Arthritis is the top cause of disability in the United States with nearly one-third of adults being affected by chronic pain related to arthritis. It may be tempting to brush off aches and pains simply as a result of getting older, but you can take charge of your health and improve your symptoms naturally!
There are many powerful resources that can help support and protect healthy cartilage, calm inflammation, and maintain synovial fluid. These are the best joint and cartilage nutrients that deserve to be in the spotlight:
Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the best established joint health nutrients. Glucosamine is an important structural molecule, helping to form glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are the main building blocks that help make new connective tissue in the joints. A lack of glucosamine reduces the ability of the body to rejuvenate joints properly, like trying to build a house without enough bricks or wood. Exciting human clinical trials have shown that glucosamine can ease joint discomfort and improve joint mobility.
Chondroitin is a major component of collagen, important in maintaining structural integrity. Numerous chondroitin sulfate molecules, glucosamine molecules, and sulfur-containing proteins form larger aggregates known as proteoglycans, which are used as major structural building blocks, including the structure of cartilage. Chondroitin sulfates are required for joint integrity, providing resistance of cartilage to compression.
Hyaluronic acid is a primary component of the synovial fluid that surrounds the joints. Synovial fluid is the lubrication for joints, much like oil is used to lubricate moving parts in a machine. It also directly feeds nutrition to joint cartilage. Hyaluronic acid helps joints have resiliency, ease of movement, and cushioning to distribute mechanical loads (shock absorbers).
Hyaluronic acid makes up the backbone structure of cartilage. Without the adequate hyaluronic acid backbone, cartilage will more readily fall apart and deteriorate. Over the years we have seen many individuals significantly improve joint health, including those with knee, hip, or low back problems.
Also known as frankincense, boswellia is a powerful herbal anti-inflammatory that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for treating arthritis and inflammation. It has the specific ability to block the inflammatory pathway called 5-Lox that has been linked to arthritis and joint pain. Boswellia also makes an excellent joint nutrient as it has the ability to protect the structural cells of cartilage called glycoaminiglycans (GAGs) from breakdown caused by inflammation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 DHA fish oil is vital for joint health. Very exciting research has shown that individuals who consume foods with high levels of omega-6 fatty acids have significantly higher amounts of arachidonic acid (inflammation) in their cartilage, bones and synovial fluid that lead to joint structure breakdown as a result. Omega-6 oils are found in various plants, nut and seed oils, i.e. vegetable oil, soy, safflower, sunflower, corn, almonds, cashews, etc. They are extremely common in the American diet and usually outnumber omega-3 fatty acids by about 30 to 1. This imbalanced ratio of having more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids provokes inflammation. The ideal ratio is about 3:1. Omega-3 oils are powerful anti-inflammatory oils that can counteract potential negative effects from too much dietary intake of omega-6 and help reduce pain and inflammation.
One of the most notable anti-inflammatory nutrients in the supplement world is curcumin, the active component of the bright yellow spice turmeric. It is used to reduce inflammation in a variety of inflammatory health conditions as it has been shown to effectively down regulate inflammatory pathways COX-2, NF-kappa-B, 5-LOX, IL-12, TNF-alpha, INF-gamma, and matrix metalloproteinase. It also functions as a very effective antioxidant that can reduce inflammation provoking oxidative stress. Curcumin is one of the best nutrients to calm inflammation in joints that can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness without any side effects!
A lot of people don’t associate joint pain with digestive health, but they should. The bacteria that naturally line your digestive tract and help digest food also help to keep the immune system healthy. About 80% of your immune system is actually regulated by the gut.
The digestive lining is made up of two barriers. The deeper layer is involved with keeping the immune system functioning properly. Having a healthy balance of gut flora is essential to keeping the digestive tract and immune system healthy. Supplementing with potent strains of probiotics helps to increase the good flora that maintain digestive tract health and the part of the immune system where autoimmunity begins.
Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that involves breakdown of the cartilage and connective tissue caused by an inflammatory attack directed at the joints. Various core nutrients can help calm inflammation and help joints maintain their healthy structure without the side effects of medications. Feed your joints the right nutrients and feel the difference that it makes!