Note from Pamelot: This is part two in a multi-part requested series on dietary supplements by my good looking husband and ex-GNC stores owner, Eric. For part one on the supplement industry in general, click HERE.
Topic #2: Injury prevention/pain relief
All of us have or will have joint pain, either from aging or injury or both. Sometimes it can be so severe that it limits what we can do. A group of products very high on my list of things that REALLY work is the various combinations of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Sam E.
I have a lot of problems with knee pain and have had one knee reconstruction surgery related to old athletic injuries. I am convinced the only reason I can run marathons and do triathlons now is through the use of these products. Many of the compounds sold today (including one by the runaway market leader, Osteo-Bi-Flex) are horse pills that are hard as diamonds. I have NOT had good success with them. I encourage you to find either the liquid solutions or the liquid filled gel caps as I think they are far easier for your system to deal with.
I mix a liquid (2000 mg Glucosamine, 1200 mg Chondroitin, 500 mg MSM made by Wellesse) in my morning breakfast drink and take a tablet form of 200 mg Sam-E. I also stir one packet of Emergen-C MSM Lite into that drink, which gives me a little more MSM in a powdered form, as well as a jolt from 1000 mg of vitamin C.
Muscular cramping, like what occurs during extended physical activity is often (not always) the result of a mineral deficiency. If you have a problem with cramping during exercise you may not be getting enough in your diet. If you want to go the supplement route for cramping, I encourage you to take a combination of potassium, magnesium and zinc.
* People with heart issues need to be really careful with potassium and make sure you talk to your doctor first. *
There are many different chemical forms that these minerals can come in and the cheapest are often nearly indigestible/unabsorbable. Read the fine print labels on the back and determine exactly what form of the mineral is being delivered. For potassium I would recommend potassium gluconate, (and once again be very very careful with potassium). For magnesium make sure that it is a chelated form like magnesium citrate.
Calcium is huge to prevent bone density loss, particularly for women, but everyone needs it and it is missing in most people’s diet. Like the minerals mentioned above, calcium can come in many different forms. Some of those which are sold on the market as supplements are nearly worthless and will come out of you in essentially the same shape and size as they go in. You may remember a mini craze a few years ago about the wonders of coral calcium? All that that was really about was that the type of calcium (calcium carbonate) found in certain coral formations is the type that your body can readily handle. In addition, some coral calcium’s have trace additional minerals that may be beneficial depending your diet and other supplement intake.
Vitamin D — gel cap form preferred — is also important for women, especially as they age, to prevent bone loss and resulting injuries, by helping them digest calcium.
Next topic: Proteins for weight management. By me. Husband of Pamelot. Endurance Athlete. Chemical engineer. Former GNC owner, Eric.