You may have heard that glucosamine HCL and chondroitin can help rebuild damaged cartilage in your joints. But what if you’re taking supplements to relieve your aching joints, and you just aren’t feeling better? You could be missing a surprisingly simple piece of the puzzle: Exercise.

Glucosamine supplements can definitely help. Recent studies show that glucosamine can improve joint flexibility and mobility in people with osteoarthritis. On top of that, glucosamine helps slow the progression of osteoarthritis, and may even relieve symptoms for weeks after treatment ends.

But glucosamine can’t work its “magic” alone. You need to exercise to help the supplement take effect.

When you’re in pain, exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do. But the closed capsules of your joints are a little different than other areas of your body. Think of cartilage as a sponge. When you flex or compress a joint, the cartilage contracts. When you straighten or release that joint, the cartilage expands and pulls in nutrient-rich fluids.

Without regular exercise, any supplements you’re taking don’t get to where they need to go. So go ahead and do some regular low-impact exercise. Your joints will thank you for it.

[Ed. Note: James B. LaValle, RPh, ND, CCN, is founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, a nationally recognized expert on natural therapies, and the author of 13 books on healthy lifestyles and integrative care, including Cracking the Metabolic Code.

By modifying your diet, medications, lifestyle, and exercise habits, and with nutritional supplementation, your health is largely in your control. ]

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