9 Healthy Nutrients That Can Help Support Your Joints
Do your knees pop every time you stand up?
Do you experience discomfort in your joints when you walk or run?
Pain in the joints is common, especially as we age.
For some, taking a medication, topical agent, joint support supplement, or wearing a brace might help. Others may need occasional injections (steroids, platelet-rich plasma, etc.) to improve mobility and reduce unhealthy inflammatory status. Still, others may end up needing surgery for their knees (common), shoulders, hips, elbows, or other joints.
If you’re experiencing discomfort in any of these joint zones, make sure you’re practicing these joint-healthy tips every day.
Tips for Better Joint Health
Exercise is vital to building and maintaining strong joints, so one of the worst things you can do is to stop working out (unless you’re experiencing intense joint discomfort or are recovering from a knee, hip, or other joint surgery).
Without a consistent exercise regimen, your muscles can become weak and flabby and your joints stiff and brittle. It’s okay to ease off your full routine while the discomfort persists, but once your body has recovered, gradually return to normal workouts.
On the flip side, don’t overdo it. Avoid excessive exercise, which can cause severe joint and muscle discomfort.
It also can release potentially toxic “free radicals” which are generated as you burn more oxygen. These can modify your DNA, break down the structure of your cells, and generally lower the quality of your life.
It’s vital to stay properly hydrated while exercising. Drinking water helps to prevent muscle cramping and provides the basis for production of the fluid that lubricates your joints.
Additionally, drinking water can help your muscles stay strong. When you exercise, you lose water, so your muscle fibers need adequate hydration in order to work longer and harder before they feel tired. By providing those fibers with the water they need to continue making and using energy, you’re helping them build more muscle.
This step should go without saying, but many people skip it or ignore it…to their detriment. Stretching is especially important after the cooldown phase of your workout, as it prevents the buildup of lactate and other energy generation metabolites which can lead to muscle cramping, spasming, and soreness. Also, don’t forget to stretch the muscles around the areas you worked out; an important step that’s easy to forget.
Doing daily stretches can help keep your vertebral discs well-hydrated and flexible, lubricate your spinal and other joints, strengthen your muscles, and increase your overall flexibility. Also, many people enjoy yoga or other workout routines that involve stretching and movement.
In addition to these daily maintenance prompts, consider incorporating joint-healthy nutrients into your diet…
Joint Health Supplements: 9 Nutrients That Can Support Your Joints
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have a wide range of profound health benefits, from supporting heart and joint health to promoting healthy cognition and mood. Omega-3s play a crucial role in regulating the body’s healthy inflammatory responses, which reduce the chances of having problems with your circulation, joints, and other organs.
Collagen is a family of large proteins that provide strength to the body’s connective tissues, which are the packing material into which our cells, tissues, and even organs are fitted. Collagen is a major structural component of this connective tissue “glue” that holds everything in place within the body.
Collagen supplements are made up of collagen peptides (also known as hydrolyzed collagen), which is collagen that has been broken down into shorter chains of two or three amino acids so it can be easily absorbed in the GI tract. Some of the peptides of hydrolyzed collagen are uniquely required for making collagen in the body – they aren’t well supplied by the diet. The body can utilize newly-absorbed peptides from hydrolyzed collagen in areas that need repair the most.
Collagen sources most commonly include marine (from fish skin and scales), bovine (from cow hide), and porcine (from pork skin). The brain needs collagen, too: for the walls of its blood vessels, for connective tissue packing, even to make and maintain its hundreds of trillions of synapses.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for human life. The body needs it but cannot make it, so we must get it from our diet. U.S. Govt surveys indicate a substantial percentage of Americans aren’t getting adequate amounts of vitamin C.
The body needs vitamin C as a required cofactor for a major collagen-producing enzyme. Getting sufficient vitamin C means being able to make collagen for healthy circulation, skin, joints, bone and other hard tissues, and all the body’s organs. Collagen is a major component of the connective-type tissues that line our joints.
As a major antioxidant protector for the body, vitamin C helps to defend against free radicals and the many toxins that can enter the body via the air, water, or foods. The brain needs vitamin C to make a variety of transmitters and energy-related substances.
Curcumin (a mixture of 3 highly beneficial curcuminoids) from the turmeric root can be excellent for joint health. Modern science has extensively researched the curcumin complex of curcuminoids and established their powerful antioxidant benefits, in addition to their powerful support for healthy inflammatory balance.
In addition to supporting the brain, curcumin has been shown to benefit the eyes, heart and circulation, joints, intestinal tract, skin, prostate, muscles, nerves, and numerous other human tissues.
However, turmeric powder is very poorly-absorbed. There are high-absorption curcumin supplements available, but before trying one, make sure the product has improved joint health in clinical trials.
S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe) is a naturally-occurring, hard-working molecule that’s found in almost every tissue and fluid in the body. It’s organically produced in our bodies from the amino acid methionine in the presence of the cofactors B12 and folate and is critical to brain and body health. It powers over 200 enzymes necessary for healthy cell growth, maturation, and specialization.
The unique benefits of SAMe are linked to the high energy charge it carries. This enables SAMe to be a cofactor for a broad array of enzymes, by contributing precious energy to power enzyme reactions that otherwise would not occur.
The vast majority of methyl group transfer reactions involve SAMe. Methyl transfers are necessary to make DNA, to repair damaged DNA, for the production of joint cells and tissues, and for overall functioning of the entire body.
People who don’t make enough SAMe naturally may be helped by taking SAMe as a supplement. Widely studied for the treatment of joint discomfort, SAMe can help more than just joints. Numerous controlled clinical trials support its benefits for mood, cognition, the liver, the gastrointestinal system, and the other organs.
- Vitamin D3
Vitamin D used to be respected only for building bones. However, this highly-potent vitamin is essential for overall brain and body health. The key to understanding the importance of vitamin D3 is that the body transforms it into a hormone, which has receptors (cell-level sensors) distributed throughout practically all our tissues, including the joints.
The vitamin D hormone is crucial for healthy immune system regulation, and high-normal vitamin D levels help ensure healthy immune and inflammatory balance in the joints. Vitamin D levels can help improve your mood, boost your overall brain function, and generally improve your well-being. Vitamin D may be involved in the healthy regulation of as many as 900 human genes.
It’s well-documented that vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium, and it’s been shown to greatly reduce fracture risk in three ways. First, it helps with the complex process of formation of stronger bones, which involves much more than just adding calcium.
Second, vitamin D helps maintain and strengthen muscles, which helps hold joints in healthy position. Last but not least, vitamin D helps improve balance and helps prevent falls.
Be sure to purchase vitamin D3, not D2 which is less effective. Aim for a blood level of at least 30 nanograms per milliliter (100 nanomoles per liter).
- Glucosamine Sulfate
Glucosamine is a well-known ingredient in joint care supplements. It’s a substance that naturally occurs in the body.
It’s also a building block of connective tissue, working along with cartilage to serve as protective packing within the linings of the joints. In clinical trials, glucosamine sulfate has worked better than glucosamine by itself.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar often made from shellfish, but vegetarian forms are also available. Aim for 1500 mg per day of glucosamine sulfate, in a single daily dose or in divided doses.
A word of caution: studies suggest glucosamine supplements can negatively interact with the anticoagulant medication warfarin.
- Chondroitin Sulfate
Chondroitin sulfate naturally occurs in the connective tissues of animals and people, as a large molecular complex associated with connective tissue. In clinical trials, it has shown modest benefits for joint comfort, and it’s best used in combination with glucosamine sulfate and other beneficial joint support nutrients. Aim for 800 milligrams per day, from a reputable supplier.
- MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane)
Sulfur is an essential mineral for humans, and substances that supply sulfur often promote joint health. MSM occurs naturally in plants and in the human body. It began to find use among athletes decades ago, and is now an important component of joint health supplements.
In clinical trials, MSM has been particularly effective when used in combination with glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Its effective dose range is 1500 to 3000 mg per day, or even higher. It’s affordable and using it can make a huge difference to the health of your joints.
Support Your Joints
Many people develop problems with their joints, especially their knees, as they age. Before surgery becomes necessary, there are several natural strategies you can try. These include daily stretches, low impact exercises, and joint-supporting nutrients.
Taking care of your joints now can pay off dividends in the future. Start strengthening your joints by implement these helpful steps today!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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