When it comes to giving professional advice on recovering from sports injuries, our best advice is to seek out a professional. Bearing in mind that 'the jury is out' in terms of scientific absolutes about the benefits and effects of particular supplements, here's some of our thoughts about recovery aids based on our experience.
In order for the body to recover from exercise we know that protein needs to be consumed as it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for our bodies. Amino acids fortify and form the many tissues and muscles that make up our bodies. Protein gives your body the power to build new tissues and fluids, so that it can repair muscles that are damaged through intense activity. Traditionally powdered protein supplements have been considered as 'body building' sports supplements. However, more and more people are learning how protein can benefit their health and fitness levels. Research on weight loss has also demonstrated the importance of high quality protein for the maintenance of lean body tissue and reduction of body fat. Whey protein is a popular supplement for those wishing to alter their body shape and composition.
When you pull or strain a muscle or have aching joints do you reach for an aspirin? There is mounting evidence to suggest that the common anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, used to treat sporting injuries and arthritis can mask the healing process as much as support it.
Glucosamine Sulphate with Chondroitin
Can be useful in stimulating repair after the damaging effects of sport and training - which is why it's also prescribed by some alternative therapists for arthritic conditions. Past studies show that some people with mild to moderate Osteoarthritis (OA) taking either Glucosamine or Chondroitin Sulphate reported pain relief at a level similar to that of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen. Some research indicates that the supplements might also slow cartilage damage in people with OA.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and helps maintain connective tissues. It's a form of amino sugar that is believed to play a role in stimulating cartilage formation and repair, as well as promote the incorporation of sulphurinto the cartilage. Chondroitin is also found naturally in your joints where it helps your body attract fluid in to the cartilage, acting rather like the human equivalent of a car's shock absorber for your limbs. Chondroitin Sulphate is part of a large protein molecule, Proteoglycan, which gives cartilage its elasticity.
Both Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate are sold as dietary or nutritional supplements. They are extracted from animal tissue - glucosamine from crab, lobster or shrimp shells and Chondroitin Sulphate from animal cartilage, such as tracheas or shark cartilage. Because Glucosamine is an amino sugar, people with diabetes should seek advice first. Also, If you're taking Chondroitin Sulphate in addition to a blood-thinning medication or daily aspirin therapy,check your blood clotting time more often. Similar in structure to blood-thinning drugs the combination may cause bleeding in some people. In any case, it's always wise to seek further advice if you decide to take these supplements.
Glutamine is found in foods high in proteins, such as fish, red meat, beans, and dairy products. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in human muscle and is often supplemented because the body's natural glutamine levels may be depleted during anaerobic exercise. Bodybuilders often take it because it's believed that deficiency may lead to a weakened immune system and the wasting of muscle tissue. We sell it as a micronized, instantly soluble powder. Normal supplementation is considered healthy after prolonged periods of exercise.
Researchers are not completely certain how HMB (B-Hydroxy B-Methylbutyrate monohydrate) works in the body. It appears that it supports the body's ability to minimize protein breakdown, following intensive exercise or resistance training. It may also work to preserve the integrity of cell membranes, which means that it may cause an increase in muscle mass and strength. HMB is found in foods of both plant and animal origin and is also normally produced in the body. It is the metabolite of the branch chain amino acid Leucine. Certain plants such as grapefruit and alfalfa have relatively large concentrations of HMB. Where it's inconvenient or impractical to consume these foods on a regular basis, it may be useful to take it as a dietary supplement in its purest form.
Antioxidants may also help with recovery, by reducing the radical overload in the tissues induced by the metabolism of energy and intensive exercise. Free radicals are extremely unstable molecules with the potential to damage cells within the body. Researchers have linked this cellular damage to a number of major diseases including heart disease, cataracts, arthritis and even ageing. The body is designed to deal with free radicals by using antioxidants. These important nutrients include vitamins A, C, E, Selenium, Zinc, 1-Cysteine and numerous other powerful plant compounds such as Pycnogenol, Quercetin and CoQ10. Antioxidants work synergistically, in other words, they all work together. In view of this it's often better to take a variety of antioxidants together rather than supplementing with one individual nutrient.