There are many ways to support joint comfort, especially when there is an overactive or consistent immune response. This immune response is characterised by mobility issues and stiffness. Whether you’ve been experiencing it a long time or you just over-did it in the garden, one thing is certain: when it is happening, all you want is for it to stop. Fortunately, there are some excellent and effective natural remedies that can support the comfort of your joints and muscles and the regeneration of joint cartilage.
Muscles are commonly associated with tension, affecting most of us at some point. If your muscles are tight and tense all the time, whether it be from going to the gym, sitting in the car for long periods of time, or sometimes for no apparent reason at all, you may be lacking magnesium.
Magnesium is the mineral most associated with muscle relaxation. Magnesium deficiency is common these days due to our modern lifestyles. Your body uses up high amounts when under stress, and when you sweat, you’re losing magnesium. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for us to get the amount we need from foods, so a natural supplement may help. To help replenish the magnesium levels in your body, it’s best taken in tablet form. For muscle tension, magnesium can also be applied topically as a cream, directly to the affected area to help soothe and relax your muscles, joints, and nerves.
Alternatively, Epsom salts are a great source of magnesium sulphate that you can add to your bath. They have been used for centuries to support muscles, and as an added benefit, they eliminate toxins from your body. The warm water, combined with Epsom salts increases circulation… and besides, it’s a good excuse to have a relaxing hot bath!
Cartilage acts as a shock-absorber allowing for smooth, painless motion. Once your cartilage deteriorates either from injury, overuse, or general wear and tear, movement becomes restricted, interfering with daily activities. If your cartilage isn’t what it was, don’t panic – there are things you could try.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are well-researched ingredients that are building blocks of cartilage. Glucosamine and chondroitin support the cells that build cartilage, but this process is slow because there is no blood supply through the cartilaginous structure, the cells have to respond from the outside in. Taking a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement over time can support your body to deal with cartilage while you sleep. Think of it as a long-term strategy, not a short-term fix.
Green lipped mussel is another supplement that can support a range of joint-related symptoms. The active component in mussel extract, mucopolysaccharide supports the body’s defences. It also contains an antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), which further supports joints and bones.
Natural health options
A protracted, or overactive, immune response is associated with so many of our modern health issues. One of the most well-known and effective herbal option on the market today is turmeric. Generally, we think of turmeric as a spice that is added to curries to give it that brilliant golden colour and delicious flavour, but herbal grade turmeric, which you buy in a capsule, contains high amounts of the active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has powerful antioxidant properties, making it especially supportive of joints and muscles.
Antioxidants support the body’s own antioxidant processes, and this supports joints and collagen structures as we use them. As well as turmeric and green lipped mussel, grape seed extract is a potent antioxidant, rich in bioflavonoids. It supports cartilage, cells, and blood vessels as they go about their jobs.
Essential Fatty Acids also support a healthy immune response. Fish Oil and Krill Oil both contain omega 3 fatty acids in their active forms – DHA and EPA – shown to be effective agents for supporting joints and muscles, and cartilage, especially.
Evening Primrose Oil contains the omega 6, gamma linoleic acid, which may support joint health. Flax Seed Oil contains omega 3, 6 and 9 in the perfect ratio to support the immune response, provided the diet does not contain seed/vegetable oils and processed foods as well. Too much linoleic acid, a predominantly plant-sourced omega 6 fatty acid, can be harmful and encourage a protracted immune response. While flaxseed and evening primrose oil are good sources of “plant omegas”, do not rely on them to give you all your essential fatty acids. The plant omegas are poorly converted in the body, with great variability between individuals. Animal fats are by far the best place to get the omega fats in the best ratios.
While joint and muscle tension may arise in different forms, for different reasons, there are a plethora of natural tools all designed for varying symptoms to combat it. If you’re unsure which is best for you, talk to your naturopath. The best thing about these things is that they do not have to be permanent.