You don’t have to be old to suffer from joint pain. I was 18 when I started to get lower back pain and in my 20’s when I started to get problems with my knees (ok that one was probably my fault as I was jogging on hard surfaces). However it only gets worse as the years go by. The good thing is that there is a lot you can do to help. Strengthening the muscles round the joint for example and eating certain foods, and using supplements. In my opinion, it is important to keep moving, no matter what.
Here Shabir Daya, pharmacist, gives us sage advice on how to do just that.
Every mechanical object has a weak link, the one area that wears out over time and causes the mechanism to be prone to breakage. An analogy can be made that in the human body, our joints and the surrounding soft tissues are our weakest link. Indeed this breakdown affects millions of people worldwide suffering arthritic symptoms, whether due to age or the toll that sport can take on joint health. Our knees, ankles, elbows and wrists are the most common affected sites of pain. If our joints are the weakest link, then it is vital that we take control to ensure that they are flexible by introducing several strategies outlined below.
Regardless of whether one suffers from arthritis or problematic joints, exercise plays an important role in promoting healthy joints with less pain. It is simply a myth that you can wear down your knees just from average levels of exercise and indeed the reverse is true. Inactivity causes your muscles to become weaker and works against joint flexibility and comfort.
Vigorous low impact exercise is beneficial for your joints as well as for the cardiovascular and circulatory systems within our bodies. Start exercising gently in order not to injure yourself. If typical vigorous exercise is simply not possible, then try walking, yoga or pilates, which have very low impact and are still beneficial for promoting flexibility.
One of the benefits of exercise is that it can also help you to achieve your optimal weight and to maintain this. Did you know that every kilogram (2.2 lbs) of extra body weight puts a pressure equivalent to roughly 4 kilograms on your knees? Research shows that those with optimal weight experience better joint flexibility when compared to those who are overweight.
Eat a high quality diet
Choose quality natural foods over processed ones. Eliminate starchy carbohydrates and sugars as they are detrimental for your joints. One of the biggest culprits is fructose which is added to many processed foods. Fructose promotes the production of uric acid which crystallises around the joint tissues. Uric acid is normally produced as a result of ’wear and tear’ and causes us to be in pain and stiffness. Promoting extra production of uric acid by ingesting fructose will not only cause pain, but being acidic in nature, uric acid further promotes the destruction of our joints. Cherries are excellent for helping to promote joint health containing compounds that protect the joints. I recommend the use of Cherry Active Concentrate which is the juice from tart cherries on a daily basis rather than other fruit juices.
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Increase your intake of oily fish including sardines, mackerel and salmon. There are numerous scientific studies that indicate the benefit of oily fish for joint pain because these contain essential fatty acids that help inhibit the compounds in our bodies responsible for causing inflammation. Most of us simply do not get sufficient essential fatty acids on a daily basis and it is for this reason that I recommend the use of a highly utilisable source of omega 3′s from Krill. My own personal favourite is Power of Krill, but please do not use krill oil if you are allergic to shellfish.
Optimise your Vitamin D3 intake
Despite all the press about the vitamin, most of us have chosen to ignore the findings and hope we have sufficient levels in the bloodstream. According to the Department of Health, as much as 50% of the population is deficient in this vitamin! In reality, scientists estimate that this figure is actually higher and could be nearer 80%.
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune response. Vitamin D helps to down-regulate pro-inflammatory compounds in our bodies and when levels fall, usually during autumn, winter and spring, this support is not afforded to our bodies. During these seasons, I would recommend that you use D-Lux 1000 Spray as a minimum to optimise your vitamin D3 levels in the body. This form of vitamin D3 is absorbed quickly from the mouth into the bloodstream avoiding the gastrointestinal route which is always compromising.
Consider a quality joint supplement
Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have taken glucosamine and chondroitin supplements with mixed results. Some have reported positive benefits and yet there are many who have reported no benefit or indeed may experience side effects taking these supplements. I am going to highlight some of the problems associated with glucosamine use and they include:
- Many people have reported gastrointestinal problems and this may be associated with the large molecular size of these compounds making it harder to digest.
- The NIH trials on glucosamine showed disappointing results.
- Glucosamine when bound with potassium puts an unnecessary burden on our salt levels within our bodies.
- Glucosamine may affect blood sugar levels and should be used with caution by diabetics.
In my opinion, there is an excellent supplement that helps to counter inflammation, eases flexibility and helps with the long term repair of joints called Superior Joints. This supplement contains Natural Eggshell Membrane, the thin membrane between the egg white and the eggshell. Natural Eggshell Membrane contains elastic, collagen, two rare amino acids and glycosaminoglycans which all contribute to its remarkable pain relieving and long term repairing properties. But that’s not all:
Natural Egg Shell Membrane has been the core of several studies and peer- reviewed articles that for the most part show positive changes in joint health. A patient study published in March 2009 found that supplementing with 500mg of Natural Egg Shell Membrane for 8 weeks had a positive impact on joint health with patients reporting a positive result as early as 10 days after beginning to take this supplement. Superior Joints also contains ginger, turmeric and cherry extracts which help rid uric acid and enhance circulation within the body helping to restore flexibility.
I strongly believe that the combination of the above mentioned strategies alongside Superior Joints will help to address joint pain and flexibility.
This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.