Joint pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Whether it's due to age, injury, or an underlying medical condition, joint pain can limit your ability to move freely and enjoy your daily activities.
Joint health is a critical aspect of overall health and wellness, and scientific research has shown that maintaining healthy joints can be achieved through a combination of proper nutrition, regular exercise, and supporting joint structure and function with targeted supplementation.
Joint health is a major concern for millions of Americans, particularly those over the age of 50. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 54.4 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, and this number is projected to increase to 78 million by 2040. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S. and can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Common Diseases Impacting Joint Pain & Function:
Arthritis: Arthritis is a term used to describe any condition that affects the joints. While it's commonly associated with older individuals, arthritis can affect people of all ages.
There are various types of arthritis, each with their own causes, symptoms, and treatments. It is characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints, which can lead to stiffness, decreased range of motion, and functional impairment.
Osteoarthritis: is the most prevalent type of arthritis and is frequently seen in older individuals. This condition occurs when the cartilage on the surface of the joint breaks down, causing the bones to rub against one another. This can result in pain, swelling, and restricted movement in the joint.
Osteoarthritis can be triggered by joint injuries, such as those that occur during sports or from overuse. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect any joint, but most commonly affects the hips, knees, and hands.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the tissues in the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint function.
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may feel generally fatigued and unwell, and they may also experience fevers. This type of arthritis can cause permanent joint damage and may affect other organs, such as the heart and lungs. It causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to joint deformities and disability.
Other Joint Diseases & Conditions:
- Bursitis is inflammation of the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints and can cause pain and swelling.
- Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons that connect muscle to bone and can lead to pain and decreased range of motion.
- Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones that can increase the risk of fractures and joint damage.
- Gout is a type of arthritis that results from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, most commonly in the big toe, and can cause sudden attacks of joint pain and swelling. This condition can be extremely painful, but there are various treatments available that can reduce pain and disability.
- Juvenile arthritis is a term used to describe arthritis that occurs in children. While children can develop all forms of arthritis that affect adults, juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common type.
The prevalence of arthritis and osteoarthritis increases with age, with the highest rates among adults aged 65 years and older. Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis and osteoarthritis than men.
In addition, obesity is a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis, with one study showing that approximately 15% of adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher had osteoarthritis, compared to 6% of adults with a BMI under 25.
How to Keep Your Joints Healthy:
Tip 1: Exercise for Joint Health
One of the most important things you can do to keep your joints healthy is to exercise regularly. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, improve flexibility and range of motion, and reduce inflammation.
Some of the best exercises for joint health include low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga. These activities are gentle on the joints while still providing a good workout.
Research has shown that certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of developing joint pain and arthritis. For example, being overweight or obese can place excess stress on the joints, increasing the risk of damage and inflammation. In addition, smoking has been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain.
On the other hand, regular exercise and physical activity have been shown to have a protective effect on joint health.
A study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology found that regular moderate-intensity exercise can help reduce the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, a common form of joint pain. The study also found that individuals who engaged in regular physical activity had less pain and better physical function than those who were inactive.
It's important to take steps to protect your joints from injury. This means using proper form when exercising, wearing appropriate footwear, and taking breaks when performing repetitive tasks. If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods, be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch and move around.
Tip 2: Eat a Healthy Diet
Another key factor in joint health is your diet! Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and promote joint health. Some of the best foods for joint health include fatty fish, such as wild-caught salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as colorful fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants.
Of course you should also aim to limit your intake of processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats, which often contribute to inflammation and joint pain.
Being overweight can put extra stress on your joints, leading to pain and inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore important for joint health. Aim to maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9, and try to engage in regular physical activity to help keep your weight in check.
Tip 3: Take Supplements to Support Joint Health
Targeted supplementation can be an effective way to support joint health, range of motion and flexibility. Some of the key nutrients and supplements that have been studied for their joint health support benefits include:
Glucosamine: This is a natural compound found in cartilage and is often used in supplements to support joint health. Studies have shown that it may help to reduce occasional discomfort due to exercise or overuse, and support joint flexibility and range of motion. Glucosamine supplementation can also help to reduce stiffness.
Chondroitin: Another natural compound found in cartilage; chondroitin is often combined with glucosamine in joint health supplements. Studies have suggested that it may help to reduce occasional discomfort and support joint structure and function, particularly in the knees.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats are found in fish oil and may have anti-inflammatory effects, which could be beneficial for managing arthritis symptoms. Studies have suggested that omega-3 supplements may help to reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin D: This nutrient is important for bone health support and may also play a role in joint health. Some studies have suggested that Vitamin D supplements may help to reduce occasional discomfort and support knee structure and function.
Curcumin: This is a compound found in the common kitchen spice, turmeric, which has the ability to support a healthy inflammatory balance in your body. Studies have suggested that Curcumin supplements may help to reduce occasional discomfort and hemp modulate inflammation in people with joint health concerns. Turmeric contains Curcuminoids, which are the plant constituents that provide inflammation modulation and free-radical neutralizing effects. Black pepper extract (piperine), has been shown to increase the bioavailability of Curcumin by 2,000%.
Boron: Boron is an important mineral that is found in the earth's soil and some foods. Studies have shown that boron plays a vital, and often overlooked role in maintaining bone and joint health, and may even help with occasional joint discomfort.
Pure TheraPro’s Bio Boron™ is a highly-bioavailable trace-mineral chelate designed to support healthy aging as well as optimal bone & joint growth and mineralization. It is also critical for supporting robust immune and nervous system health.
Boron's role as a Vitamin D and Magnesium cofactor makes it essential for the optimal absorption and utilization of Calcium.
Additionally, supplementation with Boron has been shown to support healthy hormonal balance as well as ideal brain activity and cell membrane function.
Research has shown that Boron may help to modulate inflammation in the joints, which is a key factor in overcoming occasional discomfort due to exercise or overuse.
It is believed that boron may help to activate certain enzymes that help modulate inflammation in the body. Additionally, Boron has been shown to help improve the absorption of Calcium and Magnesium, which are important minerals for bone & joint health support.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2016). Joint Health: What Affects Your Joints?
Arthritis Foundation. (2021). Osteoarthritis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Arthritis-Related Statistics.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2019). Arthritis.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2021). Arthritis.
American College of Rheumatology. (2021). Types of Arthritis.
Newnham, R. E. (1994). Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environmental Health Perspectives, 102(Suppl 7), 83-85.
Nielsen, F. H. (1994). Biochemical and physiologic consequences of boron deprivation in humans. Environmental Health Perspectives, 102(Suppl 7), 59-63.
Travers, R. L., Rennie, G. C., Newnham, R. E., & Diplock, A. T. (1990). Boron and Arthritis: The Results of a Double‐Blind Pilot Study. Journal of Nutritional Medicine, 1(2), 127-132.