Joint health is one of the most overlooked areas of wellness. In fact, many athletes don't give their joints a second thought until they cause physical pain.
Think about it: No matter how much you love working out, you can’t hit the squat rack if your body is partly broken down. To keep yourself injury-free, you should rest, practice active recovery techniques, and take care of your muscles, bones, and joints.
Speaking of joints, it’s imperative to work on mobility, watch your weight, and take joint supplements when necessary. In this article, we will discuss why joint health is so important and what to look for (and avoid) in joint supplements.
Please note: The following post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you suffer from joint pain or arthritis, consult your family doctor.
Why Joint Health Is Important
A joint is where two bones join together. Most joints contain cartilage so the bones can glide smoothly against each other.
You need healthy joints to run, land a box jump, lift, and do other forms of physical activity. However, your joints can deteriorate over time, which can be extremely painful and negatively impact your workouts.
Arthritis refers to disorders that erode the joints over time as a result of chronic inflammation. There are many types of arthritis, and arthritis can worsen as you age. By keeping your joints healthy, you'll more likely be able to continue your workout routine as you grow older.
How To Keep Your Joints Healthy
So, what can you do to keep your joints healthy? Here are four tips to keep in mind:
1. Substitute High-Impact Exercise for Low-Impact Exercises
Some people believe that exercise causes joint deterioration — particularly arthritis of the knee. However, studies show no causation between exercise and arthritis. (In fact, exercise can provide joint pain relief, as it encourages weight loss. We’ll discuss this in the next section.)
If jogging on concrete streets is your chosen form of exercise, replace this with something that's easier on your joints, like lifting weights or HIIT workouts (but try to only jump on padded surfaces like turf).
2. Watch Your Weight
When you walk, the force on your knee joints is 1.5 times your bodyweight.
In other words, if you are a 200-pound man, you put 300 pounds of force on your knees. Because of this, a 250-pound man is more prone to knee pain than a 200-pound man, even if the two men have the same BMI.
3. Do Mobility Exercises
Mobility exercises are a great addition to any active recovery routine — even if you don't currently suffer from joint pain.
While flexibility helps elongate (i.e., stretch) your muscles, mobility helps increase the range of motion in your joints. Doing regular mobility work can help improve joint function and improve your range of motion in strength workouts (like parallel squats).
4. Take Joint Health Supplements
When diet and exercise are not enough to control joint pain, you may want to consider taking a dietary supplement. While many joining supplements are helpful, many joint supplements in the United States contain ingredients that are not scientifically proven to improve joint health (as you'll see below).
Where Many Joint Supplements Go Wrong
Two of the most common ingredients in joint supplements — chondroitin and glucosamine — haven't been proven effective at improving joint health.
Both chondroitin and glucosamine are found naturally in the human body. You'll find them in connective tissue (glucosamine is the building block of cartilage) or in supplement form.
Sulfate supplements made with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, and hyaluronic acid are the most commonly-prescribed medications to treat osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease causing cartilage loss over time. Although it can negatively impact any joint, it can especially cause issues in your hands, knees, hips, and back.
Unfortunately, science shows chondroitin and glucosamine are ineffective at improving joint health. Some studies show a glucosamine-chondroitin combination supplement can help improve arthritis pain. However, other studies show that on its own, chondroitin has proven to be ineffective at treating arthritis pain but could benefit joint structure.
In fact, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) recommends people don't take either glucosamine or chondroitin supplements for osteoarthritis.
The Best Joint Supplements for Joint Health
Joint supplements can help improve joint function and provide anti-inflammatory effects to help reduce joint pain. However, it's important to know which ingredients have been scientifically proven to improve joint health.
If you've been taking triple strength ibuprofen for months with no relief in sight, try a joint supplement with the following ingredients:
Turmeric has long been praised in health circles for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is connected to multiple health benefits with few side effects. In areview of multiple studies, curcumin was shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help treat arthritis. It also appears to help manage exercise-related inflammation and muscle soreness.
Get More Turmeric in Your Diet
Research suggests that the health benefits of curcumin are most effective when combined with piperine, a constituent of black pepper (Piper nigrum) fruit.
This is why Transparent Labs RawSeries Turmeric 95% Curcuminoidsfeatures standardized turmeric extract with BioPerine®, a patented black pepper extract made providing highly concentrated piperine. Both turmeric (as Curcumin C3® Complex) and BioPerine® can also be found in Transparent Labs Joint Support.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract from the Boswellia serrata tree.
A research overview published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science contends that the alpha-keto acids found in Boswellia extract can effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune joint disease. Boswellia extract has also been shown to significantly reduce joint pain, which contributes to better joint function.
Where to Find Boswellia
Since Boswellia is rarely consumed as part of the diet, a supplement is necessary to get the benefits of this promising herb.
By combining Curcumin C3® Complex, FruiteX-B® calcium fructoborate, Boswellin® Super, UC-II® collagen, and Bioperine® (piperine), Transparent Labs WellnessSeries Joint Support can help with joint pain relief.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Due to their anti-inflammatory effects, some scientists encourage omega-3 fatty acid supplements to treat rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain.
In one study, rheumatoid arthritis patients noted that an omega-3 fatty acid supplement helped improve morning stiffness and joint pain. However, similar studies have been inconclusive.
How to Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
Many athletes take fish oil supplements to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. However, the purity and EPA/DHA content in fish oil varies significantly.
Instead, we recommend taking the CoreSeries Krill Oil, made from Antarctic krill species that are rich in omega-3 phospholipids. This makes the EPA and DHA in krill oil more bioavailable and gentler on the stomach than traditional fish oil supplements.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is often correlated with strong bones, cartilage, and muscle function, but it can also help mitigate inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
While the evidence is still growing, scientists believe there may be a connection between vitamin D deficiency and joint pain. In a five-year study, researchers found that people with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to develop hip and knee osteoarthritis.
Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet
To get more vitamin D in your diet, try the RawSeries Vitamin D3, which may help improve muscle recovery, reduce bone fracture risk, and increase your strength and performance.
Joint Supplements Can Reduce Pain, Inflammation, and Risk of Injury
If you mitigate your risk of injury, you decrease your chances of getting sidelined from your workouts.
You need healthy joints to lift, do HIIT workouts, and log miles on the pavement. Unfortunately, our joints become increasingly prone to pain and inflammation as we age.
Most popular joint supplements on the market contain chondroitin and glucosamine, which are ironically not that effective at treating joint pain according to a recent meta-analysis.
On the contrary, nutrients and herbal extracts like turmeric, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, type-II collagen, and Boswellia can actually help reduce inflammation and improve joint function.
For best results, we recommend taking Transparent Labs Joint Support, which contains ingredients backed by numerous clinical studies and shown to improve joint health.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most commonly used supplements for arthritis. They're components of cartilage—the substance that cushions the joints.How can I naturally lubricate my joints? ›
Consuming healthy fats can increase joint health and lubrication. Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication.What is the best vitamin for bones and joints? ›
- Calcium: Most of us know that calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone health. ...
- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and vitamin D deficiencies can lead to bone loss. ...
- Many of us know that Vitamin C plays a significant role in immune function.
Most people taking the daily supplement genuinely felt their joint pain getting better, despite the fact that it was just a 'sugar pill' – and while it might be easy to pass judgement, it's worth keeping in mind we're all susceptible to the placebo effect.Is turmeric better than glucosamine? ›
Whereas glucosamine structurally supports connective tissue integrity within the joint, turmeric offers greater protection against joint-diminishing oxidative stress, inflammation, and enzymes.What liquids lubricate joints? ›
Synovial fluid makes up about 80 percent of cartilage's volume, and plays an essential role in supporting weight and lubricating joints. Since cartilage is porous, synovial fluid leaks out its holes every day.What lubricant makes smooth joint movements possible? ›
Synovial fluid is a viscous solution found in the cavities of synovial joints. The principal role of synovial fluid is to reduce friction between the articular cartilages of synovial joints during movement.How do you stop stiffness in old age? ›
Ensure you exercise at least three times a week.
Healthy muscles optimise our joint mechanics and exercise is crucial for increasing strength and flexibility, reducing joint pain and helping to combat fatigue. It also helps you to maintain a good body weight that will not put too much pressure on your joints.
- #1 Calcium. Calcium is the most abundant minerals in the body. ...
- #2 Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can think of as a conductor that directs calcium to the bones. ...
- #3 Magnesium. ...
- #4 Vitamin K. ...
- #5 Isoflavones. ...
- SUPPLEMENT TO AVOID:
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help maintain bone strength and lessen your risk of developing osteoporosis.
It is commonly believed that the only nutrients needed for healthy bones and, therefore, the only ones that can enhance the fracture healing process are vitamin D and calcium .Why should you not take glucosamine and chondroitin? ›
Studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may interact with the anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drug warfarin (Coumadin). Overall, studies have not shown any other serious side effects. If you take glucosamine or chondroitin supplements, tell your health care providers.Is Magnesium good for joint pain? ›
Taking magnesium can help to reduce arthritic pain and inflammation. It may be beneficial to take magnesium supplements or eat foods rich in magnesium if you are experiencing arthritic pain.Does CoQ10 help with joint pain? ›
Many cardiologists place their patients on CoQ10 to help cardiac function as well as to reduce the bad side effects of statin cholesterol drugs. The supplement also may help decrease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing the bad inflammatory chemicals that lead to cartilage breakdown.What is a natural alternative to glucosamine? ›
Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a building block of cartilage. It may also help prevent cartilage breakdown from osteoarthritis. Many clinical studies have found that chondroitin can reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
Get regular exercise
Some people worry that exercise causes or worsens joint problems. But there's truth to the old saying that “motion is lotion.” Adding exercise to your routine can keep your joints lubricated and healthy. Staying active may prevent or reduce joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
It may seem counterintuitive to increase your activity level when you have chronic knee pain or arthritis, but walking can actually provide a number of benefits, including: Lubricating the joints. Protecting the knee. Increasing blood flow to the tissues.How do you rebuild cartilage in the knee? ›
Cartilage Regeneration Options
MACI is a surgical procedure that uses cartilage-forming cells from your body to restore damaged cartilage in the knees. It involves a biopsy to harvest chondrocytes (cartilage-forming cells), which are allowed to multiply in a lab, and surgery to implant them into the damaged area.
Ligaments are tough bands of connective tissue (fibres that support other tissues and organs in your body) that link two bones together at a joint. They strengthen the joint and limit its movement in certain directions.How do you increase cartilage in joints naturally? ›
Stretch as often as possible. A simple stretch can help prevent stiffness in your joints and lubricate and nourish the cartilage with synovial fluid. Stretch exercises like yoga and pilates can help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis and also strengthen your muscles to prevent further joint injury.
It's another reason to eat leafy greens, bright-colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids; they nourish your joints and keep your synovial fluid healthy. Add foods high in allicin like onions and garlic, and fermented foods like yogurt and kefir and your joints will thank you.Can hardly walk after sitting? ›
It is not uncommon to feel 'wobbly' or unsteady on your feet after sitting for a long period. It can be due to reduced blood flow, tight muscles and ligaments, fluid pooled in the body's lower extremities, or pins and needles sensations in the feet.Why do old people walk so stiff? ›
As we age, bones, joints and muscles tend to become weak. Movements feeling stiff is often our perception of the increased effort required to perform daily tasks. Many older people have ageing-associated conditions that can contribute to muscle stiffness.How can I be happy after 70? ›
- Prioritize Family and Friends. Social connections are the key to happiness with age. ...
- Keep Smiling. ...
- Discover New Interests. ...
- Stay Healthy. ...
- Maintain a Sense of Humor. ...
- Go Outside Every Day. ...
- Give Back to the Community.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.How can I restore bone density naturally? ›
- Weightlifting and strength training. ...
- Eating more vegetables. ...
- Consuming calcium throughout the day. ...
- Eating foods rich in vitamins D and K. ...
- Maintaining a healthy weight. ...
- Avoiding a low calorie diet. ...
- Eating more protein. ...
- Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Some people use supplements to try to help manage joint pain from arthritis. Glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3, and green tea are just a few of them. Glucosamine has been touted as an anti-inflammatory that helps keep the cartilage in joints healthy.Can bone density be restored? ›
The short answer is no, osteoporosis cannot be completely reversed and is not considered curable, but there are a number of health and lifestyle adjustments you can make to improve bone loss. Your provider may also prescribe you medications to help rebuild and slow down bone loss.How can I increase my bone density after 60? ›
- Think calcium. Women up to age 50 and men up to age 70 need 1,000 milligrams daily; women over 50 and men over 70 should get 1,200 milligrams daily.
- And vitamin D. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Don't smoke. ...
- Drink alcohol moderately, if at all.
For postmenopausal women and men age 50 years and older, the T-score is the number that is used for diagnostic classification, as follows: A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density.
- Excess salt.
- Hydrogenated oil.
- Food rich in vitamin A.
- Soft drinks.
Rich in vitamin C, oranges and orange juice help your body produce the things it needs for strong bones. For instance, vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is a protein that supports healthy bones and joints. Choose an orange juice fortified with calcium for a double whammy.Which two vitamins are essential for bones? ›
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for good bone health, but they must be consumed safely.Why do doctors not recommend glucosamine? ›
Because glucosamine products might be derived from the shells of shellfish, there is concern that the supplement could cause an allergic reaction in people with shellfish allergies. Glucosamine might worsen asthma. There's some concern that glucosamine might raise eye pressure.What is better than glucosamine and chondroitin? ›
A patented collagen ingredient may be twice as effective as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, according to results of randomized, double-blind study.What are the long term side effects of glucosamine? ›
Side effects may include:
People who have low levels of vitamin D often have joint pain. Vitamin D supplements may treat joint pain in some people who have a vitamin D deficiency.Which is better turmeric or magnesium? ›
Magnesium is ideal when you're stressed or anxious or have trouble sleeping or when your muscles are tight and tense. Turmeric can help to support joint health, comfort and mobility so you can keep doing the things you enjoy.What vitamin helps best with joint pain? ›
Vitamin D. Scientists who study rheumatoid arthritis have found that people who have the condition often lack vitamin D. Low levels of this essential nutrient may lead to chronic pain. When you take it as a supplement, it could help your arthritis treatment work better.Who should avoid taking CoQ10? ›
Risks. People with chronic diseases such as heart failure, liver problems, or diabetes should be wary of using this supplement. CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
While CoQ10 supplements are generally well-tolerated, they can cause nausea, diarrhea, and insomnia, particularly at high dosages.What happens when you take CoQ10 everyday? ›
CoQ10 supplements may improve heart health and blood sugar and help manage high blood pressure in people with diabetes. Preliminary studies found that CoQ10 improves blood sugar control. But other studies show no effect. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before taking CoQ10.