Joints help connect muscles, bones, and cartilage together. To maintain healthy joints, the muscles, bones, and cartilage supporting the joint also need to be maintained. These tips can help your joints feeling better!
Weight lifting can really help with joint pain. Lifting weights strengthens the muscles surrounding joints and can cushion the shock from the joints instead of the joints taking the brunt. Strengthening up muscles also means less weight on your joints. Be careful lifting weights or participating in any strength building exercise. There are some exercises which require twisting and pivoting that can damage joints. When done wrong, you could do more harm than good. Always consult with a professional trainer, physical therapist, or your doctor to avoid injury.
Lose the Extra Weight
Losing a few pounds if you are overweight can really lighten the load on your joints. The more weight your body is carrying around puts more stress on your joints, causing pain. Dropping some weight can also prevent diabetes, cancer, and heart disease while keeping your joints feeling good.
Avoid Pro-Inflammatory Foods
The standard American diet usually contains an abundance of processed foods. Processed foods often contain saturated fat, trans fat, and too much omega-6 fatty acids can promote inflammation in the body. However, omega-6 fatty acids should not be confused with omega-3 fatty acids. The human body does need some omega-6 fatty acids for skin and hair growth, bone health, and maintain metabolism according to The University of Maryland Medical Center (1). The standard American diet tends to contain 14-25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids (1). With an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids and imbalance of omega-3 fatty acids allows for inflammation to occur. Avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugar could also help reduce inflammation. Eating lean sources of protein from poultry and fish can help build muscle mass without contributing to inflammation.
Eat Plenty of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Opposite of omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, salmon, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Maintaining healthy joints requires a healthy diet to support muscle mass, dense bones, and cartilage. Eating plenty of plant based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and protein from nuts, seeds and soy.
Joint Health Supplements
Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring substance found in cartilage. Research shows patients taking oral glucosamine sulfate up to three years seem to have significantly less knee joint degeneration and significant symptom improvement when compared with a placebo (2-5). Beware that glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride are not to be used interchangeably since the amount of evidence varies between the both. Chondroitin sulfate is also naturally found in the body, shark cartilage, or can be produced synthetically (6-7). Often dietary supplements combine both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Recent studies show that chondroitin sulfate reduced pain and improved functionality with patients with knee osteoarthritis treated with chondroitin sulfate 800-1000 mg daily for 3-6 months (8-9). Also, the active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. Turmeric has been also compared to conventional treatment. Some evidence reveals that taking a non-commercial turmeric extract 500 mg three to four times daily for 4-6 weeks is comparable to ibuprofen 400 mg two to three times daily for reducing knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis (10-11). Remember to always consult with a health care professional before taking any dietary supplements.
(1) University of Maryland. Omega-6 fatty acids. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids. Accessed August 25, 2016
(2) Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulfate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2001;357:251-6.
(3) Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, et al. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis: A 3-year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Arch Intern Med 2002;162:2113-23.
(4) Zhang W, Doherty M, Arden N, et al. EULAR evidence based recommendations for the management of hip osteoarthritis: report of a task force of the EULAR Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutics (ESCISIT). Ann Rheum Dis 2005;64:669-81.
(5) Lee, Y. H., Woo, J. H., Choi, S. J., Ji, J. D., and Song, G. G. Effect of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate on the osteoarthritis progression: a meta-analysis. Rheumatol Int 2010;30(3):357-363.
(6) Kelly GS. The role of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:27-39.
(7) O’Rourke, M. Determining the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis. Nurse Pract 2001;26(6):44-52.
(8) Mazieres, B., Hucher, M., Zaim, M., and Garnero, P. Effect of chondroitin sulphate in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Ann Rheum Dis 2007;66(5):639-645.
(9) Moller, I., Perez, M., Monfort, J., Benito, P., Cuevas, J., Perna, C., Domenech, G., Herrero, M., Montell, E., and Verges, J. Effectiveness of chondroitin sulphate in patients with concomitant knee osteoarthritis and psoriasis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Osteoarthritis.Cartilage. 2010;18 Suppl 1:S32-S40.
(10) Kuptniratsaikul V, Thanakhumtorn S, Chinswangwatanakul P, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med 2009;15:891-7.
(11) Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, Buntragulpoontawee M, Lukkanapichonchut P, Chootip C, Saengsuwan J, Tantayakom K, Laongpech S. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging 2014;9:451-8.