No matter your age or how active you are, supporting the health of your joints is key to keeping up with a busy lifestyle and working toward your health and fitness goals. We sat down with Dr. Victor Prisk, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, former professional bodybuilder, and GNC Medical Advisor, for his take on the importance of joint health, some specifics about glucosamine and chondroitin, and simple steps you can take to help support the health and comfort of your joints.
1. As an orthopaedic surgeon, you must see a lot of patients who suffer from joint discomfort. Is that a common complaint?
A: As a physician caring for a large number of athletes and dancers, joint discomfort is a very common complaint. This is especially true in my aging athletes. Hips, knees, and spine are the most common sites of discomfort. Stiffness in the mornings, soreness after training, and mild aches and pains can oppress our desire to stay mobile. It is something all of us need to be proactive about.
2. The two groups that seem to worry about joint health the most are almost on two ends of the spectrum – aging people and very active people. Is there a certain group of people that should pay extra attention to joint health, or do you believe that joint health should be a priority for everyone?
A: We all need to make our joint health a priority. Young or old, joint strain from sports can lead to a sore joint and thus recovery debt. Furthermore, as we age our joints need even more attention as the water content of our cartilage decreases with a loss of cushioning and lubricity.
3. What are some simple steps people can take on a regular basis to support and maintain the health and comfort of their joints?
A: A rolling stone gathers no moss. I remind my patients that the most important way to support joints is to stay active. However, it is also important to listen to your joints and let them rest when sore. This is relative rest. Cross-training can help aching joints recover. Switching back and forth from high-impact to low-impact routines is one way to recover. Stretching regularly helps to keeps the muscles and tendons that move your joints supple. Additionally, pay attention to your diet. Including nutrient-rich foods and omega-3 fatty acids can support joint health. Plus, there are a multitude of supplement ingredients that can add to your daily regimen, too.
4. You mention the importance of supplements in supporting joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly known ingredients in supplements to support joint health. Can you tell us a bit about them? Is there a certain dose that you should look for on the label?
A: Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components to cartilage structure. Cartilage is the tissue that lines the end of our bones in our joints making a smooth and cushioned surface for motion and bearing weight. Supplementing with 1500mg of glucosamine and 1200mg of chondroitin has shown clinical benefits effectiveness for joint health. Only by taking supplements with the clinically proven dosages can you be sure of the benefits of the supplement as seen in research studies.
5. Supplement shopping can be a very overwhelming experience, with many different options. What guidance do you have in choosing a high-quality supplement?
A: Choosing a supplement can certainly be overwhelming, especially in the joint health space. There are many new ingredients out there and lots of “proprietary blends”. First of all, if the dosage of a particular ingredient isn’t clearly stated on the label, then don’t consider that supplement. You’ll have no idea as to whether you are getting a clinically effective dose. Second, make sure that the ingredients included take a multi-modal approach to joint health. For instance, supplying structural precursors AND antioxidants for mobility support. Third, select a manufacturer with a cGMP facility (certified Good Manufacturing Practices) and quality checks from formulation to the bottle. That’s exactly why I recommend the GNC brand. Not everyone realizes that GNC has a team of experts and scientists to verify the quality, efficacy, and safety of the product.
6. Is there anything else you would like to share about the importance of joint health?
A: Recovery from sport and exercise should be approached from every angle. First is the recovery of our energy and metabolism. That requires a balanced diet and a multivitamin with minerals. Second, a healthy inflammatory response can be essential for joint health supported by supplementing with Levagen. CherryPURE, Levagen, and white willow bark extract with the popular glucosamine/chondroitin stack are the essence of GNC’s TriFlex Sport. Third, BCAAs, whey protein, and creatine monohydrate can help fuel skeletal muscles that might aid in muscle recovery and strength, optimizing performance. Joint and muscle health go hand-in-hand.