Are you in the prime of your life? The time period between the ages of 18-35 is considered to be your evolutionary prime (1). Prime age is the time of your existence where you can perform at the peak of your energy and skill and carry out any task remarkably. Most importantly, it is the time when your drive for success and social dominance run wild and boundless.
When you are so occupied with life’s race, you ought to likewise focus on your body. Your poor health should not drag your body down. One of the struggles that come along your way as you work yourself in achieving your goals is the pain you feel in your joints.
What causes joint pain?
Joints form the connections between bones which provide support and help you move (3). Whenever there is damage to the joints, it will disrupt you from performing your day to day task. Not only that, pain in joints can also bring excruciating pain, making you unable to stand or move around. Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints and is a common complaint among people. They could be results of an injury or diseases like arthritis, cancer, rickets, and gout to name a few. Other possible causes of joint pains may also include old age, performing repetitive movements, poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, autoimmune disorder that increases inflammation and lack of sleep.
What can we do in order to have a continuous and productive routine? The key is to stay healthy and make sure that our joints stay in good shape. More and more researches conducted reveal that the essence of lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” — making simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management (4). However, supplements are also readily available at our disposal.
Top 10 effective supplements to boost our joint health:
- Turmeric Curcumin. Several recent studies show that curcumin is a substance found in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties and modifies immune system responses (5). In a 2006 study, however, turmeric is more effective at preventing joint inflammation than reducing joint inflammation while a 2010 clinical trial reveals that a turmeric supplement called Meriva (standardized to 75 percent curcumin combined with phosphatidylcholine) provided long-term improvement in pain and function in 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) (6). In addition, Dr. Minerva Santos of Northern Westchester Hospital in New York recommends it frequently to patients complaining of sore and achy joints, and uses it herself to relieve pain in her joints from sports and exercise (7).
- Fish Oil. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (including EPA and DHA), which block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins; they are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins (8), (9). A study in 2016 reveals that daily supplementation with omega-3 has such a positive effect on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) that it reduced the need for analgesic medication (10).
- Green tea. Green tea is stuffed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. (11). It is generally viewed as beneficial since it’s active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) which blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (12), (13).
- Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract taken from the Boswellia serrata tree which is an effective anti-inflammatory and painkiller and may prevent the loss of cartilage (14), (15). In a study involving 30 people with OA, it is revealed that the people who took boswellia reported less knee pain, better mobility and an ability to walk longer distances than those taking placebo (16).
- Ginger. Laboratory studies have shown that ginger’s benefits come from several different compounds, gingerols and shogaols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that seem to help relieve pain and improve all types of arthritis (17). Ginger also has been studied for OA. In one trial of more than 200 patients, Eurovita Extract 77 improved OA pain after standing and walking (18).
- Collagen. The most abundant protein in the human body which is found in muscle tissues, bones, skin, blood vessels, tissues of the digestive system and the tendons is the collagen. It plays an integral part in bone and joint health, function, regeneration, and maintenance (19). Nowadays, collagen supplements are growing in popularity among those with joint pain, arthritis or osteoarthritis and chronic injuries (20). Natural Eggshell Membrane is a natural way to receive collagen and other essential proteins. Research indicates that natural eggshell membrane may improve joint stiffness and range of motion, and support the production of Type 2 collagen, which is specifically found in cartilage (21).
- Calcium and Vitamin D. Bones and teeth need calcium, but the body cannot produce it naturally, therefore, we must absorb it through food or seek out a supplement. Natural sources of calcium are dark leafy greens, dairy products and almonds and should you choose to take a supplement, make sure it also contains vitamin D to help your body absorb the most calcium possible (22). Receiving adequate levels of Vitamin D is an essential part of maintaining bone health. With today’s current health risks associated with direct sunlight exposure (the natural method for producing Vitamin D), most health practitioners as well as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tout that the best way to make sure you’re getting sufficient Vitamin D – specifically D3, is through supplementation (23).
- Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem, is used for reducing swelling (inflammation). In a study conducted, bromelain reduces mild acute knee pain and improves well-being (24). Another study was conducted among 42 osteoarthritis patients with degenerative spine or painful joint conditions. The researchers found out that due to the bromelain’s powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics, it has been demonstrated to show anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and may provide a safer alternative or adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritis (25).
- Devil’s claw. Extracts of the secondary roots of the southern African plant, Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), provide an herbal drug with a variety of traditional indications used as treatment of inflammatory disorders of the musculoskeletal system and of low back pain (26). It is a flowering plant of the sesame family and its root packs several active plant compounds and is used as an herbal supplement (27). In a study, the Devil’s Claw is found to be a potential treatment option for mild to moderate degenerative rheumatic disorders (28).
- Stinging nettle. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica and the closely related Urtica urens) has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that contain irritating chemicals that are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin (29), (30). Studies emerged support its medicinal claims. In a study reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in June 2000 issue, nettle leaf can decrease osteoarthritic pain in the base of the thumb when applied to the painful area (31). A German study shows that hox alpha, a new extract of stinging nettle leaf, contains an anti-inflammatory substance that suppressed several cytokines in inflammatory joint diseases (32).
Final Thought on Natural Remedies for Joint
While it is true that these supplements will help you achieve healthier joints, we should also understand that it is always crucial to consult your doctor. This is so because some supplements may have side effects especially when you are taking medications. For persistent and recurring joint pain, visit your doctor.