The Structure of Joints
Your joints are generally made of three parts -- cartilage, bone, and fluid. As the cartilage in your joints begins to diminish and wear down, the bones start to grind together which produces some obvious pain. In addition to the cartilage that rests between the bones, the body also has a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid that coats the cartilage and helps to protect and lubricate the joints, and helps to keep the cartilage intact. Inside most joints, a synovial membrane exists that secretes fluid which coats the cartilage and helps to lubricate joints. If this lubrication is present in abundance, it can help keep existing cartilage from wearing down further and can reduce the pain of arthritis and other joint issues. If you're interested in lubricating your joints and keeping them healthy, then one of the best ways you can do that is to concentrate on the synovial fluid and how to boost it.
Foods that Lubricate Joints
There are two types of food that can help battle joint pain. One type of food is anti inflammatory food, which helps to lower the body's inflammation response and generally greatly lessens joint pain. The other type of food that helps battle arthritis and joint pain is food that supports cartilage and synovial fluid growth and maintenance, helping to maintain the integrity of the joints and keep them from wearing down. People suffering from joint pain might want to think about eating both types of food. Here's a list of some great food for dealing with joint pain:
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) -- I'm sure you've heard of fish oil before. It's pretty much all the rage. Besides being strongly anti inflammatory, Omega 3 EFAs also help to protect existing cartilage. Cytokines are pro inflammatory compounds that the body releases which can bring about systemic inflammation and pain throughout a variety of joints. Omega 3 EFAs help to block the action of these cytokines as well as other enzymes which can slowly erode cartilage, thereby not only promoting an anti inflammatory state within the body, but actually helping to lubricate joints as well.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- Olive oil is also strongly anti inflammatory. Cooking with olive oil instead of vegetable oils can produce a number of positive benefits for the joints. First, since most vegetable oils have a pro inflammatory effect on the body, cutting them out and replacing them with olive oil can really help to lessen the body's inflammation response and reduce pain in the joints. Since fish oil isn't the best for cooking, olive oil is a great replacement for those vegetable oils you've been using for cooking.
- Vitamin C -- Vitamin C is just one of those extremely versatile and healthy compounds. You really can't get enough fresh fruit or vitamin C. Vitamin C is integral to the formation of healthy collagen, which not only helps create healthy skin, but also helps create healthy cartilage as well. Studies have shown however, that very high doses of vitamin C over long periods of time can actually cause osteoarthritis to worsen, so it's probably best to get your vitamin C from food sources. Food is generally your best medicine anyway. One of the best fruit sources for this is Mangosteen.
- Mangosteen Juice -- Mangosteen is a fruit that's native to southeast Asia and other regions, but not common in Europe or the United States. Mangosteen contains powerful anti inflammatory compounds called xanthones, which can really help to reduce pain in the joints. Taking mangosteen juice every morning can help to limit a person's need for pain pills.
- Anti Inflammatory Herbs -- There are many herbs and spices which have strong calming effects on the body and help to limit systemic inflammation throughout the body. Some of the more powerful anti inflammatory herbs are turmeric, ginger, red and black pepper, cinnamon, chamomile, black seed oil, and garlic. Incorporating these herbs and spices into your food can have a very positive anti inflammatory effect, and can greatly help to reduce joint pain.
Supplements that Lubricate Joints
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin -- The two supplements glucosamine and chondroitin, which are often paired together, have been shown to assist in cartilage maintenance and joint lubrication. Glucosamine can actually mimic synovial fluid, having a similar structure, and is also found in healthy cartilage. One thing you need to understand however. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are somewhat complex compounds, and as such, don't have the greatest bio-availability. What that means is that even though you might take them in pill form, they may not make it through your digestive system, into your bloodstream, and end up in your cartilage and synovial fluid. Though both glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to be beneficial compounds for joint lubrication and maintenance, the results are still mixed as to how effectively the body can absorb and process the supplements for use inside the joints. So if you are going to buy them, you really ought to buy from a good brand that's known for its bio-availability. I prefer the brand Source Naturals, which I've linked to below. Bio-availability is one of the things they focus on with their supplements.
Benji Mester (author) from San Diego, California on June 19, 2013:
Thanks! Arthritis runs in my family, so the research helps me out a lot as well.
AAW9 on June 19, 2013:
Well done Benjimester.. I always enjoy a thoughtful and precise read. People like you help others with your thorough research and useful content - excellent work.
Benji Mester (author) from San Diego, California on October 07, 2011:
Knee pain's the worst. I think you'll like olive oil. I think it tastes better than vegetable oil and it's definitely better for you. Thanks for stopping by.
Jalus on October 06, 2011:
I have really intense joint pain in both of my knees. I think I will do away with the vegetable oils and switch to olive oil too. Seems like a very easy and healthy way to go. Appreciate the great tips!
Benji Mester (author) from San Diego, California on October 06, 2011:
I finally started feeling joint pain as well :( My knees ache quite a bit. Olive oil is awesome. I don't ever use vegetable oils anymore. It's all olive oil and coconut oil for me.
Tamarajo on October 06, 2011:
Another useful article. I just started experiencing joint pain in the last year. The only one I currently take is the olive oil. I will have to check out the others.
Benji Mester (author) from San Diego, California on October 05, 2011:
Thanks! It's good info for just about everyone. Joint pain and arthritis are so common these days. Thanks for stopping by!
Alobeda from The Global Village on October 05, 2011:
Thank you for this insightful article. Just what i need to know, and follow.