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If you’re like me, you may wake up in the morning feeling like you got run over by a steamroller from yesterday's training. Achy muscles and joints are accompanied by groans of pain and discomfort.
While we know exercise does a body good, it also has the tendency to beat us up pretty good from time to time…..with the majority of the abuse happening to our joints from high impact activities like running.
Your body is like a machine with many moving parts. Unfortunately, both break down from time to time.
When proper recovery through rest days and nutrition isn’t enough it may be time to consider supplements that can reduce joint pain and soreness, improve mobility, and maintain cartilage health.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the 5 best joint supplements for endurance athletes and why we included them in EndurElite JointElite. We will discuss what they are, how they work, the benefits of supplementation, how much of each you should take, and the research demonstrating the effectiveness of each.
Chondroitin is one of the most popular over-the-counter joint health supplements. It is made from chains of glycosaminoglycans with uronic acid and N-acetyl-galactosamine molecules.
Chondroitin should be dosed at 1000-1200 mg/daily. This dose can be taken all at once or divided into two to three doses. Chondroitin should be taken with food. Chondroitin also pairs well with the supplement glucosamine.
A 1999 study conducted by Leffler et. al discovered that 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis who supplemented with chondroitin were able to decrease joint pain and degeneration while also improving joint function.
Glucosamine sulfate is a sugar molecule with nitrogen that comes from shellfish and also naturally occurs in the body. It is highly concentrated in joints and cartilage and is a component of keratin (a fibrous protein found in hair). Glucosamine is commonly paired with chondroitin.
Glucosamine sulfate should be dosed at 900-1500 mg/daily. Glucosamine sulfate should be taken with food.
A 3 year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted by Pavelka et. al discovered subjects who supplemented with 900mg of glucosamine sulfate daily were able to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and experience reductions in pain compared to placebo.
Cissus Quadrangularis is one of the few joint supplements that has been researched in athletic populations. It comes from a plant that contains several compounds with the main one being triterpenoids. Cissus quadrangularis may also promote bone growth.
Cissus Quadrangularis should be dosed at 300-600 mg/daily. It is important to note that this dose should be standardized to 2.5% ketosteroids.
A 2013 study conducted by Bloomer et. al discovered that exercise-trained men who supplemented with 300mg of cissus quadrangularis daily for 8 weeks were able to reduce joint pain by 31% relative to baseline.
FruiteX-B is a patented ingredient made by the company Futureceuticals. It consists of the compound calcium fructoborate. FruiteX-B is identical to the borate complex found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Its use for joint health is supported by over a decade of research showing significant improvements in joint comfort.
FruiteX-B should be dosed at 215mg/daily and taken as one dose with food.
A 2014 study conducted by Zbigniew et. al discovered subjects who supplemented with 215mg of FruiteX-B daily for 14 days were able to significantly improve joint discomfort and flexibility compared to placebo.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice found combining FruiteX-B with glucosamine and chondroitin boosted the measure of joint health by ~25% compared with glucosamine and chondroitin alone.
In the study, the scientists recruited 90 generally healthy people and randomly divided them into three groups: The first group received placebo, the second and third groups received 750 mg per day of glucosamine and 200 mg per day of chondroitin sulfate with or without 110 mg per day of calcium fructoborate.
Subjective testing measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and the McGill pain questionnaire.
After 14 days of intervention, results showed that the combination of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and calcium fructoborate resulted in statistically significant reductions in both WOMAC and McGill scores, but no statistically significant effects were seen in the placebo or glucosamine + chondroitin alone groups.
Hylauronic acid is a compound found in synovial joints (knees, hips, wrists, and shoulders). It acts as a lubricant, helping your joints move without causing friction.
For joint health, try a dose between 60 to 200 mg once daily with a meal.
A review that analyzed data from 13 randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials found that hyaluronic acid helped treat symptoms “associated with synovitis, and particularly, knee pain, relief of synovial effusion or inflammation, and improvement of muscular knee strength.” The researchers concluded that hyaluronic acid (HA) is a safe way to reduce mild knee pain.
As an athlete, it is inevitable that your daily training routine will produce a significant amount of wear and tear on your joints and cartilage. Proper recovery and strength training should be your top priorities when it comes to maintaining the health of your joints.
In the event that still isn’t doing the trick, consider taking a joint supplement with the ingredients listed above.
All of these ingredients, plus AstraGin for maximum nutrient absorption, can be found in EndurElite JointElite - The Endurance Athlete’s Joint Formula. Each ingredient is clinically validated and dosed to improve joint comfort and health.
About The Author Matt Mosman - Spearfish, South Dakota
Matt Mosman (MS, CISSN, CSCS) is a research scientist, endurance athlete, and the founder and Chief Science Officer at EndurElite. Matt holds his B.S. in Exercise Science from Creighton University and his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of California. Matt and his family reside in Spearfish South Dakota where they enjoy running, mountain biking, camping, and all the outdoor adventures Spearfish has to offer.