Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get the Most of Your Joint Supplements

So what is the deal with supplements? Are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate really any good? What about MSM? The answer is yes and no.

Let's get an understanding of the process first. I'll use MSM as an example (mostly becasue it is short and easy to type). MSM is a comound particle. In order to get where it needs to be and be effective it must be carried there. Guess what carries it? You got it- WATER.

So the first challenge is taking a good supplement but not getting enough water. The supplement would then appear to be ineffective. Hence, many people say they have tried MSM but it didn't work.

Try taking your joint supplements with at least 12 ounces of water. (More info- see my post about drinking enough water). Be done with chronic dehydration and you will see a difference in pain anyway.

Next, you have to understand something about a joint or a disc. THEY HAVE NO BLOOD FLOW. That's right- they are avascular. The only way they get rid of waste and bring in fresh nutrition is through movement.

And not just any movement- it must be specific to the joint involved. It fascilitates 2 processes- imbibition and osmosis. Imbibition is to simply take in fluid. Osmosis is the movement of water due to concentration gradients.

So the moral of the story is- water and movement or your joint supplements are useless!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Resolutions

So it's that time again. Most people make their resolutions and it takes about 8 days (national average) for them to vanish. Most people tend to make unattainable resolutions or resolutions that are not specific enough to be useful.

For someone who does not go to the gym to all of a sudden start going 5 days a week- probably not reasonable. Saying "I am going to get healthier" also not good. What does that mean? What does healthier look like? Is it a weight goal? A clothing size? Lowering cholesterol by X points?

Reasonable goal setting includes attainable and specific(measurable) goals. Some goals for the most common resolutions:

1. Spend more time with family.

Better: Spend 20 minutes per day with my spouse and kids with no TV, computer, or other distrations. (Sounds easy, right? Try it.)

2. Get in better shape.

Better: Go to the gym 2 days per week to lose 15 lbs and 2 inches from my waist by February 28. (specific and measurable)

3. Eat healthier.

Better: Eat a salad with at least 1 meal each day with a good salad dressing (no sugar).

The idea of setting smaller goals seems silly to most people. We all think we can accomplish huge changes. The truth is we can- but not so suddenly. Starting with a smaller reasonable goals with a deadline allows us to take measurable steps towards the bigger goals. It also allows us successes along the way that we can be proud of.