Article At A Glance:
We are spotlighting 5 nutrients that are often overlooked for their ability to support Joint Health.
- Magnesium’s anti-inflammatory properties shows the potential to benefit osteoarthritis patients—and magnesium deficiency is considered to be a risk factor in the progression of the disease.
- Vitamin D is a major contributor to Joint Health. And since Vitamin D deficiency is rampant, supplementation can be crucial.
- Krill Oil shows the potential to relieve stiffness and joint discomfort.
- Vitamin C supports cartilage and collagen growth, along with tendon and ligament strength, while also helping to relieve gout.
- Boron is a diverse micronutrient that has demonstrated benefits in joint maintenance, while also protecting against Vitamin D deficiency.
Joint pain can compromise every aspect of your life. It takes normal, everyday tasks and makes them unimaginably difficult, sometimes even impossible. For millions of Americans, this is reality. Arthritis, which refers to an array of joint pain and diseases, affects people of all ages, sexes, and races, and is the leading cause of disability in America.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million adults suffer from some form of arthritis. And those numbers are trending in a painful direction, with projections seeing more than 60 million sufferers by 2020 and close to 80 million by 2045.
While the onset of disease can account for some of these numbers, the fact is that some form of joint discomfort is a natural consequence of aging. Yes, even if you lead a normal life, lucky enough not to battle through disease or injury, some form of joint discomfort awaits you in your advancing years. But the aches and pains don’t have to condemn you to a sedentary lifestyle, as nutritional solutions are gaining traction in the world of joint health.
When it comes to joint support, there are several nutrients that get the majority of the attention. There’s curcumin and boswellia to reduce inflammation; glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen cartilage; and hyaluronic acid to lubricate the entire joint matrix.
However, there are five other nutrients that are vital to the health of your joints that don’t get the spotlight, mainly because they are thought of as only good for health issues not related to joints: Magnesium, Vitamin D, Krill Oil, Vitamin C, and Boron.
Joint Support From Surprising Nutrients
Influenced by ads, television, and pop culture in general, we all grow up thinking that certain vitamins and minerals are intrinsic to very specific needs. Vitamin C is what you seek when you have a cold; vitamin D is all about bones; magnesium has gained traction for mood and sleep support; krill oil is something you feed your fish; and boron, well, no one really knows what boron does.
But the scientific world is vast and ever-expanding, with new research positioning vitamins and minerals in newly minted beneficial ways. Besides, joint health is about so much more than addressing inflammation, building cartilage, and increasing lubrication. Nutritional support is essential for the entire joint matrix: this includes bones, tendons, ligaments, and the surrounding muscle.
And research has found these 5 specific nutrients to be highly favorable in supporting joint health.
Examining Magnesium In The Fight Against Joint Conditions
While it certainly isn’t the first nutritional element that comes to mind when you think about your joints, magnesium has stepped forward as a shining example of good things coming from places you might least expect. Powering the more than 300 enzymes dispersed throughout your body, magnesium assists in energy production and the creation of protein, while also contributing to a healthy heart.
But research shows that magnesium offers hope when addressing osteoarthritis and overall joint health. One study in particular specifically investigated the association between knee pain and magnesium intake, measuring the mineral’s levels in 2,548 individuals with osteoarthritis. The study’s results were clear: the lower the magnesium, the higher the arthritis pain.
Magnesium Deficiency & The Increased Risk Of Osteoarthritis
The National Institutes of Health says that around 50 to 60 percent of a person’s magnesium resides in their bones, while less than 1 percent is in the blood. Thus, it is not associated with typical blood work, making a deficiency tricky to detect. But in one study where magnesium intake was successfully tested, researchers found that 48 percent of the population consumed less than the required amount of the mineral. The Recommended Dietary Allowances for magnesium is 420 mg for men ages 31-plus and 320 mg for women ages 31 and over. Meanwhile, magnesium deficiency has been found in 84 percent of postmenopausal women.
These numbers could pose a problem in light of a comprehensive review of magnesium research which concluded that a magnesium deficiency is considered a major risk factor for osteoarthritis development and progression, increasing inflammation and cartilage damage, and even weakening the effect of pain-relieving analgesics. That same review found that nutritional supplementation of magnesium shows potential as an effective therapy for osteoarthritis.
How Does Vitamin D Deficiency Affect Your Joints?
Let’s take a closer look at vitamin D. It’s been called the “sunshine vitamin” and it is fat-soluble, meaning that our finicky bodies absorbs it more efficiently when it’s consumed with foods that contain fat. What is perhaps most surprising about vitamin D is that we all need much more of it than we are getting. One study goes as far to say that vitamin D deficiency is the most “ignored epidemic” of our time.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can vary, but it can be associated with joint pain, as vitamin D possess anti-inflammatory qualities that play a vital role in bone and joint functions. A 2013 study suggests that even a moderate vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on knees and hips. The results of that study showed that knee pain worsened over 5 years and hip pain escalated over 2.4 years in cases where a moderate vitamin D deficiency is cited.
Vitamin D also plays an important role in muscle health—which is your body’s natural support system for your joints. A study published in the medical journal PLOS One showcases how vitamin D is related to muscle strength and size. The study showed that vitamin D, after it was activated in the body, was associated with muscle strength and lean body mass in women.
How Does Krill Oil Help Your Joints?
There’s a reason why cars need oil to achieve peak performance—it actively lubricates the engine, absorbing heat and ensuring the highly combustible internal parts function properly without overheating and causing a system failure. It is in the realm of lubrication that fish and krill oils are shown to benefit joint health.
Krill Oil (and Fish Oil) contains the Omega-3 Fatty Acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA boast a variety of benefits, including the potential to relieve stiffness and joint discomfort.
Krill Oil: Joint Health’s Best Kept Secret… Until Now!
According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, Omega-3 supplements are among the most commonly taken natural products. This illustrates that along with all of the other benefits associated with the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and krill oils, a growing number of health-oriented individuals are hip to the potential for joint support. Specifically, a study from 2016 demonstrated that Krill Oil has a positive impact on knee pain and stiffness. Meanwhile, an animal study about Krill Oil and its possible impact on rheumatoid arthritis yielded encouraging experimental results.
How Vitamin C Goes Beyond The Common Cold And Supports Joints
One of the unsung heroes of joint health is vitamin C. Universally praised as the go-to vitamin in protecting against the common cold and providing immune system support, vitamin C can also support cartilage strength and help with collagen synthesis, the body’s most abundant protein in joint tissue and the glue that holds joints together. This goes a long way in supporting cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
As research shows, guarding against the sniffles isn’t the only reason we should stock our fruit bowls with oranges, grapefruits, and kiwis. In fact, according to data collected in a study from 2017, adding vitamin C-enriched gelatin to an intermittent exercise program improves collagen synthesis and could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair.
Vitamin C for Joint Health and Gout
Another joint-related issue is gout. A form of arthritis, gout is characterized by the sudden onset of severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness, often centered on the joint that supports your big toe. Gout is instigated by an excess of uric acid in the blood, which causes crystals to form around the joint. Besides vitamin C’s antioxidant properties that make it a great inflammation inhibitor, one study suggests it might even reduce the amount of uric acid in the body.
The study examined 46,994 men over a 20-year period, all of whom started out with no history of gout. The men had their vitamin C intake from food and supplements measured every four years—and the results showed that as their vitamin C intake increased, incidents of gout decreased. The research suggested that vitamin C helped to speed up the elimination of uric acid in the kidneys.
What Is The Significance Of Boron In Joint Health?
The product of cosmic rays and supernovae, Boron is a chemical element that just might be the key to bone health and skeletal maintenance. This trace mineral, a micronutrient, is diverse and incredibly important in plant, animal, and human health, with recent studies pointing to as critical to the evolution of life itself. Clearly, there is no overstating Boron’s significance.
Meanwhile, the scientific community has known for decades that Boron is beneficial to healthy bones and joints. For starters, studies show boron aids in the prevention of vitamin D deficiency, and also works directly with vitamin D to help your body use all the minerals it needs, including magnesium.
There is even evidence showing that Boron is a safe and effective treatment for some forms of arthritis. In a double-blind pilot study, Boron was shown to display a favorable response in 20 subjects who were administered 6 mg per day of a Boron supplement.
Making Nutritional Choices for Whole Joint Health
There is so much more to your joints than merely the joint itself. As such, supporting bones, muscle, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are all vital components of a healthy joint matrix. The vitamins and minerals highlighted here support joints and much more—so making sure you get the recommended dosages make sense for joint health, and for overall wellness as well.