Natural medicines are an attractive option for patients diagnosed with common and debilitating musculoskeletal diseases such as Osteoarthritis (OA) or Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The high rate of self-medication with natural products is due to (1) lack of an available cure and (2) serious adverse events associated with chronic use of pharmaceutical medications in particular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and high dose paracetamol. Pharmaceuticals to treat pain may disrupt gastrointestinal (GIT) barrier integrity inducing GIT inflammation and a state of and hyper-permeability. Probiotics and prebiotics may comprise plausible therapeutic options that can restore GIT barrier functionality and down regulate pro-inflammatory mediators by modulating the activity of, for example, Clostridia
species known to induce pro-inflammatory mediators. The effect may comprise the rescue of gut barrier physiological function. A postulated requirement has been the abrogation of free radical formation by numerous natural antioxidant molecules in order to improve musculoskeletal health outcomes, this notion in our view, is in error. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in different anatomical environments including the GIT by the epithelial lining and the commensal microbe cohort is a regulated process, leading to the formation of hydrogen peroxide which is now well recognized as an essential second messenger required for normal cellular homeostasis and physiological function. The GIT commensal profile that tolerates the host does so by regulating pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory GIT mucosal actions through the activity of ROS signaling thereby controlling the activity of pathogenic bacterial species.