How good you feel is often determined by how healthy your entire body is. In particular, your bone and joint health is a critical component of your overall well-being. If your bones are weak, you risk fractures and breaks, and if your joints are stiff, you lose your mobility. Healthier joints and bones simply mean less pain, greater comfort, wider range of motion and mobility, and better flexibility than you would get with weakened bones and joints.
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Strong bones are needed for energetic lifestyles as well as for everyday activities. While it is true that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help to maintain good bone health, it isn’t always enough, and your doctor may decide that dietary supplements would be helpful.
As people age, their joints tend to wear down, and their bones tend to lose mass. Even certain oral medications, such as prednisone-based formulas, can weaken the bones. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), both calcium and vitamin D play an integral role in bone health. Supplements are one way to get additional calcium if you cannot get all that your body needs from dietary sources alone. Calcium supplements often also contain vitamin D in order to optimize the body’s absorbtion of calcium. The body can then utilize the calcium efficiently for the maintainenance of strong bones.
Another supplement commonly used for bone and joint health is glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements may have a role in reducing pain for moderate to severe osteoporosis or to improve movement but more studies are needed. It is important to work with your physician to determine if these supplements would be beneficial for you. Since the source of glucosamine in supplements is often the shells of shellfish, individuals with shellfish allergies should check with a physician before use. Also, glucosamine is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding since safety has not been established in children.
Collagen supplements have been marketed to reduce pain and swelling especially for joints. These supplements are offered in powder, tablets, and capsule form. Some formulations of collagen contain both chondroitin and glucosamine, which have both been associated with pain relief from arthritis but more research, is necessary. The benefits of collagen supplementation have not been determined. Neither the American College of Rheumatology nor the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has recommended collagen for joint pain.
A physician should be consulted before beginning a course any herbal supplement to discuss possible interactions with other prescription medication, side-effects or safety issues if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
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