30 Aug 2013

Supplements for Arm Wrestlers - Part 1 (Joint Support)


So let’s talk about dietary supplements for Arm Wrestlers. I know that many of you have joint and muscle pains that you like to get rid of, So let’s start with the popular supplements for these problems; Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin.  In the next article I will discuss other supplements like Creatine, protein powders, amino acids and some of the newer supplements for sports performance. 

Glucosamine: 

Glucosamine is used to improve and protect the cartilage in our Joints. If the cartilage is damage or worn out bone will rub against bone causing pain. This condition is known as osteoarthritis. Glucosamine forms Glycosaminogycans in your body and they are an important building block of Cartilage. So the idea is that if you take Glucosamine you support the formation of cartilage.

Glucosamine is made from the shells of crabs, shrimps, lobsters and other crustaceans.

So what do the studies say? Well the results are very mixed with some studies showing a benefit and others that don’t. Since cartilage loss takes long time it is hard to design a study.

In Europe Glucosamine is classified as a pharmaceutical and not as a dietary supplement. For this it takes some evidence of efficiency. Many people also use Glucosamine on a daily base and report positive effects. 

In any case it seems like it only works as a prophylactic, so you have to take Glucosamine before the damage occurs.

At least glucosamine appears to be safe when used in recommended amounts.  My recommendation if you decide to try is that you take 500mg per day. Do not mega dose to see effect, that can have negative effect on insulin sensitivity for example.

MSM

Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) is also a popular compound to use against joint pain and indeed other ailments.

It is thought that MSM is a source of Sulfur that is important for many functions in the human body, normally we get Sulfur from Sulfur containing amino acids in our diet (methionine and cysteine).

However our modern diets are fairly low in these amino acids so it might explain the positive effect of supplementation.

For MSM the studies look quite promising with many reporting reduction in pain and improved physical function.  It is no miracle drug but you can probably expect some improvement of your joint health.

MSM is safe and has no known toxicity 
Recommendation: 1g (1000mg) per day 

Chondroitin:

Chodroitin is a group of different molecules called Glycosaminoglycans ( the same substance that Glucosamine is turned into in the body) It can be extracted from the cartilage of any animal, So basically Chondroitin is crushed and cleaned cartilage.

Again there are contradictory studies with some showing results and others that don´t. But again it is hard to design studies of this sort.

Chondroitin is safe and there are no reports of toxicity.

Recommendation: 800mg per day.

Fish oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and anti-inflammatory, this have been confirmed in many studies. So 3 capsules per day can be used for overall health and maintained joint function  

Others: 

There are other herbs and fruits that are sold for joint support. Many of these like Rose Hip and White Willow contain natural sources of COX-2 enzyme inhibitors (like NSAID´s = anti-inflammatory drugs) and aspirin. One should use NSAID´s with cautions as they have been shown to delay healing of sports injuries, it seems that the inflammatory response is important for the healing process. You can use painkillers if you are in pain but don´t use them to cure anything, they won’t. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

Conclusion for joint support:

There are some evidence of the efficiency of these supplements in the support of joint function, especially for the combination of Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin but do not expect any miracles. They are probably best as a prophylactic to avoid future joint problems and not to cure already damaged joints. However they are fairly cheap and safe so If you feel that you are in danger of experiencing joint problems I suggest you try them.

Per day for joint support
Glucosamine 500mg
MSM 1000mg
Chondroitin 800mg
Fish oil (omega -3)  3000mg

Author: Magnus Westberg

Read all articles written by Magnus Westberg in section Arm Science by Magnus Westberg