Natural Ways to Support the Joints 

Joints are connections between bones and are located in the neck, wrists, fingers, elbows, knees and ankles (Juneja P et al, 2020). They are essential for the body to function properly because we can’t move without them. 

There are many natural products that are used by individuals to help provide joint support, although only some of these have clinical research to show that they work. Their research is published in peer reviewed journals showing that these compounds perform better than the placebos. A few of these studied nutrients are chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, MSM, collagen and white willow bark. Individuals use these ingredients to help improve joint function, but these compounds are also being used by athletes to provide further support because of intense physical work that they perform. 

Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan and is found naturally in the body as a structural part of cartilage. Glucosamine is an amino sugar and is found in chitosan and chitin. Glucosamine is essential also for building cartilage. Both chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine have been studied for years to demonstrate their benefits when taken over a period of time. 

A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the clinical studies of chondroitin and glucosamine (Zhu X et al, 2018). The review showed that chondroitin was more effective than placebo in bringing comfort to joints and improved physical function. In addition, the review demonstrated that glucosamine improvement in joint stiffness. 

Methylsulfone (MSM) is a sulfur compound that is found in fruit, tomatoes and corn. It has been used in numerous studies and many times it is combined with other supplements to provide support to joints. One study showed that in comparison to the placebo, MSM demonstrated significant improvements in discomfort and physical function (Kim LS et al, 2006). 

Collagen is found in connective tissue and provides the highest source of protein in the body. It is found in tendons, cartilage, skin, bones, teeth and blood vessels. Connective tissue contains hyaluronic acid, which helps with lubrication within the muscular connective tissue to promote sliding between tissue layers.

Collagen is sold as a product manufactured from animal or fish containing a number of different peptides. It is high in amino acids, which are essential for joint cartilage and appears to provide support to the body’s inflammatory response to calm things down in the joints. 

Different clinical studies have been performed with Type 1 and Type 2 collagen showing that they help joint function (Bakilan F et al, 2016). One mechanism of how collagen works has been demonstrated by its peptides fueling the production of fibroblasts and stimulating them to secrete hyaluronic acid (Ohara H et al, 2010). 

White Willow Bark is an extract from the white willow tree and contains a bioactive compound called salicin glycosides. These bioactives are what is believed to provide joint comfort and assist the inflammatory response in the body (Desai GJ, Harbaugh JW, 2018; Shara M, Stohs SJ, 2015) 

In summary, joints are important for movement to function properly. There are various natural products available on the market to provide support to joints. There are some that have clinical research to support their function. They include chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, MSM, collagen and white willow bark, which have been shown to help ease joint discomfort and promote mobility.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

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