Chronic joint pain plagues millions of men each year. Whether from injury or arthritis, high-impact workouts and daily activities combined with the side effects of aging leave you susceptible to significant wear and tear on your joints.
Heavy force on the big joints of the body—elbows, knees, low-back, shoulders—can, over time, lead to challenges like joint degeneration, inflammation, and other injuries that can sit you on the sidelines.
Rather than sitting back and letting joint pain take over your life, stop wear and tear before it happens and relieve joint pain with a solid joint supplement like Performance Lab Flex. Our joints are used day in and day out, and if you’re not protecting them, you leave them open to injury.
Not sure where to start? Luckily, we have everything you’ll need to know.
This article will cover the basics of joint health, why joint pain happens, the benefits of investing in a good joint supplement for men, and the best natural ingredients to look for to keep joints healthy and reduce joint pain.
What Causes Joint Pain?
Joint pain is never ideal. Whether it’s stiffness getting out of bed in the morning, pinching when you’re trying to do your workout, or general aches and pains when you’re moving about, it happens to the best of us.
While age is a significant factor in joint pain, several causes—some may not be so apparent—can lead to poor joint health, cartilage deterioration, and joint pain and discomfort.
For athletes, joint pain can spell trouble. While the passion and dedication for sports and training are hard to beat, it comes at a cost—ligament tears and fractures can pass through joints and cartilage.
When bone and ligaments are damaged, it affects how the joint functions, especially in areas subject to high stress, like the knees and wrists. The repetitive motions of many sports stress the joint itself and can erode the cartilage.
Over time, the joint surfaces start to wear down, which leads to pain and inflammation 1. This is why it’s important to strengthen your muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments before engaging in a lot of activity—it reduces the risk of damage to joints during training 2.
One of the other leading causes of chronic joint pain and stiffness is arthritis—osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Age is one of the most significant factors in the development of osteoarthritis in the United States.
It’s estimated that more than 68% of people over 55 have OA, which is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and mobility restrictions 3.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, doesn’t have a clear cause. Still, most research suggests it results from a complex interplay between genotype, environmental triggers, and chance—and some studies even suggest an autoimmune component 4.
RA is characterized by synovial inflammation and joint swelling, autoantibody production, cartilage and bone deterioration, and systemic features, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, psychological, and skeletal disorders.
That said, arthritis and normal wear and tear may be significant causes of joint pain and discomfort, but several other factors may be involved:
- Chondromalacia of the patella
- Joint overuse
Regardless of what type of joint issues you’re experiencing, getting to the root of the problem is important.
But rather than taking over-the-counter medications and anti-inflammatories to rid yourself of pain temporarily, taking joint pain supplements is much safer and more effective route to support joint health.
Herbal medicine has been around for centuries, and some fantastic natural remedies can help mitigate inflammation, reduce pain, and promote healthier, stronger joints for life.
The Benefits Of Natural Joint Supplements
Whether you’re dealing with sore joints from training or as a side effect of aging, it’s never ideal—or welcomed. But when it comes to supporting healthy joints, diet and lifestyle are only part of the equation.
A good joint supplement is a great way to fill in nutrient gaps and give your joints the love and support they deserve.
While it may not be a one-stop shop for keeping your joints mobile, it can help to optimize joint health and prevent issues down the line.
Here are some of the benefits of joint health supplements:
Relieve joint pain and inflammation
If you’re constantly feeling stiff, achy, and sore, it could indicate that your joints are inflamed. For some people, injury might be at the heart of joint pain, while for others, food sensitivities could be the cause.
There are plenty of reasons why a man might experience joint pain, but the goal of a joint supplement remains the same—reduce inflammation, alleviate pain and restore movement and mobility.
Ideally, any good joint supplement for men will contain a potent blend of natural anti-inflammatory compounds like ginger, turmeric, Boswellia, or Cat’s claw to inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds 5.
In doing so, they can also reduce pain, improve mobility, and bolster overall joint health and function.
Support proper joint lubrication
Poor joint lubrication is one of the cardinal signs of osteoarthritis. OA is characterized by inflammation and increased production of cells within the joint capsule that releases inflammatory compounds into the synovial fluid.
Under normal circumstances, the synovial fluid helps lubricate the joint capsule for movement, but with OA, this fluid loses viscosity, allowing inflammatory compounds to directly contact the sensory neurons that line the joint capsule 6. As such, every movement becomes a bit more painful.
The best joint supplements use a combination of compounds that promote the production of synovial fluid and mitigate inflammation to improve joint lubrication and minimize pain.
Some of the most common and well-studied compounds for this are herbs and nutrients like curcumin, glucosamine, and chondroitin—and ingredients you’ll find in Performance Lab Flex!
Reduce joint stiffness and improve joint mobility
If you’re trying to hit a PR at the gym, but you struggle to push your joints through their entire range of motion without pain and stiffness, don’t get discouraged.
Many people struggle with the same issue; solving it is about combining proper mobility exercises with the best joint supplements to reduce joint inflammation, ease joint pain, and improve movement.
Age is one of the biggest influences on joint stiffness and range of motion, but you also want to consider what’s called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
These are compounds that accumulate as a result of age-related changes in the articular cartilage. They are produced from the spontaneous reaction of reducing sugars with proteins and accumulate during chronic inflammation 7, 8.
But we talk about them here because the modification of AGEs can lead to tissue damage. Although the mechanism is complex, we use herbs and nutrients to reduce oxidative stress and lower inflammation, preventing the accumulation of AGEs and thereby improving joint mobility and stiffness.
Top Five Nutrients In Joint Health Supplements
A good joint health supplement in your stack is key to improving joint function and minimizing pain and discomfort.
And the best part? They’re all natural and get to the root of the problem! And research shows that vitamins, minerals, and herbs can do a comparable job of supporting joint health with minimal side effects.
So, if you’re looking for the best joint supplement for men to maintain joint health at any age, here’s what you’ll want to look for:
What is it: Glucosamine sulfate is a compound naturally found in the body but also a staple in any of the best joint health supplements.
It is one of the building blocks of cartilage, making it an essential component of healthy and mobile joints and great for helping chronic pain 9.
What it does: As a building block of cartilage, the structure that cushions joints to protect the ends of bones from rubbing together and nerve exposure, glucosamine plays a vital role in preventing joint deterioration.
It may help reduce inflammation by lowering C-reactive protein levels (CRP)—a biomarker of systematic inflammation 10. It may also support the production of specific compounds, including collagen, that are essential structural components of articular cartilage and synovial fluid.
The research: There are plenty of studies looking at the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin on optimal joint health, many with mixed reviews.
A 1994 study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage looked at glucosamine sulfate for knee osteoarthritis and found that supplementation with glucosamine was significantly more effective at improving knee pain and mobility throughout the study compared to the placebo 11.
Another study using chondroitin or a glucosamine-chondroitin combination found that it helped provide short-term pain relief for arthritis symptoms 12.
Several other studies show that glucosamine sulfate may offer an effective, natural treatment for people with OA by providing joint pain relief, maintaining proper joint space, and slowing disease progression 13-15.
What is it: Chondroitin is the other half of glucosamine sulfate that has proven health benefits for joint health.
Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that forms a major component of cartilage and synovial fluid 16.
What it does: Chondroitin helps maintain cartilage health by absorbing fluid, especially water, into the connective tissue, which is essential for pressure resistance.
Some research suggests it may inhibit cartilage destruction processes and stimulate specific anabolic processes involved in forming new cartilage 16.
The research: Although often taken with glucosamine, studies suggest that chondroitin supplementation can improve joint comfort and function and reduce joint stiffness, thereby helping to improve joint function 17.
Other research finds that combined with other joint-supportive nutrients like glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and collagen hydrolysate, it has beneficial actions on joint cartilage, synovial fluid, and overall outcomes for people with OA 16.
What is it: Most people haven’t heard of MSM before, but it is a naturally occurring organosulfur compound with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because it can easily penetrate cell membranes, it permeates the body and elicits beneficial effects on inflammation, joint and muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity 18.
What it does: MSM possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and inhibit cartilage degeneration, promoting better joint health and mobility 19.
The primary mechanism behind its ability to fight inflammation is inhibiting the effects of NF-κB, which downregulates the production of mRNA for interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)—all markers of inflammation.
It may also reduce the expression of enzymes and cytokines involved in free-radical formation, which can contribute to higher levels of inflammation 20.
The research: A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science looked at the effects of daily MSM supplementation on improving joint functionality, symptoms of joint degeneration, and quality of life in aging populations 21.
Researchers found that 1,200 mg of MSM for 12 weeks in men and women over 50 with at least one symptom of joint degeneration effectively reduced pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints.
Another study of 32 people with low-back pain found that a glucosamine supplement containing MSM effectively relieved lumbar stiffness and pain, and improved quality of life 22.
What is it: Boswellia, also called Indian Frankincense, is a powerful gum-resin extract that packs potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Although Boswellia has many active compounds, the four boswellic acids are what can treat arthritis pain and support joint health: β-boswellic acid, acetyl-β-boswellic acid, 11-keto-β-boswellic acid, and acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid 5.
What it does: As we said, the four boswellic acids offer powerful properties that reduce inflammation and improve joint stiffness and pain.
They modulate inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes, but acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid provides the most potent effects on inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme responsible for inducing inflammation.
The research: A systemic review and meta-analysis published in 2020 looked at the efficacy of Boswellia on patients with OA and found that it was effective in reducing pain and stiffness symptoms and improving the overall function of joints 23.
Another study found that Boswellia serrata Extract (BSE) for eight weeks decreased knee pain, increased knee flexion, and increased walking distance in patients with knee OA 24.
What is it: Lastly, we get to the bright yellow root that’s a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s derived from the Curcuma longa plant, dried, and ground into a powder to elicit its powerful medicinal properties.
What it does: Although turmeric may offer herbaceous and earthy flavors for food, its ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response makes it a star for maintaining healthy joints and a staple in the best joint supplements 25.
Studies show that it directly interacts with pro-inflammatory molecules to modify NF-κB signaling, proinflammatory cytokines, COX-2, and 5-LOX activity 26. This helps to turn down the inflammatory response, soothing and protecting achy joints and relieving joint pain.
The research: A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the effects of turmeric extracts and curcumin on symptoms of joint arthritis found that turmeric supplements equating to 1000 mg/day of curcumin were effective in treating arthritis 26.
Another study found that a turmeric supplement elicited an analgesic effect for people with knee joint pain and decreased levels of the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein 27.
What To Look For In A Joint Health Supplement
If you’re heading to the store in search of natural joint supplements, there’s no shortage of options—but what’s essential and what’s unnecessary?
Supplement labels are full of nutrients in ineffective doses and forms, with additives and fillers that don’t promote healthy joints.
So, what should you look for?
Generally, you want to look for the right ingredients, concentration, and formulation. On top of that, scientific backing is big. If your supplement hasn’t been third-party tested, you want to avoid it.
Here’s what you should be looking for in the best joint supplements:
- Clean delivery
- Clean ingredients
- Scientific backing
- FDA registered
- USDA Certified Organic
If you’re unsure whether the supplement you’re looking at meets all the criteria, leave it! Performance Lab supplements are always clean, pure, and ultra-effective and feature the most potent natural ingredients for optimal health and performance.
Five Tips To Protect Your Joints
Many people think that avoiding exercise is the best way to combat joint issues in fear that it will exacerbate them—but it’s not. When feeling stiff or achy, think about the old saying, “motion is lotion.”
Maintaining healthy and pain-free joints means keeping them mobile, so get out and exercise regularly!
Whether it’s walking, running, hitting the gym, swimming, or another activity you enjoy, staying active is one of the best ways to reduce joint pain and stiffness, mitigate inflammation, and prevent cartilage degeneration 28.
Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods
Although there are several contributors to joint pain and stiffness, inflammation is big, especially with arthritis.
While it’s easy to pop back an NSAID to reduce inflammation, you’re not getting to the root of the problem. Instead, hit the grocery store and load your cart with nature’s most potent anti-inflammatory foods.
These naturally contain compounds that mitigate inflammation and help to alleviate joint pain and discomfort.
We’re talking about:
- Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, collards, arugula, chard)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
- Cold-water fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring)
- Olive oil
- Dark chocolate
Additionally, you may want to consider raiding your cupboards and fridge for the biggest inflammatory culprits.
These include omega-6-rich industrial seed oils (canola, corn, soy, vegetable, safflower, sunflower), hydrogenated fats, refined sugar, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates 29.
They may not be a massive deal in small amounts, but they are inherently pro-inflammatory.
Maintain a healthy weight
We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is essential for our health and well-being, but apart from increasing the risk of chronic disease, being overweight is also a primary risk factor for osteoarthritis 30.
Carrying around extra weight puts additional stress on the weight-bearing joints, especially the back, knees, hips, and ankles, which increases wear and tear and the risk of cartilage degeneration.
A 2015 systematic review published in BMJ Open found that the risk of knee osteoarthritis rises by a whopping 35% with a 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI 31.
Simply put, if you want to maintain joint health and avoid pain, stiffness, and discomfort, it’s essential to ensure you’re within a weight range that is appropriate for your body—but also ensure you account for muscle mass within that weight.
Hydration may not seem like the first thing that would protect your joints, but it’s essential.
Proper hydration is vital for the function of all body systems, but it’s necessary for lubricating your joints. Water is needed to produce the fluid that lubricates your points, called synovial fluid, and protects them from excessive wear and tear.
If you’re chronically dehydrated, your joints might take a hit.
So, how much water do you need daily? Ideally, 2-3 liters per day, but that depends on your weight and activity level.
For a general estimate, take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half—that’s the minimum amount of water you need in ounces.
If you’re a coffee drinker or exercising hard, tack on an additional 20 ounces of water (per cup of coffee or per hour of exercising).
Use a joint supplement
Even the best of us don’t have a perfect diet or workout routine, so a natural supplement is the way to go if you’re looking for extra joint support.
Performance Lab Flex® stacks nature’s most powerful joint-supportive nutrients for full-spectrum joint care.
Flex soothes and protects achy joints with easy-on-the-stomach botanicals AprèsFlex® Boswellia serrata and CurcuWIN® curcumin, but also lubricates and nourishes joints with Phytodroitin™, NutriGenesis® strontium, OptiMSM® and corn glucosamine for long-lasting joint flexibility and comfort.
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