Glucosamine and Chondroitin: “The Cartilage Saver”

What is it?

Glucosamine and Chondrointin are natural substances found throughout the body which assists and is primary to metabolism of cartilage and connective tissue.

Cartilage is the protective substance around joints and joint attachments. Through injury or the aging process Glucosamine, which stimulates repair of cartilage, is diminished. Chondroitin, a sulfate (like a corn starch effect making gravy) draws fluid into the connective and keeps it flexible and elastic in function. Chondroitin sulfates also play a very important role in slowing cartilage breakdown. Glucosamine is derived from the soft shells of lobster, shrimp or crabs, and Chondroitin from soft cartilage. Adding MSM to the mix will decrease inflammation.

Research Findings

Both substances have been used extensively and for years in animals, especially horses. Glucosamine and Chondroitin became popular in the 1980’s and was often used by athletes to help repair joint, bone, and tendon injuries.

Dr Hungerford, M.D., a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at John Hopkins who appeared on NBC’s Dateline, says that he has seen a significant improvement in over 100 patients he has studied using the supplements. He is planning another study of 350 patients with moderarte osteoarthritis of the knee. The National Institute of Health is also promoting studies of Glucosamine and Chondroitin and suggests that earlier results look very promising. In all the longitudinal studies, no side effects from taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin were ever reported.

How to Use it

Using Glucosamine and Chondroitin in combination with good nutrition, exercise and consistent body work, seems to be the most effective plan. The recommended use of the supplements is 1,500 mg of Glucosamine and 1,200 mg of Chondroitin per day. Most studies suggest, if that amount relieves the symptoms, then after 4-5 months it can be gradually decreased. There seems to be no harmful effects with prolonged use.

“James McKay, M.D., rheumatologist, says he finds that 500 mg of Glucosamine three times a day gives about the same level of pain relief as does 1,200 mg of ibuprofen per day.” Taking the supplements separate from food seems the norm but that will depend upon your digestion process.


Consult with your holistic health practitioner on ideas for the best way to integrate supplements into your program.
If you are under medical care, discuss the information about supplements with your doctor.

Prolonged use of ibuprofen could have serious side effects and switching to Glucosamine and Chondroitin may be a good substitute.

Notes: (1) Horstman, Judith, “Glucosamine and Chondroitin”. Arthritis Today Sept. 1998
(2) Ibid

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, is the Director of the Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies & Bodywork & the Columbus Polarity Center for Integrative Health & Wellness

Healthy Tidbits



Dark Chocolate – Great for your heart


According to current research eating dark chocolate can reduce your blood pressure and is an effective anti-hypertension drug! Other tests have shown that even small levels of dark chocolate 6.3 oz a day reduced the risk of a fatal stroke by 8 percent and coronary artery disease by 5 percent.

The catch to this wonderful news is that it does matter what type of dark chocolate you eat! The brands recommended are milk-free and very low in sugar. So do not get too excited because the best dark chocolate is plain, very dark and the type you use for cooking. You can be sure that it does not taste like “Godiva Chocolate” but it is chocolate and it is truly good for you!!

Reference: What doctors don’t tell you e-news@wddty.comuk

How to Care for Musculoskeletal Injuries

Formula = (RICE – B)


People often ask what they can do for a muscle strain, a sprained ankle or shoulder pain. If you suspect there may be a severe trauma then go to the emergency room or consult with your doctor. But for a muscular injury use the RICE –B system.


Immobilize and non-weight bearing for the first 48 hours.


For the first 48 hours:
Cryotherapy should be the treatment of choice

Methods of application:
Ice bucket (20 minutes)
Ice bags (20 minutes)
Ice massage (5 to 8 minutes)
*Can use arnica gel at this level also

After 48 hours:
Heat 8 to 10 minutes, then ice 20 minutes


Methods of utilization:
Ace wrap with horseshoe
Open basket weave with horseshoe
Closed taping (not recommended initially because it can be too tight)
Alternating pressure can also be applied with an ace wrap.


Should be done during ice and compression treatments as well as when you are resting.
You can continue to use arnica.


Manual compression therapy with soft issue massage in non-traumatic areas. (See a licensed Massage Therapist). Helps relieve swelling and works in conjunction with other therapies.
Specific pressure points and long massage strokes on non-affected muscles.
Polarity Therapy, Acupressure Points for stress reduction and tension relief
Mild movement using isometric exercised also work

MaryJo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP

Food Focus: Sprouts


Sprouts of all varieties contain the building blocks of life in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very easy to digest, allowing our bodies to access many wonderful nutrients.

Recent research by the American Cancer Society has backed what holistic nutrition has known for years that sprouts contain:

  • anti-cancer properties
  • high levels of active antioxidants
  • concentrated amounts of phytochemicals
  • significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D

In their raw form, sprouts have a cooling effect on the body, and therefore are best consumed in warm weather or by robust, warm body types. Those who tend to feel cool can try steaming spouts or adding them to warm dishes such as stir-fries and soups, to reduce the cooling effect.

There is a wide variety of edible and delicious sprouts, each with a different texture and flavor:

  • alfalfa
  • mung bean
  • lentil, radish
  • clover
  • sunflower
  • broccoli
  • garbanzo
  • adzuki

Here are some great ways to serve up sprouts:

  • add to salads
  • combine with other vegetables in wraps, roll-ups or stir-fries
  • use as garnish on top of soups, stews, omelets or scrambled eggs
  • add to rice or whole grain dishes
  • use in sandwiches instead of lettuce

Spring has arrived! Eat sprouts and feel alive!
Reference: Anew by Dina: Inspired Wellness Newsletter; Dina Boyer,MS, CHHC, CNHP, RYT ;

Natural Cleaning Products

Help the Environment! Help Your Body!


We are all now very aware of the problem with global warming, pollution, chemicals, and how this all affects our health.

So let’s change this problem now!

Start slowly and do one thing at a time. Let’s start with your cleaning products…

Phase I

Replace your old detergents (ie. Mr. Clean, Fantastic) with:  Dissolve 2 tsp. of Borax in 1 qt. hot water. Add ½ cup Amway L.O.C. and ½ cup vinegar. Put in spray bottle. Use in place detergent.

Replace Windex with: ¼ tsp. L.O.C., ½ cup vinegar, 2 qt. water—spray bottle.

Replace air freshener:

  • Dissolve 1 tsp. baking soda in 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Add 2 cups hot water and put into a spray bottle.
  • Place a small dish of baking soda or vinegar in affected space.
  • Light unscented candles in room.
  • Plants also clean air—try aloe vera, English ivy, spider plants.

No Chlorine, please: 

  • Laundry: Add ¼ cup vinegar or ¼ cup Borax or ½ cup washing soda or ¼ cup baking soda (gives clothes a fresh smell) to your Ivory Snow.
  • No Bleach Brightener: Add 1-2 tbsp. Epsom Salts to wash.
  • Ring around the collar: rub a little L.O.C. before washing. Apply L.O.C. before washing to remove ink, chocolate, lipstick, shoe polish, or grease on washable, color-fast material. Rinse well.
  • Perspiration stains: make a past of baking soda and water. Rub into cloth, let stand one hour before washing.
  • Dingy colors: Soak overnight in borax and water.
  • Fabric Softener: ¼ cup vinegar or ¼ cup baking soda in final rinse. Or spray ½ cup vinegar in 1 cup water on clothes in dryer.

*Materials taken from Dorothy Fine’s work on toxic chemicals. As my spiritual mother, I honor her long years of work on environmental issues. She has since passed on and I remember her with love. (Mary Jo Ruggieiri, PhD, RPP)

Reference: How to Protect Your Family, Your Home, and Our Planet from Toxic Chemicals, by Dorothy Fine

Essential Herbs



Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced the intense burning and itching in the rectal area which comes with a case of severe hemorrhoids.

Usually, hemorrhoids are caused by a lot of sitting around, constipation caused  by eating foods low on fiber and bioflavonoids (substances high in Vitamin C and antioxidants), and/or a stressed and tension-filled lifestyle.

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed vein tissues. The herbs that work best for this condition are:

  • astringents (help shrink swollen tissues)
  • anti-inflammatories (relieve inflammation)
  • demulcents (help soothe irritated tissues)
  • blood alteratives (cleanse and purify the blood, help strengthen the blood vessels)

Some of these herbs can be taken internally as a tincture. Others can be made into salves and applied topically.

A good tincture for hemorrhoids should contain most of the following:

  • Astringents: Goldenseal, Shepherds’ Purse (also controls bleeding), Calendula
  • Anti-inflammatories: Chamomile, Plantain, Licorice
  • Demulcents: Marhsmallow, Slippery Elm
  • Blood alteratives: Horse Chestnut, Red Clover

For topical relief, look for a salve that contains:

  • Goldenseal
  • Comfrey root
  • Plantain
  • White Oak Bark
  • Lavender

You could also make a liquid solution of the above herbs by placing these herbs in a jar, adding Witchhazel to cover, and shaking the mixture daily for seven days. Afterwards, strain the herbs, and apply the extract on the hemorrhoids with a tissue or some cotton.

Must Do’s for Hemorrhoids:

  • Eat fiber, such as flax seed or psyllium seed, apples, and bran, as well as lots of green veggies.
  • Your diet should contain Bioflavonoids, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, dark green leafy and all colorful veggies, citrus fruit, berries.
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.




Monthly Health Quote


“Happiness can only come from inside of you and is the result of your love. When you are aware that no one else can make you happy, and that Happiness is the result of your love, this becomes the greatest mastery of the Toltecs: the Mastery of Love.”

–Don Miquel Ruiz

Heidi’s Fact Finders


Communication for Change


Patient “self-management” and behavior change has become an important aspect of health and wellness, particularly for individuals who need to manage chronic conditions.

Managing diabetes, losing weight, stopping smoking or making any behavioral or lifestyle change can be overwhelming. Where do we start?

How can we support patients, clients and loved ones as they try to make positive, healthy changes in their lives?

Kate Lorig specializes in patient education research at Stanford University and has developed very successful self management programs.  These techniques help individuals:

  • set realistic goals
  • anticipate barriers to progress
  • make life changes possible and manageable.

Books for motivational communication and discovery

  • Living a healthy life with chronic conditions: self-management of heart disease, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema & others by Kate Lorig
  • The Special Problem of Compliance: How Do I Get People to do What Is Good for Them? by Kate Lorig
  • Motivational interviewing in health care : helping patients change behavior by Stephen Rollnick, William R. Miller, Christopher C. Butler
  • Worst enemy best teacher: how to survive and thrive with opponents, competitors, and the people who drive you crazy by Deidre Combs
  • Nonviolent communication: a language of life by Marshall Rosenberg

Internet Resources

Is there a topic you would like me to research for a future article? Send in your questions.

Heidi Beke-Harrigan MLS, APP is a polarity practitioner and an academic librarian. She specializes in health education and nursing, counseling and consumer health research. She can be reached at or

Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat illness or prescribe any type of medication or treatment. For medical needs, consult your Medical Doctor, Dietitian, or Mental Health Practitioner.