By nutritionist, dietitian and senior educator for BioCeuticals, Belinda Reynolds.
Most of us take the ability to move without pain for granted, which is why National Pain Week (July 25-31, 2016) seeks to highlight the 28 per cent of Australians suffering from arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
This figure means that roughly 6.1 million people are living with daily pain and discomfort1.
While there may not be a ‘cure’ for arthritis, there are natural remedies we can harness in order to support the healthy ageing of our joints and relieve symptoms of joint pain.
Here is a selection of the top ingredients:
- Turmeric, an ancient spice that probably sits in your kitchen cupboard for use in Indian curries is not only useful for its flavour. More than 4,000 scientific studies have been conducted on the therapeutic benefits of turmeric and have demonstrated promising results2.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that has been shown in these studies to have potent anti-inflammatory effects on the body. However, it is generally quite poorly absorbed, meaning that a few extra tablespoons of turmeric a day may not necessarily be the key to reducing joint inflammation. Scientists have prepared an ingredient called theracurmin, which is 27 times more absorbable than regular curcumin, and has been shown to help reduce joint inflammation associated with arthritis.
- The omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are some of nature’s most beneficial anti-inflammatory nutrients and they are found in coldwater fish. These fatty acids may help reduce joint inflammation and increase joint mobility associated with arthritis, plus they act as a natural lubricant.
- Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is emerging as a common deficiency in Australia. Those at a heightened risk of deficiency include individuals who are less mobile and thus spend minimal time outdoors, elderly and overweight individuals. Vitamin D plays multiple important roles in the body, including supporting bone health and muscle health. Vitamin D also plays a role in modulating immune function, and its deficiency has been noted as common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis3.
- Vitamin K2 is a nutrient known to be beneficial in supporting cardiovascular health, but also essential for bone health. A three-year study on healthy postmenopausal women supported vitamin K2’s benefits in decreasing bone density lost (180mcg/day of menaquinione-7 was given)4. Interestingly, early research on vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7 in particular) also suggests the nutrients benefits in rheumatoid arthritis, showing it to improve disease activity5.
Always speak to your healthcare professional when considering supplementation. When taking supplements, make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner and remember that vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.