Joint Care Vitamin and Herb Guide

Joint care can help protect our joints from injury and prevent degeneration that leads to problems later in life. The following vitamin, minerals and supplements all play a role in joint health.

Vitamin A - "Painful joints and bone growth problems may be symptoms of vitamin A deficiency" (Bedson). A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to joint degeneration. But in using this vitamin for joint care, be careful not to exceed recommended daily allowances. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and can build up in the tissues.

Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6 deficiency may lead to arthritis is used therapeutically for osteoarthritis - 50mg of both vitamin B6 and vitamin B5 per day. (Bedson)

Vitamin E - stimulates cartilage synthesis and inhibits the breakdown of cartilage. Take the recommended daily amount for joint care.

Chelated zinc - can improve joint pain, and joint stiffness in the morning. Take 100mg per day for joint care

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is important in wound healing, including tissue repair, and also functions as an antioxidant. It is needed for the creation of collagen, which is used in the skin, ligaments and bone. Thus it is also important in joint care.

More information on vitamin c here. Take 1000 to 3000mg of vitamin C per day for joint care, in divided doses.

Folic acid - Paul Bedson writes that a folic acid deficiency can lead to arthritis. Folate is needed for the absorption of iron and calcium.

One study found that supplementation with folic acid reduced the number of hip fractures in elderly patients who had a stroke. Their bone mineral levels were the same as the group taking the placebo, so that was not the reason for fewer hip fractures. Researchers believe it relates to folate's ability to reduce levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Previous studies have shown high homocysteine levels to increase the risk of fractures resulting from osteoporosis.

More information on folic acid is here.

Calcium - 1000mg of calcium (broken into doses no greater than 500mg), and 500mg magnesium per day, can reduce inflammation, including associated pain and swelling.

Bromelain - This is a digestive enzyme with anti inflammatory properties. As such, it can help control inflammatory processes throughout the body, including in joints. Paul Bedson has this perspective on joint care:

"But the health of our bones, muscles and joints not only depends on the use to which they are put or the overall structure that they are a part of, but also to a large extent on the condition of our internal metabolism, on diet, exercise and lifestyle. If our biochemical and metabolic processes are out of balance then wastes and toxins can accumulate in the body and damage the integrity of our musculo-skeletal system."

The Essential fatty acids salmon oil and evening primrose oil - Take 1500mg 2 times a day. They can improve joint mobility, and reduce pain and swelling. These are long term strategies and you may not notice improvements before taking them for 3 months

Glucosamine sulphate - 1000 to 3000 mg three times a day. Not a cheap supplement taken in those quantities, but it has an anti inflammatory effect, and has been studied a lot. More information on glucosamine supplements in joint care available here.

MSM - A recent study on MSM at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Arthritis Health Center in Arizona found that it had a significantly beneficial effect on joint pain and stiffness. This reflected current understanding of the benefits of MSM. But the study also found that those taking the MSM supplement had statistically significant lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine in their blood. Homocysteine is believed to cause damage to the lining of the arteries, increase clotting in the blood, and when it is present in high levels, cause blockages in the arteries.

Jeremey Appleton, the Director of Scientific Studies of the company whose MSM supplement (OptiMSM) was used in the study, says: “The highly significant reduction in homocysteine is important, especially when several mainstream osteoarthritis drugs have been pulled off the market because they increase the risk of stroke and heart attack”

“By lowering homocysteine, MSM may actually reduce those risks, which is highly desirable in a joint supplement." More information on msm is here.

Potassium - Potassium is important for muscle tissue, being used for the contraction of muscle, and muscle repair. "Deficiency may cause muscle weakness, paralysis and rheumatoid arthritis." (Paul Bedson) Thus it is an important supplement generally, and may provide a preventative benefit in joint care.

Phosphorus - Phosphorus is also used in the contraction of muscles, as well as being used to help with protein metabolism for muscle growth and repair. "Deficiency may lead to muscular weakness, bone pains and joint problems." (Paul Bedson)

Anti inflammatory herbs can help reduce swelling and pain in the joints. Joint care herbs to reduce inflammation can include
  • angelica
  • celery seed
  • devils claw
  • juniper
  • sarsaparilla
  • st johns wort
  • wild yam
  • willow bark
joint care supplementsAlterative herbs are used in herbal medicine to 'cleanse' the blood. They are believed to help in rheumatic and arthritic problems. The joint care herbs in this category include:
  • black cohosh
  • burdock root
  • celery seed
  • sarsaparilla
Diuretics are sometimes given for arthritic and rheumatic problems to support the kidneys in eliminating waste. These joint care herbs include:
  • celery seed
  • juniper berries
  • yarrow


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