You may have been hearing the word ‘supplements’ for years now. Probably, decades. You may have across it as a kid when mom’s always giving you some pills to take after your meal. On the other hand, you might have come across a friend or a healthcare provider as a grown man or lady who may have recommended a few.
Few extremes could be that as an aging adult, you are asked to consider it as part of your diet for your health. Whatever way, you might have come across supplements, what exactly are they?
What are supplements?
Supplements also referred to as food, dietary or nutritional supplements, are products with nutrients that are taken to increase the value of one’s diet. These nutrients may be derived from food sources or may be synthetic. However, they have biological benefits.
They may be taken as a pill, tablet, powder, capsule, soft gel, gelcap, or liquid. Usually, they contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, fatty acids, botanicals, or herbs, amongst many other things.
The aim of taking supplements is to provide nutrients that are otherwise, not consumed enough or are needed in higher quantities in your diet. They can help improve your help or lower the risk of disease. However, supplements are not marketed for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases.
Common examples of dietary supplements include the following:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil
- Chondroitin Sulfate
- St. John’s Wort
- Green Tea
- Saw Palmetto
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
It is important to note that supplements do not replace or substitute healthy eating. A nutrient-dense, well-rounded, healthy diet is crucial to staying healthy and happy. Also, supplements come in different combinations and doses, hence, there is a need to be careful when taking them. If consumed in certain quantities, there could be adverse effects.
What causes joint pain in the knees?
The knees are one of the most common joints where many people battle with chronic joint pain. This joint pain usually is caused by a common culprit-arthritis or osteoarthritis. Other causes of joint pain in the knees are injuries, mechanical issues, and other forms of arthritis.
Knee injuries can bring about pain in the knees. These injuries can affect any of the ligaments, cartilage, tendons, bones, or bursae (small sacs filled with joint fluid) that make up your knee joint. Some of these injuries include:
These refer to broken bones. It could be due to falls, accidents, or wrong stepping (as seen in people with osteoporosis).
There are four ligaments that connect your tibia (shinbone) to your femur (thighbone). One of them is called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). So, when there is a tear in the ACL, it is said to be an ACL injury and can cause joint discomfort. It is common for people who play sports like soccer, basketball, etc.
“-itis”- means inflammation. Hence, bursitis refers to the inflammation of the bursae in the knee joints characterized by pain and swelling. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the outer part of the knee joint to prevent friction. With the bursae, ligaments and tendons can move smoothly over the joint. Falls, prolonged and frequent bending, and kneeling can irritate your bursae and cause joint inflammation.
Patellar tendinitis is also known as jumper’s knee because it is mostly caused by jumping repeatedly. Tendons are connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon (or more). The patellar tendon attaches your kneecap to your tibia (shinbone) and can become sore, inflamed, and injured when you run, jump, kick, etc.
When you twist or turn your knee suddenly, you risk ripping or tearing your meniscus. The meniscus is tough, rubber-like cartilage that is between your tibia (shinbone) and femur (thighbone). It acts as a shock absorber when you jump, kick, walk, or generally bear weight on it.
A loose piece of bone/cartilage
This can happen when a piece of bone or cartilage breaks off due to a disease condition or injury. If it gets caught within the knee joint, it can cause pain and inflammation.
Pain in your hip or foot
If you feel pain in any of these areas or joints, you may have to change your gait or posture. This may also affect your knee and result in severe pain and inflammation.
This refers to when your kneecap (patella), that is the small bone just at the front of your knee that you can feel, moves out of joint. It can result in pain and swelling. Sometimes, you may be able to see how displaced it is. It is also known as patellar dislocation.
Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome
The IT band is a piece of tough connective tissue that runs from your hip to the outer part of your knee. It can become irritated and inflamed as a result of overuse. This causes pain to the outer side of your knees. It is common among athletes when running downhill.
The different types of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is a condition where the knee cartilage wears off with use and age. the bone density and bone mass also decrease. It is the most common type of arthritis affecting almost one-quarter of people living in the United States. It is also referred to as a wear-and-tear disease. It mostly affects joints that bear weight and that are predominantly the knees.
When bones meet, they form a joint. The cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that cushions each end of the bones and makes them move over themselves without friction. However, when this cartilage begins to deteriorate, the bones begin to scrap over each other. The connective tissues that stabilize the joint and attach muscles to bones become affected as well. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, tenderness, grating sensation, swelling, bone spurs, and loss of flexibility.
This is an autoimmune condition. It is the most destructive form of arthritis and can affect any joint in your body. It is chronic, varies in severity and frequency in people with the condition.
This type of arthritis happens when there is a build-up of uric acid in your joints. It mostly affects the fingers and toes but can also affect your knees.
This affects the knee joint more than any other joint. However, instead of uric acid crystals, it is caused by calcium crystals that develop in the synovial fluid in the joint.
This occurs when arthritis is due to infection. When your knee joint is infected, you may experience a fever, joint pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness. Usually, it is not a result of trauma or injury. If not properly managed or treated, septic arthritis could worsen and cause gross damage to your knee cartilage.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
This pain is commonly seen in athletes. It is caused by tightness, malalignment of your legs, and muscle imbalance. This pain is felt between the distal end of the thighbone (femur) and kneecap (patella).
In young adults, it may be felt in persons whose kneecap doesn’t sit well in its socket while in older adults, it may be due to arthritis. It can cause buckling where your knees out of the blues cannot bear your weight anymore.
What are the risk factors of joint pain in the knees?
The following can increase your risk of having knee joint pain. They include:
If you are overweight or obese, your knee joints suffer from more stress. It also increases your risk for osteoarthritis that causes the breakdown of cartilage leading to joint pains and discomfort.
Previous history of injury
If you have previously sustained an injury to your knee joint, you have increased chances of suffering from knee pain.
Sports and activities
Certain sports and activities predispose you to bear more weight on your knees. They include basketball, soccer, long jump, high jump. Skiing, skateboarding, amongst others. Some job activities in farming and construction may involve you putting more stress on your knee joints.
Poor muscle strength and flexibility
If your muscles are not strong or flexible enough, you are more vulnerable to falls, twists, and injuries. Thus, your risk of knee joint pain is higher. Hence, you might need exercise and physical therapy which strengthen muscles.
People turn to pharmaceutical drugs like pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve) as primary options for joint pain relief. However, prolonged use of these medications has unfavorable side effects. The good news is some supplements can equally help relieve joint pain.
What are the best joint supplements for knees?
Treating Joint Pain can take a combination of supplements and physical activity. As the body ages, joint function diminishes. Some people experience mild joint pain while others may have severe joint pain that requires the help of a joint supplement. Several supplements have been claimed to be the best joint supplement for knees. According to experts in internal medicine, the following have been proven to contribute to joint health:
If you are looking for a long-term knee joint relief supplement for chronic pain, we recommend Natural Joint as it is the only supplement in pill form that is made from natural ingredients that 100% plant-based. Natural Joint also has a clinical study that demonstrates reducing joint discomfort by up to 82%.
All you need to do is to take one capsule per day and it should also help alleviate other joint issues such as your hips, shoulders, elbow, neck and hands.
The health benefits of Natural Joint is that it should help improve joint function while giving the area anti inflammatory effects without using any chemical compound.
Although Fish Oil might not help to reduce pain, it can improve your overall joint health which is what makes Fish oil one of the best joint supplements. It contains omega-3-fatty acids which help combat inflammation. A study reported that people suffering from osteoarthritis benefited from taking 200mg of EPA and 400mg of DHA every day for 16 weeks. At the need of the trial, they experienced lesser chronic arthritis pain.
These omega-3 fatty acids have also been said to treat gout, a form of arthritis with more acute and severe symptoms. It also relieves joint pain in this condition. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, it may relieve stiffness as well.
Fish oil supplements doses usually range from 300mg to 1000mg daily. However, it is best to choose fish oil supplements that contain a minimum of 500mg of combined EPA and DHA. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are fish oil’s active ingredients.
Asides from fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in other foods like walnuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, soybean oil, canola oil, and other seafood.
If you are not a fan of taking capsules and still would like to reduce joint pain you can look at Joint Mud. It is a topical cream that you apply directly to the problematic areas. Joint Mud is also made with 27 organic plant-based ingredients and next to Natural Joint, it is the most the most natural way of relieving joint pain issues.
Joint Mud is backed up by a clinical study that demonstrates an average reduction in joint pain discomfort by 74% in just the first 18 minutes. You can apply Joint Mud to your knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, neck, and hands. Joint Mud can also help you in treating arthritis pain that is usually associated with arthritis joint pain.
Vitamin D is not a pain reliever. However, it is important for strong bones that make up your joints. It helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus which are essential for building strong and healthy bones. When you have adequate levels of vitamin D, you prevent falls and fractures. Phosphate is needed to help your muscles contract and enable the movement of the bones of your joints. Overall, it boosts your joint health.
When you have low vitamin D levels or vitamin D deficiency, you are prone to joint, bone, and muscle pain.
What are the trusted brands of joint supplements for knees?
Some brands have been tested, proven, and reviewed as the best brands of joint supplements. They are mostly pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory in nature. These joint supplements contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals and multiple beneficial ingredients that improve joint health, joint relief and joint mobility.
What are the risks associated with joint supplements?
Are there risks associated with taking dietary joint supplements? Yes, there are. Remember that supplements contain ingredients that are biologically active and have effects on the body. They could be harmful and cause adverse effects when you do the following:
- Take too much of a supplement or overdose.
- Take them for too long
- Combine supplements- some may have dangerous supplement-supplement interaction when taken together or within short periods.
- Use supplements with either OTC (over the counter medications) or prescription medicines.
- Substitute supplements for prescription medicines
- Use them when you have an underlying condition
- Use some supplements before, during, and after a surgical procedure.
To avoid these risks, consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. They will provide medical advice, discuss its doses, and how to identify warning signs. Also, read the label on the dietary joint supplement before buying or using it. You may also check up with noncommercial sites such as FDA, USDA, Arthritis Foundation and NIH to get reliable information.
What other therapies can support joint supplements and relieve joint pain?
While taking supplement, you may add these following to your healthy joints regimen:
Exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight and lose extra pounds. This helps relieve weight on your joints. It also help to strengthen your joints and muscles. when you exercise, you also become more flexible and increase the range of motion of your joints.
Use of heat and cold packs
These can be applied to painful joints to ease pain and stiffness in your joints. they also help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Massage is an alternative therapy that can help loosen joints and relieve pain and discomfort.
Your knee joints are very vital to your overall health. You bear most of your weight on them and several activities such as walking, running, jumping, cycling. Sitting, and so on need your knees. Knee joint pain is one the most common complaints in the United States and can be due to several reasons.
To improve and support joint health, there are supplements you can add to your diet. They include Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin, Omega-3 fatty acids, Ginger, turmeric, green tea, amongst several others. Joint supplements work to prevent and treat joint pain and inflammation.
While many are beneficial to your health, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before taking any joint health supplements. Also, adhere strictly to the time of drug administration and doses. Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any discomfort or adverse effects.