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By Karen Appold
If you have an inherent predisposition to certain joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or you have an arthritic condition such as osteoarthritis, you may want to take joint supplements to prevent damage or pain. These supplements will also help your body to protect and improve its natural cartilage.
Some of the best supplements for maintaining good joint health are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates, according to Samantha M. Traylor, DC, of SpineCARE in Irving, Texas.
“Glucosamine stimulates the formation and repair of the natural cartilage in our bodies,” she said. “Chondroitin sulfate protects the building blocks of the natural cartilage from harmful enzymes that can degrade it. Additionally, chondroitin sulfate helps to fight inflammation.”
Traylor suggests supplements that include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and salicin. Supplements that include B-complex vitamins and natural extracts can be helpful, as well. When taken together as directed, they can improve overall joint health and reduce inflammation and pain.
Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in the body’s joint cartilage. Glucosamine is an essential component of cartilage, mucous membranes, and synovial fluid. Glucosamine supplements are comprised of the shells of lobster, shrimp, crab, and other sea creatures.
Chondroitin is another essential component of cartilage. Chrondroitin sulfate supplements are obtained from cow, pig, or shark byproducts, or they can be manufactured synthetically. Chondroitin may promote the production of new cartilage and slow the breakdown of existing cartilage; it can also help lubrication by drawing water into joint spaces.
Salicin, also known as white willow bark, comes from a tree (salix alba) native to Europe and Asia. Ancient Egyptians used white willow to reduce inflammation. Today, it’s also used to relieve joint pain and pain associated with osteoarthritis. Some people prefer it over aspirin because it doesn’t irritate the stomach.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.