It’s a common mistake to think that joint care is for old people. If you are 25 or 35 years old, you may think that you won’t need to be concerned about your joints for a while. However, your joint health becomes a matter of importance earlier than you expect. So, no matter how old you are, it’s never too early to start making joint health a regular habit.
According to research, the sooner you improve your diet and/or supplement with nutrients that are proven to support joint health, the bigger are your chances of being able to avoid painful problems like arthritis later in life. The most common nutrients associate with joint health are glucosamine and chondroitin. Both are known for the role in easing joint pain but are also essential for building and maintaining optimal joint health.
A natural component of cartilage, glucosamine prevents bones from rubbing against each other, causing pain and inflammation. Glucosamine also helps prevent the cartilage breakdown that tends to happen with arthritis. In other words, glucosamine is needed to build cartilage.
The best food source of glucosamine is shellfish shells, such as those from lobster, shrimp and crab. However, there are joint supplements that contain glucosamine in pure concentrations for supplemental use. In fact, most of the supplements available on the market to treat joint pain contain glucosamine. That is because it is one of the most well-studied supplements for osteoarthritis. But it’s important that you know that there are two types of glucosamine found in joint care supplements, which is glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulphate. Studies have found that supplements containing glucosamine hydrochloride aren’t much effective at improving joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Glucosamine sulphate does a better job of improving these symptoms, so it may be a better option than glucosamine hydrochloride.
Like glucosamine, chondroitin is also a vital component of cartilage. Supplementation of this substance has shown to improve pain without any significant side effects. In addition to helping reduce pain, chondroitin also reduces joint swelling. Joint supplements often combine chondroitin with glucosamine. That is because, when taken together, these two substances help reduce joint pain. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who have a joint disease but also participate in strenuous exercise or activities. Together, these nutrients support healthy joints, no matter your age.
When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
Many people reach a hormonal and nutritional peak at around 25-30 years. This means after you reach that age, you should start paying closer attention to your diet and lifestyle to postpone the deleterious effects of aging. While we all have a certain amount of glucosamine present in our bodies, as we get older, the levels decrease. Unless you supplement and/or eat a glucosamine-heavy diet, you’ll undoubtedly begin to encounter the occasional joint ache as you approach or pass the age of 35. And this will be because you need higher levels of glucosamine to maintain healthy cartilage.
How to Get More Glucosamine in Your Diet?
In addition to supplements, there are some foods that contain glucosamine. Generally, any meat rich in cartilage is a good source of glucosamine such as edible cartilage pieces in chicken and seafood. Still, shellfish shells are the best natural source of glucosamine. As you can’t eat them because they are too hard, you can consider boiling them into a broth and have that with a soup containing cartilage pieces for a huge boost in glucosamine.
In addition to adding supplements to your diet, there are other things that you can do to help maintain your joint health. They include:
Drinking Plenty of Water
Another very important part of maintaining joint health is drinking plenty of water – it keeps cartilage and tendons lubricated. A dehydrated body has not only more chances to get injured, but this can also lead to inflammation in the joints. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day aid in joint and hip support.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra weight puts a toll on your body over a long period of time. The joints in your knees, hips and back have to support some, if not all, of your body weight. The more weight a joint has to carry, the more damage it will suffer. By maintaining a healthy weight you slow down the rate your joints get deteriorated.
Start Practicing Weight Training
Strong muscles help support joints, and strong joints help support muscles. Without muscle strength, your joints have to work harder, especially the joints in the hips, spine and knees, which support most of your body weight. If you go to the gym but only do cardio, consider adding weight training into your routine to keep your muscles and surrounding ligaments strong. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, consider buying some weights to keep at home.