Many people can be affected by joint problems and the pain and tenderness can affect the hands, knees, hips and spine. There can also be stiffness and lack of flexibility.
Women can be affected more than men by joint problems and this may be due to hormone changes with a drop in oestrogen as women get older. But being pregnant can put stresses and strains on joints and also other hormones such as thyroid or adrenal hormones may affect the joints.
With joint problems the aim is to control inflammation so diet can have a huge impact on the health of your joints. You need to include good amounts of omega 3 in the diet to help work on inflammation. Also limit alcohol intake as it stops the body converting the omega 3 essential fats into the beneficial anti-inflammatory substances which are essential for health and supple joints.
What are your choices?
You need to eat well generally but paying particular attention to keeping blood sugar in balance because if you are on the roller coaster of blood sugar swings, the increase in cortisol as the blood sugar drops can produce inflammation. Caffeine is also going to act as a stimulant causing the release of cortisol and more inflammation over time.
The omega 3 fatty acids are very important for joint problems and even for prevention as they help to reduce the amount of omega 6 fatty acids which can be pro-inflammatory (causing inflammation). Research has shown that people who have diets high in omega 6 (found in vegetable oils and evening primrose oil) and low in omega 3 fatty acids produce more inflammation.
Reduce the intake of saturated fat from foods such as dairy and red meat. Saturated fat contains arachidonic acid which causes your body to produce more inflammation and this type of fat can also interfere with the omega 3 fat levels, making it harder for your body to use them in a healthy and efficient way.
The aim is to emphasis a more alkaline rather than acidic diet in order to keep the joints healthy. So to eat more oily fish, eggs, pulses as protein rather than red meat. To include plenty of vegetables, but reducing the deadly nightshade family of potatoes, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. Include berries as these contain anthocyanins which have an anti-inflammatory effect and cherries have been shown to reduce attacks of gout. To include herbal teas instead of regular tea and coffee and include some green tea. Although green tea contains a small amount of caffeine it is thought that the antioxidants contained in the tea help to reduce inflammation and joint damage. Herbs like ginger and turmeric and also be beneficial in keeping the joints healthy.
A good quality multivitamin and mineral would form the foundation of your supplement programme to make sure that you are getting a ‘little bit of everything’. You then add in those nutrients in slightly higher amounts which are known to be helpful for Joint Problems.
Omega 3 fatty acids
As mentioned these are important as they have an anti-inflammatory effect on your joints and body in general.
Many of the women I see in the clinic have been taking evening primrose oil supplements – an omega 6 fatty acid – for years and have not been eating enough omega 3 oils, or taking them in supplement form, to counterbalance this. Some women are also taking combinations such as omega 3, 6, and 9 in supplement form because they have heard that we need a good balance of all the omega fatty acids. This is true, but you have to take into account what your own levels may be in the first place. It is no good adding in more omega 6 if you have already got enough or in fact too much in your body. (You can now have a simple blood test to tell you if you have the correct levels of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in your body see below). To check whether you have sufficient levels of Omega 3 please click Omega 3 Deficiency Test (at home finger prick blood)
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant called a flavonoid and is found in many fruits and vegetables such as leafy green, broccoli, red onions, apples and berries. It is a plant pigment giving fruits and vegetables their deep colours. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects particularly in relation to joints.
Vitamin C is also another powerful antioxidant like quercetin and is found in high amounts in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation and also helps to manufacture collagen which is the ‘cement’ that holds cells together. Collagen is important for your joint health as it keeps your ligaments, tendons, and cartilage healthy.
Having good levels of cartilage is important because the ends of your bones are covered in it and it prevents them from grinding together. Collagen is a major part of this cartilage and if the cartilage wears down then this can lead to joint problems.
Try to take vitamin C in the alkaline form as magnesium ascorbate rather than the acidic ascorbic acid especially for joint problems.
Making sure you have enough of the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system is now thought to be important in controlling inflammation as well as their other benefits on your health.
When you are aiming to improve your joint health certain herbs including turmeric, black pepper, ginger, olive leaf and hops can be helpful.
Turmeric is a plant that grows in India and other Asian countries, is a bright yellow colour and a major ingredient in curries. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It is closely related to another herb, ginger.
There has been a great deal of research into the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric on joint problems so this is a good herb to include.
The effects of turmeric are made even more effective by combining it with black pepper see below.
Black pepper is native to a number of Asian countries and is often used for seasoning food along with salt.
Its active compounds are capsaicin and piperine both of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. The piperine is also thought to help with swelling and tenderness in the joints.
As well as black pepper being beneficial in its own right, it has the added advantage of improving the amount of curcumin you absorb from turmeric when the two are combined together. This means that your body can use more of the curcumin.
As closely related to turmeric, ginger also has anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has shown that it can help with pain and stiffness in joints. One study comparing a ginger supplement versus a placebo in people with osteoarthritis in the knees showed that the ginger reduced stiffness and pain by 40% compared to the placebo.
There has been a good amount of evidence on the benefits of olive leaf on joints including its ability to reduce inflammation by targeting the production of certain substances that are markers for inflammation.
Hops are the flowers of the plant Humulus lupulus and you may think of them only in relation to beer where they are used as flavouring. With regards to joints, research has shown that hops have anti-inflammatory effects and can act as a natural pain killer.
There are a number of tests available that are extremely useful and are well worth considering. These tests can give you invaluable insights into understanding what is going on in your body at the moment.
The analysis of these results lets you know what supplements you need to take in order to bring your body back into balance and into optimum health. You would then be re-tested after three months to monitor your progress and to adjust the supplement programme accordingly.
Omega 3 Deficiency Test (at home finger prick blood)
I would have to say that this is the most important test if you have joint problems or pain and tenderness of any sort in your body. You need to know that you have the correct ratio of omega 6 to 3. Too much omega 6 and your body will be producing too much inflammation. Knowing this it is easy to shift the ratio back to a more anti-inflammatory one.
It is now estimated that we are getting twenty five times more omega 6 fats from our diet than omega 3 and over the last century there has been an 80% decrease in the consumption of these omega 3 fatty acids. When you eat omega 3 fats they are converted to substances that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Find out more – Omega 3 Deficiency Test (at home finger prick blood)
Many of the women I see in the clinic have been taking evening primrose oil supplements – an omega 6 fatty acid – for many years as it can be helpful with PMS. But you can end up with too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 in your body. Some women are also taking combinations such as omega 3, 6, and 9 in supplement form because they have heard that we need a good balance of all the omega fatty acids. This is true, but you have to take into account what your own levels may be in the first place. It is no good adding in more omega 6 if you have already got enough or in fact too much in your body. (You can now have a simple blood test to tell you if you have the correct levels of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in your body see below). To check whether you have sufficient levels of Omega 3 please click Omega 3 Deficiency Test (at home finger prick blood).
Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme
Discover what vitamins and minerals you need and should be taking The analysis of this comprehensive questionnaire will give you a three monthly supplement programme to help balance any vitamin and mineral deficiencies you may have. Find out more – Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme
Plan of Action
Ensure you are getting the right nutrition. Follow the dietary recommendations outlined in the free Foundation of Health ebook.
The supplement programme below should be taken for at least three months in order to achieve best results.
Nutrients and Amounts
|A good multivitamin and mineral||Vitamin C 1000mg|
|Quercetin 80mg||Probiotic 22 billion beneficial bacteria|
|Omega 3 (770mg EPA and 510mg DHA)|
A good supplement programme should also contain:
- Turmeric 600mg
- Olive leaf 130mg
- Ginger root 100mg
- Hops 30mg
- Black pepper 10mg
To avoid having to purchase numerous supplements for the above and to make the process easier, I have put together a supplement programme which contains all the nutrients mentioned above and in the correct amounts. For more information about these click Joint Supplement Programme for over 45’s or Joint Supplement Programme for under 45’s.
- If you would like to order these special supplements now, you can do so through the Natural Health Practice by clicking Joint Supplements for over 45’s at The Natural Health Practice or Joint Supplements for under 45’s at The Natural Health Practice.
The tests below have been specially selected to be the most helpful if you are concerned about Joints.
Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme
Omega 3 Deficiency Test (at home finger prick blood)
After three months you would then have a re-test in order to monitor your progress and adjust your supplement programme according to your new condition.
If you need help in obtaining any of the supplements or tests mentioned above, click Joints at The Natural Health Practice. They can supply all of them for you online or if you prefer to talk to somebody first you can also order by mail order on the telephone. The products supplied by this company are always of the highest quality.
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