Joint Pain? 5 Best Supplements For You
Should you get your nutrients from food or from supplements? I think a whole foods diet is ideal, although I know in reality life, work, and stress can wreck havoc on your ideal diet plan. I like supplements to fill in the gaps and make sure you are getting all the stuff you need to live and function at your best.
I also believe it is the culmination of many things, versus one thing, that will heal and sustain your health and wellness. In a previous blog post, I explain a simple DIY treatment you can do at home as part of your recovery plan for joint pain. Although most people think joint pain only happens in old people, I treat a ton of athletes and office workers with joint pain from overuse and repetitive stress. Acupuncture, massage, stretches, exercises, and diet are all key influencers to get you out and keep you out of pain. Below I explain my top 5 favorite supplements for joint pain, and give specific examples of companies I like and use myself. I don’t get paid to promote them, I just value high quality supplements containing ingredients you can actually break down, absorb, and use.
Magnesium is my new favorite! I’ve been doing a lot of research on it lately while treating my own injuries and many of my patients. I haven’t done lab testing on myself, but I do notice that in the past year since taking magnesium consistently, I have not had severe muscle cramps in my calves. I also take it because I have a propensity to tendon and sleep issues, and I think magnesium has played a huge role in re-balancing this important macro-mineral. For some good food sources, Dr. Mercola explains seaweed, dried pumpkin seeds, almond butter, flaxseed, and dried basil and coriander are some of the highest sources of magnesium.
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD pointed out a study from The Journal of Physiology that confirms magnesium decreases nerve pain. When the body is in pain, there is excess stimulation of a brain chemical neurotransmitter called NMDA. Although medications can help decrease and balance NMDA, it often comes with various side effects. Magnesium, on the other hand, settles down NMDA without negatively affecting your body.
Andy James of The Magnesium Perfection is another great resource, and has a magnesium spray you can use on sore or tired muscles. This is GREAT for athletes, runners, cyclists, etc. I’ve said this before, but NSAID’s such as Tylenol and aspirin over time can actually deteriorate your cartilage, which makes your injury worse and more prone to re-injury. We need to find a better way to manage pain that makes us stronger and prevents future pain, rather than finding a short-term solution. One of the many benefits of magnesium is to regulate calcium, which activates the nerves that sense pain. NMDA is activated by calcium which allows for pain signals to be sent to the brain. However, when magnesium is present, it occupies the NMDA receptor and turns off the pain nerve. How cool is that? So it turns off the pain receptors without affecting the integrity or structure of the joint. Amazing.
There are many different types of magnesium to take orally, my favorite being magnesium glycinate. Dr Mercola explains that magnesium glycinate tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability. I like Pure Encapsulations because they are hypoallergenic, NSF-GMP and USP certified, and do extensive testing for potency, bioavailability, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins.
2) Vitamin C.
Most people know Vitamin C is good for your immune system, but did you know it is essential for your connective tissue? According to the Dr. Axe collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You can think of it as the glue that holds our bodies together. Vitamin C helps break down collagen to a protein that we can actually use and absorb.
According to Melodie Anne, when cartilage breaks down, there may be pain due to increased risk of fractures or damage to connective tissue. Osteoarthritis is a form of chronic inflammation in joints that causes a breakdown of cartilage, causing bones to rub together. A University of Maryland study reports that the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C helps protect cartilage and limit its destruction. Another study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2007 reports 500 mg of Vitamin C daily can reduce pain in wrist fractures.
I love Healthforce because they are a 100% vegan, raw, superfood company. Their Vitamin C powder is a non-toxic Vitamin C complex from a whole food extract, is naturally occurring and absorbable. (* Also try their Friendly Force probiotics and Vitamineral Green)
3) Bone Renewal.
Strong bones are key factors for all that amazing connective tissue to “anchor” to. Although once thought that only calcium is good for bones, Dr. Weil states the Journal of the American Medical Association did a study finding that vitamin D may be the key to efficiently absorbing and using calcium.
My favorite bone supplement is Bone Renewal from the Synergy Company. They explain that your body renews and regenerates through a two-part system called bone remodeling. You actually replace 10% of your bone mass each year! Old bone is shed and new bone is grown throughout your adulthood. Imagine if you didn’t have these building blocks to build from, how would your bones be when you are 80?
4) Krill Oil.
Krill Oil is the new Fish Oil. Dr. Mercola explains fish oil is weak in antioxidant content because it oxidizes easily which leads to the formation of unhealthy free radicals. Essentially, the more fish oils you take, the more antioxidants you need to re-balance and prevent the fish oils from going rancid in your body. Doesn’t make much sense.
He explains that krill oil contains phospholipids that improve DHA and EPA absorption. I think most importantly it has the mother of antioxidants, astaxanthin, and omega-3s bonded together to protect against oxidation. Krill oil is also 48x more potent than fish oil, plus Dr. Harriss confirms you absorb between 25-50% more omega-3s per milligram with krill oil versus fish oil.
Dr. Mercola references a a 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and found that 300 mg of krill oil per day significantly reduced inflammation, pain, stiffness, and functional impairment after 7 days. He makes his own supplements, so you know it’s good stuff.
Ladies, collagen isn’t just good for your joints, but its the stuff that keeps your skin wrinkle-free, and hair and nails long and strong. Natural News explains collagen is one of the most important amino acids in the body, forming about 30% of the body’s proteins. Collagen is used to restore elasticity to the joints, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy connective tissue to prevent degeneration of healthy tissue.
In 2002, researchers at the Creighton University Medical Center found that, when women with arthritis took collagen supplements, their joint stiffness, pain after use of the joint and overall joint pain was reduced after supplementing with collagen for 42 days. In 2009, researchers from the InterHealth Research Center found that taking collagen supplements was more effective than taking glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis pain.
My favorite collagen supplement is Great Lakes Collagen Hydrosolate. It has high amounts of glycine, lysine, and proline, which have been shown to generate cell growth more quickly. The collagen helps to replace the synovial fluid between joints and to repair and build cartilage weakened by overuse.
I hope these recommendations along with specific companies helped! I know how intimidating it can be to research and find a “good” supplement. There are so many great companies out there, so if anything you know what to look for as far as the quality of ingredients and manufacturing practices. Let me know if there are any questions, and as always, consult your doctor or practitioner for your specific needs before starting a new program. These are just general guidelines to point you in the right direction. Ask questions, do your research, and enjoy being an active participant in your own wellness.
Best in Health,