Joint problems come in many forms and can be uncomfortable at best and very debilitating at worst. Your joints play a vital role in everyday life tasks yet we often undervalue the role our joints play in everything we enjoy such as cooking, jogging, or even reading a book.
Similar to your car or any appliance in your home, our joints wear down as they age or get overused. Suddenly, whipping up your favorite meal is a painful chore instead of a relaxing bit of “me time.” Joint health issues are extremely widespread and aren’t discriminatory when it comes to whom they affect.
The most common form of joint health issues is arthritis. However, I’m about to tell you about a part of your body you may not have considered to be the root of your joint health issues – your synovial joints and the fluid they contain.
The fluid of your synovial joints can deplete over time because of injuries and overuse. However, there is something you can do to support the health of these ball and socket joints and I will tell you how later. Let’s get into what your synovial joints are exactly.
What is a Synovial Joint?
You have 206 bones in your body and about 300 joints, which are where your bones meet. Most of your joints are synovial joints that allow you to move, such as your knees, elbows, shoulders and knuckles.
When your joints move, the bones glide against each other with little or no friction. If your joints are healthy, the bone surfaces are protected by a layer of slick articular cartilage1 that can be less than 1 millimeter to more than 6 millimeter thick2 and a slippery substance called synovial fluid, which is made up of hyaluronic acid and albumin that gives it its slick texture. This fluid’s purpose is to provide cushion and lubrication to your joints. It also delivers nutrients and removes waste from your cartilage.
A synovial membrane called the synovium surrounds the joint surfaces and synovial fluid. Think of it like a cocoon filled with synovial fluid that encapsulates the joint and is surrounded by tendons that attach the muscle to the bone and ligaments that attach the bones together. All of these elements work together as a team. The health of one of the supporting structures directly affects the others. Sometimes, the synovium can become inflamed. This is a condition known as synovitis and I will go into detail about that in just a second. First, let’s talk about the common causes of joint health issues.
Causes of Joint Health Issues
There are several causes of joint health issues, from aging to arthritis to injuries to dehydration. Here are the 9 primary causes of joint health issues:
The most common – and unavoidable – cause of joint depletion is aging. Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects the bones in your joints from rubbing up against each other. It is made up of collagen and proteins. As we get older, the cartilage in our joints begins to deplete as our bodies stop naturally producing collagen. What’s more, at the age of 40 our body’s supply of collagen starts to deplete.
Another cause of joint health issues is exercise. Yes, exercise is good for you! The paradox is that while exercise is great for your overall health, playing sports and doing strenuous exercise puts a lot of pressure on your joints, especially those found in the shoulders, knees, and elbows.
Accidents happen and an injury can be painful on its own. However, injuries can lead to long-term joint health issues such as post-traumatic arthritis, a form of osteoarthritis.3
Joint health issues can be triggered by your body attacking itself — in the case of rheumatoid arthritis — or brought on by wear and tear — in the case of osteoarthritis. These conditions lead to painful sensations and inflammation.
Logically, if rheumatoid arthritis is a cause of joint health issues, then it makes sense that other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia can too. If you are anywhere on the autoimmune spectrum, your body is more prone to inflammation, which is at the root of almost all joint health issues.
Use of Tobacco
In order to keep inflammation and joint problems at bay, it is important to avoid using tobacco products such as cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Not only is the use of tobacco bad for your overall health and can lead to heart disease and cancer, the nicotine and tar in these products can build up in your joints, causing intense inflammation.4
Your joints need fluid like the rest of your body. About 70-80% of your joint cartilage is made of water, so it is no surprise that dehydration is a cause of joint pain.5 Staying properly hydrated will help keep your joints hydrated as well as your entire body!
If you have ever been told you are double-jointed, then you have hypermobility. This is when your joints have an abnormal range of movement. Some flexibility in the joints is beneficial, however, when it goes beyond the normal range of motion, it can lead to joint health problems, even if you’re young.6
These 9 causes of joint health issues are commonly well-known and understood. However, I want to tell you about another cause of joint health issues that you may not be aware of: synovitis.
What is Synovitis?
In an active, healthy person, synovitis occurs most commonly due to overuse of the joint. This is extremely common in weightlifters or someone with a job that requires repeated movement such as lifting or squatting.
However, synovitis is also common in those with autoimmune disease or osteoarthritis. If you have autoimmune disease, the inflammation of the synovium is part of an immune system response where the body mistakes its own cartilage as a foreign invader and attacks it.
Joint pain is the most common symptom of synovitis, however it’s not always accompanied by swelling or any sign of injury.7
Conventional medicine treats synovitis with NSAIDs, which are damaging to your gut and can lead to leaky gut, and in some cases steroid injections. Luckily, there are natural ways to support your joints for a healthy inflammatory response. I’ve also got a new, exciting tool to support your synovial joints that I can’t wait to tell you about!
9 Ways to Support Joint Health
While there are many causes of joint health issues, the good news is there are also many natural ways to support joint health. Here are 9 steps you can take without having to rely on gut-harming over-the-counter medications.
1. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity is linked to joint problems because extra weight puts more strain on joints.8 Studies show that adults over the age of 18 that are overweight or obese are up to 15% more likely to report doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The wonderful news is that shedding even just a few pounds can help prevent future inflammation and you can do that through diet and exercise.
2. Gentle Movement & Exercise
Though it might feel counterintuitive at first, including aerobic and resistance exercise training in your routine is one of the best steps you can take to improve your joint health.9 Some great sports and activities for joint support are aerobic exercise, weight training, cycling, swimming or dancing, and yoga.10 It doesn’t matter which activity you do! The key point to remember is that because inactivity can cause mobility issues and worsen conditions such as arthritis, any kind of low-impact movement you enjoy will be beneficial to your joints. If you do suffer from joint pain, you want to make sure you don’t overdo it so that you’re not putting more strain on your joints.
3. Take a Bath In Epsom Salts
After exercise, I love taking a detoxifying, relaxing bath with epsom salts. Epsom salts are high in magnesium and sulfates, which have been shown to support a healthy inflammatory response, relax tense muscles, and reduce muscle spasms.11 The minerals they contain are absorbed through your skin, so adding them to your bath, or even making a cold compress applied directly to the achy area that is bothering you, can lead to quick results.
4. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
As you know, inflammation is a major contributor to many health problems, including joint health issues. To best support your joints, you should remove inflammatory foods, especially gluten and dairy from your diet. I also recommend eliminating toxic foods such as processed sugars, GMOs, nightshade vegetables, alcohol, caffeine, and trans fats or hydrogenated oils found in fried foods, fast food, and packaged snack products.12
What Foods Help with Inflammation
Instead of eating toxic or inflammatory foods, you can actually eat joint-supporting, anti-inflammatory foods! Foods that actively fight inflammation include berries, leafy green vegetables, healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, garlic, green tea, ginger, rosemary, and holy basil.
5. Essential Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fat DHA is found in bone marrow and enhances bone mineral content, and is also helpful in facilitating a healthy inflammatory response and supporting your joints. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, and grass-fed beef. However, I also recommend supplementation to ensure you’re getting enough each day. Complete Omega 3 Softgels contain a whopping 860 mg of EPA/DHA in each tablet, so you only need one per day. They are also filtered for damaging and inflammatory heavy metals, which can be found in most other leading fish oils.
6. Gelatin and Collagen
Both gelatin and collagen are packed with amino acids and provide numerous health benefits, such as supporting your gut barrier, liver, cardiovascular system, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and your joint health! There’s not much difference between gelatin and collagen. Gelatin is simply a cooked version of collagen. Both can be incorporated easily into your diet. Adding collagen to your morning coffee or a smoothie is a great easy way to get collagen. If you’re cooking, try a recipe with gelatin as a substitute for eggs as a binder, such as this indulgent Cinnamon Cocoa Coconut Custard.
7. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is one most important and easiest steps you can take to support your joint health. As I mentioned earlier, 70% to 80% of your joint cartilage is made up of water so it’s important to stay hydrated. You should drink half an ounce of water for every pound you weigh each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 to 150 ounces of water each day depending on your activity level.
You should be careful with the water you drink. Tap water and plastic bottles can have toxins and chemicals in them that lead to inflammation and cause joint health issues. I recommend using a water filtering system to lower your body’s toxic burden. I have an Aquasana filtering system in my home and I love it. Aquasana’s filtration system removes up to 99% of 88 contaminants, instantly transforming ordinary tap water into clean, healthy water.
8. Curcumin for Healthy Inflammatory Response
Curcumin is a powerful substance found in the herb turmeric. It is one of the three main active compounds, or curcuminoids, that give turmeric its bright yellow color. It has been shown to optimize the body’s inflammatory response.13
The problem with most turmeric supplements is that most supplements simply don’t work. Because there’s so little curcumin in turmeric, most turmeric supplements on the market have very low percentages of the useful bioactive compounds that offer all of turmeric’s wonderful health benefits. That’s why I recommend a liposomal form of curcumin.
9. SynoComplete™ to Support Synovial Joints
While the above natural ways to support your joint health are great, your six major synovial joints including your knees, shoulders, and hips need a little extra support. After years of trying to find the right support for my synovial joints with no success, I formulated SynoComplete™.
When your synovial fluid levels are low, it cannot provide all of its critical support. If your synovial fluid becomes too thin or even too thick, it can’t deliver the necessary lubrication to protect your joints. This leads to cartilage damage, pain, and discomfort1. This can be caused by age, infections, arthritis, environmental toxins, and more.
SynoComplete™ is a 6-in-1, physician-formulated complex for effective and targeted joint support. Each capsule delivers a bioactive form of glucosamine, pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, as well as nourishing botanicals for joint health, lubrication, and flexibility.
Your joint health is crucial for optimal health. Like your car or refrigerator, your joints need a little support from time to time to function optimally. SynoComplete™ is the perfect support for your synovial joints so that you can keep doing activities you enjoy!
FAQs about joint health
How can I improve my joint health?
How can I improve my joint health?
To improve your joint health, you should exercise moderately, stay hydrated, avoid cigarettes, and maintain a healthy weight.
What is the best joint supplement?
What is the best joint supplement?
The best joint support is a healthy lifestyle combined with supplements such as SynoComplete™ and curcumin.
What will help joint pain?
What will help joint pain?
To relieve joint pain instantly, try taking a warm bath in Epsom salt. Over time, an anti-inflammatory diet including collagen, gelatin, and omega-3 fatty acids will ease the pain caused by joint health issues.
- What Is Cartilage?. Emmanuel Konstantakos, MD. Arthritis Health. 2016.
- How Do Synovial Joints Work?. Emmanuel Konstantakos, MD. Arthritis Health. 2016.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis. Cleveland Clinic. 2021.
- Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health. American Academy of Orthopedic Health. 2021.
- Dehydration and Joint Pain. Orthopedic Specialists. 2019.
- Generalized joint hypermobility in childhood is a possible risk for the development of joint pain in adolescence: a cohort study. Oline Sohrbeck-Nøhr, Jens Halkjær Kristensen, Eleanor Boyle, Lars Remvig, and Birgit Juul-Kristensen. BMC Pediatrics Vol. 14. 2014.
- Synovitis. Hospital for Special Surgery. 2021.
- Arthritis-Related Statistics. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. 2021.
- Benefits of Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Jennifer K. Cooney, Rebecca-Jane Law, Verena Matschke, Andrew B. Lemmey, Jonathan P. Moore, Yasmeen Ahmad, Jeremy G. Jones, Peter Maddison, and Jeanette M. Thom. National Library of Medicine. 2011.
- Exercise and sports for rheumatoid arthritis. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). 2020.
- Why Take an Epsom Salts Bath?. Carol DerSarkissian, MD. WebMD. 2019.
- Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Alleviates the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis. Chelsea M. Clinton, Shanley O'Brien, Junwen Law, Colleen M. Renier, and Mary R. Wendt. Arthritis. 2015.
- The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Kok-Yong Chin. Drug design, development, and therapy. 2016.