People living with joint pain from arthritis and other conditions are often advised to take a calcium supplement. But increasing your calcium intake is only half the battle, because a vitamin deficiency can result in poor calcium absorption. In order for your body to get the most benefit from calcium, you also need adequate amounts of vitamin D. And here in the U.S., many people are vitamin D deficient.
Sources of Vitamin D
Your body produces vitamin D when you're out in the sun, so it's often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin." People who live farther from the equator and receive less year-round sunlight are more likely to be deficient.
And it's difficult for most people to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Some sources include:
- Vitamin D fortified foods like cow's milk, soy milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals
- Fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna
- Cod Liver oil
Alfalfa may come as a surprise. Many people automatically think this food is only for livestock, but alfalfa has been used for centuries by people for its medicinal and nutritional properties. Not only is alfalfa a rich source of vitamin D, but it also contains vitamins A, E, and K.
How common is vitamin D deficiency in the U.S.?
Estimates vary on how many people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D. One article published by the National Library of Medicine puts the number at 42% of the U.S. population.
Today in the U.S., most brands of cow's milk are fortified with vitamin D. This is beneficial because many people drink cow's milk regularly. And as mentioned earlier, your body needs the vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium found in milk.
The history behind vitamin D being added to cow's milk is an interesting one. At the turn of the 20th century, rickets was a common condition in children. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and more children were spending time indoors working, away from the sun. At its peak, the condition was a public health crisis: in Boston, 80% of children reportedly had rickets.
Rickets is caused by a prolonged deficiency in vitamin D that results in the body not absorbing enough calcium. Having rickets causes soft and weakening bones. By the 1930s, the link between vitamin D and calcium was acknowledged. Vitamin D was then routinely added to cow's milk sold in stores. While rickets is very rare in the U.S. today, being deficient in vitamin D is not.
Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency
Your vitamin D level can be detected by a simple blood test in your doctor's office. Signs that you may not be getting enough of this vitamin are:
- Getting sick often
- Being more tired than usual
- Bone pain
- Feeling depressed
- Slow wound healing
- Bone loss
- Muscle pain
The Link Between Vitamin D and Joint Health
Your bones consist of collagen that is hardened by calcium and phosphorus. If you were to look at the cross section of a healthy bone, you would see dense, web-like fibers. As bone loss occurs, these fibers become less dense, resulting in more empty space.
Bones are considered "living" tissue. There is a natural cycle of bone loss and buildup that occurs throughout our entire lifetime, not just in our childhoods. But as we age, bone loss can outpace bone growth.
When bone loss is severe, conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis develop. In both of these conditions, bones become weak and more susceptible to fractures. That's where supplements and a healthy lifestyle can play an important role in keeping your bones healthy.
One of the best ways to support your bones is to be active. Weight bearing activities like walking, dancing, gardening, and using the stairs slow the mineral loss in your bones. But how can you be active when you are experiencing bone and muscle pain, not to mention feeling depressed and having low energy? That's where a supplement containing vitamin D may be beneficial.
Taking a supplement that contains vitamin D can result in:
- Better calcium absorption, which in turns helps with overall bone health
- Reduced joint and muscle pain, allowing you to exercise and be more active
- Improved mood, resulting in increased energy and motivation
Choosing a Supplement for Joint Pain
In addition to vitamin D and calcium, there are other vitamins, minerals, and all-natural substances that are beneficial to bone health.
- Vitamin A supports bone growth.
- Vitamin B-12 reduces the amount of an amino acid called homocysteine, which tends to increase as a person ages. Higher levels of homocysteine are found in people with RA and can also lead to bone loss and fractures.
- Boron supports strong bones and helps maintain muscle coordination.
- Vitamin C helps build and maintain connective tissue, which is found in cartilage and bones throughout the body.
- Vitamin D is necessary for proper calcium absorption.
- Chondroitin sulfate helps maintain healthy cartilage.
- Devil's Claw may result in decreased pain and increased flexibility in joints.
- Glucosamine sulfate helps connective tissue maintain its elasticity and cushioning properties.
- Manganese is needed for bone formation.
- Selenium may prevent rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Yucca schidigera has anti-arthritic properties that have been known for years and used in folk remedies.
- Zealand Green Lip Mussels may ease joint pain by decreasing inflammation.
If you're overwhelmed by this list, don't be! The best joint pain supplements on the market contain most, if not all, of these beneficial substances. You can learn more about all-natural joint supplements in the online publication, Better Health and Wellness.
Top-Rated Joint Pain Supplements
It's important to read customer reviews before choosing a joint pain supplement. What are people saying about the product? How long does it take the supplement to work? Does the company provide any type of guarantee?
Movexa by Eden Formulations is a top-rated, all-natural supplement that promotes healthy joints. It contains alfalfa powder, which is a plant-based, rich source of the vitamin D, along with other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay active and pain-free. To learn more about joint health and Movexa, contact us today.