The joints are a crucial component of our body. Without joints, we wouldn’t have nearly the range of motion that we do, we wouldn't be able to bend over to pick things up, and we wouldn’t be able to walk. A joint is formed where two bones meet and thus allows the two bones to move in relation to each other.
A joint, when it’s healthy and in good shape, facilitates the movement of the two bones. Naturally, unhealthy joints would thus make it more difficult to move about and get things done. This is why it’s important to make sure you consume the right nutrients and take the right supplements to ensure that your joints stay healthy.
Each joint is actually made up of several different parts, each of which needs specific nutrients to be maintained. If any individual part of the joint is compromised, the whole thing will lose some of its function.
Cartilage is the stuff that covers up the ends of the bones where they meet to form the joint. Cartilage acts a bit like a shock absorber, softening the pressure and weight that’s put on the joint during movement or lifting. Cartilage also protects the bone by serving as a hard coating.
Muscles actually link the bone together through the joint and are important because they allow you to actually move the joint.
Ligaments are the other connective part that attaches bones. They form the outer covering of the joint and should be stretched often.
Joint fluid is produced in unique cells known as synoviocytes. These cells are situated along the inner surface of the joint and they produce synovial fluid. This fills the joint and further helps to absorb shocks, as well as preventing bones from colliding.
Bursae are little pockets that are filled with fluid. These minimize the amount of friction that occurs between the skin and the joint which would otherwise be extremely uncomfortable due to constant pressure rubbing up against the inside of your skin.1
Shock absorption is incredibly important for the health of our joints and our overall wellbeing. When you consider the simple act of jumping on the ground, if you stop to wonder why you’re not shocked with incredible pain due to the bones in your legs crashing together, you’ll begin to understand the importance of shock absorption in our joints.2
This means that the cartilage and the fluid cushion (the synovial fluid) need to be maintained primarily to ensure that the joint retains its strength and function. The synovial fluid actually provides the nourishment for the cartilage, by filling up the inside of the joint space before sending nutrition via its viscous, molasses-like liquid.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your joints stay in top shape, and a few things that you should watch out for that can negatively impact the health of your joints.
Science suggests that being overweight can be extremely bad for your joints. The joints responsible for bearing weight, such as those in your knees or hips, have to hold much of your bodyweight. If you’re too heavy, they’re going to wear down a lot easier.3
In addition to helping you get rid of any extra weight that might have a negative impact on the joints in your body, aerobic exercise has also been studied for its benefits on joint health. Aerobic exercise, in particular, is able to reduce the swelling of joints. 4
Obviously you’re going to want to engage in exercises that aren’t going to be stressful for your joints. As opposed to running or jogging, opt for biking or swimming.
Increasing the amount of movement you do in general is a great way to reduce stiffness in joints. People who are not mobile tend to have a higher risk of joint pain. If you work at a job that requires you to sit in the same area or stand for long periods, make sure you change your position as much as you can and take walks or stretch breaks.5
Muscles are necessary for joint support. If you don’t have enough muscle tissue, your joints are going to struggle with the amount of work that. Having low muscle mass is particularly destructive for your spine, hips, and knees they’re supposed to do. - the joints that have to bear your body weight.6
Consider weight training to help build your muscle and to strengthen the existing muscle that surrounds the joints and ligaments. Improving your core muscles is particularly beneficial for joint health.
If you’re looking for something to help improve the strength and durability of your joints, Oxford Vitality offers a joint support tablet that has a lot of the most important nutrients for keeping your joints healthy.
Vitamin C is vital for the health of our joints. Vitamin C is required for our body to produce collagen, which is the most prominent protein that can be found in the human body. Collagen is also the main compound that makes up cartilage, so a lack of vitamin C will make it difficult for your joints to stay in good shape.7
Methyl-sulphonyl-methane (MSM) is a natural source of sulphur. Our bodies need sulphur - it’s the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It’s vital for the production of synovial fluid, which, as we've mentioned, helps our joints absorb shock.8
Chondroitin is another glycosaminoglycan, like MSM, that helps to lubricate the joint.
Glucosamine is a fantastic nutrient with a wide range of benefits. It’s often prescribed for people who are trying to repair damage done by joints.9
These tablets come in a torpedo shape; if you have a hard time swallowing you might want to break the tablets up or look for a different supplement. These tablets are not suited for vegetarians or vegans. Otherwise, thereès no added salt, sugar, artificial flavours, gluten, soy, wheat, yeast, or preservatives.
Keeping your joints healthy is a constant effort. As long as you take the proper precautions and eat the right kind of diet, your joints should stay healthy and lubricated for a long time.
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Stanford Children - Anatomy of a Joint
2. WebMD - How our Joints Work
3. NIDDK - Health risks of being overweight
4. Rheumatoid Arthritis & Exercise
5. Stiffness in joints
6. WebMD Caring for Joints
7. Vitamin C and joints
8. Synovial Fluid
9. Chondroitin & Glucosamine for joint health