As all you lifters know, joint injuries are the easiest way to slow down rapid progress. When you’re lifting hard, heavy and with high volume you often succumb to joint injuries. This is often due to form deterioration when you approach failure, increased load on the joints and insufficient tendon and ligament hypertrophy to compensate for increased muscle hypertrophy.
Fortunately there is a really easy solution.
All of your joints and their components are made with lots of fibres called collagen. Collagen is a helix like structure which provides structural stability and support and allows the components of your joints to do their function. In normal conditions (i.e. when you aren’t belting yourself in the gym every day) collagen synthesis is adequate to allow you to live a functional, pain free lifestyle. When you’re lifting heavy shit every day, however, this is a different story.
When you’re constantly lifting and tearing away at your collagen composed fibres you increase the need for collagen production. Scientists have done a heap of research in this area and have found that supplementing glucosamine is the best way to increase this production.
Collagen is synthesised by several specific amino acids and also requires glucosamine. In fact, glucosamine is the ‘rate limiting step’ in collagen production. This means that a lack of glucosamine is often what limits collagen synthesis, thus also being the limiting factor on your joint health.
Also, glucosamine limits inflammation in your joints. When you have high levels of joint localised inflammation your body turns on genes which cause the breakdown of collagen. While your body’s idea here is to break down the damage product what you often get instead is heaps of pain, swelling and poor movement. Glucosamine down regulates the expression of these inflammatory genes and instead promotes cartilage specific anabolic genes which improves your joint health.
I highly recommend collagen use as the evidence is quite clear cut. There are no downsides and there are plenty of positives. For dosing, take 2-5g daily every day. I personally have seen benefit in doses higher than this during high intensity training periods.
In conjunction with collagen I would also recommend taking chondroitin sulfate because the two work synergistically for a better effect.
If you guys have any questions about joint health or collagen simply comment below or shoot me a message in the ‘Ask James’ section.
References (so you can read what I read)