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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Zurich ND LAc

What’s in a joint supplement?

You may have heard about collagen supplements. Often people take them in hope of having more lustrous hair and nails. Did you know collagen helps our joints too?

Collagen is a protein in the body that is made by the cells. It is like a glue that holds everything together. Collagen is found in places such as skin, nails, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and eyes. There are many different types of this protein, usually specified by number. Types I & III are found in most parts of the body. I often will suggest supplementing this combo for people who have had ligament or tendon injuries as well as herniated discs. Type II is a form of collagen that is found in cartilage, the rubbery protective coating at the ends of your bones. This type is beneficial for arthritis, when you have a “bone on bone” joint with a deep ache.

What causes the loss of collagen? Time. As we age, it diminishes (hence the wrinkles). Other contributors are genetics, exposure to toxins (like smoking and pollution), and eating a poor diet. Supplementing collagen in our diet is a way to help provide the body more of the building blocks we need to stay supple, encourage repair, and reduce pain. Nutrients that help preserve collagen are vitamin E and A, while zinc and vitamin C help contribute to its production. I love vitamin C, especially, because it supports the collagen formation and acts as an antioxidant to preserve health.

Collagen supplements are proteins that are sourced from animals; often cows. However, there are some products that are made from fish. These provide you with the correct amino acids to build collagen in your body. (If you are vegetarian, you can take a vitamin that is full of the supporting nutrients but won’t specifically have collagen in it.)

Another wonderful way to get lots of collagen in your diet is bone broth (more on bone broth here).

You can take a collagen supplement on its own or included in a joint formula. Other factors that are commonly found in joint supplements are glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. Glucosamine helps stimulate cells to strengthen cartilage. The body’s increasing inability to create glucosamine is a big factor contributing to osteoarthritis. There are no food sources of glucosamine; however, there are commercially available sources that are derived from shellfish shells. Hyaluronic acid is found in the joint spaces and helps to hydrate and lubricate the joints. Preventing the natural loss of hyaluronic acid will help to nourish the joint so that it can grow and heal.

Supplements can be a a valuable addition to your treatment regimen. Combining nutrition with acupuncture will have you feeling better faster and keep your body strong for years to come.

Contact Dr. Zurich for more information on joint healing and purchasing quality supplements.

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