???????????????????????????????????????????????Once upon a time, you could bend down without hearing your knees pop. Or play tennis without spending the rest of your day with your elbow stuck as if you're doing The Robot dance. Or go for a walk without your knees feeling less like joints and more like a door hinge that needs a serious squirt of WD-40.

Ah, joint pain. Is it completely avoidable? Perhaps there are some people who age without this happening. But the reality is, as we get older, the shock-absorbing abilities of our joints typically diminish. Gone are the days of playing hopscotch with the kids without paying for it with a painful knee later. This does not mean you should put away the chalk and rock and relegate yourself to the window seat. It just means you need to put joint health a little higher on your priority list.

Our joints function best when the connective tissues that are part of our musculoskeletal system maintain their integrity. Studies suggest that glucosamine helps protect this integrity, which supports the mobility of joints. It also helps lubricate joints by replenishing synovial fluid, which promotes a joint’s shock-absorbing abilities.

Think of it this way— when you're hopping over that skipped square in hopscotch or hitting that backhand during your tennis match, the synovial fluid and cartilage act as a cushion between the surface of your joints. If your synovial fluid isn't optimal, your cartilage isn't absorbing nutrients the way it should and your connective tissues have lost their integrity, there's a good chance your joints will let you know things are not in balance in the form of aches and pains.

In addition to glucosamine, your joint health is supported by a number of nutrients, proteins, molecules and enzymes. Chondroitin sulfate attracts fluid and draws nutrients into the cartilage, making the cartilage more shock absorbent. It also promotes growth and normal tissue generation and keeps enzymes in balance. You also need methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), sulfur and hyaluronic acid (or HA) to help maintain the parts of your anatomy that support joint health.

A diet rich in fresh foods goes a long way in providing the body with what it needs for optimal wellness. And YES, this includes your joints! People sometimes fail to realize that diet and exercise impact us in a holistic way—not just our guts or our muscles. All of the body! So avoiding processed ingredients and meals that are heavy on such ingredients is a great way to start.

You can also look to support your diet through natural supplements. Nature's Sunshine has a line of products designed to help support joint and bone health. I'd love to talk more about these products if you're interested. You can take a look at the products here by searching Bone and Joint Health: https://mariegervacio.com/, or you can always give me a call: (978) 308-9541!

Happy hopscotching!

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