Optimizing Bone and Joint Health to Maintain your Active Lifestyle
by: Stephanie Bureau, ND
Bones & Joints Across the Lifespan
The musculoskeletal system is made up of the body’s skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together. Its primary functions include supporting the body, allowing motion, and protecting vital organs. As such, it should come as no surprise that musculoskeletal health is absolutely essential to living an active lifestyle.
Unfortunately, from about the age of 30, bone density begins to diminish in both men and women.1 As we age, the cartilage inside our joints becomes thinner, and components of the cartilage responsible for the cartilage’s resilience become altered, which can damage the integrity of our joints long term.1 As if that weren’t enough, once we hit 30, we also start to experience a gradual loss of muscle (a condition known as sarcopenia) – a process that progresses slowly over time. Sarcopenia results in both a loss of muscle mass and muscle strength and puts increased stress on our weight-bearing joints (such as our knees and hips).
Factors Affecting Musculoskeletal Health
Musculoskeletal health is influenced by a wide variety of factors – both internal and external. Internal health factors such as our sex, age, height, and genetics are things we have no control over. However, external health factors relating to our lifestyle choices: our weight, whether we exercise, our diet, smoking and alcohol consumption, are all modifiable.
Let’s take a look at the basics of building and maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system.
Growing evidence indicates that nutrition plays a central role in musculoskeletal health both as we age, as well as in a variety of conditions.2 Overall, eating a diet that is low in sugar, and high in collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin-rich bone broth, lots of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats will provide your musculoskeletal system with all of the nutrients your tissues need to be resilient and strong.
Vitamin D, calcium and protein (particularly protein) will help optimise muscles and bones in older people3, while other nutrients such as potassium can help reduce the amount of muscle loss in adults over the age of 65.4 Increased flavonoid intake may also positively impact bone health in perimenopausal and menopausal women.5
The benefits of an active lifestyle are well established. In fact, science has demonstrated that regular physical exercise in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle, helps promote optimal physical and mental health across the lifespan.6 Being active also helps prevent joint stiffness.7
When it comes to sarcopenia, aerobic exercise is extremely beneficial as it ameliorates problems relating to the mitochondria, while resistance training strengthens muscle mass and function. A combination of both of these multiplies the benefits to health.8
If we turn our attention more specifically to building and maintaining healthy bones and joints, exercise is truly a must! Regular physical activity not only makes bones stronger but also serves to improve balance and coordination. Physical activity also helps build and maintain strong muscle tissue, which in turn, helps prevent falls and the possibility of fractures.9
Last but certainly not least, regular exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight, which is another key piece of the puzzle when it comes to musculoskeletal health because carrying extra weight puts additional strain on our knees, ankles, hips, and body in general.10
Bone & Joint Supplement Solutions
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, there are a variety of effective natural solutions that can help optimise bone and joint health, as well as help relieve some of the most common musculoskeletal symptoms we encounter. Here is my list of must haves:
JointSmart from Smart Solutions, is a complex of fast-acting natural eggshell membrane (NEM) and Vitamin D3 that helps relieve joint pain and stiffness. NEM is a natural source of glycosaminoglycans, such as chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid among others and aids the production of type II collagen. NEM also enhances the production of chondroitin sulfate, which is an important component of cartilage. Studies have shown that NEM is an effective therapeutic option to help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.11 A fast acting formula, JointSmart helps in the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorous and helps relieve joint pain in 7-10 days.12
Bone Booster from Smart Solutions, is a blend of silica-rich bamboo extract, Vitamin D3, Strontium, Boron, and Vitamin K2 – all of the essentials for optimal bone health! Silicon plays an essential role in bone development and maintenance. Silicon in fact, improves bone matrix quality and stimulates bone mineralization, and an increased intake of bioavailable silicon has been associated with increased bone mineral density.13 The Smart Solutions Bone Health blend helps in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth, and gums.14
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies worldwide.15 Without adequate Vitamin D, our bodies simply cannot effectively absorb calcium, which is essential to good bone health. Vitamin D is also important for joint health – in fact, the physical symptoms of a deficiency may include muscle weakness16 and pain and swelling in the joints, including rheumatoid arthritis pain.17 Jamieson offers a wide variety of Vitamin D options in various doses, as well as alternative forms: tablets, sprays, gummies, softgels, chewables and drops.
A natural substance found in cartilage, glucosamine has a well-deserved reputation for stimulating the manufacture of glycosaminoglycans, which are key components of cartilage and connective tissue. Research has indicated that glucosamine sulfate can both delay the breakdown of, and repair, damaged cartilage. As a boon, glucosamine possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so naturally helps reduce inflammation, and reduce joint pain and swelling.18 Jamieson offers many glucosamine options, in varying doses, formats, as well as with the addition of a variety of supportive nutrients.
Multivitamins – Last but certainly not least, a solid multivitamin that supplies all of the essential vitamins and minerals, can go a long way to ensuring your bones, joints and muscles receive all of the nutrients they need not only to perform, but to thrive across your lifespan. Jamieson 100% Complete Multivitamins reflect the latest research on nutrients vital for your optimal health.
Effective natural supplement solutions, in tandem with a clean, healthy diet and regular exercise (a blend of aerobic and strength training is key), can not only help keep your musculoskeletal system resilient and strong, but also optimize your energy. Because it’s never too late or too early to start thinking about your musculoskeletal health!
1. Alexandra Villa-Forte, MD, MPH. Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System. Merck Manuel Consumer Version. Review/revision Dec 201. https://www.merckmanuals.com/en-ca/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/biology-of-the-musculoskeletal-system/effects-of-aging-on-the-musculoskeletal-system
2. Charlotte Beaudart, Dolores Sanchez-Rodriguez, M´ed´ea Locquet, Jean-Yves Reginster, Laetitia Lengelè, Olivier Bruyère. Malnutrition as a Strong Predictor of the Onset of Sarcopenia. Reprinted from: Nutrients 2019, 11, 2883, doi:10.3390/nu11122883
3. Daly RM. Exercise and nutritional approaches to prevent frail bones, falls and fractures: an update. Climacteric. 2017 Apr;20(2):119-124. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2017.1286890. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 28286988.
4. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Ceglia L. Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):662-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.3.662. PMID: 18326605; PMCID: PMC2597402.
5. Hardcastle AC, Aucott L, Reid DM, Macdonald HM. Associations between dietary flavonoid intakes and bone health in a Scottish population. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 May;26(5):941-7. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.285. PMID: 21541996.
6. Briguglio, M., Vitale, J. A., Galentino, R., Banfi, G., Zanaboni Dina, C., Bona, A., Panzica, G., Porta, M., Dell’Osso, B., & Glick, I. D. (2020). Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Sleep Hygiene (HEPAS) as the Winning Triad for Sustaining Physical and Mental Health in Patients at Risk for or with neuropsychiatric disorders: Considerations for Clinical Practice. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 16, 55–70. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S229206.
7. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/role-of-exercise-in-arthritis-management
8. Yoo, S. Z., No, M. H., Heo, J. W., Park, D. H., Kang, J. H., Kim, S. H., & Kwak, H. B. (2018). Role of exercise in age-related sarcopenia. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 14(4), 551–558. https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1836268.134.
9. NIH – National Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, consulted online May 27th, 2021 at: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health
10. Healthline, consulted online May 27th, 2021 at: https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/knee-pain/link-between-weight-loss-and-knee-pain.
11. Ruff, K. J., DeVore, D. P., Leu, M. D., & Robinson, M. A. (2009). Eggshell membrane: a possible new natural therapeutic for joint and connective tissue disorders. Results from two open-label human clinical studies. Clinical interventions in aging, 4, 235–240. https://doi.org/10.2147/cia.s5797.
12. Health Canada Natural Products Database, consulted online May 27th, 2021 at: https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80054316
13. Price, C. T., Koval, K. J., & Langford, J. R. (2013). Silicon: a review of its potential role in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. International journal of endocrinology, 2013, 316783. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/316783.
14. Health Canada Natural Products Database, consulted online May 27th, 2021 at: https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80024487.
15. Sizar O, Khare S, Goyal A, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency. [Updated 2021 Jan 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/.
16. Nair, R., & Maseeh, A. (2012). Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, 3(2), 118–126. https://doi.org/10.4103/0976-500X.95506.
17. Kostoglou-Athanassiou, I., Athanassiou, P., Lyraki, A., Raftakis, I., & Antoniadis, C. (2012). Vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. Therapeutic advances in endocrinology and metabolism, 3(6), 181–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042018812471070.
18. Reginster, J. Y., Neuprez, A., Lecart, M. P., Sarlet, N., & Bruyere, O. (2012). Role of glucosamine in the treatment for osteoarthritis. Rheumatology international, 32(10), 2959–2967. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-012-2416-2.