4 Supplements for Athletes With Joint Pain
Maintaining or improving joint health is the key to longevity as an athlete. These four ingredients are must-haves for every active woman.
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There are few things more annoying than the sound of a creaky door, and the groaning of the hinges serves as an audible reminder that they need to be replaced. This tragic devolution is a metaphorical match to the life cycle of your joints, which also tend to groan and stick over time. Of course, a swap of your door hardware can be magically accomplished with a Lowe’s gift card and a screwdriver. Your joints? Not so much.
Short of wholesale knee, hip or shoulder replacement, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the suppleness and longevity of your connective tissues, including proper hydration, load-bearing exercise and smart supplementation. As for the latter, smart choices are key, and through consistent use, joint supplements can improve flexibility, reduce pain and increase joint longevity. Consider supplementing with these four natural compounds, or find a product that includes one or more of them, to avoid the perpetual protest of the creaky doors of your physique.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
These two ingredients are structural components of cartilage, the tissue that cushions your joints. Both are produced naturally by your body and act as anti-inflammatory compounds, which also help reduce collagen breakdown. Supplementation appears to stimulate the body to make more cartilage while reducing the pain associated with conditions like arthritis: A six-month study compared the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin versus prescription drugs to manage the pain of knee osteoarthritis. Those with moderate to severe pain responded best to the glucosamine/chondroitin combination, with 79 percent of participants reporting a 20 percent or greater reduction in pain — 9 percent more than those taking the prescription arthritis drug.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) contains organic sulphur, an important building block of healthy bones and joints. It also aids in the production of immunoglobins, which boost immunity, and studies show it to be effective against inflammation: The journal Clinical Drug Investigation reported that MSM was an effective pain reducer and anti-inflammatory compound — and that its effects were increased when used in concert with glucosamine.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, the herb Boswellia also may help prevent cartilage loss: A study published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy found that Boswellia slowed cartilage damage to osteoarthritic knees after three months of continuous use. Studies have also shown Boswellia to be useful in treating Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as asthma, blocking the formation of leukotrienes, which trigger asthma symptoms.
Multiple studies have shown ginger extract to be on par with over-the-counter medications when it comes to pain reduction: A study in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found ginger to be as effective as ibuprofen for osteoarthritic hips and knees, and another study found it to be 40 percent more effective for pain reduction in the knees. Like Boswellia, ginger also suppresses leukotrienes to induce an anti-inflammatory effect. Bonus: It is also useful for motion sickness, nausea, migraines, asthma and colds.
Flexify from Native Origins delivers all the ingredients covered here and then some, loading up on each serving with seven clinically tested ingredients. The easy-to-swallow tablets include scientifically dosed glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, vitamin D3, ginger, Boswellia and turmeric.