Natural Options for Osteoarthritis (Page 3)


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AppleActiv Dried Apple Peel Powder

Apples contain a variety of phytonutrients that confer health benefits. The peel of the apple contains the highest concentration of such antioxidant-rich polyphenols and flavonoids.17 AppleActiv, an ingredient from Leahy Orchards Inc. (Franklin, QC, Canada), is an organic dried apple peel powder.

A recent pilot study evaluated dried apple peel powder (AppleActiv) for its benefits to joint health and range of motion.18 Twelve participants (male and female) aged 45–75 with more than six months of chronic joint pain and decreased joint range of motion in well-defined areas were included in the open-label clinical trial. Individuals consumed 4.25 g of dried apple peel powder daily (divided into three doses per day) for a period of 12 weeks and were monitored at baseline and after 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Comprehensive range-of-motion assessments were conducted at each visit using digital inclinometry.

Range-of-motion improvements occurred rapidly in some joints, while improvements in other joints also were shown to be statistically significant compared to baseline at the 8- or 12-week visit. Moreover, eight of the study participants had an area of primary pain in a joint where range of motion was being assessed using the digital inclinometry. Of these eight individuals, seven showed an improvement of range of motion in the primary joint during the study period, while in six of these individuals, the authors classified the improvement as robust. Pain reduction measured by a visual-analog scale also reached statistically significant levels at four weeks for both the primary and secondary areas of complaint in each individual and continued to improve throughout the 12-week study.

Additional explorations by the authors in the same study aimed to assess the mechanism of action of the apple peel powder in improving joint function and reducing pain. Using an assay known as CAP-e, which is a measure of the ability of compounds with antioxidant effects to show these benefits inside of cells, the authors of the study found the apple peel powder to provide a clear dose response, indicating measurable cellular protection. In addition, serum measures of antioxidant protection were also found to be significant and increased throughout the first eight weeks of the study in individuals consuming the apple peel powder capsules.

Furthermore, the effects of apple peel powder on inflammation were assessed in multiple ways, with results indicating that the supplement inhibits the production of free radicals from polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN), a type of white blood cell. The dried apple peel powder also inhibited cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and lipoxygenase enzymes in laboratory assays. (Both inflammatory enzymes contribute to joint inflammation and dysfunction.) Thus, it is likely that both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits are at play here with regard to dried apple peel powder’s benefits on joint function and pain relief.


Moving Forward

Joint-health issues, and specifically joint pain and discomfort, are naturally front and center in the minds of those suffering through them. When an individual is in pain, the natural instinct is to do whatever it takes to remove the pain. Thus, symptomatic relief is an important goal for those with OA and other joint concerns.

While comprehensively addressing joint conditions includes addressing the risk factors associated with poor joint health, the armamentarium for natural therapies that address the fundamental experience of pain and discomfort continues to grow. Utilizing these nutraceutical options with existing therapies for joint conditions may have an additive effect. The fact that these natural substances also address long-term goals of a joint-health protocol, including reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as providing structural support to joint tissue, is also a big plus. Furthermore, unlike conventional symptomatic therapies that are often counterproductive to the long-term healing process of the joint, natural solutions have a high degree of safety and deserve consideration for their potential to benefit a chronically suffering population. 


Irfan Qureshi, ND, is chief regulatory officer for Vitamin Research Products LLC. His current focus includes oversight of product development, regulatory affairs, quality control, and quality assurance.




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