Question:

I tore my meniscus in March and it is healing. My cartilage is thin on one side. What supplements should I be taking and for how long?

– Barbara H.

Answer:

Barbara, your question intrigued me. Glucosamine chondroitin was the first thing that came to mind for joint health. Glucosamine chondroitin or glucosamine sulfate/chondroitin sulfate is known to stimulate cartilage regeneration, improve joint function and reduce pain. It is generally used for osteoarthritis, the breakdown of the articulate cartilage. A meniscus is a C-shaped pad made of fibrous cartilage that absorbs shock in the knee. Each knee has two menisci. Articular cartilage is present at the end of the femur.

Theoretically knee injuries may benefit from higher levels of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and compounds involved in cartilage formation. According to the International Cartilage Repair Society (who knew?), “glucosamine, chondroitin, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) have been the most carefully assessed with considerable amount of scientific and clinical usage data, as well as safety profile.” Suggested beneficial food compounds and supplements also include: olive oil, fish oil (for EPA + DHA), undenatured type II collagen, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), curcumin, flavonoids, and ginger.

For selection and dosing recommendations, be sure to discuss with your physician what treatment is appropriate for you.

References:

Nutraceutical Supplements in the Management and Prevention of Osteoarthritis. P Castrogiovanni, et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2016 Dec 6; 17(12): pii E2042

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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