The natural health industry is taking a joint approach to bone health, blending proven treatments and new approaches, writes Matt Chittock

For many people in the UK, a winter in lockdown hasn’t just driven a coach and horses through their wellbeing and waistlines, it’s played havoc with their muscles and joints too. Because, if you aren’t lucky enough to work in a shop, the chances are that step counts haven’t exactly been soaring due to the coronavirus. And all that sitting around and staring at smartphones hasn’t been a boon for people’s backs either.

“The Office of National Statistics reported that approximately 25% of survey participants stated that in 2020 they could not exercise as they would under normal circumstances,” says Jenny Carson MRES, technical services manager at Viridian.     

“Subsequently, worries about deteriorating joint health may be triggered by the inability to exercise alongside increased joint stiffness and a reduced range of motion.”

A rising problem
This is leading to an epidemic of back pain for hunched-over Britons. According to research from the Mentholatum Mind Your Back campaign, musculoskeletal pain is on the rise, with over a third of UK adults experiencing more back pain than they did a year ago. 

Plus, a whopping two out of three adults have experienced pain because of their posture, while four out of five believe that poor posture has had an impact on their health. And they’re right. We all know that the sedentary lifestyles that cause poor posture can spawn obesity, heart disease and more.

All of which means that you might be seeing an increasing number of customers coming into your health shop with joint, muscle and back-related worries throughout 2021. 

And, as experienced store managers know, it’s not just about the over-50s anymore. As (attempting to) exercise becomes a way of life, there is a growing demographic that wants to protect their joints from damage as well as soothing pain when they become battered doing Joe Wicks’ workouts at home.

Go-to glucosamine
So what can retailers offer the muscle-sore? On the shop floor, glucosamine has always been a proven go-to for knowledgeable health store staff. As Carson explains, research says that glucosamine sulphate (as found in products like Viridian’s Joint Complex) can preserve all-important cartilage in the body for the long term. 

“In addition, the natural metabolism of glucosamine is thought to produce compounds that may offer anti-inflammatory benefits,” she adds.

That makes glucosamine a good start. Yet other options can be effective as well. Bone and joint health definitely isn’t a category that’s standing still, and constant research and innovation means there are more products than ever available in the natural medicine cabinet that can work alongside it.

Tove Biagi from Back to Nature in Buckingham has had an invaluable counter-side view of just how approaches have evolved.

“Two out of three adults have experienced pain because of their posture, while four out of five believe that poor posture has had an impact on their health” 

“I think that more products have come along to rival glucosamine that we weren’t able to offer in the same way 15 years ago,” she says. “We’re certainly seeing the rise of collagen [to boost bones], and I think that will continue as it becomes more well known.”

Collagen is one of the key ingredients in many ‘beauty drinks’ aimed at enhancing customers’ skin health and cheekbones, and it offers an insight into how bone health can cross over with natural beauty. For example, nourishing and healing bath soaks such as Bath House’s Bergamot & Amber Bath Soak can be easily merchandized to promote their place in easing back pain. 

“Of course, turmeric is now regarded as an excellent anti-inflammatory,” adds Biagi. “I think that people feel it’s having an anti-inflammatory effect very quickly. That’s a benefit because they can recognize a change is happening straight away. I think customers are looking for high-strength products because they want to feel those effects.”    

Innovative combinations
Today an increasing number of brands are bolstering tried-and-tested glucosamine formulas with fresh approaches (including turmeric) in high-potency formats.

“With more severe joint complaints [our] High Potency Glucosamine alongside the High Potency Curcumin Complex may be an option,” explains Carson. “In this case, a larger dose of glucosamine may be beneficial to address the symptoms characteristic of severe joint issues. The addition of curcumin – which is the primary bioactive of turmeric – has been shown in research to interrupt the inflammatory cascade. In addition, the extract from frankincense called AKBBA plus ginger is thought to further support analgesia.”

That analgesic effect is very important. As winter bites, customers will be seeking practical ways to reduce their joint and back pain. So although the sector might be facing regulatory challenges, this is where CBD products may well come into their own.

“People are choosing CBD products for pain, and I can see it as a growing trend,” comments Biagi. “It will be interesting to see how that develops. Also, magnesium is a more traditional approach to pain that works for customers.”

Things to come
This points the way to future innovation through topical application. As postural alignment specialist Jan Keller says, touch is a natural way to treat aches and pains.

“We instinctively seek something warming or cooling when we experience muscle pain – and there is sound science to confirm the efficacy of this approach,” she explains.

So while heat may help boost the circulation to make muscles feel soothed, cold can numb the pain, decrease any swelling and block nerve impulses to the joints.

Tiger Balm and its ilk have always been popular in health stores. Could adding CBD into the mix, in a zeitgeist-grabbing format, create a natural staple with the potential for mainstream success to rival Deep Heat? 

Watch this space…   

Paws for thought
Over 18? Then sadly, your bones will already have stopped growing (although happily your bone tissue keeps expanding until your late twenties). That means parents have a relatively small window in which to give their kids the very best chance of developing the strong bones that will last them a lifetime.

For the natural health industry, this means there’s a big gap in the market for natural bone-boosting children’s products. Get it right, and manufacturers are guaranteed a loyal customer base. And luckily for the little ones, bright and exciting formats mean gloopy morning spoonfuls of cod liver oil have been consigned to the past.

“When it comes to formulating vitamins and supplements for children, the most important aspect is that they are safe and they work,” says James Caseley, commercial director at ParkAcre.

“After that we look at how we can make something that children will love, and a collaboration with a well-known brand can be an effective way to do this. Recognizable TV characters help to bring some fun to a product that children aren’t always the most excited about, and these kinds of collaboration are another way to stand out in an increasingly saturated market.”

ParkAcre is attempting to maximize market share with its new Paw Patrol and SpongeBob Squarepants vitamins. As well as a Tropical Fizzy Drink with multivitamins, the range includes a dedicated Bones & Teeth Apple & Blackcurrant product to aid the growth and development of three to seven-year-olds.


FSC Bromelain Joint Care

Tel:  0800 083 0356
E-mail: [email protected]

Bromelain is a protein extract derived from the stems of pineapples, although it exists in all parts of the fresh plant and fruit. The extract has a history of folk medicine use to help care for joints.

As with all FSC’s products, FSC Bromelain is made in the UK with the finest ingredients and based on widely recognised scientific evidence of their health qualities.  Suitable for Vegetarians and recommended to take one to four tablets daily with food. Available in 60 tablet glass bottles. 



HealthAid Ltd
Tel: 020 8426 3400
E-mail: [email protected]

Osteoflex® Plus – Keeping you Flexible

Osteoflex®Plus tablets, an optimum formulation providing a combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin, which helps the body repair damaged cartilage and lubricate the joints. Vitamin C and Turmeric are incorporated in the formula for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Osteoflex® Plus has the added benefit of Hyaluronic Acid, helps to improve joint health – especially cushioning of the joints and to improve the quality of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant, shock absorber and helps to maintain the structural and functional characteristics of the cartilage matrix. Osteoflex® Plus retails at £19.99 for 30 tablets. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 0208 426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit


Helios Injury

Helios Homoeopathy
Tel: 01892 537254
E-mail: [email protected]

Award winning Helios Injury contains three homeopathic remedies Arnica, Rhus tox and Ruta.

This combination has a long history of traditional use for the symptomatic relief of pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, strains, sprains, bruises and other trauma. Suitable for all the family, Injury comes in organic sucrose pill form in our easy to use single dose dispenser and is a great addition to the sports bag or first aid cabinet at home. For more information on our award winning range please contact Helios.


Planet Paleo Organic Bone Broth Powder

Living Planet Distribution
Tel: 0203 176 9982
E-mail:  [email protected]

Planet Paleo Organic Bone Broth powder is a nutrition powerhouse. Rich in collagen for healthy hair, skin, nails and digestion, it also contains key amino acids that the body uses to build connective tissue such as cartilage. Bone broth is high in calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin. These are compounds that build and strengthen bones and joints, as well as form and repair connective tissue. Planet Paleo are proud producers of the first and only organic bone broth powder in Europe. Available as tubs and sachets in 5 great flavours. RRP from £27.99/225g.


Free to Move

New Nordic LTD
Tel: 0800 389 1255
E-mail:  [email protected]

Joint cartilage and bone health is important for maintaining an active lifestyle. Free to Move  tablets contain passion fruit, black pepper, turmeric and pine bark. The content of copper and manganese contribute to the normal formation of connective tissue. The tablet also contains vitamin D and magnesium, which help maintain and normal muscle function and normal bones. 


NutraBone Herbal Remedy Tea

Nutratea Ltd.
Tel: 0203 146 7150
E-mail:  [email protected]

NutraBone® by NutraTea® is 1 of 19 herbal remedy teas that have been expertly blended by pharmacists and nutritionists to help maintain healthy bones. The comprehensive herbal blend contains 100% active botanicals that have been sustainably sourced including Gingko Biloba, Turmeric and Willow Bark to help strengthen the body’s locomotor system and manage inflammatory responses. Each natural tea bag is free from flavourings, oils and bulking agents making it the ideal herbal supplement alternative that can be reused throughout the day. This tasty herbal tea is a convenient way to help strengthen the bone and contribute to joint health.


Neocell Collagen 2 Joint Complex

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail:  [email protected]

NeoCell Collagen 2 Joint Complex provides Collagen Type II and essential nutrients to support and maintain healthy joint function. Type II Collagen is the key structural protein in cartilage tissue, making up 60% of it, is crucial for healthy and fluid joint movement, and deteriorates as we age. NeoCell Collagen 2 is a complete joint supplement that contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, which are key components for supporting and maintaining healthy joint function. Provides NeoCell Type II collagen – 2400mg/serving, for best results take 4-6 capsules daily, and take on an empty stomach for maximum absorption. 


Lamberts® Osteoguard® Advance Calcium & Magnesium Plus Vitamins D3 & K2

Lamberts Healthcare Ltd
Tel: : 01892 554313
E-mail:  [email protected]

Our premium formula provides 250mg of magnesium and 500mg of calcium per two tablets.  The form of magnesium is a unique blend of citrate, hydroxide and carbonate, plus calcium as both carbonate and citrate, to support absorption.  Calcium and vitamin D contribute to a reduction in the risk of osteoporotic bone fracture and normal bone health. Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone, MK-7, form) is included at 90µg and is naturally derived from chickpea protein. We have also included 10µg of vitamin D3 as there have been fascinating studies regarding the synergistic effects of vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 for bone health.


SOiL Arnica Athletic Massage and Body Oil

Pravera Ltd
Tel: 01557 870203
E-mail:  [email protected]

Feeling achy and sore? Let SOiL Arnica Athletic Massage and Body Oil help. 

This soothing organic massage body oil is formulated with arnica which relieves joint and muscle pain; rosemary and black pepper organic essential oils promotes circulation and refresh muscle tissue while lavender soothes and relaxes the body and mind. The conditioning and nurturing base of cold pressed carrier oils nourish the body and calm the mind, promoting relaxation and helping to unwind. 

If you are interested to stock the SOiL Organic Aromatherapy range, please get in touch with Pravera Ltd for your information pack. 


Nature’s Answer Aquamins Plant-Based Cal-Mag Liquid

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Nature’s Answer Plant-Based Cal-Mag Liquid features Aquamins red algae & sea water marine calcium, magnesium and multi-mineral complex which supplies 500mg calcium and 250mg magnesium per serving, and 72 other trace minerals. Sustainably harvested in the cool, clean and pristine Iceland Arctic waters. This liquid supplement has a delicious natural vanilla cream flavour and is a good option for those who find capsules or tablets difficult to swallow. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Supported by a significant and growing body of scientific publications, Aquamins’ unique matrix of trace minerals works synergistically together to give a powerful boost to calcium and magnesium’s bioactivity.


Joint & Skin Matrix™

Wholesale Health Ltd
Tel: 01606 889905
E-mail:  [email protected]

Joint & Skin Matrix™ from Good Health Naturally offers comprehensive nutritional support for healthy joints and skin through a powerful combination of Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II, Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid, and Chondroitin Sulfate. Each capsule delivers over 2000mg of BioCell Collagen™ – a unique compound that undergoes a patented manufacturing process that allows for easy digestion, fast action, and effective results. What’s more, there are over 20 clinical studies, including four human clinical trials on BioCell Collagen™, supporting its effectiveness and safety in promoting joint health and skin beauty.


FlexiQule Oil Rub

AlchemLife UK
Tel: 0800 024 84 92
E-mail:  [email protected]

Discover the clinically tested FlexiQule Oil Rub for joint support…made of 100% natural ingredients – Lavender, Ginger, Boswellia and Piperine

• Lavender helps with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
• Topical application of Ginger is found to be helpful in pain relief of osteoarthritis patients
• Boswellia’s actives have shown to decrease production of proinflammatory cytokines that destroy cartilage
• Piperine helps decreasing the rate of cartilage degeneration

These extracts are unique to FlexiQule and are produced in-house utilizing proprietary extraction processes that capture and retain the wide spectrum of actives and micronutrients found in these medicinal herbs.