You folks might want to check out resveratrol extract from Japanese knotweed.. Its widely available, cheap and its apparently a cutting edge treatment for disc problems. I works really well - its much more effective - if you dont swallow it - instead you let the extract powder absorb into your mouth.
Be aware, though that although RSV has major promise in treating a great many diseases, it may also make people who have them test negative for them.
This is from the free PubMed Central fulltext article "The Action of Resveratrol, a Phytoestrogen Found in Grapes, on the Intervertebral Disc"
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 November 15; 33(24): 2586–2595.
"Summary of Background DataThe phytoestrogen RSV is a natural compound found in various plants including grapes and red wines. RSV has been reported to provide a protective effect on articular cartilage in rabbit models for arthritis, but its effect on spine cartilage is unknown.
We studied the effect of RSV on bovine IVD cartilage homeostasis by assessing MMP-13 (potent catabolic factor) production, proteoglycan (PG) accumulation and synthesis, and the interaction between RSV and known catabolic factors such as bFGF or IL-1. To understand the molecular mechanisms by which RSV modulates MMP-13 and PG production, we also investigated its downstream target regulatory molecules.
Stimulation of bovine disc cells cultured in monolayer with bFGF or IL-1 augmented the production of MMP-13 and ADAMTS-4 at the transcriptional level and this augmentation was blocked by RSV. Incubation of nucleus pulposus cells with RSV for 21 days significantly increased PG accumulation per cell in a dose-dependent manner, increased PG synthesis, rescued PG losses induced by catabolic reagents bFGF and IL-1, and promoted cell survival to levels seen after incubation with the anabolic protein BMP7 100 ng/mL. Protein-DNA interaction array results suggest that RSV effectively suppresses downstream target molecules of bFGF and IL-1 responsible for oxidative stress, proliferation, and apoptosis.
Resveratrol is a potent anabolic mediator of bovine IVD cartilage homeostasis, revealing its potential as a unique biologic treatment to slow the progression of IVD degeneration. These data suggests RSV may have considerable promise in the treatment of disc degeneration.
Keywords: resveratrol, intervertebral disc degeneration, regeneration, MMP-13, anabolic
The lifetime prevalence of back pain in the United States is 70% to 85% with roughly 10% to 20% of the population experiencing chronic symptoms.1
Although the etiology of back pain is likely multifactorial, it has been associated with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration. 2
The pathogenesis of degenerative disc disease is thought to be induced mechanically and mediated biologically, often concurrent with aging changes.4
Current treatments for low back pain are mainly symptomatic or involve surgical procedures that are destructive to the IVD. Most of these treatment strategies target symptomatic relief but make no attempt to interfere with early biochemical and pathophysiologic processes involved in degeneration. As an alternative to the surgical repair or removal of a diseased disc, biologic treatments capable of promoting IVD repair and restoring physiologic function have been considered, and clinical trials for spine and joint cartilage repair are underway.5
The IVD consists of tough outer rings, termed collectively the anulus fibrosus (AF), and a gelatinous inner core, the nucleus pulposus (NP). This unique structure has both shock absorbing properties and the ability to resist deformation on mechanical loading. The AF is composed mainly of collagen, whereas the NP is largely composed of proteoglycans (PGs), principally aggrecan. It has been suggested that the degenerative process begins in the NP and is associated with progressive loss of PGs.8
Disc cells residing in the AF and NP regulate homeostasis through metabolic activities that are modulated by a variety of stimuli, including cytokines and growth factors acting in a paracrine and/or autocrine fashion. The cells in the normal disc of human adults maintain the matrix in which they reside at a steady state. Degeneration of the IVD may result from an imbalance between the anabolic and catabolic processes and loss of this steady state metabolism.9
IVD damage caused by mechanical injury, inflammation, or aging may change the structure of the IVD, and cause loss of matrix homeostasis by promoting catabolic pathways and/or suppressing anabolic responses. Pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors such as interleukin-1 (IL-1)10
and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)13
have been implicated in degenerative disc disease.
The catabolic involvement of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), specifically the pathogenic role of MMP-13 (collagenase-3), has already been demonstrated in the degeneration of the IVD.12
In addition, MMP-13 is highly expressed in several other pathologic contexts, including osteoarthritis,14
and invasive cancer.16
It is clear that in both articular and IVD cartilage, the cells are responsible for the destruction of their own matrix via
the release of destructive enzymes including MMP-13 and ADAMTS-4, a well-known aggrecanase.17
In the IVD, both MMP-13 and ADAMTS-4 act by breaking down aggrecan, the most abundant PG, leading to NP destruction and further disc degeneration.8
The phytoestrogen resveratrol (trans-3,4′,5-tri-hydroxystilbene; RSV) is a natural polyphenol compound found in various plants including grapes and red wines. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardioprotective, and antitumor properties of RSV have already been well-documented.19
RSV is believed to be one of the compounds responsible for the health benefits of moderate red wine consumption.28
More recently, RSV has been reported to provide a protective effect on articular cartilage in rabbit models of OA and RA.30
Using these models, Elmali et al
(2005) demonstrated that injections of RSV significantly decreased loss of PG and cartilage destruction in arthritic rabbit knees. However, it is not known if RSV exerts similar protective effects on degenerating IVDs.
The aim of the present study is to determine the potential benefits of using RSV to ****** the progression of IVD degeneration. Specifically, we studied the effect of RSV on IVD cartilage homeostasis by assessing MMP-13 production, PG accumulation, and PG synthesis in the bovine spine IVD, as well as evaluating whether RSV counteracts known catabolic factors such as bFGF or IL-1. To understand the molecular mechanisms by which RSV modulates MMP-13 and PG production, we also investigated the downstream target regulatory molecules of RSV...."