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Nutrients for Bone & Joint Health

Your skeleton or bones provide a framework for your muscles and other soft tissues such cartilage, nerves, fascia, ligaments, tendons as well as synovial fluid and blood. Connective tissues are made up of different types of proteins such as collagen, elastin, and keratin. Collagen is found in the cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bones, teeth, blood vessels hair, skin, and nails. Elastin is found in the skin, ligaments, and tendons. Keratins are present in eyes, hair, skin, and nails.

What robs the body of essential nutrients?

  • Poor nutrition, malabsorption, or imbalances of certain nutrients
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, health conditions, and so on
  • Oxidative stress, which results from metabolic processes and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol, diet, poor sleep, inactivity, and stress
  • Sun exposure, as ultraviolet rays can cause collagen to break down in the skin
  • Increasing age
  • Genetics or family history
  • Wear and tear of daily activities
  • Certain medications such as diuretics and laxatives
  • Underlying conditions like lactose intolerance, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydrating agents
  • Excessive stress or strain like lifting heavy or bulky loads, pushing, pulling, or dragging heavy loads
  • Overuse, repetitive movements or forceful exertions, and sustained motion
  • Poor posture or technique when bending, stretching, twisting, and reaching
  • Prolonged inactivity or immobility such as sitting, standing, sleeping, or relaxing

Important nutrients for joints

1. Collagen2

Collagen is a protein. Your body makes it, and it’s important for healthy joints, bones, muscles, and more, but as you age — just when it’s harder for your body to make collagen — the collagen you have begins to break down.

Researchers suggest supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen which can lower inflammation, offer better joint support, and reduce pain.

2. Calcium3-5

Calcium is a crucial mineral that helps to strengthen your muscles, bones, teeth, heart and even your nerve function. In fact, as the calcium levels decrease in the body, the body removes calcium from your bones to use in your blood, which can weaken your bones and in extreme cases, can also lead to porous or brittle bones, weakness, sprains, bone deformities and fractures.

3. Magnesium3-5

Magnesium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is used for over 300 biochemical reactions, yet most people are deficient! Most of magnesium is found in the skeleton, making up about 60%. About 25-30% of magnesium is found in muscles with the rest found in soft tissue and blood. Numbness, muscle stiffness, cramps, tension, and abnormal heart rhythms are some of the symptoms seen with inadequate magnesium levels.

4. Electrolytes4

Potassium, sodium, and phosphorus are just as important for muscles as both calcium and magnesium, but is less well known for proper muscle, bone and joint performance, transmission of nerve impulses, and heart rhythm. The body cannot produce the mineral itself and is dependent on taking it in through food. These minerals, along with other electrolytes cannot be produced by the body itself and should be provided through food sources or supplements. They are lost through sweat, urine, tears, breath, and stools.

5. Vitamin D3-5

Most people are deficient in vitamin D, which plays a central role in bone metabolism. Too little calcium can be absorbed from the intestine and stored in the bones. A prolonged intake of calcium and the vitamins D3 and K2, can lead to poor nutrient absorption, porous bones that lose stability and density. Sometimes, bone fractures and osteoporosis can even develop from this bone loss.

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids3,4

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are powerful antioxidants which have been helpful in reducing oxidative stress, free radical damage, inflammation in musculoskeletal and autoimmune conditions.  They also support the development of cartilage for joint repair and help increase mineral absorption.

7. Amino acids3,4

Amino acids (methionine and arginine) are the building blocks of protein and are a large component of neurotransmitters, muscles, cells, cartilage, bone, and tissue. They support collagen production, as well as stimulate cartilaginous tissue which are important for bone, muscles, and joint health.

References:

  1. Reema Patel and James McIntosh (29 November 2023). Medical New Today: What is collagen, and why do people use it? Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262881#collagen-loss

  2. Lucie Lecuyer, Nasser Laouali, Vivian Viallon et al. (16 July 2023). Associations between dietary inflammatory scores and biomarkers of inflammation in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Clinical Nutrition Volume 42, Issue 7, pages 1115-1125, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2023.05.012. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(23)00154-1/fulltext

  3. Joe Tatta (11 June 2021). Integrative Pain Science Institute: 7 Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Aches and Pains. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://integrativepainscienceinstitute.com/nutrient-deficiencies-aches-pains/

  4. Joseph R Sharkey, Carol Giuliani, Pamela S Haines, Laurence G Branch, Jan Busby-Whitehead, Namvar Zohoori (16 April 2020) Summary measure of dietary musculoskeletal nutrient (calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus) intakes is associated with lower-extremity physical performance in homebound elderly men and women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 77, Issue 4, April 2003, Pages 847-856 Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523057003

  5. Amy Richter and Freydis Hjalmarsdottir (13 July 2023). AAVA Labs: Back & Muscle Pain Due To Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://aavalabs.com/blogs/news/back-muscle-pain-due-to-vitamin-mineral-deficiency

  6. World Health Organisation (14 July 2022). Musculoskeletal health. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/musculoskeletal-conditions

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