I am often asked, “What supplements or nutrients have the strongest pain relief qualities?”
Great question. After all, most people these days worry about the side effects of popular over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Thanks to the wide reach of the internet, almost everyone knows about the dangers of drugs such as ibuprofen (kidney damage), aspirin (stomach bleeding), and opiates (constipation, addiction, sudden death), just to name a few.
Virtually all medications will have an adverse effect on your GI tract (stomach and intestines), kidney, liver, heart, and/or muscles and joints. Obviously, you won’t feel like superman taking these pills on a regular basis. Pretty scary, especially for those with chronic pain.
However, with nutritional supplements the pain-suppression properties are not as quick-acting or in most cases, as potent as synthetic drugs. But, if you can lower your pain through other means– home therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise and stretching, meditation etc.– then you won’t need dangerous, strong medicines to keep the pain down; herbs and supplements will be enough to do the trick.
If you have any sort of chronic musculoskeletal pain, I recommend that you maximize your body’s healing potential via an ongoing nutrient-dense diet and certain lifestyle changes, then resort to safer nutritional supplements/herbs to keep the remaining pain down. You may not even need these herbs if your body does a great job healing itself.
Never underestimate the power of food and the human body’s ability to heal and regenerate itself. Like a seedling, if you give it the proper nourishment and environmental conditions, your body will respond dramatically.
With that, here are three supplements that I recommend trying for joint and muscle pain. There are many others, of course, but today we’ll focus on these:
Cissus quadrangularis is a succulent (like a cactus) vine originating from Africa and Asia. According to Web MD, it is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in Thailand, and is also used in traditional African and Ayurvedic medicine.
While it is used for a wide variety of disorders such as PMS pain, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and ulcers, cissus quadrangularis is best known for healing bone fractures, strengthening bones and relieving joint pain in athletes and body builders. In fact, it is commonly referred to as “Bone Setter.”
How does it work?
Like many herbs, unfortunately, much of the evidence is anecdotal. Large clinical trials involving hundreds of people are the best standard for confirming the therapeutic value of a nutritional supplement, but there aren’t such studies at this time.
However, anecdotal evidence; i.e. documented cases of people benefiting from the herb should not be dismissed. Nothing like actual humans (not rats) to vouch for the effectiveness of something.
Speaking of rats, test tube studies and research in animals show that cissus quadrangularis has antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. A study involving rats “demonstrated the anti-arthritic potential of C. quadrangularis and …validates its traditional use for the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.”
As far as dosage goes, there is no set therapeutic dosage for cissus quadrangularis. It depends on age, body size, health status and level of pain. Start out with small doses; increase gradually every other day and note effects. Stick with the dosage that gives you max benefit.
Dr. David Williams Joint Advantage 5x Gold
Dr. David Williams dedicates his life to personally exploring the far reaches of the globe, investigating medicinal herbs used by the local populace. When he finds one that’s worth investigating, he makes sure medical research is strong enough to support its therapeutic value before he recommends it.
Meriva – “Golden” pain relief
His latest formulation, Joint Advantage Gold 5x is his flagship product for reducing joint pain. It features Meriva, an especially potent variety of curcumin.
Curcumin is a bright-orange herb that comes from the rhizome of the turmeric plant. Research confirms that curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and even tumor suppression properties. It offers protection at the lipid-rich cell membrane, as it is a fat soluble molecule. So when you take curcumin, make sure to eat it with a meal that contains fat.
A study referenced in the Alternative Medicine Review found that the curcumin in Meriva is 45 times more bioavailable than ordinary curcumin; which means more of it gets into your cells, not to your urine.
In two clinical studies, Meriva decreased joint discomfort and stiffness by over 50% and significantly decreased inflammatory markers, especially the notorious C-reactive protein (CRP). Take that, Ibuprofen!
Pain relief from an ancient tree
The other potent, pain-relieving ingredient in Joint Advantage Gold 5x is a concentrated form of Boswellia Serrata called AprèsFlex.
Boswellia comes from the sap of the Boswellia serrata tree, native to the Indian sub-continent. The herb is often referred to as the Indian version of frankincense, which comes from the sap of the Boswellia saca tree species found in Africa.
Boswellia works by inhibiting lipoxygenase enzymes (LOX), which are powerful contributors to inflammation and disease. By inhibiting LOX enzymes, Boswellia effectively blocks leukotriene synthesis.
Leukotrienes play a major role in promoting numerous age-associated, inflammatory diseases including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, cancer, and pulmonary (lung) disease. It is especially known for reducing cerebral inflammation.
In addition, Boswellia has been found to improve blood supply to joints and restore the integrity of weakened blood vessels, with no side effects.
Regular Boswellia extract contains glycoproteins which act as a barrier to digestion, but the AprèsFlex formula combines other natural components of the tree that dilute and weaken these glycoproteins, improving absorption into the blood stream.
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 59 subjects with stiff and achy joints took 100 mg of AprèsFlex or a placebo daily for 30 days. Three tests were used to measure discomfort, stiffness, and physical function—and in all 3, AprèsFlex soundly beat the placebo (fake supplement).
- In a measure of pain intensity, AprèsFlex showed a 14.8% better reduction than the placebo starting in just 5 days.
- In a measure of daily functions hindered by discomfort, AprèsFlex showed a 16.3% better reduction starting in just 5 days.
- After 30 days, those taking AprèsFlex reported a 40.1% improvement in joint comfort–a 41.3% improvement in stiffness–and a 38.8% improvement in functional ability.
So if you have sub-acute or chronic pain in any joint of your body—hands, low back, hips, knees—give JAG5x a try. It contains the research dose of 1,000 mg. Make sure you take it with a healthy meal that contains good fats, for better absorption.
Capsaicin Home Made Compound
Here’s a simple home remedy you can try for pain. Get some cayenne pepper at your grocery store, located in the spice section. Pour about 1-2 ounces in a small bowl, then pour about 3 ounces of light olive oil in it and mix. Using your fingers, rub it into your painful joint.
Capsaicin is the substance in peppers that is responsible for generating the sensation of heat. It can relieve pain temporarily by uptaking into the neural synapses—the space between connecting nerve cells where neurotransmitter molecules act to polarize the cells; thus interfering with pain signal transmission.
To enhance this therapy’s effect, apply an infrared heat lamp over the painful area for 10 minutes. This opens the skin pores and increases capillary circulation, which enables more of the capsaicin to reach those nerves.
Well, that’s it!
If you have joint or muscle pain, give these natural alternatives a try. The first two nutrients work primarily by blocking the inflammatory process; the last by interfering with the pain signal to the brain. Best of all, they won’t hurt you like the big pharma drugs can.
For comprehensive, online courses on curing chronic pain that includes natural therapies such as these, please check out my Regenerate and Rehab Pain Rehabilitation site.