Natural Joint Pain Relief | A Guide to Nutritional Supplements
There are many supplements on the market which promote better joint health; however not all are likely to give you the results you are looking for. Some brands, and certainly the generic versions, may do little to ease pain and protect the joints from sustaining further damage. Concentrations of active compounds vary from product to product and not live up to the claims made in advertisements. As a general rule of thumb, always choose popular and well known dietary supplements and use consumer reviews for help when choosing brands. First and foremost however, consult your doctor and ask for advice before taking any new dietary supplement.
Nutritional supplements may not have a wealth of evidence to prove their effectiveness, although many sufferers of joint pain find them to be highly effective.
Before taking any new supplement consider the following points:
- Many nutritional supplements use products derived from shellfish – If you have an allergy, be very careful
- Most are not vegan/vegetarian and can contain animal products or gelatine
- Never exceed the stated dose. Taking more does not mean less pain and it can put the pancreas, liver and kidneys at risk
- Check with a doctor first if you are pregnant, lactating or have heart or circulatory problems, or any diagnosed condition
- Stop taking supplements if you suffer from any adverse side effects
Top Active Ingredients
There are many natural compounds which have been reported to promote better joint health and provide the building blocks that your joints need to maintain fluidity of the synovial fluid, regenerate cartilage, and improve mobility. New compounds are frequently formulated and products regularly get updated. Check the list of ingredients of a product before buying so you know what you are getting, and choose based on their contents rather than just on the claims of the manufacturer. Also remember that these are dietary supplements and not out and out treatments for joint problems. They can be very helpful with some people, but not all. It depends on the exact nature of the complaint, and results will vary.
Glucosamine is a natural bodily compound present in the cartilage and it plays an important role in the generation of new cartilage as well as its repair. It is an amino sugar formed from the amino acid glutamine and is required for the synthesis of glycoaminoglycans, which in turn are vital for good joint health.
With bodily production of glucosamine slowing with age, it is believed that oral supplements of this amino sugar can help to maintain and repair the cartilage, although evidence for this is mixed and its benefits as an oral supplement are inconclusive. However positive results have been found with sufferers of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and other painful joint problems. It is usually accompanied by chondroitin sulfate in nutritional supplements, either as glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulphate. If you suffer from diabetes you should be aware that this product can increase blood sugar, and also it is usually derived from shellfish, or if not from animal products. It is not vegetarian or vegan and the source need to be checked if you have a shellfish allergy.
Chondroitin (chondroitin sulfate)
Chondroitin sulfate is a compound found in normal and healthy cartilage, and helps with elasticity, cushioning and the restoration of damaged cartilage. It is believed to help maintain fluidity of the synovial fluid and thus counter joint stress.
Chondroitin sulfate is believed to have anti inflammatory properties, and is an important compound to prevent the enzymatic breakdown of cartilage. It is believed to stimulate the production of two important compounds in the body which are involved with the maintenance of healthy and mobile joints; proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid (see below). Chondroitin sulfate is often combined with glucosamine in nutritional supplements
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid are not produced by the body, but are present in many foodstuffs, in particular fish, green vegetables, nuts and meat. “Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce joint tenderness and need for corticosteroid drugs in rheumatoid arthritis” according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, as well as helping with a wide range of inflammatory conditions. They play an important role in many metabolic pathways, and are believed to have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, as well as there being some evidence for their role in slowing down the breakdown of cartilage by enzymes. Since western diets often do not contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids there is great potential benefit to joint health and full body health by taking Omega 3 as a dietary supplement.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring compound which can be found in tissues throughout the body; however it is present in highest quantities in the synovial fluid of the joints and in the vitreous humor in the eyes. Whilst the compound has numerous functions one of its primary roles is believed to be with water retention, with it binding water to maintain fluidity of the synovial fluid in the joints and it increases the viscosity of the synovial fluid to prevent compression. It is also involved with waste removal in the cartilage cells and for providing nutrition to cells which do not have a strong blood supply.
Hyaluronic acid also goes by the name of hyaluronan and hyaluronate, and is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis by direct injection. It has now found its way into nutritional supplements, usually alongside MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin, although despite showing promise, its effectiveness has not been properly evaluated as an oral supplement.
Boswellia Serrata & 5-Loxin
Boswellia Serrata is a tree found in Northern India which often goes by the name of Indian frankincense, and it has long been known for its medicinal benefits in particular for the herbal treatment of arthritis. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and thus helps to ease the pain from arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and bronchial asthma and also has analgesic properties. Specifically it can interrupt or switch off cytokines and leukotriene synthesis, which are both involved in the body’s inflammatory response. It has shown great promise in reducing joint swelling and pain, and can be considered as a natural alternative to NSAID drugs, especially useful for those with low tolerance to these harsh pharmaceuticals.
Recently, extracts from Boswellia Serrata have been developed into a patent pending compound called 5-Loxin, which is showing great promise for easing joint pain from arthritis. 5-Loxin is believed to slow down the action of cartilage destroying enzymes and improves joint health and ease pain in a matter of days. 5-Loxin is one of the most promising developments in recent years. The reason why the 5-Loxin complex is more beneficial is that in addition to Boswellia Serrata extract, it is also enriched with 30% boswellic acid; the major anti-inflammatory active in Boswellia Serrata.
MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM for short, is a naturally occurring compound present in many foodstuffs such as milk, shellfish and fruit and vegetables. It is an important compound that provides dietary sulfur which is vital for body and joint health. The compound is believed to play an important role in maintaining connective tissues and healthy joints, as well as in enzyme function, the immune system and the production of hormones. It has a mild analgesic effect and has anti-inflammatory properties, and is taken for these reasons to help maintain healthy joints. It is often combined in dietary supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin.
Vitamins & Minerals
Eating a well balanced diet will provide the body with all the vitamins and minerals it requires to maintain great joint health. However, deficiencies do occur, and ensuring that the body has sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals is important for maintaining the joints. Minerals and vitamins which are believed to play an important role in maintaining healthy joints and protecting against damage include vitamins A, B, C, and D with a deficiency in B6 strongly linked to arthritis. Minerals believed to help with joint health include selenium, copper, boron & manganese.
To read about the bestselling joint care supplements to help with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and to promote better joint health and protect from damage click the link below: