

Inflammation is important to keep you alive and well, but it also causes many chronic diseases.  So what is up with that?

You can think of inflammation as a fire.  Acute inflammation is when your body tries to heal damaged tissue.  This type of fire creates rather than destroys.  Like the fire that is needed by a blacksmith.  When the repair process is complete, your body gets a signal to turn off the inflammation process.  If and when this signal is not received, a low level of inflammation continues, and this inflammation fire is destructive and leads to problems like arthritis and heart disease.  

So, inflammation is both good and bad at the same time - it really just depends on being able to switch off inflammation at the right time.  The “off” switch needs to be triggered at the right time.

Good quality Fish oils and Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.  The molecutes that flip the inflammation switch off are called “resolvins”, they resolve inflammation.  Resolvins are derived from the components of fish oil, EPA and DHA.  Here is where a another problem involving NSAIDS is seen.  Regrettably, in your body, Resolvins are made by the same molecular pathway that is blocked by NSAIDS, both prescription and over the counter ones.  So while fish oil creates the molecules that switch off inflammation, NSAIDS block their production.  Studies have clearly shown this.   This is NOT GOOD, and is the exact wrong thing to do for a healthy body.

Another study looked at blood levels of Resolvins in patients who took either fish oil, aspirin, or placebo.  The fish oil increased the levels of the inflammation off switch (the resolvins and their precursors), whereas the aspirin did not.  This fish oil by itself is a powerful “off” switch for inflammation, and it took only 5 days to see its effect.  

The bottom line is that Fish Oil is great for healing.  Look at our section in Prevention and Supplements to see how to find a good quality fish oil that will have these positive qualities.

Also the use of fish oil will help your body heal even more effectively when you undergo a Regenerative Injection Treatment, such as Platelet Rich Plasma.  So take that fish oil.

At the Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation Center we can help you find the right supplements to preserve your musculoskeletal system in good health (and actually help the rest of your body as well).  We can help you heal your injury naturally.

Call us at (707) 978-4322.


©         Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation Center of Santa Rosa    2017