Modern research increasingly points to inflammation across the body as one of the most impactful factors for determining health. Inflammation is such a critical indicator of health that 3 out of 5 deaths worldwide are linked to chronic inflammation-related diseases such as stroke, respiratory diseases, or heart failure. Even when it doesn't kill, however, inflammation can cause chronic pain, soreness, and drastically reduce a person's overall quality of life.
With inflammation-related joint pain this means stiff joints, reduced joint mobility, and even impaired bone health with long-lasting consequences. And, although a staggering 70% of older adults (and many otherwise healthy young people) report joint pain, relatively little is done to empower individuals with the knowledge they need to take their joint health into their own hands.
To help, we've combined research from trustworthy institutions like the Arthritis Foundation with our experience in the supplement industry. In this article, we'll cover the best supplements for joint pain and inflammation, what key ingredients to watch for in these dietary supplements, and how to recognize whether you're at risk for chronic inflammation.
What Causes Inflammation?
Simply put, inflammation is your immune system's reaction to damage or foreign irritants. When you experience an injury such as a cut or bruise, your body sends inflammatory cells and cytokines to the area to hunt down any potentially dangerous bacteria and promote wound healing. This is known as acute inflammation and is a normal, healthy function of the human body.
Where problems begin is with chronic inflammation. Unlike in acute inflammation, where inflammatory cells serve a clear, useful function, chronic inflammation occurs when your body continues sending out cells even after a problem has been resolved--or, worse, when there was no problem to begin with.
By unnecessarily flooding your body with cells meant to reduce injury, your immune system sometimes begins attacking otherwise healthy connective tissue, causing severe joint pain, structural damage to joint tissue, and even certain deformities.
Chronic inflammation can develop for a number of reasons, but poor diet is typically one of the simplest to identify. Although different foods can promote inflammation in different ways, this process primarily happens in one of two ways:
Disrupted Gut Health
When you eat highly-processed foods, you change the balance of bacteria in your gut. By doing so, "bad" bacteria can sometimes begin flooding your system with irritants and toxins, causing your immune system to constantly react and cause inflammation.
While better gut health can be achieved through fermented foods and a better diet, improving gut health after the damage has already been done is often a slow process.
Even if your gut health is relatively strong, a diet including highly-processed foods and foods high in sugar, fat, or processed grains can wreak havoc on your immune system. This is because your body is not designed to fully absorb or utilize these foods, so eating them in excess amounts can trigger a system-wide inflammatory response.
This is also true for alcohol, which the body basically views as a poison and thus works hard to eradicate via inflammatory cells and other methods.
Just like eating too many high-risk foods can trigger chronic inflammation, not drinking enough water may also put you at risk. This is because your body uses water to flush residual toxins and waste from your body, reducing the need for your immune system to respond.
While drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day is a good start, some experts also suggest adding a high-quality electrolyte powder to the mix to maximize hydration and keep you feeling your best.
Both psychological and physical stress have an enormous effect on our overall health. While psychological stress has been strongly linked to the development of conditions such as depression, it also plays a significant role in chronic inflammation, like that associated with joint inflammation.
In the United States, roughly 1.3 million people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This condition is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the connective tissue of your joints and tendons, causing everything from knee pain to debilitating joint stiffness.
While many factors may contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, such as genetics, hormones, and environmental factors, experts are still unsure of the exact cause of the disease. If you have a family history of arthritis, it may be best to start a preventative routine before symptoms begin.
Critical Ingredients in Joint Health Supplements
Depending on the root cause of your inflammation, you may need different types of supplements or support. Even so, the best joint supplements often include certain ingredients, including things such as:
- Hyaluronic acid: Also used for healthy skin, hyaluronic acid helps lubricate your joints and prevent bones from grinding against one another.
- Chondroitin sulfate: Typically suggested for osteoarthritis patients, chondroitin is a key component of collagen, which your body uses to build various types of tissue.
- Glucosamine hydrochloride: Glucosamine and chondroitin are often combined in supplements for arthritis due to their collaborative effects.
- Glucosamine sulfate: Another form of glucosamine, glucosamine sulfate is effective for reducing pain and slowing the degeneration of joints.
- Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes: Primarily intended to support better gut health, probiotics and digestive enzymes, such as bromelain, can help your body process food and reduce leftover toxins.
How to Begin a Joint Support Routine
Before deciding on the right supplement or supplements for your situation, it's important to think about your needs. To help, we've broken different supplements down into common categories.
Best for Preventative Care
If you have a family history of joint issues or autoimmune disorders, it may be wise to begin taking a general-purpose supplement like our Osteogenix formula. These supplements include all of the basic ingredients and compounds you need to support healthy joints.
Best for Pain Relief
For those currently dealing with joint pain who want relief, high-quality CBD products such as our topical Süth balm can relieve pain and promote relaxation. While CBD provides a number of powerful health benefits, many experts point to its impressive anti-inflammatory properties as potentially useful for those struggling with pain relief.
Best for Collagen Support
Because collagen is the primary building block of connective tissue, it can often help to include sources of dietary collagen or a collagen builder in your routine. Our Purvana line, for instance, uses a patented collagen complex built on a foundation of biotin and MSM to boost your body's naturally-occurring collagen and repair damage done by inflammation.
Why You Can Trust Wellgenix
We know that navigating the countless supplement and nutrition companies around the internet can seem all but impossible, especially when deciding who to trust with your health. At Wellgenix, our top priority is providing high-quality, transparent products designed to help our customers live better. Nothing more, nothing less.
With joint or arthritis pain, living better is often only one supplement away--but it needs to be the right supplement. That's why we encourage you to take the time to do your research, either with us or somewhere else, and find the product that best suits your needs.