Ingredients for Better Joint Health

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I know what you’re thinking…you’re too young to worry about arthritis and overall joint health.  However, most people are not getting enough nutrients and vitamins in their bodies to protect themselves from the normal wear and tear signs of aging.  I’m already feeling achy when it rains, and it’s been raining quite often here in California.  Anyway, there are a couple of ingredients that can help you manage your joint health, and they vary in their targeted functions and time for realizing benefits.

The first is omega-3 fatty acids.  I take omega-3 pills daily because even though you think eating fish once or twice a week is enough, it’s not.  The chains in the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), help with inflammatory issues.  Without going into too much chemistry details, these chains compete with arachadonic acid to convert enzymes that produce cytokines, which regulate the inflammation in your body.  So while the arachadonic acid makes you more inflammed, EPA and DHA help in the anti-inflammatory benefits.  DHA and EPA are commonly found in fish oil and krill oil.  If you’re vegan/vegetarian, you can get these from flax seeds.  However, with flax seeds, you’re getting ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is converted efficiently in your body to EPA and DHA.

You can also get joint relief from ingredients like boswellia (a tree) extract, curcumin (found in turmeric), and hops and pine extracts.  These ingredient help reduce joint pain, and you can find pills with these key ingredients at your natural product stores.

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Where To Buy Safe Cosmetics

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report on retailers last week (you can find that here), but I know most people don’t want to read 27 pages of research methods, background information, and insights.  So…here I am, making your life a little easier by summarizing the findings.  Happy holidays, you’re welcome.

The gist:  Retailers are gatekeepers of consumer products.  So they should look out for consumers’ safety and reject products that are unsafe, right?  Wrong.  The report went into details about some of the largest retailers’ practices and policies, noting whether they are doing their job in protecting consumers’ health and reducing the public’s exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The criteria:

  1. Is there a policy addressing or eliminating chemicals of concern?
  2. Is there a safer alternative in the store?
  3. Is the store transparent about their safety goals and policies?

The results:  The report looked at 8 major retailers:  Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Costco, and Kroger.  Here’s the result (from best to worst):

  1. Whole Foods – proactive in setting the bar high for safety standards and has its goals very public.  The retailer also has strict guidelines for its vendors, screening out products that are bad for consumers.
  2. CVS – also public about its own safety standards mission, but needs more safer alternatives and be more strict about safety standards of its suppliers.
  3. Walgreens, Target – not aggressive enough in adhering to safety standards considering these stores sell plenty of safe and natural alternative products.  Products are still being phased out.
  4. Walmart, Kroger, Costco – unclear about their own mission and policies.  However, these are rather large retailers so it’ll take them awhile to change their policies and screen products.
  5. Macy’s – needs to expand its safer alternative products, right now only Origins seems to be endorsed.  It also doesn’t have a policy of screening bad ingredients from products and rejecting such products from being sold.  Also, stop it with the fragrance spraying in the stores.

Not endorsing Whole Foods or anything, but I love that store.  Like people always say, “you get what you pay for” and you pay for a lot at Whole Foods…I always feel that the products at Whole Foods is far superior than other places, but that’s not the point here.  The point here is to start paying more attention to your products and what you’re ingesting/applying in/on your bodies.  You don’t need a chemist to avoid toxic ingredients, you can educate yourself on reading labels and not just rely on claims.  Also, shop at retailers that are committed to a safety standard, and shop smarter with your products (i.e. simpler, fewer ingredients).

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