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What Is Joint Health?

Updated on May 29, 2013

Joint Health

There is an abundance of products on the market today aimed at joint health, these products make claims that if you use them today they will prevent problems forming in your joints as you age. There are also claims from some of these products that if you already suffer from problems with your joints such as osteoarthritis they can help to ease the symptoms.

What is Joint Health?

Your joints such as your elbows or knees are made up of cartilage and fluid which is a lubricant, if the cartilage is damaged or there is less fluid than your joints need then your bones can rub together causing severe discomfort and limiting your movement and flexibility.


The arrow points to osteoarthritis in the toe joint.
The arrow points to osteoarthritis in the toe joint. | Source

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can also be called degenerative arthritis, degenerative Joint disease or osteoarthrosis, it is caused by the erosion of cartilage in the joints due to aging or in younger patients who have suffered a joint injury.

In osreoarthritis the top layer of cartilage wears away allowing the bones beneath to rub together causing swelling, pain and a loss of mobility.

Over a period of time the joint may become misshapen, sharp edged bone spurs can grow on the edges of the joints and loose pieces of bone and cartilage that have broken off in the joint space can cause even more pain and damage.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis with around 27 million Americans affected by the condition.

Any joint in the body can be affected but osteoarthritis is mostly found in the Hands, Hips, Knees, lower back and neck.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Most cases are over 40 years old
More common in females than males
People born with joint deformities are high risk
sporting injury or accident increases the risk
Being overweight puts more stress on joints
Heavy lifting or repetitive work puts extra stress on joints
People who suffer from other conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and Paget's disease of the bone also have a high risk of developing osteoarthritis

Supplements for Joints and Bones


Dietary Supplements

Joint Supplements come in all shapes and sizes.
Joint Supplements come in all shapes and sizes. | Source

Supplements for Joints

There are an abundance of products on the market aimed at joint health, dietary supplements that come in capsules, tablets and even as a juice drink making claims that they rebuild cartilage, lubricate the joints, reduce pain and swelling and increase mobility.

The most common ingredients found in these products are Glucosamine sulphate, Chondroitin, and MSM, some supplements are a combination of more than one of the ingredients or even all three of them.

Glucosamine Sulphate

Glucosamine is a substance produced naturally in the body, made up from sugar and amine group (NH2) and can be found in cartilage, the soft tissue that surrounds joints and stops bones rubbing together, Tendons, which connect muscle to bone, ligaments, which connect bone to bone and Synovial fluid which lubricates and cushions the joints.

Glucosamine is mainly extracted from shellfish and should be avoided by people who suffer an allergic reaction to seafood's. If you are Diabetic you should consult your doctor before taking glucosamine products.


Chondroitin is a molecule that is produced naturally in the body, it is a component of cartilage and helps keep the cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid into connective tissue, it stops enzymes from breaking down cartilage and it is important in the production of new cartilage.

Chondroitin is produced from Cow or shark cartilage but for vegetarians there is a source of chondroitin that can be taken from algae.

Avoid chondroitin, if you suffer from asthma.


Methyl Sulfonyl Methane or MSM as it is better known is a form of sulphur that is naturally found in the body which supports connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments and muscle.

MSM is said to reduce pain and swelling, help with blood flow and reduce muscle spasms.

MSN is a sulphur which is found in all living things and can be made up in a laborotary

There are no known allergies to MSM but consult your doctor if if you've had a reaction to a sulfonamide or a sulfite.

Joint Health Quiz

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Do Joint Supplements Work?

There are people who say that taking Joint supplements changed their lives, they felt less pain there was less stiffness in their joints and there was a significant increase in their mobility but for each of those people there was another person claiming that the supplements made no difference to their condition at all.

Always consult your doctor if you are planning to take a course of suppliments for joint health, if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Supplements may interact with medication that you are already taking and always check the labels if you have allergies if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Regular exercise, eating and drinking healthy and an active lifestyle can all contribute to prevent joint health problems later in life.


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    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I'm not getting your quizz on my iPhone - don't know if that's me?

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Finally! Engrossed by your explanations. My Knee is terribly damaged bone on bone with dislocating tendon. Mobility down to less than half a mile total per day. Having tests. I'm taking the supplements you mentioned and shsh I think I'm noticing improvement. It's so good to know what the stuff in the pills IS!! Brilliant Hub thanks.

      Sharing and I'll FB this ( rare).

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 5 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Susan for your visit and comment, I try to make things less complicated than they sound.....jimmy

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I think you did a better job of explaining what joint health, and Osteoarthritis is than most doctors could have. Great job!