What You Should Know About Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Eight Reasons Glucosamine and Chondroitin May Not Be for You
- Many people do not believe it works for them. It can take a while to build up enough for people to see a direct benefit from it. It’s quite possible that some people give up before reaching that point.
- The pills are often very large and many may find them difficult to swallow and you are often required to take large numbers of them every day. In all likelihood, those factors lead to non-compliance (not taking them).
- Only a small fraction of the glucosamine you take is actually utilised by your body. In the case of pills and capsules, the studies demonstrate that only about 15% to 20% is absorbed.
- Much of the glucosamine on the market is derived from shellfish, specifically crab, lobster, and shrimp shells a common allergen. Obviously, you should avoid glucosamine if you’re allergic to shellfish.
- The long-awaited NIH trials on glucosamine showed disappointing results. There were no significant differences between glucosamine alone, chondroitin alone, or the two combined, when tested against placebo.
- While generally considered to be free of side effects, some people do experience gastro-intestinal upset from it. Chondroitin molecules are large, making it difficult for your body to digest, which could be what causes problems for some people.
- It’s not clear, even after many studies, whether glucosamine affects blood sugar levels. In Dr Mercola’s opinion, people with diabetes or hypoglycemia should be cautious about taking glucosamine and should carefully monitor their blood sugar levels if taking it.
Getting to the Heart of the Issue… What Happens to Your Joints and Connective Tissue As You Age
So from certain studies glucosamine and chondroitin may not be enough by themselves. So what else do you need? To help answer that question, let’s take a closer look at your joints and connective tissue…
Cartilage is a specialised form of living connective tissue that lines the bone in a healthy joint. It lends strength and flexibility to your body. Cartilage cells produce long chain molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). When combined with water, they provide cushioning to protect your bones during movement and exercise.
Two of the most common GAGs are chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid, both of which are naturally present in healthy connective tissue and cartilage. Hyaluronic acid helps cartilage maintain its flexibility, elasticity, and strength.
As you age, your joints’ cartilage can lose water and become dry and less elastic. Production of joint fluid and GAGs may also decline. Bottom line, it becomes more difficult to replace the cartilage you lose.
The good news is, cartilage can benefit from supplementation with the right nutrients; more than just glucosamine and chondroitin alone.
Straight From the Barnyard, the Many Wonders of Eggshell Membrane for Your Joint Health
Eggshell membrane is the glossy lining left behind in the shell when you crack open an egg. It’s the protective barrier between the egg white and the mineralised eggshell. Loaded with naturally occurring nutrients, eggshell membrane can be a godsend for your joints and surrounding tissues.
Here are some of the components found in this precious material…
- Collagen (Type 1) – A fibrous protein that supports cartilage and connective tissue strength and elasticity
- Elastin – A protein that supports skin, cartilage, cardiovascular and spinal health, giving tissue its elastic tension and ability to resume its shape after stretching
- Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – Includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all structural components of connective tissue, interstitial fluids, and skeletal structure
- Transforming growth factor-b – A protein that plays a crucial role in cellular differentiation and immune function
- Desmosine and isodesmosine – Two little-known amino acids responsible for elastin’s elastic or “rubbery” properties
Eggshell membrane, with all these valuable components working together, help:
- Support a healthy range of motion
- Deliver nutrients to your cartilage and the soft tissue surrounding your joints
- Support a healthy inflammatory response
So how can you get this unique glossy material, you may be wondering?
Introducing NEM®… Eco-Friendly Eggshell Membrane Matrix From the Midwestern Heartland
Straight from real, freshly cracked eggs, Natural Eggshell Membrane, or NEM® brand eggshell membrane matrix offers the important building blocks collagen, elastin, GAGs and other proteins to support the stability and flexibility of your joints and to help maintain your joint cartilage.
NEM® brand eggshell membrane is an eco-friendly product. And it has a fascinating story behind it…
Watching truckload after truckload full of discarded shells departing from a local Midwestern egg-breaking facility, NEM ’s founder wondered how he could help save 600,000 tons of eggshells from being discarded into American landfills each year.
That drove him to digging into the research and discovering eggshell membrane had been used for many years in Japan for countless health benefits, including joint health. Truly a eureka moment, NEM ’s founder launched his company’s mission to transform this wasted resource into a powerful, naturally sourced joint health supplement.
Today, this forward-thinking company is preventing thousands of tons of eggshells from becoming environmental waste, and instead, they’re contributing to consumer wellness. And the process they use to manufacture NEM is no less environmentally friendly.
Their FDA inspected, NSF-certified GMP facilities leave no detrimental ecological footprint. Using a gentle patented process, the eggshells and their attached membranes are separated from each other. The isolated membrane is then partially hydrolysed and dry-blended to produce 100 % pure NEM powder.
Made completely in the U.S.A., every lot of NEM undergoes testing to verify it is low in toxic heavy metals and free from pathogenic bacteria. Plus, it’s certified Kosher and Halal and free of any genetically engineered material!
3 Ways NEM® Eggshell Membrane May Benefit Your Joint and Cartilage Health
NEM brand eggshell membrane contains three times the support for your joints, and provides it in as little as four to 11 days! A small, single daily dose of only 500 mg provides fast-acting joint support and helps support healthy joints three ways – against pain, stiffness and cartilage breakdown.
Because NEM® naturally contains many of the same key nutrients found in healthy joint cartilage including glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin and hyaluronic acid), collagen, and peptides, it offers the potential for:
- Joint comfort support
- Reducing joint aches and pains
- A reduction of exercise-induced joint pain and stiffness
- Reduced joint stiffness in a quick four days
- Joint flexibility support
- Reducing cartilage breakdown from normal wear and tear by providing needed building blocks for healthy joint function
- Fast and continued results for overall joint health
Feel Better with Super-Antioxidant Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin – the carotenoid pigment that gives flamingos and shrimp their rosy pink hue – is a fat-soluble antioxidant with a unique molecular structure. It is similar in structure to beta-carotene, but much more effective at scavenging destructive free radicals.
In fact, studies show astaxanthin may be 10 times more effective than beta-carotene in its ability to protect against free radical attack, and 550 times more effective than vitamin E!
This super antioxidant is now thought to be the most powerful antioxidant found in nature. And because it is soluble in lipids, it crosses protective barriers and embeds itself into and helps protect mitochondrial and cellular membranes.
Free radicals can cause tissue and joint damage. Compared to a normal healthy joint, an inflamed joint contains significantly increased levels of harmful free radicals.
Astaxanthin has been found to be especially helpful for preventing and slowing down free radical damage to joints. It is unique among carotenoids because it traps free radicals at both ends of the molecule. It’s also very effective at quenching a molecule called singlet oxygen, a harmful reactive oxygen species formed through normal biological processes.
Singlet oxygen possesses a high amount of excess energy that must be released to keep it from damaging other cells. Astaxanthin absorbs this energy and dissipates it as heat, thereby returning the singlet oxygen to a grounded state.
Astaxanthin works diligently to support a healthy inflammatory response, which can result in fewer aches and pains and greater comfort. Studies show it helps:
- Support grip strength among tennis players
- Support joint health and mobility after exercise
- Support joint health and quicker recovery times for elite athletes after intense training and exercise
A Gift From One of Earth’s Oldest Life Forms… A Fine Source of Astaxanthin for Dr Mercola’s Joint Formula
Microalgae is one of earth’s oldest life forms. It has survived many, many years through the harshest of conditions. Its genes may actually hold a secret for our own survival.
The first building block and source of life itself, algae provides one of the finest gifts for health: astaxanthin.
As a survival mechanism, the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis produces astaxanthin when its water supply dries up to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation and lack of nutrition.
You can get astaxanthin two ways – from the microalgae that produces it, or the sea creatures that feed upon the algae, such as salmon, krill and shrimp.
The astaxanthin used for this Joint Formula is supplied by one of the premier suppliers of high-quality astaxanthin extracted from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis.
Most manufacturers use open ponds where the algae is exposed to the elements and can come into contact with agricultural runoff and other environmental toxins. Mercola’s manufacturer grows the microalgae in glass tubes so it’s protected from contamination plus it avoids the use of PVC and plasticisers.
Using state-of-the-art Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2) technology, a standardised high quality astaxanthin oleoresin is extracted from the Haematococcus pluvialis biomass:
- Contains 95 % total carotenoids
- Tested for purity with less than 0.5 ppm heavy metals
- Uses no genetically engineered substances
Source matters when it comes to astaxanthin… Petrochemical-derived astaxanthin has begun to hit the market and, understandably, it costs less than astaxanthin from microalgae. Because of this, you can’t be too careful when shopping for astaxanthin.
Ayurvedic Herb Used for Centuries
Boswellia Serata or Indian frankincense is an Ayurvedic herb used for centuries in India for joint support. Not to be confused with the frankincense or boswellia carterii, which is used to make the essential oil, the resin made from the boswellia serrata extract was highly prized during the peak of the Roman and Indian civilizations.
This gum resin is extracted from the medium-to-large-sized boswellia serrata tree that grows in the dry mountainous regions of India, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Indian frankincense contains four major pentacyclic triterpenic acids, or more commonly known as boswellic acids. Studies show these boswellic acids promote a healthy inflammatory response in your body, thus helping to control tissue damage from free radicals.
Working on the cellular and molecular levels, Indian frankincense supports:
- The health of your body’s connective tissues
- healthy joint function
- The normal flexibility of your body
- A normal and comfortable range of motion
- Healthy normal blood flow to your joints
With regular use, Indian frankincense can help maintain steady blood flow to your joints and support your joint tissues’ ability to boost flexibility and strength.
Hyaluronic Acid for Joint Comfort
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a polysaccharide found in nearly every cell in your body. It’s a key component of your cartilage and connective tissue and synovial fluid that’s secreted by the synovial membrane surrounding your joints.
HA’s main function is to reduce friction in your joints to help them move smoothly. It does this by providing lubrication and nutrients and removing wastes.
Synovial fluid, which contains hyaluronic acid, acts as a lubricant, nutrient carrier and shock absorber to protect your joints and bones during normal movement.
Your cartilage is immersed in, and fed by the synovial fluid. Without HA, nutrients can’t move into these cells… and waste can’t be moved out.
Your body produces hyaluronic acid, and you can get it from foods like grass fed meats and bone broth from these meats. Vitamin C- and magnesium-rich foods play critical roles in the synthesis of HA.
However, as you grow older, your body’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid declines. If you’re not allergic to eggs or poultry, supplemental hyaluronic acid can help provide valuable support for cushioning your joints.
The hyaluronic acid Dr Mercola has added to their Joint Formula is a patented medium-chain hyaluronic acid that has a lower molecular weight than traditional HA.
Studies show this form of highly bioactive hyaluronic acid is more bioavailable to your connective tissue and works well with astaxanthin for joint health.
This special low-density hyaluronic acid:
- Supports the production of synovial fluids to lubricate your points
- Supports your immune function
- Supports a normal, balanced inflammatory response
In clinical studies by the manufacturer, this unique blend dramatically reduced knee joint discomfort and was shown to have a cumulative beneficial effect with time on optimising joint comfort.
Support Your Active Lifestyle
Mercola Joint Formula overcomes a chief objection to glucosamine and chondroitin supplements and that is the giant size of the pills. Mercola Joint Formula comes in a small, easy to swallow, once-a-day dosage and it’s way smaller than your typical glucosamine and chondroitin pills.
You get four great ingredients which support your joint tissues to help promote flexibility, strength, stamina, mobility, and cushioning which in turn supports your active lifestyle.
An All-in-One High-Quality Joint Formula
With Dr Mercola’s Joint Formula, they have done things differently to make life easier for you. Now, with just one tablet per day, you get four prized joint nutrients – Eggshell Membrane Matrix, Astaxanthin, Indian Frankincense, and Hyaluronic Acid.
And Mercola have doubled the amount of eggshell membrane matrix to 500 mg to take into account the dosage levels used in the newest clinical studies!
With Joint Formula, you get four great ingredients which support your joint tissues to help promote flexibility, strength, stamina, mobility, and cushioning; which in turn supports your active lifestyle and helps you do all your favourite things.
“6 Strategies to Help Promote Flexible and Healthy Joints”
To fully appreciate all life has to offer you want healthy joints that are comfortable and flexible. Healthy joints make it more enjoyable to play ball with your grandson, go for a walk with your wife (or husband), play golf etc.
Millions of people of all ages realise they could use additional support to help promote joint flexibility in order to help maximise their opportunities to be an integral part of their families and community. So, what strategies can you use to help keep your joints healthy and flexible.
- Exercise. There’s a common urban legend that exercise is bad for your joints. Most people have little appreciation for how powerful exercise can be in supporting joint function. Vigorous low-impact exercise is beneficial for your joints, as well as for cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other systems in your body. It’s simply a myth that you can “wear down” your knees just from average levels of exercise and/or normal activity. In fact, inactivity causes your muscles to become weaker and actually works against optimal joint flexibility and comfort. One caution, however, when using this valuable tool, you need to start slowly if you have not been exercising regularly and build up to higher activity levels otherwise you risk incurring an injury that could really set you back. If typical vigorous exercise is not easy for you, try walking, tai chi, and yoga, as they are very low impact, yet offer many health benefits
- Achieve your optimal weight to improve your bio-mechanic function. One of the outstanding benefits of exercise is its ability to help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight, which is highly beneficial to your joints. Overweight and obese people compromise joint comfort more than those who are carrying their ideal load. Each additional kilogram of body mass increases the compressive load over your knee by roughly 4 kilograms. Research shows that a weight loss of as little as 5 kg (11 pounds) can have a positive effect on joint function. And those who are at their optimal weight experience increased joint health as compared to those who are obese or overweight. So you go full circle, losing weight reduces the load on your joints and makes it easier to exercise, and exercising helps you lose weight and supports your joint health.
- Eat a higher quality diet – Eliminate sugar and starchy carbs from your diet and definitely stop drinking carbonated sugary drinks. These foods do absolutely nothing to support healthy joints or a healthy body. In fact, their potential for damage is well documented. Dr Mercola believes you should limit your total fructose from ALL sources to no more than 25 grams per day, as it raises uric acid levels, which is hard on your joints. Now, chances are, you consume substantially more than 25 grams per day. Approximately _ of Americans consume a whopping 134 grams of fructose every day! Within your 25 grams of fructose, you could consider including some tart cherries or concentrated tart cherry juice. They contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, which help support a healthy immune response for your joints and whole-body health.
- Optimise your vitamin D levels – Vitamin D also supports a healthy immune response. Please recognise that during the autumn, winter, and early spring in many parts of the UK your vitamin D levels can drop precipitously. If your levels fall, you give up the support this vitamin offers for your joints and your whole body.
- Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from krill or high-quality fish oil. Omega-3s support your joint health.
- Try EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). EFT is an energy psychology tool that uses tapping and acupuncture meridians to help resolve the emotional factors that contribute to less-than-optimal health.