Sup­ple­ment your joints, soothe your gut

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about im­prov­ing their well­be­ing.


Iwant to take a sup­ple­ment for my joints but am un­sure where to start. Can you please sug­gest what is best for good joint health? Thanks, Louise.

Hi Louise, vi­ta­mins A, C and E are all po­tent an­tiox­i­dants that mop up the free rad­i­cals gen­er­ated from liv­ing and that are made in ex­cess when we are ex­posed to pol­lu­tants.

Some stud­ies have shown them to ben­e­fit joint health. They are found pre­dom­i­nantly in coloured plant foods, so in­creas­ing your in­takes of plants can be highly ben­e­fi­cial. Vi­ta­mins C and E can also be taken very safely as sup­ple­ments.

Glu­cosamine is another op­tion. It is an amino sugar pro­duced by the body and is one of the build­ing blocks of car­ti­lage.

Glu­cosamine comes in two forms – glu­cosamine sul­fate and glu­cosamine hy­drochlo­ride. It is of­ten found in joint care sup­ple­ments in com­bi­na­tion with chon­droitin. Chon­droitin is also a nat­u­ral sub­stance found in the body. It is be­lieved to help draw wa­ter and nu­tri­ents into the car­ti­lage.

It can also be help­ful to keep joints lu­bri­cated with ben­e­fi­cial fats. It is es­sen­tial we nour­ish our bod­ies with spe­cific fats each day, in­clud­ing those from oily fish such as sar­dines, along with flaxseeds, wal­nuts, pecans, chia seeds and evening prim­rose oil.

Other good choices of whole­food fats in­clude those from av­o­cado, other seeds and nuts, co­conut, or­ganic but­ter, and pas­ture-fed an­i­mals.

Omega 3 fatty acids are par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive in fight­ing in­flam­ma­tion in the body, and can be easily in­cor­po­rated into our di­ets by eat­ing omega-3 rich fish or flaxseeds.

I read a lot about the gut be­cause I have ran­dom un­com­fort­able symp­toms that the doc­tors have all told me are not a dis­ease. And I’m pleased about that but I need some sim­ple things I can do to help my di­ges­tion work bet­ter. Thanks, Mrs Mel­ton.

Hi Mrs Mel­ton, with­out know­ing pre­cisely what your symp­toms are it is a lit­tle tricky to ad­vise you, so con­tinue to have your gut health mon­i­tored.

The first steps to take are to chew your food well, eat slowly and drink wa­ter be­tween meals to sup­port stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion.

So many of us are in such a hurry with our meals that we might chew each mouth­ful four times if we’re lucky. In­stead, slow down and chew. Ob­serve whether this im­proves how your tummy feels af­ter eat­ing.

Another sim­ple trick is to use le­mon juice or ap­ple cider vine­gar to phys­i­cally stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of stom­ach acid.

If you haven’t con­sumed these be­fore, it is best to ini­tially di­lute them and con­sume them 5 to 20 min­utes be­fore your main meals.

Be­gin with half a tea­spoon of ap­ple cider vine­gar in as much wa­ter as you like. Work up to hav­ing one ta­ble­spoon of vine­gar and de­crease the amount of wa­ter.

If you would pre­fer le­mon juice, start with the juice of half a le­mon di­luted to your tastes with warm wa­ter and work up to hav­ing the juice of a whole le­mon in less warm wa­ter.

The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional.

Dr Libby is speak­ing through­out NZ dur­ing Oc­to­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion visit dr­

Photo: 123RF.COM

Tak­ing your time to chew and savour your food can be good for your gut.

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