Christine Envall Female Bodybuilder Australia

SPORTS CARTILAGE REPAIR

WHO NEEDS A PAIN IN THE JOINT?

Anyone who trains continually for a long period of time is inevitably going to suffer some type of joint pain, especially if training involves heavy lifting.  It is only then that you truly appreciate how good a pain free training session is.  it is amazing how even the smallest wrist or elbow niggle can make training at best uncomfortable and at worst, almost impossible.  I was lucky enough to have about eight years of training without any major joint pain, but eventually all those years of heavy leg training caught up with my knees.  Months of physio and hundreds of dollars later and my knees weren't much better and the only solution I found was changing/modifying my leg exercises; hardly an ideal or long term solution.

A couple of people suggested trying Glucosamine or Chondroiton, but  I had never heard of this stuff, didn't know much about it and basically never did anything about it.  It was only when I visited Guy Grundy in LA in '99 and I was complaining about my knees and he suggested I try the Vital Strength Sports Cartilage Repair (which contains Glucosamine and Chondroiton among other things), that I took the suggestion seriously.  Guy had suffered a lot of knee pain and found the product worked for him, so I figured I would give it a try.

WHAT'S IN A JOINT?

All joints depend on the cartilage that exists within the joint.  This cartilage doesn't get it's nutrition from the blood, but through bodily movement, and through absorption.  That is why simply resting will not improve arthritic or damaged joints:  no food will get into them to help repair them!

Glucosaminoglycans, chondroiton sulphates, collagen and water make up the large part of cartilage.  Studies show that the introduction of large quantities of glucosamine sulphate have an ability to raise fluid levels within cartilage.  The more water held in the joint, the greater the shock absorbing effect, so the less pain suffered.  Higher fluid levels also allow the peripheral nervous system to grow over a period of 12-18 months and leads to enhanced healing of cartilage.  This in some way helps to explain how glucosamine helps to reverse the pain of inflamed, damaged joints.

WHAT IS GLUCOSAMINE?

Glucosamine sulphate is supposed to be the best form of glucosamine to take as it is a small, readily absorbed molecule containing sulphur.  The joints are  naturally rich in sulphur and it is important for forming cross-links that provide cartilage with strength, structure and 'shock absorbing' qualities.  Chondroiton sulphate and cartilage extracts are made up of repeating units of glucosamine.  These compounds are much larger than the glucosamine sulphate molecules so they are supposedly harder to absorb by the body than glucosamine sulphate.

Interestingly, studies have shown equal reduction in joint pain with either glucosamine or chondroiton when compared to a placebo.  Another study involving Avian cartilage (the Harvard Study) showed that patients due for joint replacement surgery were 'clinically cured' after 90 days of using the cartilage.

Glucosamine supplements and collagen have been used for over 100 years to treat race horses with bad knees and vets have been using glucosamine supplements to treat stiffness in old dogs.  Animals cannot tell us if the pain has decreased, but on the treatment their movement has improved (animals are not known for raking their ability to move; if they can they do!)

HOW MUCH DO I NEED?

Recommendations vary from 500mg - 6000mg per day of glucosamine.  For serious relief 500mg taken three times a day is recommended.  In the Harvard Study using Avian Collagen, improvements were noticed after as little as 10 days!

WHAT IS CARTILAGE REPAIR AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Vital Strength product is made up of a combination of the main compounds found in cartilage as well as some compounds which work synergistically to aid joint repair.  They claim their product will encourage the regeneration of new healthy cartilage.  Improvement should be noticed after three months.  They have chosen to combine glucosamine, chondroiton and collagen as they believe together they are more powerful and produce greater results than when used separately.

Sports Cartilage Repair is made up of L-Glucosamine (440mg/5g), Collagen II (550mg/5g), Chondroiton Sulphate (650mg/5g), Calcium (88mg/5g), Magnesium (50mg/5g), L-Glutamine (2000mg/5g), Taurine (1000mg/5g) and Vitamin C (100mg/5g).  According to Vital Strength, these components play the following role in helping to alleviate joint pain:

GLUCOSAMINE:  Stimulates the synthesis of cartilage and binding it in the joints.  Also inhibits the degradation of cartilage, reducing inflammation of the joints, relieving pain.

CONDROITON SULPHATE:  Helps to attract fluid molecules into the joint acting like shock absorbers.

COLLAGEN II:  The most potent form on the market is derived from Avian cartilage which is far more superior to other forms of cartilage (note this is the same type of cartilage used in the Harvard Study).

VITAMIN C:  Works synergistically with Collagen II to speed up the healing process.

CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM:  These minerals assist in strengthening of the bones whilst the cartilage is repaired.

L-GLUTAMINE & TAURINE:  These two amino acids assist in the repair of damaged muscle tissue allowing faster recuperation.

WHAT DID I FIND?

Before I started using the Vital Strength Sports Cartilage Repair product I used a Glucosamine sulphate supplement (500mg three times per day) for about six weeks.  I didn't notice any improvement from this product.  I then started taking a Glucosamine sulphate (1000mg, three times per day) supplement that had added Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium, but still I noticed no improvement.  I started taking the Vital Strength Sports Cartilage Repair at a dose of 5g three times a day and had my first leg session three days after starting to take it.  While my knee still hurt during training, the next day I felt no pain.  Normally my knee stays stiff and sore for two days after training.  I couldn't believe it.

On my next training session the pain was a lot less when doing the actual weights.  I would have to say the improvement was almost immediate.

Although this supplement does not contain the sulphate form of glucosamine (which is meant to be the best to use) it truly does work.  It may be the synergy between all the compounds, or the other components in the formulation, or that all the compounds add up to about 1500mg of glucosamine compounds, taken three times per day, or a combination of the above, but there is no mistaking it, I have experienced a marked improvement in the reduction of my knee pain.

I have been using the Sports Cartilage Repair for nearly a year now.  I find if I stop taking it, I will start to feel pain in my knees during training after about 7 - 10 days because I am continually abusing my joints.  I no longer suffer the day after knee stiffness that used to make getting up a painful chore.  As soon as I go back onto the product, the pain settles back down and my leg training becomes 'knee pain free'.   I have reduced my dose to 5g twice a day and find this a good maintenance dose.


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