Image by @imaniclovis via Unsplash

Today, backache and knee pain are very common complaints. Anyone is susceptible to these problems; athletes might suffer injuries in their muscles and cartilages due to the nature of their sports, working adults might experience stiffness in their back and joints due to long periods of sitting, and of course, elderly might be experiencing pain due to the degeneration of their bones and joints.

For some, these may develop into chronic conditions whereby they have to visit pain specialists in Singapore for treatments or pain management. Instead of relying on painkillers and medical plasters, others may prefer to visit a traditional chinese medicine (tcm) physician in tcm clinic for acupuncture, chinese herbs remedies, tuina and cupping. A tcm massage can help to ease the tension and relieve pain. Other than treatments and massage, what else can we do to protect our bone and joint? One of the key factors to maintaining strong and healthy bones and joints is none other than eating the right food. Today, we are going to introduce some health foods for your joint health.

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First, we are going to look at collagen. We often hear the term “collagen” like collagen drinks, collagen soup and collagen supplements, and we usually associate collagen to skin and beauty care. However, it’s a common misunderstanding that collagen is only good for our skin. First of all, collagen is a form of structural protein which makes up about one-quarter of our body’s protein contents. There are three key types of collagen, namely Collagen I, II and III. Often, when we use the term “collagen” for beauty and skincare uses, we are actually referring to collagen I and III. How about Collagen II? What is the use of Collagen II?

Collagen II:

Collagen II is a major protein (made of 19 amino acids) within our cartilage, in particular the articular cartilage. It makes up the fluids and serve important structural functions for our joint and cartilage. While these proteins are widely available in our body, our body will start to rapidly decrease the production of collagen when we reach the age of 40. By the age of 60, the body’s ability to produce collagen dropped by more than 50%. This is why we still require additional help at an older age, especially if you are suffering pain in your bone and joint.

To achieve the best effect with Collagen II, you may consider the use of GAGs. GAGs refer to glycosaminoglycans. GAGs consist of chondroitin sulfate (CS), keratan sulfate (KS) and hyaluronic acid (HA). CS aids in wound repair and cell growth. KS plays a key role in tissue hydration and anti-adhesion. With these properties, KS help to improve cell motility and attachment. Last but not least, HA is an important component of synovial fluid in our joints. The viscosity and elasticity of HA allows for the function of the lubricating fluid to protect our joint.

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Glucosamine Sulfate:

Other than taking Collagen II, glucosamine is a popular ingredient choice as a supplement for our bone and joint health. As an amino sugar, glucosamine uptake may bring benefits to the synovial fluid, which acts like the lubricant in our joints. It may help patients who are suffering from osteoarthritis by reducing the joint stiffness and pain. It is particularly useful for conditions at the knee regions as it helps to strengthen cartilage and improve on the fluid in the joint.

In the market, there are different forms of glucosamine, with the more commonly sold versions known as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and Nacetylglucosamine. However, research showed that only glucosamine sulfate has shown to be effective for joint health, compared to the other forms. So, do not rush into buying glucosamine supplements. Take your time to research and understand more about the different forms of glucosamine before making a decision.

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Vitamin C:

Whenever we discuss about vitamin C, most people will have the impression that vitamin C is mainly responsible for our body immune system. A less known fact is that getting the right amount of vitamin C can benefit those suffering from osteoarthritis and help prevent inflammatory arthritis. So, continue to load up on your broccoli, red peppers, tomatoes and citrus fruits for plentiful sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C supplements come in the form of ascorbates. As for choices of vitamin C supplements for the maintenance of joint health, one can consider calcium ascorbate. Calcium ascorbate provides both calcium and vitamin C at the
same time. While vitamin C can act on the prevention of arthritis, replenishing of calcium to our bones is also essential in the maintenance of bone density to protect against bone-related problems like osteoporosis.

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So, next time when you face bone and joint problems, be it knee pain or backaches, these are some supplemental nutrients you can consider to help with your condition. Instead of relying solely on pain specialists or massages, learn how to adapt your lifestyle as well. Eat right, exercise proper, rest well, and you will find yourself on the good path to recovery!