We all want to stay strong and healthy for as long as possible. There’s endless information out there about how to stay healthy, but with all these suggestions and differing opinions, preventative care can seem like a full time job. Here are a few simple habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to prevent joint replacements in the future.
Take your Vitamins. Getting the nutrition you need is important, but life can be hectic sometimes, and we don’t think about the big picture when deciding what to eat on a day-to-day basis. Here are some supplements that can help bridge the gap between your diet and your body’s nutritional needs.
Calcium. Adding calcium to your diet is a good move at any age. Calcium isn’t naturally produced by the body, so we have to absorb it either through the foods we eat or daily supplements. This mineral is used by the body for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also essential for proper functioning of the heart, brain, and nerves.
Adults need, on average, about 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. If the body consistently gets less calcium than it needs, it will start to steal calcium from the bones, causing them to weaken over time.
Now, you may be tempted to take more calcium than you need to overcompensate or make up for not consuming enough calcium in the past, but I promise this isn’t necessary or beneficial. The human body can only absorb up to 1,500 milligrams of calcium in a day, and any extra calcium shows up in your urine or stool, increasing the risk of constipation and kidney stones.
There’s also some information out there stating that taking high doses of calcium in pill form allows the body to absorb the mineral too quickly and causes other potential health issues. There are lots of ways you can get calcium through your diet as well; including calcium-fortified orange juice, skim milk or almond milk, and other low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Vitamin D. Without vitamin D, consuming the calcium you need may prove futile, and it’s estimated that 10 percent of the American population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is calcium’s companion because it is vital for the absorption of calcium in the body. This vitamin also improves muscle strength and balance.
I recommend that my patients take 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. In the summer, spending a bit of time in the sun should do the trick. In some locations, fifteen minutes in the sun can deliver 10,000 IU of vitamin D. So, be sure to compliment your calcium intake, either take a daily dose, or slather on the sunscreen and get outside!
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate. These are two amino acids that make up your cartilage. By taking these in supplement form daily, you can help promote healthy cartilage and reduce chronic joint pain. These two proteins aid in rebuilding and repairing worn cartilage. Studies have shown that these have similar pain-relieving effects to over-the-counter pain medication with very few side effects.
Fish Oil. Omega-3, found in fish oil supplements, is good for your heart, brain, and joints. I recommend that patients take 2,000 milligrams two times a day of this three-for-one supplement.
Last, but not least. Now that you’ve taken your supplements, there’s one last step in your easy fifteen-minute routine﹘ a knee brace. If your knees cause you pain even occasionally, it’s best to wear a brace while engaging in activities. This helps to support the joint, taking the pressure off and allowing for more healing and less pain.
You can choose either a sleeve brace or a hinged brace; the sturdier and bulkier the brace, the more supportive it will be. Find a brace that keeps you comfortable while still being supportive. This will allow you to be more active throughout your day with less pain. This, along with your supplements, is a huge step in the right direction for avoiding joint replacements all together.
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