Joint nutrition

Gelenknahrung

There are over 300 joints in the human body. Their interaction with muscles, ligaments and bones enables us to move and be mobile. However, the constant strain on the joints leads to wear and tear and often to problems. Almost half of people over 45 suffer from joint pain and this figure increases significantly with age; in ten percent of cases the pain is even chronic. The hip and knee joints are particularly affected. Painful joints often lead to restrictions in everyday life during otherwise normal activities and stress. It is therefore important that we protect our joints and provide them with important nutrients as a precaution. After all, the health of the joints determines the quality of our active life. 1

In this guide you will find important information about the joints in the human body. Injuries are also discussed and how you can actively and naturally promote the health of your joints so that you can move without pain in the long term.

Healthy joints and their function

Joints are movable connections between two bones. Each joint consists of the articular surfaces of the bones involved, a joint space and a joint capsule. Attached tendons and ligaments form a protective outer shell. Joints are guided and restrained by the attached bones, ligaments and muscles.

Joint diagram

Anatomically, there are two different types of joints:

Real joints: They have a joint space that allows the joint to move more freely. Examples of real joints are knee, hip and ankle joints. There are around 140 real joints in the body.

False joints: These have no joint space, but are cartilaginous or connective tissue bone connections and therefore have only limited mobility. Examples of false joints are intervertebral discs and the breastbone. There are around 70 false joints in the body.

In addition, there are five different forms of joints, which can be distinguished by their potential, degree and direction of movement:

  • Ball joint
  • Saddle joint

  • Hinge joint

  • Swivel joint

  • Egg joint

Joint pain

Joint pain is a widespread phenomenon and occurs in almost half of people over 45. It can be caused by many different things. The reason is often wear and tear (see also osteoarthritis). Inflammation of the joints can also cause severe discomfort (chapter: Arthritis). Joint pain can have different courses:

  • Acute joint pain: occurs within hours

  • Subacute joint pain: occurs within days

  • Chronic joint pain: lasting for weeks or months

risk groups

The following groups are particularly at risk for problems and complaints of the joints:

  • Athletes – the joints are often exposed to great stress

  • Older people -> The body begins degradation processes due to age

  • People with obesity -> excess weight puts pressure on the joints

  • Occupational groups, e.g. craftsmen, gardeners -> frequent kneeling and bending during work puts strain on the joints.

Joint injuries/joint problems

Our joints are constantly exposed to stress, which can lead to frequent injuries. Joint damage then manifests itself as joint pain and joint swelling. Many people also experience joint discomfort when they have the flu or a cold. Age-related wear and tear also often leads to joint pain.

arthrosis

In the case of arthrosis, the cartilage in the joints, which acts as a protective layer between the ends of the bones, wears down. This causes the bones to rub directly against each other, which can cause severe pain. In order to combat the symptoms and prevent further cartilage deterioration, it is important to get plenty of exercise. Heat treatments can also relieve pain. However, in the case of advanced arthrosis, surgery or joint replacement is often unavoidable.

arthritis

Arthritis is an acute inflammation of the joints. It causes typical signs of inflammation in the affected joints, which manifest themselves as swelling, redness and overheating. It is also sometimes associated with severe pain. It usually occurs very suddenly, for example due to a bacterial infection of the joint. If inflammation lasts for a long time and occurs in phases, it is referred to as chronic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis vs. Arthritis

The diseases osteoarthritis and arthritis are often confused because the names are similar and cause similar symptoms. However, the causes are different. Consequently, these differences are listed in a table:

arthrosis
arthritis

Degenerative joint disease: caused by wear of the articular cartilage

Inflammatory joint disease: caused by bacteria or rheumatism

Characteristics: Pain on exertion, which usually improves with relief and rest

Characteristics: Joint pain at rest and at night, additional swelling, overheating and redness

Improvement through heat treatment

Improvement through heat treatment

When should I see a doctor?

Many joint problems often disappear on their own or can be treated with natural home remedies. However, if you experience the following symptoms, you should consult a doctor:

  • Restricted mobility of the joints

  • Fever

  • Reddened skin over the painful joint

  • Swollen joints

Keep your joints healthy naturally

Joint health can be positively influenced by various measures and lifestyles. We can strengthen our joints preventively and keep them healthy. There are many natural ways to do this.

Movement

Regular, gentle exercise can strengthen the muscles and prevent the body from stiffening. It also ensures that the body produces sufficient synovial fluid. Exercise is also an important factor in osteoarthritis. It can have a positive effect on the osteoarthritis process. Yoga, cycling, swimming or walking are recommended. It is important to warm up sufficiently and to perform movements correctly. Good, suitable footwear is also a factor in preventing joint problems.

Avoid protective postures! Painful joints often lead to those affected adopting protective postures. This then puts strain on other joints and can cause additional pain. Physiotherapy can help counteract such poor postures and also stabilize affected joints.

Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and fiber is important and generally good for our health and our immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids and vegetable oils in particular have an anti-inflammatory effect and are good for inflammation of the joints. Meat and sausage or animal fats in general have a more negative effect as they can promote inflammation. A mixed diet rich in vitamins and low in meat can provide joints, bones and cartilage with important nutrients.

Peppermint oil for joint pain

Peppermint oil is a proven natural home remedy that can help with sore joints. It contains a lot of menthol, which has a cooling, pain-relieving effect on the skin. Painful areas should be rubbed with the oil so that it can take effect.

Quark compresses

Quark compresses have been used for several centuries to treat inflammation in the body. They have a cooling effect and can relieve pain. To do this, cloths are moistened and covered with quark. They are then placed on the affected areas and secured with another cloth. They must then be left to work for about half an hour to an hour.

Joint nutrition

Joint nutrition is a combination of preparations that consist of various joint-supporting active ingredients. They are intended to promote joint health and relieve pain. 2,3 Consequently, typical active ingredients contained in joint nutrition are listed:

Glucosamine belongs to the group of amino sugars. It is produced naturally in the human body. The substance is an important building block for the body and contributes to the formation of bones, cartilage, joint capsules and tendons.

Chondroitin is a macromolecule naturally produced by chondroblasts. It is coupled to proteins in the tissue. As the main component of bones, cartilage and connective tissue, it keeps important enzymes in balance and protects them. Chondroitin also supports the effect of glucosamine.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) belongs to the group of organic sulfur compounds, also known as sulfones. The substance can be found in the environment, plants, animals and humans. It is characterized by its positive effect on joint function. In combination with glucosamine, a faster and better effect is possible.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is also known as ascorbic acid. In general, it is involved in many metabolic processes in the body. In combination with glucosamine, it contributes to normal collagen formation. In addition, the function of cartilage is promoted.

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Conclusion

Unfortunately, the wear and tear of our joints due to age cannot be completely stopped. Damaged joints are also often difficult to heal. However, surgery or a joint replacement is not necessary immediately. There are numerous ways to alleviate the symptoms, stop them from getting worse, or prevent joint diseases:

  • To keep moving
  • Healthy diet
  • physical therapy
  • Cooling (for example with peppermint oil or curd compresses)
  • Attention: In the case of osteoarthritis, heat treatments are recommended)
  • Substitute joint nutrition as a supportive measure

Important: This guide is intended as a source of information only. Always consult your doctor if you have acute problems. Under no circumstances should you change the dosage of your medication or stop taking it yourself.

Sources

  1. Fuchs, J., & Prütz, F. (2017). Prevalence of joint pain in Germany . Journal of Health Monitoring .

  2. Editorial staff of specialist magazines. (2020). Osteoarthritis: Special dietary supplement relieves joint pain. Orthopaedics & Rheumatism

  3. . Henrotin et al. 2010. Chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis: from in vitro studies to clinical recommendations. Therapeutical Advances in Musculoskeletal Diseases. 2(6): 335-348


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