Its main constituents are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
These acids are necessary for the production of prostaglandins, which control blood coagulation and other major arterial functions.
When ingested by mammals are converted into E3 prostaglandin, which promotes reduced platelet aggregation, thereby facilitating blood flow through our bodies.
Epidemiological research has shown a much lower prevalence of heart disease in Greenland Eskimos, who consume a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats from marine animals. This is because, despite having the same energetic value, the physiological effect of polyunsaturated fats differs from monounsaturated fats.
While diets with high levels of saturated fats contibute towards an increase of heart and circulation conditions (by elevating blood cholesterol levels), diets based on polyunsaturated fats, apart from regulating blood flow, help regulate triglyceride levels.
Experts consider that the Omega 3 fatty acids should be an integral part of our daily diet.
Fish oil reduces the risk of heart complications, improves the skin, reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis, inhibits signs of premature ageing, prevents depression, preserves muscle tone and muscle mass, helps burn fat efficiently and improves memory.
The synthesis of glucosamine from glucose and glutamine is the limiting factor in the production of GAG and, thus, collagen repair.
Following joint trauma or injury, the body may not be able to produce enough glucosamine to ensure proper healing. Besides, the body’s ability to convert glucose into glucosamine decreases with age, due to a reduction in the quantity of the enzyme that synthesizes glucosamine.
Taking glucosamine supplements can increase GAG levels significantly.
Clinical studies have shown that glucosamine sulphate alleviates pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis.
It also represents a safe alternative to anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, which have been shown to inhibit repair and accelerate the destruction of cartilage.
A recent review has concluded that glucosamine is better tolerated than most non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or piroxicam. in short-time studies, glucosamine has shown to provide relief to patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis, while also showing promising results by modifying the progression of arthritis over a period of 3 years.
A study has demonstrated that glucosamine was efficient in improving the functioning and decreasing pain in people with knee pain, probably resulting from previous cartilage injuries or due to arthritis.
In a more recent study, 68 athletes with knee cartilage injuries were treated with 1500 mg of glucosamine sulphate every day for 40 days, then 750 mg for 90 to 100 days.
Of those 68 athletes, 52 completely stopped experiencing symptoms and were back to training without restrictions. After four to five months, athletes were already able to train on levels previous to the injury. Tests made 12 months after showed no signs of damage to the cartilage in any of the athletes.
The body is able to absorb glucosamine fairly rapidly after consumption, and a good dose to start with is about 1,200 mg per day.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are part of the structure of tendons, ligaments, cartilage and the surrounding fluid (synovial fluid). In cases of osteoarthritis and other situations of joint inflammation, cartilage thins down, causing more tension, stiffness and pain.
Supplementation strengthens cartilage and synovial fluid, preventing their degradation. The metabolism of cartilage is stimulated and its structure may be regenerated, allowing for greater functionality.
Supplementation with glucosamine has been compared with the anti-inflammatory effect of NSAIDs, being more beneficial and, in other instances, lowering the dose of anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief.
Glucosamine and chondroitin thus act as anti-inflammatories.
It is a very large molecule composed of repeated units of glucosamine sulfate.
Similarly to glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate attracts water into the cartilage matrix and stimulates cartilage production.
Although chondroitin sulfate absorption is lower than that of glucosamine, some recent studies have highlighted very good results with long-term treatment for the reduction of pain and increase in range of motion.
Many studies have shown the benefitial effects of the combination between glucosamine and chondroitin in the musculoskeletal system. A study attested that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin was more efficient than chondroitin alone.
For example, in a study with the duration of a year, researchers gave 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate to 42 patients of both genders, aged 35-78 years old with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knees.
Chondroitin sulfate was well tolerated and reduced pain and increased joint mobility significantly.
Usually, the supplementation with these compounds uses a combination of both, since joints need them both.
Glucosamine exists in several forms, but glucosamine sulfate has the best results, as well as chondroitin sulfate.
Sulfate is also necessary for cartilage production and, therefore, supplementation with glucosamine sulfate, as well as chondroitin sulfate, is more efficient and not carried out in different forms.
Hyaluronic acid is a component of important liquid from the body, such as synovial fluid, used to lubricate synovial joints, and vitreous humor, the viscous liquid that maintains the eye’s spherical shape. The vast majority of hyaluronic acid of our body is found on the skin, which gives the organ volume, support, hydration and elasticity.
Hyaluronic acid is abundant in our bodies when we are born, but levels will be gradually reduced over time. The reduction of such levels may lead to ageing.
Hyaluronic acid is found in the deepest layer of the skin, the dermis, and seems to help maintain the skin smooth, due to its water retention proprieties. Apparently, it also helps repair skin wounds and other problems.
Hyaluronic acid seems to help maintain collagen levels. In normal circumstances, depletion (quantitative decrease of the liquid contained in the body) of collagen is widely regarded as a major cause for below-the-average skin tone, as well as elasticity of the skin, which is often associated with the ageing process.
Hyaluronic acid makes up for about 80% of the human eye. It functions as a shock absorber for the retina, thus helping prevent eye trauma.
Recently, hyaluronic acid has been considered efficient as oral medication, although it has been used in injections into the joints for a while.
Hyaluronic acid is being experimentally used to correct a wide array of issues found in connective tissue conditions, such as fractures, eye dysfunctions, improper wound healing and prematurely wrinkled skin.
As it grows older, the human body undergoes a transformation process. As age progresses, a decrease in the capacity of organs and systems in carrying out their functions may trigger pathological process, reducing the quality of life.
With ageing, internal production of collagen also decreases and all the organs and systems where it plays an important part may be affected.
Therefore, a decrease in collagen concentrations may lead, for example and among other things, to structural changes in muscles, skin, cartilage and joints.
Our digestive process normally breaks down proteins into peptides and amino acids which are then absorbed, increasing their concentration in the bloodstream. It is therefore necessary that protein collagen, obtained through diet, is digested in the first place and then absorbed through the intestinal mucosa and transferred into the bloodstream.
However, the digestive process of protein collagen is often incomplete, due to the resistance to proteolytic enzymes, resulting in large peptides that have a much more difficult absorption, thus becoming indigestible.
Today, it is possible to use food supplements with collagen.
Food supplements with hydrolysed collagen, which is easily transformed into small peptides and amino acids, ready to be absorbed, are more effective. With a high bioavailability, this oral intake collagen has, as demonstrated by Oesser et al., benefits from its high intestinal absorption, more than 90%, and the hydrolysate accumulation in cartilaginous tissues.
Hydrolysed collagen protein has been used in Europe for years as a treatment for osteoarthritis, to reduce pain and inflammation.
Typically health professionals recommend this substance for those who do not have an adequate intake of sulphur; nevertheless, people suffering from joint pain may also benefit by including this substance in their supplementation regimen.
Individuals supplementing with MSM tend to experience fewer osteoarthritis and inflammation symptoms, and the recovery process of joint and ligament wear is accelerated.
MSM works synergistically to enhance the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin.
It has nourishing and anti-asthenic (restoring our strength), being useful during periods of increased physical or mental activity, as well as during convalescence periods. It also helps in the treatment of infectious, including infections caused by stress.
It is involved in cell division, healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immunity to diseases, hormone secretion and production of nitric oxide, a substance that dilates blood vessels.
The direct consequence of the relaxation of blood vessels is improved libido in women and better erectile function in men.
Research supports its use for congestive heart failure, intermittent claudication, angina, impotence and female sexual dysfunction. Preliminary evidences have been demonstrated regarding its benefits for diabetes and better recovery from surgery.
In the research (Drugs and Supplements Arginine, MayoClinic), L-arginina increased cognitive function in the elderly with problems with the blood vessels of the brain.
It is contraindicated for people with genital herpes, diabetes or recovering from heart attacks.
Also known as ubiquinone, this coenzyme is found in all cells of our body, but mainly in cells requiring a higher supply of energy, such as muscle cells, especially heart and musculoskeletal cells.
The functions of Coenzyme Q10 are almost entirely related to mitochondria, the cells’ powerplant. When we transform food and oxygen into energy (ATP), the final of this transformation depends on the presence of Coenzyme Q10 and, without its adequate levels, our cells are not able to produce power efficiently. Also in mitochondria and during this production of energy, there is a high production of oxygen free radical and the presence of Q10 in adequate levels will decrease the production of these free radicals.
Moreover, it acts as an antioxidant in the regeneration of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E.
Coenzyme Q10 is produced by our bodies and, in normal situations, this production is sufficient until the age of 20, but, with age, the amount of Q10 produced is reduced.
This coenzyme can be consumed through food, especially tby eating meat and fish.
Given its role in the metabolism of energy, reduced coenzyme Q10 levels are associated with fatigue and lack of muscular strength, but because of its antioxidant role, symptoms of reduced coenzyme Q10 are also associated with increased oxidative stress, ranging from premature ageing to different degenerative pathologies.
Currently, the greatest risk for Q10 deficiency is the intake of a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol production, called statins, beta-blockers and antidepressants.
The different statins (such as simvastatin and pravastatin, etc.) block the action of the enzyme responsible for the production of cholesterol, which is also responsible for the production of coenzyme Q10. This means that, when the production of cholesterol is blocked by the taking of statins, this also blocks the production of coenzyme Q10. This situation becomes even more worrying if we consider the prolonged taking of such drugs, especially in older people (who already have a decreased production of coenzyme Q10).
The heart constantly needs energy and, since Q10 promotes the production of energy in cells (particularly heart cells), this enzyme allows for a better oxygenation and cardiac performance.
Therefore, this supplement is mainly used for cardiac issues for the prevention and improvement of symptoms of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, coronary bypass surgery and angina, only to name a few.
Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 has shown beneficial effects by improving muscular strength, endurance and even the reduction of fatigue.
For individuals that continually take statins, the beneficial effects are even more pronounced.
As we age, the amount of melatonin produced by our body decreases. Scientists believe that this is the main reason why the elderly sleep so poorly.
As a natural supplement, Melatonin should be used at night. As our eyes process nightfall, the pineal gland (located at the centre of the brain) starts the production of melatonin to help our body regulate our sleep cycle (circadian rhythm).
Studies suggest that a small supplementation with melatonin reduces the time necessary to fall asleep, reduces night awakening and improves overall quality of sleep.
It is particularly useful for individuals who work shifts or traveling to different time zones (jet lag).
More than 30 studies have shown that diosmin is effective in improving venous disorders, including varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, nocturnal leg cramps and haemorrhoids.
It has a rapid onset of action (1-2 weeks), and is not associated with any side effects or drug interactions.
Diosmin basically impacts return circulation in 3 distinct ways: it prolongs the activity of norepinephrine in veins, increases venous tone and reduces venostase.
In microcirculation, it reduces capillary hyperpermeability and fibrinolysis; in lymphatic vessels, it increases the frequency and intensity of contractions.