By Don Laubenthal, aka The Brofessor
Professor and Coordinator: SES - Exercise Science
Sport and Exercise Studies
When I was in my teens and early 20’s, I did not think about joint health. My joints felt healthy and “normal,” and they did not hurt. It was not until my mid-twenties that the “normal” feeling in my joints was replaced by pain and stiffness. When I would work 12 – 15-hour days as a conditioning coach and personal trainer, my knees and back would ache and become very stiff. Now I am 55 years old, I still lift, and I spend a lot of time on my feet as a teacher, however, my knees and back are far less painful and stiff then they were 30 years ago. How is this possible? Well, before I tell you, let’s look at what causes joint pain and stiffness, at any age.
Most Common Causes of Joint Pain
Lack of Movement
Decrease in Joint Stability
Repetitive Movements or Postures
Most joint stiffness that occurs in younger, healthy individuals is due to inflammation in the joint. This could be caused by intense training, repetitive movements or postures, muscle strength and flexibility imbalances, or past injuries. Inflammation that occurs occasionally, is no problem, but if it continues to occur, then the natural joint lubricant, synovial fluid, (works like motor oil in your car engine) starts to thicken and is much less effective as a joint lubricant. As we age or the more inactive, we become, joint inflammation becomes more frequent. Over time, the constant joint inflammation and thickening of the synovial fluid will cause damage to the surface of the joints and lead to arthritis.
Synovial fluid is extremely important to joint health, and it is made of hyaluronic acid and lubricin, which create a lubricant that also provides nutrients for the joint tissues.
Another cause of joint stiffness and discomfort is a change in the articular cartilage on the surface of joints. Articular cartilage protects joint surfaces and acts as padding by providing a cushion for the joints while they move. Cartilage is made from Chondrocytes, Proteoglycans (proteins specific to connective structures), and non-collagenous proteins that provide a unique material that attracts water. This ability to attract water is the property that makes cartilage a great padding or cushion for joint surfaces. This cartilage, however, can become worn with constant abuse, especially if the joint it is protecting is unstable. An unstable joint is one in which the normal muscle strength and flexibility around the joint is lacking, or there is a problem with the tendon and ligament support around the joint. Imbalances in a joint (especially a weight bearing joint) can have the same effect on cartilage that an imbalance in your car’s tires have on tread wear. Tires that are out of balance will show signs of uneven wear and so will cartilage in a poorly functioning joint. If intense workouts are combined with joint imbalances, we can significantly damage cartilage on the surface of joints.
Cartilage relies on movement to sustain its production through chondrocytes, as movement increases synovial fluid production which reduces friction in the joints and provides vital nutrients for connective structures. Movement increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the joint capsule, which is very beneficial to cartilage (and other connective structures). Sitting for long periods of time reduces blood flow and synovial fluid production around a joint, which will be detrimental to the articular cartilage covering joints. It was once thought that exercise would wear out cartilage, but nothing could be further from the truth, as exercise is necessary for joint health.
Bones are also going to benefit from exercise and healthy cartilage. As a matter of fact, bones will become stronger and the bone matrix will become denser because of weight training. A very important variable in bone adaptation to weight training is nutrition. The harder you train, the more important it is to consume adequate quantities of healthy nutrients.
One very interesting fact about bone adaptation to weight training is that bones will become stronger due to weight training at any age. When a stress is applied to bones, new bone growth will take place around the periosteum of the bone.
As you can see in the above image, cells called Osteoblasts produce collagen fibers (as well as other vital building blocks) in the areas the bones are stressed. The bone matrix surrounds the Osteoblasts and calcifies, and the Osteoblasts become mature bone cells called Osteocytes.
Joint stability and movement are very heavily influenced by the health of our tendons and ligaments. Tendons attach muscle to bone and undergo extremely high levels of torque (force or rotating force). Ligaments attach bone to bone and are also exposed to very high levels of torque. Once again, weight training strengthens tendons and ligaments by increasing collagen fiber production, which are the building blocks for tendons and ligament.
Tendons and ligaments are extremely tough structures, but because they are exposed to very high force loads, they can become worn and, over time, lose their elasticity. To give you an idea how much force tendons can endure, the Achilles tendon can tolerate 1000 pounds of force, and during the simple act of walking, it encounters 2.5 – 3 times your body weight with each with each step. All of us have experienced or witnessed tendon or ligament injuries, and they can be very difficult to recover recovery from and return to 100%. The goal is to maintain tendon and ligament health, and this is accomplished through proper training, joint balance, proper recovery strategies, a healthy diet, and reducing inflammation.
How Can You Keep Your Joints Healthy?
Let me answer this question by going back to the opening paragraph of this article. I made the crazy statement that at age 55, my joints are less painful and stiff than they were 30 years ago. How is that possible? Well, I have learned a lot about maintaining mobility and stability in my joints, and that has helped, but I also started using a Max Effort product that has given me amazing results. I had taken the common (and effective) supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin-sulfate, and they did provide some relief. However, I recently tried Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health and within a week of taking this special blend, I was feeling great. So, what about this product makes it so special. It contains a great blend of nutrients that protect and nourish joints so they will perform better, last longer, and feel great. Now, you know the Brofessor is not going give you this simple answer without looking at the science behind Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health, and to do this, let me remind you of the enemies of healthy joints.
Inflammation is very common and potentially very damaging to joints. Not only does it cause discomfort, but it damages cartilage, and potentially bone surfaces, ligaments, and tendons. Inflammation also reduces the effectiveness of our natural joint lubricant, synovial fluid. Most of us who train hard will have inflammation, it is just part of the game, but we must control inflammation and prevent joint damage. Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health is loaded with an excellent blend of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Here is a list of powerful anti-inflammatories that produce rapid results.
Vitamin C Vitamin D3
Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2
Niacin Vitamin B6
Folic Acid Vitamin B12
MSM Citrus Bioflavanoids
CoQ10 Green Tea
Hyalauronic Acid Lemon Bioflavanoid
Another enemy of our joints and connective structures are Free Radicals (no, I am not talking about hippies), which are unstable molecules formed during normal metabolism, but also formed because of stress, poor diet, excess sugar intake, environmental pollution, and also, inflammation. Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons that can cause significant damage to cells in the
body if they are not balanced by antioxidants. Many forms of arthritis result from a vicious cycle of inflammation, free radical production, and more inflammation. Antioxidants can prevent this cycle from occurring by lending an electron to a Free Radical and making it a stable molecule that does not damage the body. Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health contains some very important antioxidants to protect, not only our joints and connective structures, but other tissues in the body as well.
Vitamin C Vitamin E
Citrus Bioflavenoids Grape Seed Extract
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant formula is potent in Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health, but what about protection from the wear and tear on joints that comes with hard training and heavy lifting? Although training is good for our joints, think about the forces on cartilage when you are lifting heavy and how much wear occurs on joints over the course of time. Fortunately, two ingredients in Joint & Health are known to protect cartilage and perhaps even help to regenerate chondrocyte cells (the cells that form cartilage). Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate both protect chondrocyte cells and are thought to strength tendons and ligaments. Both ingredients also increase synovial fluid production which greatly aids in smooth joint function. These ingredients are so effective, that the American Arthritis Foundation and the American College of Rheumatology gave conditional recommendations for the use of Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate to treat individuals suffering from Osteoarthritis. If these two ingredients can help someone with arthritis, they will do wonders for the individual who is a healthy lifter.
Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health also contains additional ingredients to protect your joints and even strengthen them. Here is a list of the ingredients that will protect and aid in production of chondrocyte cells and collagen fibers, which are essential for cartilage, tendon, and ligament strength.
Vitamin C All the B Vitamins
MSM N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
Betaine Anhydrous Hyalauronic Acid
You will notice that many of these ingredients have also been listed as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants and that is because they can provide multiple benefits. Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health supplement is filled with powerful health and joint protecting ingredients. My personal experience with it revealed just how fast it works. I start using Joint & Health during a week of very demanding workouts, so I put it to the test right away. I had no joint pain and very little stiffness, which was surprising to me. As I previously mentioned in this article, I am not a young man and yet I can still train hard and move very well. This supplement will provide me with the ability to continue to train hard and move well for years to come. Give Max Effort Muscle Joint & Health a try and you will feel the difference.