Practically every movement we make requires us to use our joints. These remarkable structures connect all the bones of our skeletal system. Cartilage serves as a protective element, while the fluid found in our joints provides lubrication and supports pain-free movement. When our joints are moving and functioning as they should, it’s easy to take them for granted. It’s only when they begin causing us pain that we realize just how important they are. We also start to understand just how severely unhealthy joints can affect a person’s entire life.
Inflammation, aches, and pain upon movement occur in joints when cartilage is damaged and there is friction when bones rub together. Severe losses of mobility due to joint problems are often associated with individuals in their seventies, but damage starts to occur well before that. Many people in their twenties and thirties will start to experience joint problems. By the time most people hit 40, they have already sustained some damage to the joints that are classified as weight bearing. These include the joints found in the ankles, spine, hips, and knees. This damage often doesn’t produce symptoms until later in life, so many people may not be aware that it is occurring. By the time severe symptoms do manifest, even simple activities like bending over in the garden or taking a walk in the park can be excruciating or even impossible.
Until recently many people believed that life-altering joint pain was simply an unfortunate consequence of getting older. Some people have opted to use chemical-based pharmaceuticals to relieve joint pain, but these traditional treatments often carry serious risk. Today, a significant number of joint pain sufferers are turning to dietary supplements instead. These products – formulated with herbs, compounds, and other extracts – do not have the same risk of adverse reactions and side effects as prescriptions drugs. They offer a viable alternative for those who want to explore more natural approaches to pain management.
If you are considering a joint supplement, it’s important to recognize that some products have better formulations and are more effective than others. Dr. Jason Theodosakis, a medical doctor renowned throughout the world and an expert on sports medicine and joint health explains that: “There are important factors, such as the quality of raw materials purchased and the level of manufacturing sophistication, that create a pretty wide spectrum regarding the purity and potency of dietary supplements that support joint health.” Therefore, anybody considering a supplement must be willing to do some research and perhaps try a few different formulations to find the right one.
To make choosing a supplement easier for you, we’ve conducted some of our own research to help you get started. We took a comprehensive approach, speaking with scientific researchers at the companies that manufacture supplements, examining scientific data available about various herbs and extracts, and conducting our own research to accurately assess the effectiveness of some of the most well-known products on the market. While we found that many were simply not all that effective, we did identify some supplements that have the potential to help maintain joint health. Therefore, we recommend you consult this list of products to ensure you make a savvy purchasing decision.
Other practices aside from choosing one of the superior supplements included in our list of recommended products that can help promote joint health include maintaining a healthy weight and visiting your physician annually. Even being modestly overweight can tremendously increase the strain on your joints. Fortunately, the reverse is also true. Losing just a few pounds can reduce the stress placed on weight bearing joints such as the knees. Visiting your doctor and asking for a complete joint examination can help identify damage early so it can be addressed before it worsens and begins causing you pain. Stretching regularly can help maintain or even increase the range of motion of your joints. Maintaining good posture when sitting and standing and using proper technique when lifting can help prevent undue strain and joint damage.
It is never too early or too late to begin taking a joint supplement and making the practices above part of your lifestyle. Preventing joint damage and reducing joint pain using a combination of supplementation and other approaches are important goals for anyone who wants to maintain or improve their overall quality of life.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Bones and Joints
- Keep the body moving through regular exercise. Weight bearing exercise is great for maintain bone density, while stretching will keep the joints flexible, limber and avoid stiffness
- Stay at a healthy weight. Additional body weight can cause the joints and bones to strain, causing pain and aches. Even losing 5 or 10lbs can make a big difference
- Stop smoking. Nicotine and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes can deplete bone density making them more prone to fractures and reducing the production of essential hormones
- Eat a diet rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids, which include certain fish, nuts and seeds, such as flax seed. They also keep the joints nicely lubricated, cuting down on inflammation-causing friction
- Reduce the intake of over-processed foods that contain trans fats and refined carbohydrates. Some foods, such as those in the nightshade family, can cause inflammation in certain people while others, such as garlic, turmeric and virgin olive oil, have the opposite effect
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that ensure proper posture, not straining any part of the body or subjecting it to undue stress
**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available information and our estimation of efficiency.