Every day, we subject our joints to more stress than we can imagine. Weight training, as healthy and beneficial as it is, can wreck havoc on your joints because of the sheer amount of weight you are obligating your body to support. In many endurance sports, you subject your joints to constant pounding. What about contact sports? Age plays a role as well, trust me as you age you can have aches and pains in places you didn't think could hurt! Most people wait until they get older and actually begin to have those aches before they react and think about things like improving their exercise form and purchasing a good joint supplement. This is a mistake, be proactive and make these things a mainstay of your program right now!
Joint care does come down to some basic considerations: proper form on all exercises which not only helps prevent injuries but also allows you to get the most out of those exercises, lifting heavy but not heavier than you can handle in good form, and picking a quality joint product to aid in maintaining healthy joints. So, joint support supplements are nutrients that are involved in the maintenance and care of healthy joints.
There are of course different types of joint problems that cause joint pain, let's take a look at the main ones :
Arthritis: There are many different forms of arthritis with the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Of those two,osteoarthritis is the most common problem to bodybuilders as well as other athletes. This is caused by wear and tear on the joints and is actually a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. The once smooth cartilage becomes rough which causes friction and pain.
Bursitis: In our joints there are small fluid filled sacks called bursae. These sacks assist in the muscle/joint range of motion by cushioning the joints and bones against friction. If these sacks become inflamed or injured a chronic pain called "bursitis" can result. It's most often found in the shoulder or elbow (A.K.A tennis elbow) but can also be found in other joints of the body.
Tendonitis: Tendonitis is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders as well as other athletes and is considered the easiest to treat. However, if left untreated it can become a real problem. Basically, tendinitis means the tendon(s) around a joint have become severely inflamed from overuse or injury. This can evolve to cause constant pain in the affected area, it's important to deal with it early on.
- Reduce joint pain
- Improve flexibility
- Improve range of motion
Many of the typical nutrients found in joint products tend to work a little bit differently, with some acting as a pain control, others acting as a lubricant and still others helping to rebuild and repair damage.
Glucosamine Sulfate: Glucosamine is a naturally occurring element in the body that plays a crucial role in the building of cartilage. Cartilage is a tough connective tissue that acts as a padding and cushion of the joints. Glucosamine is a major component of cartilage. It helps the body make synovial fluid – an important joint lubricant – and proteoglycans – the large, shock absorbing molecules found in cartilage.
Chondroitin Sulfate: Chondroitin is a derivative of glucosamine that supports the strength and flexibility of all connective tissues in the body. It is also one of the major constituents of cartilage.
Cissus: In many countries, such as India, people use cissus quadrangularis extract regularly to treat eye disease, ear disease, irregular menstruation, bone fractures, anorexia, burns and muscle pain. Theories suggest that cissus quadrangularis extract can accelerate recovery rates by influencing the speed at which fractures and tissues heal. This ingredient has only recently been introduced as a joint supplement.
Hyaluronic acid: A gel-like aminoglycan that is found in the tissue space, the synovial fluid of joints, and the vitreous humor of the eyes and acts as a binding, lubricating, and protective agent.
MSM: MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is an organic source of sulfur which is utsed by the body in the formation of connective tissue. Sulfur is important to more than 150 compounds in the body including enzymes, hormones, antibodies and free radical scavengers.
Omega 3's: Omega 3 fatty acids are responsible for forming the anti -inflammatory prostaglandins. A high intake of Omega 3 oils can help reduce inflammation (and pain).
There are other elements involved in joint health as evidenced by reading the labels of several joint products but the above are by far the most common, with Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM as a formula being the most widely used joint product on the market today. Of course, you can find all kinds of things added to this combo but the basic combo has become the mainstay joint formula.
Boswellia Serrata: is a traditional Indian herbal treatment for controlling inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
Turmeric (curcumin): Turmeric root extract is another traditional Indian remedy for controlling swelling and inflammation. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice is used in Indian curry cooking and supplies curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. In joint products this ingredient will block the Cox-2 enzyme, which is a enzyme responsible for pain.
Most joint supplements come as tablets or capsules but there are some powders available. While you can buy individual ingredients this is a case where, really, the only way to go is a formula product giving you the benefits of several ingredients and subsequently several solutions to your joint problems in one tablet or capsule. Timing and dosage is typically product specific but usually is 2-3 tabs or caps 3 times a day with food. Check labels carefully, if you are allergic to shellfish you will want to avoid most joint products since glucosamine and chondoritin sulfate have shellfish sources. You can buy non shellfish versions, however. Finally, these products usually take several weeks to work so be patient and allow them to take effect.