The joints are naturally among the body’s weakest points, susceptible to damage from regular use and injury. To protect them, try these individual supplements or look for a product that combines some or all.
Glucosamine: A combination of the amino acid glutamine and the sugar glucose, glucosamine is found primarily in joint cartilage. When you consume glucosamine, the body incorporates it into molecules called proteoglycans, which help maintain the integrity of the joint and repair damaged cartilage. Research also suggests that glucosamine may stimulate cartilage-producing cells, known as chondrocytes, to generate new cartilage.
Dose: Take 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams per day in two to three divided doses.
Chondroitin: Chondroitin helps speed the recovery of joints from injury as well as the wear and tear of lifting heavy weights. Some manufacturers combine chondroitin with glucosamine or other ingredients that can have a synergistic effect on joint health. As with glucosamine, chondroitin can help ease arthritis symptoms; it also may protect joints from destructive enzymes.
Dose: Take800 to 1,500 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate or chondroitin hydrochloride daily in two to three divided doses; it may take up to three months of continuous use before effects are noticeable.
UC-II: University of California, Davis, researchers gave subjects with knee stiffness and pain either UC-II (a type of collagen) or glucosamine and chondroitin for 90 days. They reported that the UC-II supplement reduced joint pain during exercise by 20 percent.
Dose: Take40 milligrams per day.
Fish Oil: The omega-3 fats in fish oil are converted in the body to beneficial prostaglandins that reduce inflammation in the body. Less inflammation in joint tissues allows for better joint recovery and less pain.
Dose: Take 2 to 3 gram of fish oil two to three times per day with meals.