Arthritis and dysplasia have cartilage break down in common. When the cartilage starts to decompensate, bone starts to rubs against bone and hips pop in and out of sockets. The pain can be excruciating. Strengthening and helping cartilage rebuild is one of the best way to prolong hip-life without surgery. Nutrition is the key to keeping existing cartilage strong and helping your dogs body build new cartilage.
Cartilage, having no blood vessels, nerves, or lymphatics, has no pipeline to oxygen, water and nutrients. Besides water, there are three main components of cartilage: collagen, proteoglycans and a type of cell called chondrocytes.
Collagen is structural ~ it makes cartilage strong and elastic. When nutrients such as amino acids (protein), vitamin C, iron, copper, and manganese are lacking the body can't produce enough collagen.
The cells and proteoglycans fill up the extra spaces around the structural collagen in cartilage. Like half-set jello, they draw and keep water and provide cushion to our joints. Each proteoglycan contains glycosaminoglycans (a protein with specially modified sugars), the most important of these is chondroitin (kon-DROE-it-in) sulfate.
The cells inside cartilage (those cushy chondrocytes) have no direct link to either our blood or lymphatic systems. To get nutrients, surrounding tissues such as the synovial fluid have to ooze. Chondrocytes both produce enzymes that destroy injured or worn out cartilage AND create new cartilage, albeit very, very slowly.
Glucosamine is the most important natural biochemical to kickstart cartilage reconstruction and the amount of glucosamine available in the body determines how much cartilage can be repaired. Taken orally, it is readily asbsorbed into the bloodstream from the gut. A supplement containing both glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin with no or little sodium chloride is less easily metabolized by the liver meaning more is available for cartilage repair. In addition to Glucosamine with MSM and chondroitin, some people have found great success with supplements containing shark cartilage and derivatives from lipids (ie. mussels) such as Sasha's Blend.
Taking supplements which are known antioxidants can also slow or stop the degradation of cartilage. Vitamin C reduces inflammation, is integral to the production of collagen and promotes healing. Natural Vitamin E, specifically d-alpha-tocopherol or mixed tocopherols, protects cell membranes from oxidation. There is an apparent link between people with osteoarthritis and low selenium (a trace mineral which triggers glutathione peroxidase ~ one of the most important antioxidants in the body).
Mineral levels in the body such as selenium should be and can be most easily elevated through proper nutrition. Eating foods rich in niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and boron as well as the omegas from fish/ fish oils promote good joint health, reduce inflammation and aid cartilage reconstruction. As always ~ nutrients, vitamins and trace minerals in food are best absorbed by the body when foods are eaten in their natural state.
Last edited by mummummum; November 17th, 2006 at 10:50 PM.