Maintaining healthy bones and joints is especially important as we age. Bones are a type of hard tissue providing structural support for the body, whereas joints are connection points between two or more bones.  Over time, bone density decreases and joint movement stiffens, which increases the risk of mobility issues, fractures, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.  Maintaining a healthy diet and, when necessary, supplementing with certain nutrients may help preserve healthy bones and reduce the risk of fractures, osteoarthritis, and related pain.

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Below is some useful information about top recommended supplements for exercise and structural health support, including popular products from my dispensary.

Best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is a plant chemical derived from the root of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa), a species of the ginger family.  Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in reducing joint pain, including one study that found that curcumin has similar pain-relieving effects as ibuprofen. Certain formulations of curcumin have poor bioavailability, meaning that they are poorly absorbed by the body. However, simultaneously consuming the compound piperine from black pepper has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.  Additionally, licensed formulations of curcumin, such as BCM-95® and Longvida®, have improved bioavailability.

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Glucosamine, a naturally occurring compound in the body, plays a key role in forming and repairing cartilage. Supplementing with glucosamine has been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and reduce pain and inflammation. Combining glucosamine with chondroitin, a substance found in connective tissue, may also increase overall effectiveness.

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Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium from food and supplements.  Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation can prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.  Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is synthesized in the body when the skin absorbs UVB rays from the sun.  Certain dietary sources, such as fish, dairy products, and eggs, provide vitamin D as well.  Individuals who spend limited time outdoors or don’t get enough vitamin D through their diet may benefit from supplementation.

The list below outlines the established recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for daily intake of vitamin D based on age. 
  • 400 IU (10mcg) for infants 0-12 months
  • 600 IU (15 mcg) for children 1-13 years
  • 600 IU (15mcg) for adolescents 14-18 years
  • 600 IU (15 mcg) for adults 19-70 years
  • 800 IU (20 mcg) for adults 71 years and older 
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Calcium and magnesium
Calcium and magnesium work closely together to build and maintain strong bones and are often found together in supplement form. Magnesium is needed for calcium absorption and helps direct calcium to the bones instead of soft tissues. Adequate intake of calcium and magnesium may reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.  Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, and kale.  Magnesium is found naturally in many plant-based foods, including nuts and seeds, bananas, some legumes (e.g., soybeans and black beans), and whole grains. The daily recommended intake of magnesium is 300 to 400 mg per day for adults. Calcium needs for adults range between 1,000 to 1,300 mg per day. 

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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is found in bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. There are more than 16 types of collagen; however, Type II collagen is most important for joint health. Type II collagen supports the joints by providing strength and elasticity to cartilage.  As collagen production naturally declines with age, supplementing with Type II collagen may help reduce pain and inflammation and improve the physical function of the joints. 

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