Keeping joints active and healthy can pose a challenge for many people; 25 percent of the global population suffers from joint-related problems, according to Lara Niemann, marketing director, Gelita. Up until a few years ago, consumer concern with joint health wasn’t as popular as it is currently. With the aging population and raised awareness of degenerative disorders that plague many, joint health has become a hot topic.
“[The] joint health market represents today one of the top-selling supplement sectors, driven by increased consumer awareness for preventative healthcare and by the growing interest in bioactive (macro)molecules suitable to be used in the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA) to delay progress or to reduce symptoms," said Lorena Carboni, product support specialist, Gnosis. OA is a type of joint disease, which is considered by the Arthritis Foundation to be the most common chronic condition of the joints.
The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can be found in fish and krill oil, are popular ingredients among joint health products. “The levels of fatty acids in the body, primarily omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are important for joint health, and the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the body helps to regulate normal inflammation processes," said Melody Harwood, director, scientific and regulatory affairs, Neptune Wellness Solutions.
Harwood noted research has shown omega-6 fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid (AA), produce eicosanoids in the body and promote inflammation. Contrary to that, EPA produces eicosanoids with anti-inflammatory effects.(Nutrients.2010 Mar 2(3):355-374)
Unfortunately, in the modern Western diet, people are consuming much more omega-6 fatty acids, as opposed to omega-3s. Harwood said, “In today’s Western diet, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is around 15:1 due to the increased intake of vegetable oils with high omega-6 fatty acid content and the lack of the consumption of omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, such as fatty fish and seafood."(J Am Coll Nutr 2002 Dec 21(6):495-505)
One way to promote omega-3 use for people who are not regularly consuming fatty fish and seafood would be with supplements, specifically softgels. Harwood recommended softgels, as they are an exceptional method for delivering fish and krill oil. “With the help of great flavor combinations, more and more fish oil products are becoming very popular in liquid forms that people can take with a spoon."
Check out INSIDER’s Joint Health Digital Magazine for more on research-backed ingredients that help keep joints active.