Dear Fellow ALPHA,
One of the basic truths of life is that when our bodies move well, we feel well. This interconnection between physical activity and our inner wellbeing is a foundational component to our quality of life. When we are young we can run, jump and tumble all day long, usually laughing the entire time. In our youth our bodies, especially our knees and lower back, are pliable which allows them to withstand the endless pounding of being a kid. This combination of pliability and youthful regeneration is what allows us to play hard day after day.
Ok, before we go any further let’s be honest, joint health isn’t the sexiest topic in the world. Well, at least it isn’t to those who have healthy, fully functioning joints.
However, the opposite is true for people who have experienced an injury or live with painful hips, knees, low back or shoulders. To these people, discussing tips on how to have healthy joints is sexier than a free Sade concert at the Playboy Mansion.
To say our culture is having a crisis of mobility might be the understatement of the century. In 2017, over 1 million joint replacements were performed in the US alone! According to current research the amount of people being treated for joint dysfunctions is predicted to jump to over 4 million, per year, within the next decade.
As we age, the flexibility, range of motion and regenerative ability we had as kids can start to wane. Is this because our bodies require less activity or because we are supposed to somehow move less?
In my opinion, no way!
As a practitioner who was in private practice for over a decade, I believe the main reason we are seeing such a rise in joint dysfunctions can be attributed to chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation creates a vicious cycle. The cycle starts with chronic underlying inflammation which causes sore achey joints and leads to people moving less. This immobility, leads to joint degeneration which in turn leads to more inflammation and pain. Sadly, this is a cycle many people live day in and day out with.
In addition to pain, chronic inflammation can damage more than just your joints. Chronically elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation, is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. I always recommended my patients have their CRP checked so that they have an accurate marker of their own inflammation and work to keep their inflammation under control as it has an impact on their overall health.
The tricky aspect to joint issues associated with chronic inflammation is that the symptoms, if there are any, are usually mild, at least at first. The reason chronic inflammation can silently damage joints, especially knees, hip and shoulders, is because cartilage lacks nociceptor (pain) fibers.
What this means is that when there is elevated inflammation, which can cause abnormal wear and tear, cartilage lacks the ability send pain signals, making us aware that damage is being done. Frequently the damage continues until it's too late, resulting is a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease).
Luckily, joint capsules and facet joints in the spine are richly loaded with pain fibers. In some individuals with chronic inflammation a small “tweak” can lead them to experience debilitating pain and swelling. They state they can bump their shoulder, elbow or knee and be down for the count because of the swelling and or pain. This is a classic sign the body is dealing with chronic inflammation. An early sign the body gives urging us to make a change.
However, this is where good intentions can actually hinder our bodies ability to get better. Many times when people are in pain or experience the aforementioned symptoms they open the cupboard and reach for NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
Taking NSAIDs for joint discomfort may actually be making the problem worse, at least according to the Journal of Prolotheray. Ross A. Hauser, MD believes NSAIDs actually increase the progression of arthritis and may contribute to needing joint replacement sooner and more frequently than people who refrain from using them.
Understanding that chronic inflammation is detrimental to our overall well-being makes it even more important to develop a game plan before joint and or organ dysfunction occurs.
As with all lifestyle changes it's important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting a new dietary, supplement or workout plan. The information contained in this article is not designed to replace medical advice and you should consult your healthcare provider with all of your health concerns.
One simple way to help support lower inflammation in the body is to stay hydrated. According to the Arthritis Foundation water can help flush toxins, which promote inflammation, out of the body. Plus, healthy hydration levels can keep your joints lubricated by stimulating synovial fluid production. Synovial fluid is a slippery substance that helps reduce friction within our joints. To find out your specific hydration needs I recommend reading Water: The Forgotten Macro.
Another easy way to keep inflammation at bay is by reducing specific dietary habits. Specifically, reducing the amount of starch, refined sugar and alcohol you consume. These three items have been linked to increasing the toxic load on the body as well as directly influencing the production of inflammatory substances in the body. Replacing these items with anti-inflammatory foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and grains may have a positive impact by reducing the bodies inflammatory response.
Over the past few years, dietary supplements have made some critical breakthroughs in joint health. Specifically with the introduction of astaxanthin and hyaluronic acid which have shown in recent research to be effective at promoting joint health. Plus, anti-inflammatory superstars like bromelain, quercetin, boswellia, turmeric & ginger can provide a synergistic impact by supporting the body in reducing inflammation.
As someone who is extremely physically active I want every natural edge on the market to protect my joints. That's why everyday I personally take the joint product Pliagen which contains all of the aforementioned supplements in powerful, efficacious dosages. For me, Pliagen is the best all in one anti-inflammatory, joint and mobility product on the market.
In closing, take inventory of how your joints are feeling, are they telling you something? If so, take action with every opportunity to feed your joints the necessary things they need to be healthy. After all, you only get your joints once.
Until Next Time,
Attack Your Life With Passion!
Co-Founder & CEO RAM ADVANTAGE