The most frequent cause of rheumatic pain is arthrosis, i.e. a progressive deterioration of the joints’ cartilage, that also affects bones (osteophytes), synovia (inflammation) and joint capsules (oedema).
Under normal conditions, the cartilage is formed by a connective matrix (collagen and proteoglycans) and chondrocytes. It contains up to 85% water in youth and approximately 70% in the elderly. Its function as a ‘hydraulic cushion’ is, therefore, reduced over time.
In the initial stages of arthrosis, the cartilage loses proteoglycans and then water; subsequently, it becomes poorer in collagen, losing elasticity. Repeated joint inflammation (arthritis), even if it is not the trigger of the arthrosis process but its consequence, plays an important role in the progression and the chronic nature of the disease.
The various forms of arthrosis
Joint pain is the symptom of arthrosis that worsens with immobility and improves with slow, gradual and progressive movement.
The most frequent local forms of arthrosis are: cervical arthrosis, shoulder pain, lumbar arthrosis, arthrosis with pain at the base of the thumb or rhizarthrosis, hip arthrosis or coxarthrosis, painful arthrosis of the knee or gonarthrosis, foot arthrosis. Magnetic resonance of the area concerned shows the wear and tear and chronic inflammation of the joint.
Prevention and treatment of arthrosis
It is possible to prevent and treat arthrosis with lifestyle changes (right body weight, regular movement, healthy diet, water intake, correct posture, reduced loads), symptomatic and maintenance medicine, phyto-medicines, infiltration treatment (hyaluronic acid), physiotherapy, orthesis, rehabilitation, acupuncture.
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) contain various categories of active ingredients and are used to combat inflammation in the joints. Their effect on inflammation and pain is rapid, but their repeated use poses the risk of side effects, especially affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
The role of natural remedies
Certain nutritional supplements help offer relief from the pain and protect the joints, with an anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effect on the joint cartilage, due to the active ingredient they contain.
Plants and nutritional supplements with a pronounced anti-inflammatory action
They act by reducing the production and release of inflammatory cytokines, controlling inflammation symptoms (pain, swelling, redness, increased local temperature, compromised joint functionality).
Devil’s claw or harpagophytum
This plant grows in southern Africa, in the Kalahari desert, where it is known as ‘devil’s claw’. It is currently considered in herbal medicine as the anti-rheumatic plant par excellence. Harpagophytum boasts several favourable actions for the joints since it is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and prevents cartilage wear, of which it indeed reinforces the elastic fibres. The effectiveness of the plant is due to its rich content in active ingredients known as iridoids (harpagoside, procumbide, harpagide), which are to be found in the plant’s secondary roots.
Boswellia is a tree that grows in the hilly regions of India and China. The resin has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic Medicine for its therapeutic properties against inflammatory rheumatism and intestinal ailments. Boswellic acids also inhibit leucocyte migration by blocking the local release of elastase, a proteolytic enzyme that is responsible for the destruction of collagen in the joints’ cartilage.
It is the amide of an endogenous fatty acid and is, therefore, our body’s natural response to pathological processes associated with inflammation, consequent to the inhibition of mastocytes, cells that release large quantities of inflammatory substances. The molecule can be found in various foods, such as tomatoes, eggs, peas, soy. The administration of PEA plays a key role in promoting the resolution of the inflammation and consequent reduction of pain.
Plants and nutritional supplements with a chondroprotective action
They promote and stabilise the various components of cartilage, reducing the consequences of oxidative stress that damages the joints.
The extract obtained from the bark of French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton), rich in various polyphenols, and procyanidins in particular, is used in herbal medicine for its ability to reduce inflammation of the joints, oedema and cartilage deterioration. French maritime pine bark extract has a remarkable tropism for proteins (collagen, elastin) that make up joint cartilage. It also inhibits the activation of the molecules that cause and feed inflammation.
Collagen constitutes approximately one-fourth of all proteins in the body and is mainly formed by a sequence of three amino acids (Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline) in the form of a triple helix, which is compact and resistant to loads. Low-molecular-weight peptides, obtained from the hydrolysis of collagen, are more easily absorbed in the intestine, and stimulate cartilage regeneration, promoting the synthesis of collagen, glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid, reducing inflammation and pain.
UC-II, undenatured type II collagen
It is a functional ingredient that contains a type II glycosylated, undenatured collagen which helps regenerate the cartilage, reducing the level of circulating inflammatory cytokines and pain. In particular, collagen reduces the painful rigidity of the knee joint in case of gonarthrosis.
The endogenous production of collagen also depends on the activity of Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is the coenzyme of the enzyme that adds hydroxyl groups to the lysine and the proline of collagen, enabling the stabilisation of the triple helix of collagen through hydrogen bridge bonds between the corresponding chains. Vitamin C strengthens the support tissues, participates in the formation and regeneration of connective tissue, ensures the compactness of the collagen structure.
Manganese contributes to the formation of connective tissue and helps protect cells from joint oxidative stress.
Leni Complex™ line
Leni Complex™ is a line specifically formulated to provide a natural solution for the needs of all those suffering from constant joint discomfort and stiffness, especially in the hands, elbows, back, knees, and feet.
Leni Complex™ Tablets is a medicinal herb-based food supplement. It contains an exclusive and innovative complex called LeniFit™, consisting of Devil’s claw, Boswellia, which promote physiological joint functionality, and Pycnogenol. Plus, the combination with selenium also makes the product a valid antioxidant.
Leni Complex™ Gel is an exclusive non-greasy GEL formula that absorbs quickly, made with plant extracts such as Devil’s claw, Boswellia, Meadowsweet and Capsicum, particularly useful in providing relief from the most common types of discomfort in the joints.
Leni Complex™ Collagen is a food supplement made with Collagen* and Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). It contains Vitamin C, which contributes to the formation of collagen and to the normal function of bones and cartilage. The formula is rounded off with Manganese, which helps form connective tissues.
*Undenatured type II collagen