How To Improve Joint Health Naturally

How To Improve Joint Health Naturally

We all want to get the most out of life, but to do that we need to have a healthy body. Physical limitations can dramatically impact on our ability and enjoyment, and while plenty of us take steps to look after our heart, lungs, skin and more, one part of our body that is often taken for granted is our joints – or more specifically, our tendons and ligaments.

When something goes wrong and we damage a tendon or ligament it can have serious and painful consequences. These include pain and inflammation, and may severely impact your ability to move. If you have ever suffered from a sprain, strain, tendonitis, ligament or joint pain, then you might have been recommended a number of physical therapy treatments, but many people remain unaware of the important role that supplements and nutrition play in maintaining healthy tendons and ligaments.

What are tendons and ligaments?

Tendons and ligaments are ultra-strong bands of fibrous tissue, but people mistakenly believe they do the same job.

In fact, tendons attach muscle to bone and enable you to move, whereas ligaments connect bone to bone and work to stabilize the joints that they surround. However, both are absolutely crucial to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

The importance of nutrition and supplements

When we think of nutrition we often think of maintaining our weight and eating foods that keep our major organs healthy. Eating well gives our body the power to operate and to heal itself.

However, nutrition actually plays an important role in the health and functionality of our entire body, from head to toe including our tendons and ligaments.

So what steps can you take to ensure you are getting the right nutrition for tendon and ligament health?

Processed foodAvoid packaged and processed foods
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that there is virtually no nutritional value in most packaged and processed foods.

Instead they are packed full of sugars (carbs), salts and preservatives, and these are key contributing factors to obesity (which puts added strain on your joints), and a wide range of other health problems, one of which is diabetes.

Glucometer with fruits and vegetables, healthy nutrition, diabetes

Control your blood sugar
There is a strong link between people who eat large amounts of high carb processed foods, and the development of Type II (adult onset) diabetes which sees sufferers unable to regulate their own blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels are elevated it restricts the function of the red blood cells which usually carry nutrients around the body to damaged tissue, affecting the ability of the body to heal itself. Similarly, it also slows white blood cells down, which leaves wounds more susceptible to infection.
Studies have found that people with Type II diabetes could be up to three times more likely to have tendon pain and chronic inflammation.

Herbal medicine and herbs

Vitamins and Minerals
For us to be in peak physical condition, our bodies – including our tendons and ligaments – rely on a complex balance of vitamins and minerals.

Let’s take a look at the most important vitamins and minerals we need for tendon and ligament health, which can be found in just one single supplement – Collagen Complete.

collagen protein powder

Collagen
Tendons and ligaments have the ability to stretch, and this is due to the presence of collagen. Collagen is a protein and naturally occurs in our bodies, but as we age collagen production decreases, weakening fibrous material and making joints less flexible. Stimulating collagen production is important for maintaining flexible joints and there are a number of vitamins and minerals that can help your body to do this. These include:

  • Vitamin C – foods packed full of Vitamin C include broccoli, berries, citrus fruit, bell peppers, peas, papaya, kiwi and tomatoes.
  • Amino Acids – amino acids act as the building blocks of protein and so are a vital nutritional step you can take towards preserving your tendon and ligament health. Glycine, proline and hydroxyproline are 3 amino acids that make up over 50% of collagen.
  • Trace Minerals- There are over 70 trace minerals and when consumed with amino acids, allows for good absorption.
    • Manganese is the single most important trace nutrient for tendon and ligament health, as without manganese it is impossible for the body to make or repair connective tissue.
    • Zinc is required for protein and proper DNA synthesis, and supports repair and healing.
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin – has been proven to slow down pain caused by osteoarthritis. However it is most effective when used in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin is a vital part of cartilage, giving it elasticity by helping it to retain water, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. When used together, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, can reduce pain and increase joint mobility, They can also lessen the need for a sufferer of osteoarthritis to use pain relief. This makes the combination an ideal long term support for tendon and ligament health. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are found in very few food sources and so are nearly always taken as supplements.
  • Hyaluronic Acid-More recently, research into joint problems has shown that when the skin that covers the tendons and ligaments is compromised, the injured area begins to form adhesions with the surrounding tissue, leading to inflammation and pain. Therefore, it is also important to remember that skin nutrition can also be beneficial to your joints. Hyaluronic acid can hold more than 1000 times its weight in moisture, meaning it has lubricating properties which can help protect your tendons and ligaments.Hyaluronic acid can be found in leafy greens, root vegetables, cheese and soy products.

Physical therapy

There are a variety of physical therapy treatments that are recommended for tendon and ligament injuries. Sometimes they are also used before or after surgical intervention, and include:

Patient doing some special exercises

Strengthening exercises
Any strengthening exercises must be gradual and recommended and guided by a physical therapist who is experienced with tendinosis.

They help the collagen fibers to grow in the correct alignment, and also speed up the healing process, but you should still expect your treatment to take at least a month.

Foot injury, stabilizer ankle

Braces, supports and orthotics
Braces and supports are most often used on the ankle, elbow, knees and wrists and add stability and support during activities.

However, they must only be used some of the time so that they don’t negatively impact on your strength or flexibility. Orthotics are worn in the shoes to help with imbalances, and should be used with professional supervision.

correct sitting

Correction of technique or ergonomics
Many sporting injuries are caused by poor technique or ill-fitting equipment. If this is the case for your tendon or ligament pain, speak to a qualified coach for advice.

In the workplace, correcting ergonomic problems with tools such as dictation software or mouse-mat wrist supports can help to heal work-related tendonitis.

Doctor doing neck adjustment

Bodywork, joint and soft tissue mobilization
Chiropractors best handle misalignments and loss of joint motion.

Soft tissue mobilization issues are performed by massage therapists and physical therapists. Bodywork can include Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique, and work by stimulating healing and breaking up adhesions.

 

Conclusion

The nutrients outlined in this article can be extremely beneficial to securing the long-term health and vitality of your tendons and ligaments, and help them to heal if they become damaged. Getting the nutrition that you need may seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Collagen Complete is one single tendon and ligament supplement that contains a variety of nutrients proven to be effective for the health of your joints, allowing you to live your life to the full. Find out more about what this total tendon supplement can do for you at www.collagencomplete.com

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About the author

Dr. France Carpentier

Dr. France Carpentier has over forty years of experience as a healthcare professional. She started as a Registered Nurse in Quebec, Canada, which was followed by over thirty years as a Chiropractor in Florida. She has always had a focus on nutrition using a holistic approach to health and wellness.