Joints are the connections between your bones that allow flexibility and movement of your skeleton. According to Medline Plus, joints are “complex structures of bone, muscles, synovium, cartilage, and ligaments.” They also bear your weight as you move through life.
Joint health is hugely important, especially with age. As humans get older, our flexibility decreases, stiffness increases, and joint cartilage thins out. Loss of muscle strength (which is common with age) can also put more pressure on your knees and other joints.
Thankfully, you can do things to support your joint health, including:
- Staying active
- Strength training
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Eating a balanced diet
- Maintaining good posture
It also helps to incorporate the best vitamins for joint health. Healthy joints benefit from the following vitamins and supplements.
Vitamin D is a vitamin and antioxidant studied for its effects on arthritis and joint health. In addition, your body uses vitamin D to maintain strong bones and protect you from injuries.
A 2016 review published in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology showed that vitamin D levels were lower in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory condition that includes painful joint swelling, than those without RA.
While more research is needed on the connection between vitamin D and joint health, it’s undoubtedly one of the best vitamins for joint health and overall health.
Vitamin K is essential for developing cartilage structure and sending calcium to your bones, both of which are vital for healthy joints.
You can get vitamin K from leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens. Supplementing with vitamin K can be an issue for those on blood thinners, so talk to your medical practitioner about any concerns.
Glucosamine is found naturally in your body’s cartilage, the connective tissue that keeps your joints fluid and cushions your bones. It’s also one of the most well-studied (and widely known) supplements for addressing osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis or joint damage.
There are two main types of glucosamine in supplement form:
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
- Glucosamine sulfate
Glucosamine sulfate is the most common form taken orally for joint concerns.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in foods like fish, shellfish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
The DHA and EPA forms of omega-3s contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful for concerns like joint inflammation.
Lastly, curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a common spice for cooking. In your body, curcumin can help address inflammation and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
You can take curcumin as a supplement or cook with its powdered turmeric form. Either way, you’ll want to ingest curcumin with some fat, as that will help absorption.
The Bottom Line
We often forget about joint health until it’s too late — when we notice the pain, stiffness, and swelling. However, you can be proactive about your joint health by practicing healthy habits, knowing the best vitamins for joint health, and avoiding injuries caused by overuse. That’s a healthy way to move through life!