How many workouts have you had to miss or cut short due to that intense shoulder pain? How about those ankle sprains that no amount of stretching, Bengay or Aspercream would take care of? God forbid we talk about knee stiffness and pain that just will not go away no matter how much ibuprofen or aspirin you take. Joint injuries do far more then just cause pain; they strip you of hard-earned gains and performance. It doesn't matter if you play baseball, football, basketball, wrestle or grapple or if you're a bodybuilder; injuries affect the athletic performance of all athletes. The human body is an incredible machine but the constant stress and pounding of your joints from running and jumping and especially weight training, can definitely take its toll. Face it, the harder you train, the more you stress your joints.
Acute and chronic joint pain currently affects approximately 40 million Americans ranging from the elite athlete and exercise enthusiast to the elderly. Worldwide competitive athletes, coaches and trainers are constantly concerned about the enormous strain, wear and tear on their joints, tendons and ligaments. As muscles, ligaments and cartilage become inflamed, the movement of the joint can become extremely painful and limited in motion and strength. Weight bearing joints like the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders and the joints of the hands can be most affected, limiting any physical activity let alone competitive athletic performance. The main reason for joint pain is the collective years of wear and tear of the joints compounded by the inability, as we get older, to restore joint cartilage. In addition, a majority of joint pain can be directly related to the nutritional status of the individual. Until now, there was little you could do but pray to the Lord above that you did not get injured so you could compete and train the next day.
Over the last ten years, scientists have discovered several nutritional modalities that may help protect and repair cartilage, ligaments, synovial fluid and tendons. These nutrients may actually help your body avoid joint injury along with assisting your body in the healing process should it ever become injured. A few diet modifications are recommended when considering inflammation and joint pain. It is recommended to limit the intake of hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, tea, coffee, alcohol, wheat, white sugar, dairy, chocolate and cocoa. Excessive smoking and use of antibiotics, painkillers and steroids should also be limited if not totally omitted. On-the-other-hand, apples, grapes and papaya, fresh vegetables like broccoli, squash and zucchini are recommended. Cooking with herbs like cumin, cayenne, ginger, garlic, fennel and turmeric is also very beneficial.
Recent investigations have demonstrated the effectiveness of a variety of nutritional supplements that may also benefit joint health. Precise combinations of these intricate compounds indicate promising results in supporting the body's ability to rebuild damaged connective tissue, modify inflammation and reduce pain.* Glucosamine (an aminosugar found throughout the body) is one of the building blocks of the connective tissue. It is naturally synthesized by the enzyme glucosamine synthetase, combining glucose and the amino acid glutamine. It acts as the foundation for the body's production of glycosaminoglycans (mucopolysaccharides) and proteoglycans.* Glycosaminoglycans are found in all connective tissues and play a vital role in forming the tendons, ligaments, cartilage and synovial fluid associated with our joints. Proteoglycans are protein molecules responsible for giving cartilage its strength and resilience and are associated with the structural elements of bone, elastin and collagen.* Their unique ability to hold large quantities of water acts as a cushioning and lubrication to fingers, wrists, knees and joints of the body.
Current clinical investigations have compared glucosamine supplementation against non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). The anti-inflammatory drugs relieved the symptoms quicker but was reported to have a negative long-term effect on the cartilage and the development of pain.* These recent studies have indicated that Glucosamine supplementation brought relief of pain that continued well after the conclusion of treatment.*
Chondroitin Sulfate is a complex macromolecule that is found in high concentrations in joints and connective tissue. Chondroitin is made from two sugar-like molecules that are attached to each other. Long chains form part of the ground substance of cartilage tissue and help to make cartilage resilient to the pressures it experiences from weight-bearing movement (actions like a shock absorber). Chondroitin contains vital connective tissue components such as glucuronic acid and uronic acid along with copious amounts of glucosamine and galactosamine sulfate. Although there are questions concerning chondroitins absorption ability and effectiveness, joint pain suffers swear by the powerful effects of this nutrient. Collagen, on-the-other-hand, makes up over 60 % of our total body protein, being found in muscle, ligaments, tendons, bones, joints, etc. Decreased levels of collagen due to constant wear and tear may result in weaker joints and ligaments.
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is a natural, organic source of sulfur found in all living things. This form of organic sulfur is the fourth most prevalent mineral in the body. The sulfur component in MSM is vital for the production of the disulfide bonds that are responsible for the rigidity and strength of connective tissue. Sulfur is also necessary for the production collagen, which previously noted, is the primary constituent of cartilage and connective tissue.
Sea Cucumber has been used by various cultures as a remedy for many ailments including joint pain.* Sea Cucumber (pseudocolochirus), is a marine animal and native of Australia. An investigation indicated that sea cucumber significantly reduced morning joint stiffness and pain, increased grip strength and increased range of motion without any toxicity or side effects.*
CMO (cis-9-cetyl-myristoleate) is a medium chain triglyceride naturally occurring in nuts, vegetables and certain mammals. CMO appears to modify the inflammatory process and acts as a lubricant for joints, thereby reducing joint pain.* While doing arthritis research in the 1970s for the National Institute of Health (NIH), doctors Diehl and May discovered CMO. They demonstrated CMOs ability to reduce inflammation and protected joint health in arthritis-induced rats.* In recent human studies, cetyl-myristoleate has proven just as effective when given orally to humans. A double blind, placebo-controlled multi-center hospital study with 431 arthritic patients revealed that 63% of those who took cetyl-myristoleate had significant relief in joint pain with increased joint mobility.* These results were greatly enhanced when the patients additionally supplemented with Glucosamine sulfate. An astounding 87% of the patients showed improvement when they utilized cetyl-myristoleate and glucosamine sulfate protocol. Scientists and doctors believe that instead of just treating symptoms of pain and inflammation, CMO may act directly against certain causes of joint pain and inflammation. CMO is believed to work on the memory T-cells in your immune system that can attack your joints. CMO helps to correct the faults within the immune system; therefore, stopping the attacks on your joints and reducing the pain and inflammation.*
White willow bark has been used as a treatment for pain and fever in China since 500 B.C. In 1828, European chemists discovered they could extract a substance from white willow called salicin, which was soon purified to salicylic acid (active component of aspirin), an effective treatment for pain and fever. It has shown anti-inflammatory action through its ability to inhibit prostaglandin production. Increases in prostaglandins result in increased pain and inflammation; therefore, a reduction is very beneficial for joint health. The analgesic actions of white willow are typically slow-acting but last longer than standard aspirin products.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples. It appears to block the formation of certain prostaglandins (hormone-like substances), which trigger inflammatory responses. The use of bromelain has shown to reduce swelling, pain while the body is at rest, pain during movement and joint tenderness. * Bromelain inhibits the generation of bradykinin at the inflammatory site in addition to a decrease in the production of prekallikrein (an enzyme which assists in the production of bradykinin) levels in serum.* Bradykinin is a potent mediator of anaphylaxis, which is released from cells following a reaction with a foreign substance Bradykinin provokes pain and contributes to the inflammation response to injury.* Preliminary investigations are indicating that bromelain is effective in reducing the natural inflammatory response caused by excessive wear and tear on our joints.
Boswellia serrata (boswellic acids) is a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for decades as a powerful anti-inflammatory.* A double blind study using boswellia found a significant reduction in pain and stiffness, as well as increase in joint mobility.* Boswellia contains substances known as boswellic acids. Research shows that these acids can fight inflammation, which may explain the herbs popularity over many years to reduce pain and inflammation. Because of the scientific findings, coupled with the long history of traditional use, boswellia has been widely marketed as an herbal substitute for anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Other research suggests that boswellia may improve the biochemical structure of cartilage by increasing blood supply to joint tissue, inhibiting inflammation and other actions.*
Nutritional research has additionally indicated that Tumeric (95% curcuminoids potent anti-inflammatory compounds) and Noto Ginseng (45% ginsenosides), are capable of inhibiting mediators of inflammation by interacting directly with the enzymatic pathway or by blocking its translocation.* Like bromelain, inhibiting mediators of the inflammatory process will reduce pain and inflammation, increase mobility and strength and support overall joint health.*
So, wouldn't it be nice to go get up in the morning without any joint pain? Wouldn't you like to put a full, intensive training session together pain free? Wouldn't you like to compete in the best shape of your life with all the confidence that your body is ready to perform at 100%? The recent nutritional approaches to joint health, in contrast to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and cortisone shots, which can inflict havoc on the body, are aimed at adequate nutrition and intelligent nutritional supplementation. Various nutritional supplements are eliciting excellent results in supporting joint care and repair.* Joint injuries are not only painful, they hinder athletic performance. So whether you are a bodybuilder, wrestler or play competitive sports, the human body is an incredible machine as long as it is taken care of.
|IFPA Related Fitness Certifications:
Personal Fitness Trainer Certification
Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification
Sports Medicine Certification
Fellowship in Preventative Medicine, Nutrition and Sports Medicine