Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of arthritis, is caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage in joints due to wear and tear. It causes the joint's cartilage, the firm, rubbery material that reduces friction and absorb shocks, to become stiff, inelastic, and more susceptible to damage. Over time, the cartilage may wear away, causing painful inflammation.
1. Chondroitin Sulfate
A polysaccharide naturally present in the connective tissue around joints, especially in cartilage. Its use in Mountain Ice is less about direct pain relief and more to provide the joints with support. Chondroitin helps to protect cells called chondrocytes, which maintain the structure of cartilage, improving its elasticity and resistance by enhancing its ability to withstand pressure. It also blocks enzymes that break down cartilage and inhibit growth.
Chondroitin may not only protect cartilage, but has also shown effectiveness in rebuilding it. It's found with altered structure or in reduced concentrations in the cartilage of OA patients, suggesting it's necessary for regrowth, and has also shown that it improves the synthesis of the proteins collagen and proteoglycan, a reaction necessary to rebuild cartilage.
Studies on chondroitin have shown its potential in addressing psoriasis symptoms, suggesting that it has anti-inflammatory qualities that may serve in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you've seen an article about chondroitin sulfate, you've probably seen it mentioned alongside glucosamine. This amino sugar, like chondroitin, is also naturally present in cartilage, where it's required for the synthesis of proteins like aggrecan that form our connective tissue. High concentrations of aggrecan allow cartilage and the discs in our vertebrae to resist compression. Loss of aggrecan with age causes stiffness and joint deterioration. Its importance in forming these proteins means that glucosamine is necessary to maintain resistance and elasticity in joints, helping to repair and rebuild them.
Proteins like aggrecan are also responsible in part for retaining moisture in joints, which improves flexibility and reduces friction from movement, protecting cartilage and other connective tissue. Aggrecan in particular helps to bind hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture in connective tissue. This means that glucosamine is ultimately responsible for lubricating your joints for better mobility and reduced wear.
3. Hyaluronic Acid
Mountain Ice also contains hyaluronic acid! You may be familiar with its use in skin care products, but it retains moisture deep in your joints as well as at the surface of your skin. It's abundant in the synovial fluid that lubricates our joints, where it helps to bind water to the viscous fluid that improves lubrication and acts as a shock absorber for stress on the joint. This prevents the breakdown of cartilage associated with OA.
Methylsulfonylmethane, known as MSM, is an organosulfur compound with a versatile array of benefits for joint health. Studies regarding MSM's anti-inflammatory properties have been promising and indicate that MSN inhibits the production of NF-kB, a protein complex that controls many of the genes involved in inflammation and has been found to be chronically active in numerous inflammatory diseases. MSM has also shown potential towards inhibiting the production of multiple cytokines (small proteins) that signal the inflammatory response. This all means that MSM can address the inflammation resulting from osteoarthritis.MSM may not only address inflammation, however. It may also inhibit the breakdown of cartilage itself. Its ability to inhibit NF-kB also suggests an effect on suppressing interleukin 1-beta (IL-1b) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), cytokines that influence the breakdown of cartilage and advancement of osteoarthritis.
Menthol is a common pain relief option that works for a substantial number of conditions, and is known for the cooling sensation it creates. It works by stimulating thermoreceptors in skin cells that help your body recognize temperature changes. This sends signals that your brain interprets as cold, which relieves the heat of inflammation.
Menthol's also well known for its numbing sensation, which occurs when it binds to a receptor known as the κ-opioid receptor, producing an analgesic effect.
If you're currently managing osteoarthritis, give Mountain Ice a try!