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Joint Health and Function

Joint painJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

By some estimates, over 27 million Americans suffer from some form of joint pain, loss of function or movement limitation. Joint replacement is quickly becoming one of the most common elective surgical procedures in the U.S. Over seven million Americans are living with full or partial knee replacement, and two and one half million with artificial hips. That number is projected to increase 149 percent by 2050. Women are more likely to undergo joint replacement than men, however men are increasingly undergoing total joint replacement surgery. Although the majority of all patients are between the ages of 50 and 80, studies indicate the average age of those undergoing joint replacement continues to decrease. Today the average age for hip replacement is just under 65, while the average age for knee replacement is just under 66 years.

The number of procedures being performed on younger persons is steadily growing due to a combination of factors. More than 50 percent of people undergoing total hip replacement and 79 percent of those undergoing total knee replacement are either obese or morbidly obese. More people have been active or athletic from adolescence through adulthood, often resulting in injuries that can cause arthritic damage. Additionally, many people expect their level of  activity to remain well into their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Surgical devices and techniques have improved over time. Although partial knee replacements are slated to last a decade before additional or revision surgery is needed, most total knee replacements endure for twenty years or longer.

Advantages of surgery include improved mobility and quality of life and, in most cases, freedom from pain. Alternatively, non-surgical conservative treatments such as weight reduction can reduce the strain on joints. Though often painful and difficult, some form of non-impact exercise, such as swimming or water aerobics can gradually improve the strength and flexibility of joints, possibly delaying surgical replacement for a number of years. An anti-inflammatory or arthritis-friendly diet can help reduce joint swelling and pain, as well as decrease the duration of morning inflexibility or stiffness.

Lifestyle habits that help support the health and function of your joints can include:

Diet: Frequently touted for its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and disease fighting elements, the Mediterranean style diet may be the best for weight maintenance, as well as for curbing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and protecting against chronic conditions. The diet provides healthy omega-3 fats and includes foods such as olive oil, avocado and salmon that may help to lubricate the joints, as well reduce inflammation.

Weight maintenance: Joints are built to withstand a certain amount of force. Those who carry extra pounds put additional stress on weight bearing joints. Losing weight when needed reduces the loading force on the knee when a step is taken. A healthy diet and regular exercise improve the odds of reaching and maintaining an optimal weight.

Physical activity: Low impact exercises that minimize stress on joints include cycling, pilates, swimming, walking and yoga. Pay attention to pain signals that are different from muscle soreness. Don’t overdo and always balance activity with rest. For best results be sure to include five minutes of warm-up and cool-down exercises to reduce strain on joints and muscles. Proper strength training can help increase the stability of joints, while decreasing pain. Range of motion exercises that extend, bend or rotate the joints help to improve flexibility, relieve stiffness and pain and help protect joint function. Exercises that strengthen the quadricep muscles will help to support knee joints.

Joint support devices: To help prevent injury and aid healing consider wearing assistive devices such as braces or sleeves that support joint placement and absorb stress, shock and vibration. Elbow braces can promote comfort and healing of elbow pain during activity and rest. A sacroiliac belt supports the base of the spine, increases strength and lessens the chance of injury during activities such as bending, lifting or twisting. Knee braces stabilize the joint to allow ligaments to heal and help relieve pain.

Kick the habit: Those who smoke have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis and consequently a higher fracture risk. Smoking increases inflammation throughout the body and can increase recovery and healing time. Smoking is associated with chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including low back pain, degenerative disc disease and knee osteoarthritis, a leading cause of disability in older persons.

Researched based supplements: Well-designed clinical trials indicate certain nutrients can help maintain healthy cartilage or ease discomfort. These include turmeric to reduce joint pain and inflammation; omega-3 fish oils for powerful anti-inflammatory effects that may significantly decrease joint tenderness and stiffness; glucosamine/chondroitin to suppress anti-inflammatory pathways; and vitamins D3 and K2 for bone health support and efficient calcium absorption.

Professional Supplement Center offers many high quality formulas for joint and overall health support:

Curcum-EvailCurcum-Evail® by Designs for Health®: This patent-pending, highly bioavailable formula provides a unique combination of turmeric oil and three bioactive, health-promoting curcuminoids, the strongest most protective constituents of the turmeric root. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.


Theracurmin HP 600...Theracurmin® HP 600 mg by Integrative Therapeutics®: This product utilizes patented colloidal dispersion technology to enhance bioavailability and dramatically increase curcumin levels. Gluten, soy, wheat, dairy, yeast, preservative and artificial ingredient free. Vegan formulation.


EPA UltimateEPA Ultimate by Pure Encapsulations®: Sourced from Pacific ocean sardines and anchovies, this eco-friendly, supercritical CO2 extracted, high EPA fish oil concentrate supports skin, joint and vascular health, as well as mood and emotional wellbeing. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.


Glucosamine and...Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM by Pure Encapsulations®: This formula provides specific nutritional support for connective tissue health, joint comfort, and optimal cartilage composition. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.


Vitamin D Supreme...Vitamin D Supreme with Vitamin K1 and K2 by Designs for Health®: This synergistic formula provides a clinically useful dose of vitamin D3, along with highly bioavailable K1 and K2, in support of optimal bone and arterial health as well as proper immune system balance. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Clinical Outcomes and Statistics of Knee Replacement. https://www.healthline.com/health/total-knee-replacement-surgery/outcomes-statistics-success-rate#1
More men, younger Americans having joint replacement surgery. https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/06/health/hip-knee-replacement-surgeries-earlier-study/index.html
51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/joint-protection/joint-health.php
Simple tips to protect your joints. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/simple-tips-to-protect-your-joints
Smoking and Bone Health: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/bone-smoking
Projected increase in total knee arthroplasty in the United States – an alternative projection model. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28801208



AtherosclerosisJacquie Eubanks RN BSNCardiovascular disease and stroke prevention by early intervention is of great importance, as heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Atherosclerosis, often referred to as hardening of the arteries, is a progressive chronic inflammatory disease that damages arterial walls, and results in dysfunctional, stiff, clogged arteries, and improperly regulated blood flow and pressure. Soft, flexible healthy arteries consist of multilayered walls capable of constricting or dilating as needed by the tissues they supply. The loss of artery suppleness and elasticity occurs slowly over time, as plaque formations consisting of fat, cholesterol, calcium, cellular waste and clotting factors, eventually occlude and restrict the flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all parts of the body.

Arterial stiffness, or the loss of vascular elasticity, structure, and function, has been identified as a contributing factor in hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and type II diabetes, as well as liver, kidney and neurodegenerative disorders. Perhaps most importantly, arterial stiffness results in a steady rise in blood pressure, contributing to a vicious cycle of further destruction and loss of flexibility. While aging is certainly a factor, early stages of atherosclerosis may actually begin in childhood, making preventive measures desirable for all ages. A seven-year investigation of cardiovascular risk factors performed by scientists from 15 medical centers found that young persons, males in particular, had evidence of coronary artery disease as early as their mid-teens.

The study showed that those who were overweight, smoked, and had the highest blood pressure, blood sugar and LDL cholesterol levels were most at risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease. The now famous and oft quoted Framingham Heart Study evaluated the impact of high total cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking on cardiac health. Those who were free of all risk factors had only a 5% risk of developing cardiovascular disease by age 95. Contrarily, those with two or more risk factors had a 69% risk, leading one to conclude that healthful behaviors beginning at a young age can go a long way in preventing future heart disease and stroke.

One of the main contributors to loss of arterial stiffness is calcification, which occurs when serum calcium is deposited into the arterial walls. Scientific evidence suggests that vitamins D3 and K2 play important roles in calcium metabolism and management. Working individually and synergistically, vitamins D3 and K2 help to keep calcium out of arteries and promote proper deposit of calcium into bones, where it aids continuous bone remodeling. Several studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplementation is an important approach to preventing or alleviating cardiovascular disease, particularly in high risk groups such as seniors, diabetics, and those with insufficient sunlight exposure and deficiencies in dietary intake. Vitamin K2 helps to activate osteocalcin, a bone protein, and helps to produce proteins that are needed to move calcium from the bloodstream into bone tissue.

Preventing arterial stiffness is essential in the prevention of age-related chronic disorders. While aging and family history of early heart disease are risk factors, the exact cause of atherosclerosis remains unknown. However controllable risk factors can help prevent or delay arterial stiffening. Smoking, chronic inflammation, high serum triglycerides and cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, as well as an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise are known largely controllable risk factors. By working to reduce modifiable risk factors, one can help prevent atherosclerosis, improve general health or arrest the progression of the disease.

-Follow a heart and brain healthy, low inflammatory plant-based diet that is low in sodium, added sugars, processed fats, refined grains, processed foods, and allergens. Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce excess pressure on the legs, as well as the risk of developing diabetes.

-Arterial stiffness with aging has been shown to be less pronounced in physically active persons. Regular aerobic exercise can help to fight atherosclerosis by lowering blood pressure and controlling weight. Strengthening the thigh and calf muscles by walking, cycling, swimming or stair climbing promotes good circulation and encourages blood flow.

-Maintain healthy blood sugar levels to prevent or control diabetes. Diabetes can accelerate the progression of atherosclerosis.

-Take short frequent breaks from prolonged sitting or standing which can worsen symptoms. A short walk can help to stimulate circulation. While sitting, perform ankle exercises such as pointing, flexing, and circling the feet to activate the calf muscles.

-Elevate your legs above your heart for 10-15 minutes daily to help reduce blood pooling and pressure on the legs.

-Graduated compression stockings can help with swelling of the lower extremities that often accompanies venous insufficiency. Compression stockings reduce pooling and pressure and may also reduce the risk of forming a deep vein blood clot.

Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality products to help support circulatory and overall heath:

Arterial TherapyArterial Therapy™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: This triple action blend provides three clinically studied synergistic ingredients, garlic extract, pomegranate fruit extract, and vitamin K2, in bioavailable forms to promote optimal arterial function. Gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar free, vegan formulation.

Vitamin D Supreme...Vitamin D Supreme with Vitamin K1 and K2 by Designs for Health®: This synergistic product supplies a clinically useful dose of vitamin D3 and highly bioavailable forms of vitamins K1 and K2 in support of optimal bone, arterial and immune health. Non-GMO formulation.

Nutrient 950 with...Nutrient 950® with Vitamin K by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic, nutrient rich, highly bioavailable multivitamin/mineral/trace element formula includes superior mineral cofactors, and antioxidants, as well as the active forms of vitamins K1 and K2 to maintain healthy arterial calcium metabolism and vascular activity. Vitamins D and K provide synergistic support for bone heath and blood vessel function. Gluten free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals: This proprietary highly viscous fiber blend is formulated to support healthy glucose metabolism by lowering the glycemic index of meals. Fiber viscosity is associated with increased satiety, reduced appetite, improved regularity and healthy weight maintenance. Gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and artificial sweetener free.

Compression Leg...Compression Leg Sleeve White by Zensah: Made of durable, comfortable, machine washable fabric, these compression sleeves provide calf support, shin splint relief and decreased fatigue. Three sizes available.


Circulation Support,...Quantum Circulation Support by Quantum Nutrition Labs: This unique, proprietary nutraceutical formula promotes healthy microcirculation of blood to peripheral tissues and provides comprehensive support for circulation and associated nerve, heart and arterial health. Vegan formulation.

Arterial stiffness and stroke: de-stiffening strategy, a therapeutic target for stroke. http://svn.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/17/svn-2016-000045
Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569
What is Arterial Plaque? http://www.secondscount.org/heart-condition-centers/info-detail-2/what-is-arterial-plaque
Atherosclerosis. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis
What You Can Do to Prevent Atherosclerosis. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=1583
Premature heart disease. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/premature-heart-disease
Atherosclerosis. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/Atherosclerosis_UCM_305564_Article.jsp


Nutritional Supplements for Women 50 and Older

SupplementsOlderWomenJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

While many women choose to age gracefully, we would also like to slow the hands of time. To reverse, delay or avoid frailty as well as conditions associated with aging, good nutrition and physical activity should be considered mandatory. Those wanting to remain mobile, independent, and enjoy a long, healthy, vibrant life should maintain a healthy weight, participate in enjoyable physical and social activities, and get the recommended intake of daily nutrients. However, as we age, we need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight, making it more difficult to obtain the full array of micronutrients.

Additionally, hormonal and metabolic changes, low dietary intake, and less efficient digestion and absorption can have a profound impact on nutritional requirements. Nutritional supplements may do more than fill in dietary gaps. They may also address particular health concerns of aging women, including enhanced support of bone, heart, and cognitive health. Studies have identified micronutrient deficiency levels in the range of 30 – 95 percent in those over 50, including certain vitamins and minerals critical to aging, such as B2, B12, C, D, E, folate, calcium and magnesium.

Maintaining energy production, along with healthy muscles, joints, and bone, keeps the body strong and healthy, preventing weakness and frailty. Calcium and protein are essential to support the lifelong process of bone formation and maintenance. More than 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth, leaving less than 1 percent in extracellular serum. While some individuals may meet calcium requirements through dietary sources and fortified foods, calcium absorption, unfortunately, declines with age.

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average dietary calcium absorption rate is approximately 30 percent. Small amounts of calcium are utilized throughout the body for vascular contraction, vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion. Adolescents, post-menopausal women, the elderly, and those with allergies or lactose intolerance are at the highest risk for calcium deficiency.

Adequate dietary protein provides the amino acids required for protein synthesis necessary for energy production, and the repair and maintenance of body tissues. Bones and muscles comprise approximately 50 percent of body protein stores. Seniors are more susceptible than younger adults for declining muscle mass during periods of inactivity, as well as for anabolic resistance, the impaired capacity to synthesize muscle mass. The loss of muscle strength and mass, known as sarcopenia, is found to some degree in more than half of adults aged 80 years and older. Sarcopenia may be the result of changes that occur with aging, including reduced physical activity, changing endocrine function, insulin resistance and increased dietary protein needs.

Recent science suggests that the consumption of a good quality whey protein, ideally 20g daily, could help seniors meet adequate protein requirements. Along with sufficient exercise, protein supplementation could minimize the loss of skeletal muscle and reduce anabolic resistance. As renal function also decreases with age, a high protein intake is contraindicated in those with renal disease. However, there is compelling data to support the ability of high quality dietary protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in aging healthy individuals.

Three synergistic micronutrients, vitamins D3 and K2 and magnesium work to strengthen bones and protect the heart. These nutrients are essential to the absorption and maintenance of proper calcium balance. Together, vitamins D3 and K2 shuttle calcium into bones and teeth, and help remove calcium from arteries and soft tissues. In order for muscles to exist in a neutral state, calcium and magnesium must be in balance. Magnesium helps in muscle relaxation, while calcium constricts the muscles. Proper balance is especially important to heart muscle health, helping to prevent angina, heart attack and hypertension.

B vitamins, also critical to heart health, become more difficult for women to absorb as we age. Vitamins B6, B12 and folate help to properly regulate homocysteine levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B12 is essential for optimal brain function. The body’s ability to absorb B12 declines with age, which may increase the risk of dementia in older adults. The Institute of Medicine advises adults over age 50 to supplement with B12 to ensure sufficiency.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements to support overall health and wellbeing:

RevitalAge Ultra ...RevitalAge™ Ultra by Pure Encapsulations®: This scientifically researched blend offers sustained released CoQ10, acetyl-l-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid and pure resveratrol, as well as antioxidant and mitochondrial support cofactors in support of enhanced cardiovascualar, metabolic and neurocognitive support. Specific ingredients target cellular pathways and genes involved in the aging process. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formulation.

Whey Protein...Whey Protein Concentrate by Biotics® Research: Derived from the milk of grass fed New Zealand cows, this Non-GMO, low temperature, microfiltered whey protein powder provides 21g of protein per serving in support of healthy aging, detoxification, glucose metabolism, liver and gallbladder health, and weight management. Gluten free.

Ultra Whey Plus...Ultra Whey Plus™ Vanilla by Douglas Laboratories®: This product provides essential amino acids, 22g of protein per serving, an organic antioxidant fruit and vegetable blend and soluble fiber. Sweetened with organic coconut palm sugar and organic stevia in a natural vanilla flavor. Gluten, wheat, yeast and artificial ingredient free.

Vitamin D Supreme...Vitamin D Supreme With Vitamin K1 and K2 by Designs for Health™: This product supplies a clinically useful dose of vitamin D3 and highly bioavailable forms of vitamins K1 and K2 in support of optimal bone and arterial health and proper immune system balance. Gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar and preservative free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Calcium...Calcium Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite by Douglas Laboratories®: This product supplies beneficial bioavailable calcium, phosphorus, amino acids, boron, and bone matrix proteins derived from young bovine bone in support of the maintenance of healthy bone structure and function. Gluten, wheat, yeast, soy, dairy, sugar and artificial ingredient free.

The Role of Calcium in Human Aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337919/
Protein nutrition, exercise and aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15640513
Role of dietary protein in the sarcopenia of aging. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1562S.full