There were days when we used to run and jump around like kids, having fun under the sun. Yes, when we were young, we were able to do a lot of active things. Our bodies then were flexible and resilient. Those joints have marvelous flexibility and our mobility is optimal. And then, natural aging process occurs. As we age, our joints’ natural lubrication starts to leech away. Then, our muscles lose their flexibility and joints start to feel achy. There are mornings when the pain wake us up. Thus, we complain of everyday pains. And you realize that you have just lost your chance of having an active lifestyle especially enjoying outdoors.
The above scenario could be very terrifying for anyone. Immobility due to pain in joints is a serious matter. It can tie us down and make us miss those heydays for like forever. Unless, we do something about it. Supplementing our joints is a very good way to keep them healthy. Choosing the right joint support helps combat this common sign of aging. The time is now. Supplements are here for you to choose from.
7 Natural Joint Health Supplements
1. Turmeric Supplement
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant commonly used in Asian food. But turmeric has evolved from a mere spice to a more significant health treatment and supplement. It is used for conditions involving pain and inflammation like osteoarthritis. Its renowned chemical, curcumin, helps decrease inflammation, which makes this a very good supplementation for joint health. Some research shows that it can reduce pain and improve function in people with knee osteoarthritis while in some research, turmeric can work about as well as ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis pain (1). However, cautions must be taken into consideration when taking turmeric as it may have some side effects. Some side effects in taking turmeric supplementation may include promoting a menstrual period or stimulating the uterus, which may put the pregnancy at risk; making gallbladder problems worse, and so refrain from using turmeric if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction; making blood sugar too low for people with diabetes; causing stomach upset in some people; making hormone-sensitive conditions worse; and preventing the absorption of iron resulting to iron deficiency (2).
2. Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oils are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids with strong anti-inflammatory properties including EPA and DHA, which block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins (3). These properties significantly reduce the release of several elements that play a part in inflammation from your white blood cells by forming the building blocks for prostaglandins, which regulate your immune system and fight joint inflammation (4). Fish liver oil contains high levels of vitamins A and D. Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant that prevents cell damage in your body by interacting with harmful molecules called free radicals which are produced within the cells while Vitamin D plays an important part in the production of proteoglycan in cartilage as well as helping to maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system (5). Taking turmeric supplementation at correct doses may have minor side-effects like stomach upsets, flatulence and diarrhea. Fish oil should be avoided when taking anticoagulants because it can interfere with blood clotting (6).
3. Boswellia Supplement
Boswellia contains active components that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It also helps prevent cartilage loss and inhibits the autoimmune process (7). Loxin 5, the extract, is said to improve osteoarthritis (OA) pain and lasts for seven days, according to 2008 study (8). Another study also reveals that it can also slow cartilage damage after three months of use (9). In 2003 study where all 30 people with OA knee pain received boswellia, a decrease in knee pain is reported and an increase in knee flexion and how far they could walk (10). There may be some side effects to note when supplementing with boswellia. It may stimulate blood flow in the uterus and pelvis and can accelerate menstrual flow. This may induce miscarriage in pregnant women (11). Nausea, acid reflux, diarrhea, and skin rashes are other possible side effects of boswellia (12).
4. Ginger Supplement
Ginger is packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties. According to a study at University of Miami, ginger extract may be a potential substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract to placebo in 247 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee and it shows that ginger reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo (13). Ginger may suppress leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules) and switch off certain inflammatory genes, potentially making it more effective than conventional pain relievers (14). Watch out for side effects of this supplement. Among the identified ones include: increase risk of bleeding and insulin levels and/or lower your blood sugar and worsen some heart conditions (15).
5. Collagen Supplement
Collagen is made of amino acids – the building blocks of protein. Taking collagen supplements helps the body use the amino acids to protect and rebuild the joint cartilage. It is rich in amino acids and contains anti-inflammatory effects. According to Kimberly Sanders, ND, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, the “predigested” collagen supplements make the amino acids more easily available to your tissues and when taken as hydrolyzed collagen, you get a boost of the specific amino acids that are rich in collagen (16). Collagen provides support for the growth and repair of cartilage tissue, as well as relieve joint inflammation and pain. Collagen is considered to be well tolerated with no major side-effects, however, there may be possible minor side effects including feeling of heaviness in your stomach, mild diarrhea and rashes (17).
6. Bromelain Supplement
Bromelain shows anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and may provide a safer alternative or adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritis. In a study, bromelain was first reported to be of value as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory for use in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritic patients in 1964 (18). Bromelain is recognized as a safe and successful type of therapeutic agent used by individuals worldwide for a number of ailments, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, arthritis, and inflammation as stated in the 2016 Biomedical Reports paper (19). Potential side effects of bromelain include stomach upset and diarrhea. So it is advised not to go beyond the recommended dosage of bromelain supplements, because as an enzyme, it can be hard on the stomach if taken in too high of a dose (20).
7. Devil’s Claw Supplement
Devil’s claw contains chemicals that might decrease inflammation and swelling and resulting pain. Its root packs several active plant compounds and is used as an herbal supplement. This supplement appear to be potential remedy for inflammatory-related conditions, such as arthritis and gout (21). In a study, the people who took devil’s claw had as much pain relief as the people who took the medication of a certain leading European medication for pain relief (22). Mild stomach problems in some people may be this supplements side effects if taken in high doses. People with stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, or gallstones should not take devil’s claw since studies show that this supplement may cause gastrointestinal side effects (23). Pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with heart disease, high blood pressure, or low blood pressure should ask their doctors before taking devil’s claw to be safe (24).
Since some joint support supplements help prevent joint deterioration, while others can reverse signs of aging, including inflammation, aches, and other types of pain, select the best one for you. When you’re shopping or looking for supplements, do not be overwhelmed with the many products in the market. The above are presented to give a heads-up in choosing the supplements that could best address your joint-related concerns. However, these do not substitute prescribed medicines by doctors.