The Problem of Joint Pain
Something that many men have to face when starting an intense workout regimen is joint pain. This can be worse for men who are older but affects athletes of all ages. Joint pain is a very common problem but, unfortunately, not a lot of people take it into consideration as something that could be an unintended consequence of exercise. Luckily, if you want to prevent joint pain due to wear and tear, there are options, one of the best of which is adding joint supplements to your diet.
Joint supplements are a great tool to enhance the effectiveness of your workout, keeping the cartilage which connects joints in prime condition, as well as joint bones and muscles. Deciding to take supplements is a responsible decision: you can think of it as lubricating your car engine. Every serious athlete’s muscles are going to get worn down, just like a car engine. If you’re going to be exercising a lot or doing a good amount of heavy lifting, naturally you’re going to want healthy joints! There are many supplements available which claim to be able to support your joints and so allow you to lose weight or build muscle more efficiently, but what are the best joint supplements on the market? We’ll look at that below.
What Causes Joint Pain?
First off, what exactly causes joint pain for people who exercise? Joint pain can be caused by a lot of different things. Exercise puts a lot of strain on our joints and makes them susceptible to wear and tear. For instance, a person who runs will be putting pressure on his joints each time his feet collide with the ground – there’s a lot of weight being forced down on them. Likewise, if a person working out is overweight, exercises are going to put more pressure on his knee and leg joints than they would on a lithe person since the joints have to support this excess weight. Weight lifting, of course, puts pressure on arm joints. Since the whole point of weightlifting is about building up and increasing the load, this will without a doubt put pressure on your joints. In other words, most people don’t bother lifting weights that are easy for them to lift – they try to challenge themselves, and in this way they’re “challenging” their joints.
Important Chemicals in Supplements
When considering which supplements to purchase and use, you’re going to want to look for a few important ingredients. The main ones are:
Glucosamine – Glucosamine is an amino acid found naturally in the cartilage of joints; this fact makes glucosamine supplementation one of the best solutions for relieving joint pain. The function of glucosamine is to repair and maintain cartilage, so taking this supplement helps to slow the breaking down of cartilage and accelerate the formation of new cartilage, making your joints less prone to wear and tear in the long-run.
Chondroitin – Chondroitin, like glucosamine, is a chemical that is found naturally in cartilage and bones. It helps keep cartilage lubricated, allowing it to retain more water and is responsible for the toughness and resiliency of cartilage.
MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is believed to help joint health. You’ll often see products that contain all three of these chemicals, so these are what you should be searching for. The best products have all three, what I like to call the “holy trifecta” of ingredients.
There are ingredients besides glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM which can help, such as turmeric, collagen, calcium, and some of the essential vitamins, but these three are the most important ones.
The Best Joint Supplements on the Market
Now that you know all you need to know about joint pain and the chemicals you should be on the look out for, we’ll get down to our list of the best joint supplements available today. Some of these supplements are recommended by medical professionals for conditions like osteoarthritis, so you can bet they are actually going to benefit your joints.
1. Universal Nutrition Animal Flex – You’ll see Animal Flex coming in at number one on a lot of joint supplement lists, and that for good reason! Animal Flex includes glucosamine, MSM, and two different forms of chondroitin, in addition to turmeric and ginger and a wide range of essential fatty acids. Many body builders and athletes claim it’s the best supplement they’ve come across.
2. NOW Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM – As you can tell from the name, this supplement from NOW contains everything you need to keep your joints healthy, the trifecta of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, and is overall an excellent product.
3. Labrada ElastaJoint – Unlike some of the other supplements on our list, Labrada’s ElastaJoint comes in the form of a powder which can be added to your drink, so this may be a good choice for you if you don’t like swallowing pills. ElastaJoint has all three essential ingredients (glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM), and throws collagen into the mix to benefit connective tissue.
4. Instaflex Joint Support – This supplement contains glucosamine and MSM, along with an assortment of herbs which can help soothe joint pain.
5. Flexoplex – Flexoplex is an excellent supplement which includes the trifecta of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. It also contains natural anti-inflammatory agents, such as rutin. Flexoplex even comes with a 60-day money back guarantee if you discover it’s not for you.
6. Supple – Supple comes in drink form and contains glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as essential vitamins which help joints like vitamin C, B vitamins and calcium for bone strength.
7. Infinite Labs Joint Support – Another great supplement, newly released in 2016, is Infinite Labs Joint Support. The supplement contains MSM and glucosamine, along with turmeric extract.
8. NOW Glucosamine and MSM – NOW Glucosamine and MSM has gone down in price in the last year, so if you’re looking for an excellent supplement on the cheaper side, but one that’s ultimately less effective than the above-mentioned NOW Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM, this supplement can be a good choice.
9. Osteo Bi-Flex – Osteo Bi-Flex benefits the cartilage that makes up joints but also the surrounding muscles. It contains glucosamine and MSM, but also collagen which is beneficial to joints.
10. Beneflex – Last on our list, Beneflex is a great supplement comprised of chondroitin, glucosamine, collagen, and MSM. This supplement is so good that it’s endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation.
Some Other Things to Keep in Mind and Tips
The list of supplements we provided here are all excellent and you should definitely give them a try if joint pain is keeping your amount of exercise lower than you want it to be, or if you have trouble even moving around. But something you’ll want to keep in mind is that if you get a supplement other than what we recommended here, the labeling can be dishonest, so make sure to check the brand out and ensure that it’s reliable and contains exactly what’s advertised on the box! To decrease the risk of joint pain, try rotating between high-intensity and low-intensity cardio workouts, and if weightlifting and your arms start to ache, please take a break!