No one can appreciate healthy joints more than I. My lifestyle is active to say the least. Not only have I dedicated my life to endurance racing over the past 35 years, I also love to surf, lift weights, and, most importantly, hang out with my 12-year-old son Nick and my 10-year-old son Noah. I think it is safe to say I take the health of my joints very seriously and go to great lengths to keep them healthy. And for good reason.
Chronic diseases such as arthritis are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. Although you might think arthritis affects only older people, it can affect young people, too. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. However, there are more than 100 different arthritis diseases and conditions, many of which are widely recognizable, including rheumatoid arthriris, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout. People often experience pain, aching, stiffness and swelling in or around the joints. Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can affect multiple organs.
The numbers don’t lie. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 52.5 million U.S. adults (about 1 in 5) report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. With the aging of the U.S. population, the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase in the coming decades. By the year 2040, an estimated 78 million (26 percent of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Two-thirds of those with arthritis will be women. Also by 2040, an estimated 35 million adults (44 percent of adults with arthritis or 11 percent of all U.S. adults) will report arthritis-attributable activity limitations. These estimates may be conservative, as they do not account for the current trends in obesity, which may contribute to future cases of osteoarthritis.
As one might expect, the prevalence of arthritis is significantly higher among obese adults (28.9 percent) versus adults at a healthy weight (16.3 percent). Those with excess weight are more likely to have arthritis activity limitations. Among adults with arthritis, 38.2 percent report arthritis-attributable activity limitations compared with 44.8 percent among obese adults with arthritis. Weight loss of as little as 11 pounds reduces the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent.
Furthermore, research indicates that people with joint pain are less likely to be physically active. Many people believe that being active will cause pain, make their symptoms worse, or damage the joints. That said, leading a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for other chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Thankfully, I realized years ago that, due to my obsessive desire to remain active well into my senior years, I needed to be proactive and implement a joint health supplement regimen that would give me the longevity I desired. Over the past 35 years, I have been able to maintain the health of my joints largely because of my intake of the following joint nutrients, among others:
Calcium and Vitamin D: This combination is essential to building strong, dense bones and joints when you're young and keeping them strong and healthy as you age. Each day, you lose calcium through the skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. However, the body cannot produce new calcium. Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting bones and joints and your body requires it to absorb calcium. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy.
Curcumin: Curcumin is the hot, new ingredient as study after study indicates its efficacy. Research shows curcumin supports joint comfort and impacts temporary inflammation that occurs from exercise. Curcumin supports a healthy inflammation response after vigorous exercise. It works on multiple enzymes such as COX-2, LOX, NF-kB and others to help support joint comfort. Curcumin is poorly absorbed, so various curcumin manufacturers concentrate the curcuminoid content or bind curcumin with phosphatidylcholine to boost its bioavailability
Omega-3s: The mainstream media has been reporting on the benefits of fish oil for years. Studies have shown the omega-3s found in fish oil not only promotes joint health, but also cardiovascular health, cognitive health, and optimal blood sugar levels. Joints are sensitive to inflammation. Any swelling or irritation as a result of inflammation can increase friction within the joints, causing discomfort and pain. Omega-3 fatty acids help to limit inflammation. As a result, the fats help control some symptoms of diseases that involve joint inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids also help people with osteoarthritis as they improve joint flexibility and reduce pain. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseed, walnuts and a few other foods. However, the most beneficial form of omega-3s, containing 2 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—can be found only in fish. But most people do not eat the required 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish per week, hence the popularity of fish oil supplementation.
SAMe: S-adenosyl-methionine is a co-enzyme for production of body tissue. This coenzyme helps repair the joints and reduces inflammation and pain. This is mostly used in the treatment of arthritis. It is also known to reduce muscle stiffness, muscle pain, and fatigue.
Silicon: The strength of our bones and joints are due to the protein medium built around them. This is the area where calcium is deposited in the body. Aging depletes calcium in the body but can be assimilated with the presence of the mineral silicon, providing strength and flexibility to the joints. Taking silicon supplements for joint health will help in the fight against osteoporosis and increase strength and flexibility in the entire skeletal system.
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage, vitamin C can also maintain healthy connective tissue, including tendons, ligaments, bones, joints and skin.
Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. It is regarded as the substance that holds the body together and is also found in tendons, bones, joints and skin.
To date, I continue to lead a very active lifestyle largely because of the joint supplement regimen. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of taking dietary supplements to support the health of your joints. From a business standpoint, the number of people who suffer from joint maladies support the need for continued innovation from suppliers and marketers. From a health standpoint, millions stand to suffer life altering chronic illness unless a proactive approach is taken. Ultimately, the objective is to maintain a quality of life well into your golden years. Joint supplements are a big piece of the puzzle.
Mark Becker is an account manager for Vivion, a raw materials distributor, based in Vernon, California. He has worked as a natural products sales and marketing executive for 20 years. Mark has written more than 300 articles and has hosted or been a guest on more than 500 radio shows. He obtained a bachelor's in journalism from Long Beach State University and did his Master’s work in communications at Cal State Fullerton. For more than 30 years he has participated in numerous endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 103 marathons and numerous other events including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. He has relied on a comprehensive dietary supplement and homeopathic regimen to support his athletic, professional and personal endeavors. Follow Mark Becker on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, access www.vivioninc.com or www.EnergyatLast.com.