When a joint develops osteoarthritis, some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones gradually roughens and becomes thin, and the bone underneath thickens.
According to Arthritis Research UK, over eight million people in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis – a condition perceived as only a disorder that affects the elderly.
Now, however, a doctor has said people with arthritis could benefit from taking a supplement called Pycnogenol – which is the extract of French Maritime pine bark could ease symptoms.
Dr Fred Pescatore said: “While osteoarthritis is more common among the elderly, it can affect much younger people, leading them to look at alternative and natural therapies to manage their symptoms.
“A study published in the Journal of Inflammation concluded that French maritime pine bark extract Pycnogenol effectively prevented inflammation disorders in patients by moderating the immune system’s response.
“While the initial stages of arthritis can be blamed on wear and tear, the later stages are due to inflammation.
“The inflammation is caused by cartilage cells responding to impact on joints by releasing pro-inflammatory properties called NF Kappa-B, the immune cell ‘trigger’ for inflammation.
“Pycnogenol was shown to lower the sensitivity of NF Kappa-B.”
Dr Pescatore added: “Meanwhile, immune system cells release harmful substances in the joints such as free radicals and enzymes that break down connective tissue which speed up the degeneration of cartilage.
“These processes are also controlled by NF Kappa-B and the effect that Pycnogenol has on NF Kappa-B will reduce the damage these substances has on the cells.
“Pycnogenol was also shown to naturally inhibit COX1 and COX2 enzymes which are primarily responsible for joint pain.
“Patients that supplemented with Pycnogenol noted a decrease in pain and inflammation by lowering COX1 and COX2 enzyme activity.”
Experts found Pycnogenol significantly lowers the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein by 72 per cent.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver that increases in the presence of inflammation in the body.
The study found a significant reduction of reactive oxygen species in arthritis patients by 30 per cent.
The finding reveals the anti-inflammatory activity of Pycnogenol is effective in arthritis patients.
Arthritis Research UK also recommends people stay active to reduce symptoms of the condition.
The active ingredients in Pycnogenol can also be extracted from other sources, including peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark.
Experts have also revealed French Maritime pine bark has been hailed has a way to normalise blood pressure.
This comes after it was revealed this unexpected vegetable could reduce arthritis pain.