Osteoarthritis and Mineral Deficiency

Osteoarthritis (OA) is thought as joint disease that occurs due to the damaged cartilage in the affected joint. This is usually caused by ‘tear & wear’, a classic theory. Yap, as you age – there is greater chance for that cartilage to break down and wear away. But some studies suggest that this joint disease may be not a purely mechanical problem. How about mineral deficiency?

The role of minerals in the body

When we think of minerals, it may be not as popular as we think of vitamins. During childhood, most of us were always remembered by our parents, ‘Don’t miss to take your vitamins’!

Though the body doesn’t need minerals as much as vitamins, they are so essential to support some body functions and play a key role in keeping your body healthy.

There are different types of minerals you need to continuously consume in your diet. Even some of them are required by the body in bulk numbers.

These bulk minerals include chlorine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and sodium. Others such as zinc, selenium, molybdenum, manganese, iron, copper, iodine, fluorine, cobalt, and chromium are required by the body in small amounts.

image_illustration200They serve lots of functions in the body, the following are some these functions.

  1. Your body needs certain minerals to absorb and use the advantages of vitamins.
  2. Calcium is so essential to build the strength of teeth and bones.
  3. Iron, it is involved in the production of some antibodies. Therefore, it is essential to help boost the performance of your immune system.
  4. Sodium! High intake of sodium is associated with hypertension. But in right amounts, sodium is essential for your body. It can help digestive process, assist the absorption of other minerals, and is also involved in the CO2 (carbon dioxide) elimination.
  5. Copper can help boost the immune system and aids in respiration (it is useful to maintain O2 levels in the bloodstream).
  6. Potassium is involved in the breakdown of carbohydrate and protein. With sodium, it can help the level of acid in the bloodstream.
  7. Phosphorus can provide a wide range of advantages. It can help maintain homeostasis, improve the strength of skeletal structure, boost the performance of your brain, and also be helpful to regulate your heart rate.

There are numerous illnesses that can occur due to mineral deficiency.

  1. Anemia can occur due to lack of iron.
  2. Lack of calcium can cause a common bone problem called osteoporosis.
  3. Too low sodium can lead to lightheadedness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, or even coma (in severe case) – these are the symptoms of condition called hyponatremia.
  4. In children, the stunted bodily development can be affected by zinc deficiency.
  5. A condition called hypomagnesemia, a consequence of too low magnesium.
  6. Symptoms such as muscle pain and fatigue can be triggered by potassium deficiency.

Now you know that minerals can play a key role in maintaining your overall health, and lack of certain minerals can cause some health problems. How about osteoarthritis?

The link between osteoarthritis and mineral deficiency

In the joint, cartilage cushions the bone ends in the joints, essential to allow the joint moves with almost no friction. The cartilage that becomes rough and thin can be the starting point for OA to occur.

When you use your joint, the bone ends in the joint can glide against each other. With poor function of the cartilage in the joint, there will more friction every time you move the joint. And this can cause symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, or even swelling (the common symptoms of OA).

The damaged cartilage in the joint can occur due to an accident, injury in sport activity, or repetitive pressure that hits the joint in daily routines. Age can play a key role – yap, the cartilage are more likely to wear and tear as you age. That’s why this joint disease is more common in elderly people.

How about your diet? Does it affect your risk of this joint disease?

Currently, there is no specific diet recommended for people with OA. But diet can help control weight (weight control is so important to reduce the risk and control OA) and some supplements are also available to help ease the symptoms.

When we think of diet – again, minerals are one of essential nutrients you should not forget. Though there is still no clearly evidence to confirm the link between specific mineral deficiency and OA, but the following minerals may help in arthritis (including for OA):