What Is The So-Called Joint Pain Protein?

Joint pain encompasses a range of issues from sports injuries to arthritis and can affect any person of any age.

Experiencing joint pain can be extremely painful and seriously impact the ability to get on with daily life.

What Is The So-Called Joint Pain Protein?

For those who experience more long-term joint pain, there are a number of lifestyle changes that they can make to improve conditions and make life more comfortable.

It may sound strange that there are proteins linked to joint pain in the body, as these are essential nutrients the human body needs.

However, there are some proteins that can act as irritants to some people. In this article, learn about the so-called joint pain proteins and how they impact the body.

Types Of Joint Pain


Sports injuries or a simple slip down the stairs can cause joint pain and inflammation. When this happens, the body experiences acute inflammation.

Although these injuries aren’t intentional, they can still be aggravated by certain things and slow down the healing process.


There are different forms of arthritis, rheumatoid, and osteoarthritis. Although these are separate conditions with different causes, both experience joint pain.

Chronic inflammation is seen here as it can last for prolonged periods of time and occur more regularly.

Proteins Linked To Joint Pain

Proteins such as cytokines, disintegrins, and proteases irritate the cartilage cells (chondrocytes) which makes them a major cause of inflammation.

Not only do they lead to inflammation, but they can also cause cartilage erosion and joint pain too.

Usually, these can be balanced out by anti-inflammatory proteins, however, if these become unbalanced then discomfort and pain are seen.

There are a number of common foods that contain these ‘pain proteins’ which we will look at here.

Although there is no one particular protein that can be identified as the ‘pain protein’.


Casein is a protein found in milk, cow’s milk is made up of around 80% casein protein.

The protein is also found in other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and baby formulas.

These proteins help to supply the body with amino acids which help us build muscle and repair body issues.

This protein is thought to trigger inflammation around the joints.

If you have an allergy to milk, you may find this exacerbated as consuming the dairy product will see an increase in histamine levels in the body which can cause joint pain and inflammation.

Dairy has often been linked to arthritis and joint pain in scientific research.

C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

The c-reactive protein is an excellent marker of inflammation, there are increased levels of this protein in the body when inflammation is caused by infection, injury, or chronic disease.

A blood test will indicate the levels of the protein in the body to determine how bad the inflammation is.

Although the protein doesn’t cause joint pain itself, it does help to indicate potential causes of inflammation.

Higher levels of this protein are found in the blood in samples of people who have diets with lower intakes of grains and vegetables.

Similarly, research found that diets that contain lots of fiber and are rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with lower CRP levels.

Processed Meat

Processed Meat

Meat is a protein source that can help provide us with some vital nutrients to help build and maintain healthy muscles.

However, consuming too much processed meat and red meat is thought to lead to inflammation in the joints. Processed meats contain purines and nitrates.

Nitrates have been linked to inflammation, which causes swelling and pain in the joints.

Research has found that patients suffering from inflammatory arthritis have enhanced nitrate production, so further increasing the levels in the body would be detrimental to their health.


Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye.

This protein is an allergen for many, if you’re a gluten-intolerant person you’ll know exactly what foods you need to avoid.

When an individual who is gluten-intolerant is exposed to this irritant, this may cause an inflammatory response and as a result, this may impact the joints.

The inflammation response may lead to the joints becoming swollen which makes them painful.

Those without this intolerance may still experience joint pain after eating foods that contain gluten. However, the link between these two things is not yet fully understood.

Inflammatory Foods To Avoid

Certain foods contain compounds that can trigger the production of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.

As a result, it’s best to avoid them if you know that you suffer from joint pain.

  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Saturated fats
  • Omega-6 fatty acids

Eliminating these foods from your diet may help to improve your condition. Some people are more affected by certain foods than others.

Simple swaps can be made to allow you to have the flexibility of your normal diet such as non-dairy milk, white meat such as chicken, and non-processed foods.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

It’s not all doom and gloom, there are a number of anti-inflammatory foods that could help to ease your joint pain.

Although these aren’t a quick-fix solution, they may help you to control certain triggers of inflammation and reduce the amount of pain you experience.

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, nuts, and seeds
  • unsaturated fats such as olive oil and sesame oil
  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish
  • Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger
  • Wholegrain rice and wheat foods

Diet is such a small part of the picture, but it is something that you can actually control which can help with the frustrations of experiencing chronic pain.

The Bottom Line

There isn’t one so-called joint pain protein.

In fact, there are a number of different proteins either found in foods or the foods themselves that contain chemical compounds that can cause inflammation in the body and as a result, lead to joint pain.

Please seek advice from a healthcare professional to help elevate your symptoms in more serious cases.

Clark Ruffington
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