In both types of arthritis there is an excessive generation of free radicals, which in turn damage the cartilage structure, function and capacity for repair. If free radical levels are maintained (as a result of inflammation, infection, poor diet or pollution, for example) cartilage continues to be lost.
Reduction of these free radical promoters (especially inflammation and immune reaction in Rheumatoid arthritis) can result in improvement in symptoms as well as slowing of joint destruction.
Connective tissue repair and remodelling involves proteoglycans, large complex modified sugar molecules that form the framework for collagen and are a key component of the ground substance that helps make up cartilage. Dietary intake of these proteoglycans (known as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate) has been shown to prevent joint destruction and improve joint function.