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Joint and Muscle Ache Supplements

For pain relief, specific COX-2 inhibitors (inhibitors that block only the COX-2 enzyme, a catalyst in a reaction for pain and inflammation) such as Celebrex and Viox are often prescribed. A non-specific COX inhibitor (inhibitors that block both the COX-2 and the COX-1, the latter being unrelated to pain and inflammation) such as Motrin is used more often and is over the counter. These, however, only mask the underlying problem and treat the symptoms, not the cause.

            Using nutritional products to repair, maintain, strengthen joints (both bone and soft tissue) is the only way to not only reduce pain permanently, but prevent further degradation to the joint and bring back an optimal range of motion. This coupled with a sensible physical therapy program and healthy lifestyle will create an environment much more conducive to recovery and health than simply medicating the pain.

            Essential nutrients for the health of soft tissue are vitamins A, B (B-6 in particular), C, E, and the minerals Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and manganese. The vitamins A, C, E, and the minerals Selenium and Zinc are the most important; they are antioxidants that perform several soft tissue maintenance functions. A relatively new compound to the supplement industry is ALA. It is a powerful antioxidant and although there are not as many studies to back up its claimed effects on soft tissue, it has enough anecdotal evidence behind it to warrant it as a prudent ingredient in any joint rehabilitation supplement regimen.

            Glucosamine is an amino acid sugar that is naturally produced in our bodies from glucose and sulfur. Supplementation with Glucosamine has been shown in both actual studies and anecdotal cases to help the body replace sulfur stores, which is a major constitute of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. The studies also showed a maintenance and repair of damaged tissues. The changes have often been dramatic. Glucosamine Sulfate is the common form, however Glucosamine Hydrochloride is thought to be slightly more bioavailable.

            Chondroitin is another natural component of joint tissues. It has a similar effect to Glucosamine. MSM (Methylsulfonylmmethane) is yet another source of organic sulfur that, like Chondroitin and Glucosamine, has been shown to positively affect joint structure and strength. Any two of these supplements together will exert a synergistic effect, but “stacking” all three together will have the greatest effect.

            An effective ratio of the above supplements has been shown to be 6:3:3. Dosage varies, but is usually 3g Glucosamine, 1.5 grams Chondroitin, and 1.5 grams MSM. After six months (or longer if severe joint trauma is present), the dosages can be cut in half for maintenance.

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