Smooth tissue called cartilage and synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid cushion the joints so bones do not rub together. But increasing age, injury (even sitting the wrong way or poor posture can ultimately wear your cartilage down. This can lead to a reaction that can damage your joints and lead to arthritis.

Everyone always asks Woods, ‘What should I take?’ So when it comes to choosing joint supplements or if you cannot get them from a natural source, here are some options:

Glucosamine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. Glucosamine is the precursor to a molecule allegedly used in the formation and repair of cartilage. Treatment with glucosamine is based on the model that consumption of the ingredient may increase the rate at which new cartilage forms by providing more of the necessary building blocks. The recommended dose of glucosamine is 1500mg each day for one to two months. Continuing treatment may be considered if results are favourable.

A natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin is from animal marrow in the form of bone broth.

Chondroitin is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan in cartilage and is partly responsible for the resiliency of cartilage. Chondroitin may also important in preventing the action of enzymes that destroy cartilage. The recommended dose of chondroitin is 800 mg each day for up to two months. Ongoing treatment is often continued if results are favourable and is commonly taken in conjunction with glucosamine.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is taken because some consider it may help support healthy ligaments. Some studies indicate that a high intake may help ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The model is that the sulfur in MSM helps the body maintain healthy, flexible ligaments. MSM commonly is given as 2 to 6 g/day in 2 to 3 divided doses.

Foods that contain the sulfur compound methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) are milk (contains 3.3 ppm of MSM), raw tomatoes (up to 0.86 milligram per liter of MSM), corn may contain as much as 0.11 milligram per liter of MSM), tea (0.3 ppm of MSM), and some say beer as well!

Egg Shell Membrane (NEM) is an all-natural joint health ingredient derived from the membrane, or inner lining, of eggshells. The eggshell membrane is then dried and milled into a powder form for supplementation and is composed of naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans, including chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, collagen, amino acids and other beneficial proteins that may be essential for joint health. Recommended dose is 500mg/day.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a naturally occurring polysaccharide (carbohydrate) in the human body. It’s present in large amounts in the spaces between skin cells, where it provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to the skin. HA allegedly works by acting as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues. In addition, it might affect the way the body responds to injury. The recommended dosage for HA is not reliably established for oral supplements due to the range of different doses available and the lack of research on this. However, recommended dosages usually range from 20 to 120mg, with some recommendations as high as 200mg. Feedback on HA is that it is great for wrinkles as well!

Including foods high in hyaluronic acid may be an easy way to increase the amount of it in your body. Foods such as leafy greens, root vegetables, broths made from animal bones, skin and connective tissues are good sources. While there isn’t a direct source of hyaluronic acid, red wine may help increase the amount that your body produces on its own.

-Lawrence Woods