It is most everyone’s dream to age gracefully, but it doesn’t just happen (for most of us, anyway). It takes some effort and the right attitude.
You can make the aging process more positive by being proactive when it comes to joint care. Millions of Americans face joint pain as they age, but it doesn’t have to be “just a part of growing old.” What can you do in your 30s, to care for your joints in your 50s?
Focus on Joint Care When You’re Still Young
I am surprised at the number of people needing hip and knee replacements at age 50. That seems too young to me.
You may be able to delay the onset of joint pain by taking care of yourself, particularly when young. In this article, Dr. Theodosakis with the University of Arizona College of Medicine advises, “Osteoarthritis is something people should think about preventing, or at least delaying, when they’re in their 30s and 40s, or even younger.”
He goes on to explain that even though you may not feel pain in your hips, knees, etc. when you’re younger, cartilage deterioration can still be occurring because there are no nerve endings in cartilage. So, what can you do?
I believe in maintaining joint health by:
- Exercising (low impact, if necessary)
- Watching your weight
- Protecting your joints from overuse/injury
- Taking joint care supplements
- Eating nutritious food (of course)
How can these things help?
A Closer Look at Your Joints
Articular cartilage (the cushion between bones in a joint) provides an ultimate low-friction gliding surface, acts as a shock absorber and minimizes peak pressures on the subchondral bone, as described on OxfordJournals.org. Injured or deteriorated cartilage that is left untreated leads to “premature early arthritis” and restriction of daily activity.
This cartilage is made up of water, collagen, proteoglycans (glycosamino glycans (GAGs): chondroitin sulfate and keratin sulfate) and noncollagenous proteins. Glucosamine is used to make the GAGs, while chondroitin sulfate is a GAG that works to provide some resistance to compression. Type II collagen is the most plentiful form of collagen in cartilage, but it also contains types VI, IX, X, XI. Its function is to provide tensile strength (the maximum amount of stress it can be subjected to before it fails). Hyaluronic acid is found in the thick substance called synovial fluid that provides lubrication around the joint. Loss of this critical acid seems to contribute to joint pain and stiffness.
While it seems contrary, one of the best ways to relieve joint pain and stiffness is to keep moving. Too much sitting, laying and inactivity may actually make you more stiff and sore.
Just as important, is protecting your joints from overuse and injury. How often have you continued an activity knowing that you were going to be in pain the next day? You know you’ve done it, and will probably do it again. Most of these types of injuries are avoidable. Mayo Clinic has some tips on avoiding overuse injury you might find beneficial.
This article, “Running: How to Minimize Stress on Your Joints,” has good information about joint stress, running and how to stay healthy.
Healthy Weight & Nutrition
The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight cannot be over-emphasized. It is amazing how many people have felt joint pain improve after losing as little as 10 pounds! Not sure where to start? This article has 25 Simple Tips for Healthy Weight Loss.
Eating nutritious food seems like it couldn’t possibly help with osteoarthritis and joint care. Right? What about the bone broth craze? Bone broth is turning up everywhere. Dr. Axe explains the benefits of bone broth that may include joint health, digestion and helping with cellulite. We also have an informative post on bone broth that you can view here. This article also include an easy slow cooker recipe on making bone broth!
No access to organically-raised beef or chicken? No time to cook bone broth for hours and process? Thankfully, there is an easy, handy bone broth for you! Try our Bone Broth Protein from Ancient Nutrition. Ancient Nutrition was founded by Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe, as a modern whole food nutritional supplement to restore health and vitality.
Bone broth naturally contains collagen, minerals and amino acids in the gelatin that you can see jiggling on top of your broth when it cools. So don’t scoop it off and discard it! That jiggling gelatin supports not only joint health, but also bone health, and it supports the immune system, too.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin Supplements for Joint Care
“Osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most prevalent joint issue facing those 65 years of age and older,” said Deanne Dolnick, science director, TR Nutritionals. “Many younger individuals are also suffering from OA due to the fact that they have been working out for most of their adult lives. The best way to ward off [joint problems] is to take the supplements that help support joint health.” (Source)
As referenced above, chondroitin and glucosamine are components of cartilage and are made naturally by the body. Scientists have been able to identify other sources of these substances in nature. These are used to make glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which are used to contribute to the maintenance of normal joint cartilage. Some experts believe these two ingredients work synergistically and should be taken in a 5:4 ratio. Most often that will be 1500mg of glucosamine to 1200mg of chondroitin.
The following are popular joint care products that fall into this category.
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin by Integrative Therapeutics
This supplement incorporates glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate as active ingredients. Glucosamine comes in three different forms: Gluosamine Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride and N-acetylglucosamine (rarely). My preference is the sulfate form as in this formula.
ChondroCare by Metagenics
This formula contains MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate as well as key minerals as active ingredients and support for antioxidant enzymes. This formula contains shellfish.
As the name indicates, this supplement has multiple active ingredients that work to support joint and connective tissue health, including collagen. While the glucosamine in this formula is the hydrochloride form, the addition of collagen and hyaluronic acid seems to work well for some people. Plus, this formula is shellfish free.
Ultra-Strength Joint with InflaShield by Solaray
This product incorporates glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM with a special Inflashield Support Blend for healthy joint support. The Inflashield Support Blend contains turmeric, boswellia, bromelain, tart cherry and hops for a unique blend.
Glucosamine MSM and Arnica Liposome Lotion by NOW Foods
As a topical option, this lotion contains glucosamine sulfate, MSM and a number of natural oils and extracts. These ingredients form a synergistic blend of joint and skin support factors.
If you do not have success with glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, don’t give up. There are many other formulas with different active ingredients that may have benefits for you.
Other Joint Care Supplement Options
Bioavailable Hyaluronic Acid by Jarrow Formulas
Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the body to help keep joints lubricated and flexible. This supplement uses it as the active ingredient.
Cellfood Essential Silica Formula by Lumina Health Products
Silica is becoming a popular option for healthy joint support. This mineral is a beneficial nutrient for the body. Silica, or silicon, is believed to support both healthy bones and joints.
Collagen JS by Pure Encapsulations
Collagen is an active ingredient in some joint care supplements as well. As a component of our cartilage, this protein is necessary in the body to repair and build cartilage. Unfortunately, the natural production of collagen tends to slow with age. This supplement contains it as an active ingredient.
According to estimates, there are over 19 million active people in the United States aged 40 to 65 who suffer from joint pain. In addition, the World Health Organization anticipates that osteoarthritis will become the fourth most common cause of disability worldwide in 2020 due to the progressive aging of the population. Don’t be a statistic! Help yourself age more gracefully by making joint care a priority.
And, be conscious of your dog’s joint health, too! Read this post for more information.
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