Supplements: It’s Always Best to Talk to Your Doctor First

Having a nutritious and balanced diet has many health benefits, including promoting strong joint health. Sometimes even a good diet will not supply all the nutrients you need. This is especially true in older populations. Though the scientific research surrounding supplement use is limited, some people chose to incorporate supplements into their diets in hopes of improving joint health.

If you are considering adding any supplements to your routine, always check with your doctor first. Your doctor can review your health history to best establish what options are right for you. Keep in mind that though these supplements are available in pharmacies and health food stores without a prescription, there are no long-term studies confirming their long-term safety or effectiveness. In fact, the FDA treats supplements like food rather than drugs, which limits their safety testing. The following list outlines several well-known supplements that people use to target joint health:

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Having the correct amount of these vitamins is essential to building and maintaining strong bones. Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; however protective clothing and sunscreen may prevent you from getting enough of this vital nutrient, especially during winter months. You can take a Vitamin D tablet to boost your levels and also consider adding fortified milk to your diet, which promotes calcium absorption.

Chondroitin is a chemical that is normally found in cartilage around the joints in your body and is typically manufactured from animal sources such as shark and cow cartilage. It is often taken to help strengthen weak bones due to osteoporosis, and to alleviate joint pain. Chondroitin is typically used alongside glucosamine to help prevent joint pain and work to rebuild cartridge, and these two nutrients are often found in the same supplements.

Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound in your body that has been shown to ease joint pain and provide relief to mild or moderate knee osteoarthritis. It is found to help rebuild bone mass and to prevent the eventual wearing of cartilage. Glucosamine supplements may be beneficial to add to your routine because as the body ages, glucosamine levels decrease and this chemical is not found in natural food sources.

Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth that helps keep them strong. It is often used for the treatment and prevention of low calcium levels and resulting bone and joint conditions. Calcium pills may help in reducing joint inflammation and pain, especially in the knees. You can also increase your calcium intake with calcium-rich foods, including milk and dairy products, leafy greens such as kale and broccoli, canned fish with bones, and soy products processed with calcium.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are fats commonly found in various plants and marine life such as fish and fish-oil pills, and they play a major role in supporting overall joint health. Fatty acids help to prevent certain enzymes from damaging the joints and are known to help reduce inflammation. A great way to incorporate this into your diet is to increase your intake of fish from a natural source such as shrimp, light canned tuna, salmon, or Pollock. You may also consider a fish oil pill, but talk with your health care provider for recommendations.

If you would like to learn more about promoting strong joint health, call us today to speak with a specialist.