Treating Degenerative Arthritis with Diet and Nutritional Supplements


Degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, occurs from normal wear and tear on your joints, as well as injury or genetics. Some details of this disease appear in another article on this website but this one focuses on the importance of diet and the risks of supplements, both of which affect the health of your joints.


The old proverb, "you are what you eat" is quite true, as people who eat healthy often feel better and have less medical problems whereas those who indulge regularly and are overweight tend to have a lower sense of well-being and are at a higher risk for developing multiple health conditions. Malnourishment is also a contributing factor to health problems and this can occur even if you eat a lot because you may not be consuming the right foods.

Scientific studies show that if you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which simultaneously allows you to lose or maintain a healthy weight, you are less likely to have arthritis. Additionally, if you already have arthritis but change your eating habits, your symptoms are likely to subside and you can slow down the progress of degenerative arthritis.

In other studies, scientists found that two compounds, glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are building blocks for cartilage, could help to alleviate moderate to severe arthritic symptoms. You can increase your dietary levels of glucosamine by eating shellfish, such as lobsters and crabs, though you can also opt for raw parsley and spinach if you are allergic to shellfish. As for chondroitin, you can only obtain this as a supplement, unless you are open to eating shark cartilage.

Changing your eating habits can be challenging, especially if you are trying to consume foods you do not like, such as raw spinach and parsley. One trick that seems helpful is to invest in a juicer, a small kitchen appliance that allows you to make healthy, tasty beverage concoctions. If you combine foods you do not like with ones you do, like berries and bananas, you do not taste the less favored produce, thus enabling you to consume foods that are good for your degenerative arthritis.


If you are like most people, you may think there are no risks to taking supplements, which is the alternative option if you cannot eat shellfish, hate spinach and refuse to eat shark cartilage. However, this is a very common misconception and in some cases, supplements really are not good.

For starters, a supplement is man-made, meaning it is not original and went through a series of processes that altered its natural state in order to become a supplement. Depending on the product and the process, the original benefits may no longer exist or be so minimal, you need to consume high doses of the supplement to counteract the symptoms of your degenerative arthritis.

Supplements may also pose a risk if you take too much, as your body does not eliminate waste as quickly as you consume food. If you eat something right now, it takes three days to go through your stomach and get to the beginning of the intestines, making the average time of digestion to elimination five to seven days.

During this time, the byproducts of whatever you are consuming can build up, resulting in illness or, if taken for a long time, which is typical in the treatment of degenerative arthritis, serious bodily damage.

In the case of glucosamine, a product derived from shellfish, you may be prone to an allergic reaction or be putting yourself at risk for developing diabetes. Gluco means sugar and amine refers to protein, but in combination, this compound has ten times the effect of regular glucose on the body.

In other words, your body has to work harder to get rid of glucosamine, thus wearing out the pancreas, increasing insulin resistance and leading to the destruction of cells that produce insulin, all of which ultimately lead to diabetes.

Furthermore, the combination of sugar and protein causes the protein to become sugar coated, preventing proper break down and leaving the body with less of this important nutrient.

Much like a drug, you may take a supplement to eliminate your degenerative arthritis, but in the end, could develop another health problem. The best solution, eat healthy, look into natural ways of alleviating pain and work with your doctor or a physical therapist to create an exercise plan.

Joints Often Affected by Degenerative-type Arthritis

Knee Arthritis - occurs when the cartilage of the knee wears away and the bones begin to rub against each other causing pain and swelling.

Hip Arthritis - occurs when the cartilage of the knee wears away and the bones begin to rub against each other causing pain and swelling.

Spinal Arthritis - the cartilage breaks down, the spaces between vertebras narrow and sometimes form bone spurs.

Hand Arthritis - Due to the deterioration of the diseased joints in your hand, wrist or fingers, your bone could begin to rub against other connecting bones.

Neck Arthritis - also referred to as Cervical Spondylosis, may just feel like a pain in the neck.

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