Maintaining Joint Health Through Nutrition

Written by: Danny Beer, Performance Dietitian at EXOS @ Raleigh Orthopaedic

Joint pain is something that many people deal with. In 2002 approximately 10.5 million Americans said they battled severe joint pain and by the year 2014 that number increased to 14.6 million according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While some of this is due to normal wear and tear as we age there are steps we can take to try to optimize our joint health. Today’s blog will discuss ways to improve and maintain proper joint health through nutrition.

The first step to good joint health is to ensure you are getting enough healthy fats in your diet, specifically unsaturated fatty acids which come from plant sources such as nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds), seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, etc.), oils (olive, flax, fish), and avocados. A specific category of unsaturated fats referred to as Omega 3’s can be helpful in decreasing inflammation associated with joint pain. Good sources of Omega 3’s include salmon, herring, fish oil, fish oil pills, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Not all fish oil supplements are equal! If you decide to take a fish oil supplement it is recommend to look for one that contains 1 – 3g of EPA + DHA, this will help determine a good product from a less effective alternative.

Another way to help decrease inflammation is a supplement called curcumin which is the active ingredient of turmeric. In order to optimize your body’s ability to absorb this compound it is recommend to look for a product that combines curcumin with black pepper or curcumin phytosomes complexed with phosphatidylcholine which may be referred to as Meriva or BCM-95 on the label/ingredients. Follow supplement instructions for dosing but most common amounts are 1 – 2g per day.

One last supplement to consider that may help improve your joint health is glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine is a supplement derived from shellfish so if you have an allergy be wary of supplementation.  Studies show that glucosamine in the form of glucosamine sulfate can lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis as well as reduce the rate of join tissue breakdown. Dosage is typically 900 – 1500mg taken 300 – 500mg three times a day but amounts up to 2,000 – 3,000mg daily can be helpful in some instances. Chondroitin is commonly combined with glucosamine and may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis. Typical dosage of chondroitin is 1,000 – 1,200mg daily taken in 1-3 doses. It is recommended to consume these supplements with food.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a nutrition consult please contact the EXOS @ Raleigh Orthopedic at 919.876.1100.

About Danny Beer, MS, RDN/LDN, CPT:

Danny is originally from Texas. He completed his undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Kinesiology from Texas A&M University, and has a Masters of Science in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Women’s University. He is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN), Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist (LDN) and a ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT). Danny enjoys training for and competing in natural bodybuilding, triathlons, and obstacle course races most recently completing his first Spartan Trifecta in 2016. Despite being a Performance Dietitian his favorite foods are pizza and ice cream.