Hyaluronic Acid and Lubricin for Healthy Joints

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Filed Under: Arthritis, Bone & Joint Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Learn how to naturally replenish hyaluronic acid and lubricin for healthy joints 

A great deal of research has been done on hyaluronic acid and its use in the treatment of arthritis. In fact, it is often injected into knee joints as a temporary treatment for osteoarthritis.

Oral hyaluronic acid supplements are generally made from rooster combs, and a few have been shown to help in the treatment of arthritic joints—though they are quite expensive. These are the same compounds that can be found in bovine (cattle) and properly processed shark cartilage, either of which can help with the repair and protection of various joints throughout the body.

Inexpensive Sources of Hyaluronic Acid

Bone Broth

The "poor man's" joint supplement (and probably one of the most beneficial) is bone broth. Although obesity and a lack of exercise are obviously major contributing factors to the widespread osteoarthritis problems we see today, I feel a large part of the problem is also the fact that bone broths are no longer a part of our diet.

Preparing broths from the carcasses and joints of cattle, chickens, and fish, and incorporating them into your diet each day, can have a tremendous beneficial effect on your overall health. Much of the reason stems from the increased intake of hyaluronic acid—along with various minerals, proteins, and other compounds necessary for proper joint health. You can add vegetables or meat back into the broth for hearty soups or stews, and substitute the broth for chicken or beef stock in many recipes. Bone broths are extremely easy to make.

Eggs

Another source of hyaluronic acid is eggs. The parts that you eat—the white and the yolk—are well-known sources of high-quality protein. But the membrane that separates the white from the shell is also composed mostly of protein, plus hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

When you make your joint-boosting broths, you can throw in any leftover eggshells from breakfast. Just strain them out with the bones after the broth has cooked. If you're not big on eating eggs (though I highly recommend that you do), or making soup puts too much heat in your kitchen during the summertime, you can look for supplements with eggshell membrane.

Another Option for Joint Pain: Lubricin

The compound lubricin is also found in synovial fluid. Lubricin is to joints what oil was to the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. It provides the "gliding" action where joint surfaces meet. Together, lubricin and hyaluronic acid provide a "cushioning" effect by storing and dissipating the energy created during an impact.

Lubricin is created in the thin layer of tissue that lines the joints. If this liner becomes inflamed, then lubricin production breaks down and may even stop. For example, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis destroys lubricin.

Joint motion increases the production of lubricin. That's why activity—specifically, exercises for joint mobility—is so crucial to maintaining joint health and managing arthritic pain.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Arthritis

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