Joint Hypermobility - a nutritional approach.
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Hypermobility in joints
Is your child hypermobile? Hypermobility is defined as having joints that extend beyond the ‘normal’ range of movement. Kids can be super limber - an estimated 10-15% of children are hypermobile. But as we age, joints stiffen (yes, I know this well!) and hypermobility reduces or improves enough to no longer be of concern. For a small percentage of people though, hypermobility can mean a life of unstable joints and painful dislocations.
If you’re worried about your child’s joints and/or body tone – it’s always a good idea to be checked over by a healthcare professional. Best to start various therapies early.
In terms of nutritional support for joint hypermobility, specific collagen peptides are the stand-out for me.
Specific Collagen Peptides (SCP)
Basically gelatine. But not just any kind of gelatine.
So, what are Specific Collagen Peptides? SCPs are produced for nutritional administration and undergo hydrolysis to be easily digested and more bioavailable. Studies have demonstrated that SCPs improve both the functional and mechanical properties of connective tissue. Tensile load and strength of ligaments have also been shown to increase following SCP supplementation.
Weh and Petau (2001) showed that supplementing with SCPs daily for six months can significantly improve joint firmness and stability, with improvements specifically observed in persons with hypermobility at the beginning of the study. Yay.
Specific Collagen Peptides can be found in most good health food stores in powder form. If you have a fussy kid, these are pretty easy to sneak into smoothies, soups, stews etc. Generally, powder dissolves completely and is tasteless. Choose organic grass-fed SCPs.
If you can’t get your hands on some Specific Collagen Peptides, gelatine is a reasonable substitute (just not as readily absorbed by the body). If you chose store brought gelatine, it’s best to go with grass-fed organic. Pesticides and toxins store in animal bones and skin, so opting for organic and grass-fed helps to avoid these harmful toxins.
If flavoured jelly is the only option – always choose organic and grass fed without the sugar and fake stuff that generally goes into jelly. Pretty colours yes, but some nasty side effects – particularly for sensitive children. Check ingredients carefully paying close attention to chemical numbers. There are a few good apps out there that can make this checking process easier. The Chemical Maze App is the one that I use. It really helps to quickly identify chemicals and get the lowdown on their safety and any known adverse effects.
IMPORTANT: Specific Collagen Peptides or gelatine should be avoided if oxalates are of concern.
Joint hypermobility has been linked to anxiety and gastrointestinal issues in children, blog posts on these topics coming soon…
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