Top 6 Nutrients To Reduce Knee Osteoarthritis Pain

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease affecting millions of adults worldwide. It is marked by the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint due to aging, overuse, or injury. As the cartilage starts to wear out, crack, or become damaged, the bones in the knee joint rub against each other, causing inflammation. This leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee.

Top 6 Nutrients To Reduce Knee Pain | Reduce Knee Osteoarthritis Pain

So, what is cartilage?

Cartilage is a flexible yet strong connective tissue found in various parts of the body, including the bone ends in joints (articular cartilage). It acts as a protective cushion, allowing bones to glide smoothly over each other without friction. However, cartilage isn’t as hard as bone, and this makes it more prone to damage over time.

Now, it’s important to understand that when cartilage is damaged, the chances of natural repair are practically zero. Cartilage is a tissue that essentially cannot regenerate on its own, due to its lack of blood supply and low cell turnover rate.

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However, certain key nutrients can improve cartilage health and reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA).

In today’s video, we look at six nutrients that support cartilage health and reduce joint discomfort. To reduce joint discomfort and OA symptoms, joint nutrients have to address three factors:

The first factor is “Decline in Collagen”.

Collagen is a major part of the extracellular matrix in cartilage, which acts like scaffolding to give your joints strength and structure. Type II collagen, which makes up approximately 90-95% of the collagen in articular cartilage, forms a network within the matrix, helping cartilage trap other important molecules and stay strong.

However, modern lifestyle factors such as poor diet, being overweight, hormonal changes with age, and overuse and misuse of joints can cause collagen levels to drop over time. By age 40, our bodies often produce less than half the collagen they did when we were younger. This decline leads to weaker cartilage and changes in the matrix, resulting in less cushioning for our joints. These changes can cause joint pain, stiffness, and worsen symptoms of OA.

The second factor is “Attacking Enzymes”.

When enzymes known as MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) are too active—often due to the modern lifestyle factors mentioned earlier—they destroy cartilage faster than the body can rebuild it. This is like having more demolition workers than builders. This leads to further collagen and cartilage reduction, causing more joint damage and inflammation. Overactive MMPs can make OA worsen quickly.

The third factor is “Drying Out of Synovial Fluid”.

Hyaluronic acid is the key component of synovial fluid, acting as a lubricant and shock absorber in joints. As cartilage decreases in conditions like OA, both the quantity and quality of this fluid diminish. This leads to increased friction between joint surfaces, causing more wear and tear, pain, and stiffness. If left unchecked, this process can cause serious joint damage and accelerate OA progression.

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These three factors are interconnected and can create a vicious cycle in OA progression:

  • The decline in collagen weakens the cartilage structure, making it more vulnerable to damage.
  • Overactive MMPs break down the already weakened cartilage more rapidly.
  • The drying out of synovial fluid increases friction and wear on the cartilage, further accelerating its breakdown.

Now that we’ve covered the three factors that lead to joint discomfort and OA, let’s look at the nutrients that can address them.

First, we have to mention glucosamine and chondroitin, the two most common nutrients used in joint supplements. They are naturally present in human cartilage. However, research has shown mixed results for their effectiveness in treating OA.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that six months of supplementation with these compounds was no better than a placebo for reducing joint discomfort. Having said that, if you have gotten good results using glucosamine and chondroitin, do share in the comments below.

Now, let’s look at the 6 nutrients that target cartilage health and joint discomfort.

The first nutrient is Number 6. Undenatured Type II Collagen (UC-II).

Collagen is the structural protein found in skin, tendons, and bones, with type II collagen specifically present in the cartilage lining the joints. A special patented form of type II collagen, known as UC-II, is derived from the breastbone of chickens. UC-II works very differently from popular collagen supplements, as it engages the immune system in the repair of joint cartilage.

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Among the published studies on UC-II, one in the International Journal of Medical Sciences demonstrated that a daily dose of 40 mg of UC-II was significantly more effective at reducing joint discomfort and improving overall joint function compared to glucosamine and chondroitin.

Next, at Number 5, we have “Boswellia Serrata”.

Boswellia serrata is a plant extract that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat inflammatory diseases. It targets and inhibits MMP enzymes, helping maintain collagen levels and reduce joint discomfort.

A 2020 review of seven trials with 545 patients, found that Boswellia serrata extract significantly relieved pain and stiffness and improved joint function in OA patients.

To treat OA specifically, take 100-500 mg of a standardized extract 2-3 times daily.

Moving on, the Number 4 nutrient is “Hyaluronic acid”.

With both aging and osteoarthritis, your joints’ ability to produce hyaluronic acid deteriorates, affecting not only synovial fluid but also other tissues like skin, contributing to joint discomfort, dehydrated skin, and wrinkles.

To get hyaluronic acid from food, bone broth is the best direct source. It’s made by simmering animal bones and connective tissues for an extended period, which releases nutrients including hyaluronic acid, collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin into the broth.

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Organ meats, especially liver, kidney, and tongue, are another good direct food source of hyaluronic acid.

You’ll also want to eat magnesium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach) and nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds) as magnesium aids in hyaluronic acid production.

For supplementation, a patented form of hyaluronic acid called Mobilee® has been shown to be 5 times more powerful and effective than other forms of hyaluronic acid, significantly reducing activity-related joint flare-ups in OA.

Instead of taking these 3 nutrients separately, choose a supplement which contains all three, like the one we recommended. Click the link below to learn more.

In addition to these 3 nutrients, ensure you get enough of these 3 vitamins that support bone and cartilage health.

At Number 3, we have “Vitamin C”.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is essential for collagen production, which helps maintain bones, teeth, and cartilage. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals and reducing the risk of inflammation and disease. Adequate vitamin C intake is particularly important for those with knee cartilage issues, as a deficiency could contribute to cartilage problems.

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A daily intake of at least 500 mg is recommended. This can be easily achieved through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables such as red bell peppers, kiwifruit, papaya, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, grapefruit, and tomatoes.

Moving on, we have Number 2. “Vitamin D3”.

Vitamin D is essential for bone and tooth health, as it facilitates calcium absorption in the body. While some studies suggest that higher vitamin D levels may slow cartilage loss in knee OA patients, and vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased OA risk, it doesn’t seem to provide significant relief for OA pain.

Sunlight exposure (10-30 minutes at midday) is the most effective way for your body to produce vitamin D3. Excellent food sources of vitamin D3 include salmon, cod liver oil, and mackerel.

For supplementation, take 1,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, depending on the severity of your deficiency.

And at Number 1, we have “Vitamin K2”.

Your body needs calcium to build and maintain bones. When calcium is broken down in your body, vitamin K2 activates a protein (osteocalcin) that helps the mineral bind to your bones to do its job. Studies have shown that increasing vitamin K2 intake can improve bone density and lower the risk of bone fractures, though research is still ongoing.

For optimal absorption, consume vitamin K2 with healthy fats like olive or coconut oil. Vitamin K2 is essential for activating matrix Gla protein, which helps prevent calcium from accumulating in the arteries. This protein depends on vitamin K to function properly.

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The richest food source of vitamin K2 MK-7 is natto (fermented soybeans), followed by sauerkraut and hard cheeses.

For supplementation, take 150-180 mcg of vitamin K2 MK-7 per day along with vitamin D3 to help your body use calcium effectively, promoting bone health and preventing arterial calcification.

There you have it! The top 6 nutrients that help improve joint cartilage health and reduce pain and inflammation.

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