It’s no secret that being active is healthy for the body and soul. Getting outside, exercising, traveling, and being with friends and family are all keys to feeling good. But our body needs some TLC in order to maintain an active lifestyle, especially as we get older. That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful about keeping things running like a well-oiled machine.
Of course, the human body is no ordinary machine. It is much more complicated. Still, machines are a useful way to think about how parts work together and what needs to be done to keep things operating as they should.
How it Works
Let’s start by talking about the skeletal system—literally, the bones of the body. There are more than 200 bones in the human body, and joints are where these bones connect. Some joints are fixed or only slightly movable, but the majority of joints allow a wider range of motion when the body is “well-oiled” and working best. Examples of joints include the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. These movable joints work in different ways. For example, the knee operates like a hinge and can move in only one direction. The hip joint is a ball and socket—a rounded head that fits into a cavity, allowing for rotation.
Hard bones are not meant to be constantly rubbing against one another, so most joints have a lining of slippery tissue that acts as a cushion. This cushion is called cartilage. It allows the movement of a well-working knee to feel like an almost effortless glide.
In addition, a thick fluid—called synovial fluid—surrounds the joint area, helping to nourish the cartilage, as well as lubricate joints to aid movement.
What You Can Do
We all know that eating well and exercise are essential to a healthy lifestyle and feeling great. This is especially true for joint health. Maintaining a healthy weight means less stress on bones and joints. Exercising keeps muscles strong.
When our cartilage and synovial fluid are doing their job, we’re able to get around easily and comfortably. Supplements can help to maintain healthy joints, cartilage and mobility. The human body does most of the work—like generating cartilage—on its own, so think of supplements as a way to support what happens naturally. Here are some of the most popular supplements associated with maintaining joint health:
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are naturally found within our joints and are key components of cartilage.** They are part of the complex connective tissue matrix that is responsible for cushioning joints and bones. Glucosamine also helps ease occasional joint stress and stiffness.** These two ingredients are both popular supplements and are often combined together to nourish cartilage.**
MSM is a natural source of sulfur, supplying a vital ingredient that helps support healthy connective tissue.** Not only does it nourish joints, but it also works with and supports Glucosamine and Chondroitin in cartilage health.** Some supplements combine all three ingredients for optimal benefits.
Known for its fragrant resin, the Boswellia species are shrubs and small trees that are native to the Red Sea region and grow wild throughout northeastern Africa. It’s a centuries-old herb used in folk medicine to support joint health.**
Part of the ginger family, Turmeric has been used for centuries in Asian cultures. Among the active ingredients in this ancient root are curcuminoids—most notably curcumin—plant-based antioxidants that help cells defend against damaging free radicals.** By providing antioxidant support, Turmeric Curcumin herbal supplements support your body’s overall well-being, and is especially helpful in supporting joint comfort and mobility.**