A Quick Guide To Choose The Best Nutraceutical For Strong Bones & Joints

Variety of supplements

The term “nutraceutical” is a combination of two words that is, “nutrient,” which is a nourishing food component, and “pharmaceutical,” which is a drug. Backed by solid evidence, continuous research, and the latest technologies, nutraceuticals have evolved beyond their traditional origins.
Nutraceuticals have phytochemicals that are known to modulate inflammatory processes, offering potential health benefits. They have the potential to prevent and manage many chronic inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune diseases that can impact the bones and joints.
Some studies have shown that regular supplementation of nutraceuticals can help increase bone mineral density and maintain bone metabolism.

While there are so many options available when it comes to choosing supplements, this guide will walk you through key factors to consider while buying nutraceuticals for strong bones and joints.

1. Understand Your Needs
Before buying any nutraceutical for joint and bone health it is essential to determine your requirements. A lot of times joint discomfort like stiffness can become an obstacle in your daily routine. By choosing the right kind of joint-support supplements, you can lessen joint inflammation, strengthen joints and bones, and reduce joint stiffness. Based on your conditions along with the lifestyle followed, age, and diet, your doctor will recommend a joint-support supplement that meets your needs.

2. Types of Nutraceuticals
There are various types of nutraceuticals for strong joints and bones are available, and each has its unique characteristics:

a. Chondroitin: This substance is naturally present in the body and protects cells called chondrocytes, which help maintain cartilage structure. Supplements enriched with chondroitin have the potential to slow cartilage deterioration in the joints and may be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis (OA). Chondroitin is safe and relatively free of side effects when used at the recommended daily dosage.

b. Omega-3 Fatty Acids/ Fish oils: These amber-colored oily supplements are effective for several inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Omega 3s, which occur mostly in fish oils, can significantly decrease joint swelling and tenderness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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c. Glucosamine: It is a chemical found in the body. Oral use of these supplements may protect your joints from damage and also help slow knee joint degeneration associated with osteoarthritis.  Glucosamine appears to be safe, even when taken for a few years. However, some people may complain of mild nausea and diarrhea.

Glucosamine supplements are sold as
Glucosamine Sulfate
Glucosamine Hydrochloride
N-acetyl Glucosamine

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d. Calcium: About 99% of calcium is stored in bones, serving as a building block for bones. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help maintain bone strength and lessen your risk of developing osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones). The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is between 1,000-1,200 mg daily, depending on the age. Taking calcium above the RDA can lead to hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the body leading to kidney stones).

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e. Vitamin D3: It is a crucial nutrient for bone health. Maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D in the body helps to prevent thinning of bones. Vitamin D deficiency often causes joint pain and swelling. For most adults, the RDA of vitamin D is about 600 IU, and for adults over 70 years, the RDA is 800 IU.

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f. Zinc: It is an essential mineral that helps in building stronger bones. Zinc is required for the growth, development, and maintenance of healthy bones.  Low dietary intake and blood levels of zinc are associated with osteoporosis in adult men and postmenopausal women.

g. Magnesium: It is naturally present in a variety of foods, available as a supplement. It is an important mineral for maintaining healthy bones. People with a higher magnesium intake have high mineral bone density, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

3. Purity & Quality
When selecting nutraceuticals for bone and joint health, it’s crucial to prioritize purity and quality. Here are some key considerations:

a. Certifications: Look for supplements certified by reputable organizations such as FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). These certifications indicate that the product meets stringent quality standards.

b. Ingredient transparency: The label should provide clear information about the ingredients used, and any additional nutrients or additives. Avoid supplements that use excessive fillers, artificial colors, or flavors.

c. Reputable brands: Choose supplements from well-known and trusted brands with a track record of producing high-quality products. Established companies often invest in research and quality control to ensure their products meet safety and efficacy standards.

4. Allergen Information
If you have food allergies or sensitivities, check the supplement label for potential allergens. Some nutraceuticals may contain common allergens like soy, gluten, or dairy.

5. Dosage Forms
Nutraceutical supplements for joints and bone health are available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, and liquids. Select a form that is convenient for you to take regularly.

6. Tolerance
For some individuals, specific nutraceutical supplements may lead to mild side effects like nausea and diarrhea. If you experience too much digestive discomfort after taking it, consider it taking with food or trying a different formulation.

7. Cost Considerations
When purchasing nutraceuticals for bone and joint health, it’s essential to consider cost-effectiveness without compromising the quality. Here are some tips for cost considerations:

a. Price comparison: Compare prices of different brands and forms. Do not assume that higher-priced supplements are always of better quality. Look for reputable brands that offer good value for money.

b. Buying in bulk: Purchasing supplements in bulk can often lead to cost savings. However, be sure you use them before they expire, as supplements have a shelf life.

c. Discounts & promotions: Keep an eye out for discounts, promotions, or special offers from reputable retailers or online stores. This can provide an opportunity to buy quality supplements at a reduced cost.

d. Generic vs. branded supplements: Generic or store-brand supplements can be more budget-friendly compared to well-known brand names. Check the label to ensure they meet quality and purity standards.

8. Customer Reviews & Recommendations
Reading customer reviews and seeking recommendations from healthcare professionals or trusted sources can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and quality of a particular supplement.

Quick tips for using nutraceuticals effectively:

a. Consistency is key: Take your nutraceuticals for joints and bones, consistently at the same time each day. This helps maintain steady nutrient levels in your body, promoting overall effectiveness.

b. Pair with a balanced diet: Use nutraceuticals for bone health as a supplement, not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. They are designed to complement your nutritional intake, not replace it.

c. Timing & combinations: Some nutrients are best absorbed with food, while others may be more effective on an empty stomach. Follow the instructions on the product label regarding when and how to take your nutraceuticals for optimal absorption.

d. Consult a healthcare professional: Before starting any new nutraceutical regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

e. Do not exceed dosage: Adhere to the recommended dosages provided on the product label or as advised by a healthcare professional. Excessive intake of certain minerals and calcium can result in toxicity.

f. Be mindful of interactions: Certain vitamins and minerals can interact with medications or other supplements. Be aware of potential interactions, and inform your healthcare provider about all the supplements you are taking.

In conclusion, bone and joint supplements can be a valuable addition to your daily routine, especially if you have difficulty meeting your requirements through diet alone.

However, it’s crucial to make informed choices based on your requirements and preferences. Always consult a healthcare provider for guidance on supplementation especially if you have underlying health conditions or take other medications. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific health needs.

Disclaimer: Nutraceuticals use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No nutraceutical is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

(The article is written by Simran Suri, Assistant Team Lead, and reviewed by Monalisa Deka, Senior Health Content Editor)

1. Colletti A, Cicero AFG. Nutraceutical Approach to Chronic Osteoarthritis: From Molecular Research to Clinical Evidence.[Updated 2021]. National Library of Medicine.

2. Vitamin D. Fact sheet for Consumers. National Institutes Of Health.[Updated 2022].
3. O’Connor JP, Kanjilal D, Teitelbaum M, Lin SS, Cottrell JA. Zinc as a Therapeutic Agent in Bone Regeneration.[Updated 2020].
4. Magnesium. Harvard T.H. Chan. [Updated 2023].
5. Calcium.Harvard T.H.Chan.[Updated 2023].

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