As BJJ players, our joints are constantly put to the test. After years of training many older BJJ players even develop arthritis. Aches and pains have become an accepted price that we pay for training but there may options available to you that can lessen or eliminate the pain. What are our supplemental and natural options to take care of our Joints:
A joint is the anatomical part where two bones meet. Cartilage, made up of collagen, is present to cushion the bones and prevent damage by friction. Another important protective element of joints is the synovial fluid, which lubricates and delivers nutrients to the joint component. In addition, ligaments attach bones together, while tendons attach bones to muscles. Joint supplements are used to prevent and treat joint pain caused by trauma, osteoarthritis or other muskoskeletal conditions. Cheap joint supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM.
Glucosamine is perhaps the most popular joint supplement. Prices vary, but you can usually find cheap deals online. Your body uses glucosamine to produce glycosaminoglycans — major components of joint cartilage. Supplementing with glucosamine can therefore prevent joint damage and aid the healing of damaged cartilage. A study published in the August 2010 issue of “Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases” concluded that although glucosamine was more effective than placebo for reducing knee joint pain, the difference was not clinically significant. Glucosamine is usually dosed at 1,500 mg daily.
Chondroitin sulfate is the main glycosaminoglycans in joint cartilage and provides resistance to compression. Dosage is usually 1,000 mg per day, typically in combination with glucosamine. The September 2010 issue of “Australian Family Physician” reports that chondroitin at 800 mg to 1,200 mg per day is effective and safe for osteoarthritis pain relief, but notes that not all studies agree on its effectiveness.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is another cheap joint supplement. It hasn’t been as widely studied as glucosamine and chondroitin, and current evidence regarding its effectiveness is conflicting. The November 2008 issue of “Osteoarthritis and Cartilage” reviewed two different studies investigating MSM supplements in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Both studies reported significant symptomatic improvements; however, the quality of the methods used was questioned.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known best for their ability to protect against heart disease. They are also potent anti-inflammatory agents and are therefore useful in conditions involving excess inflammation. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has in fact issued guidelines stating that doctors should prescribe omega-3 supplements to patients with rheumatoid arthritis for pain and stiffness relief. The RACGP recommends up to 12 g omega-3 daily. Omega-3s can be found in supplements, in fish oils and in oily fish.
Although not usually marketed as a joint supplement, vitamin C is actually essential for production of collagen. Vitamin C deficiency is associated with weak and painful bones and joints, loose teeth, poor wound healing and gum disease. Cheap vitamin C supplements are widely available. Alternatively, you can ensure a sufficient vitamin C intake by eating fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, bell peppers and broccoli.
Cherries – To take away the pain of gout, eat 6-8 cherries per day. They can be tinned, frozen or fresh. This is a Japanese treatment, which they have used for centuries. They also boil the cherries down into a syrup which makes a strong sweet drink. The cherry is a very good source of magnesium (which is a natural painkiller) and potassium. The potassium acts as a diuretic, reducing inflammation by ridding tissue of fluid.
Ginger – Ginger is very effective in the treatment of arthritis and a host of other ailments. Recent medical research in Holland has indicated that this, too, is much more than just myth. Eating ginger does, according to the Dutch doctors, help alleviate arthritis pain. Use the ginger with anything…soups, sauces, salads etc.