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Clearly, you should be feeding your joints and connective tissue with the same care and diligence that goes into feeding your muscles. Before we investigate some promising new technologies that are helping athletes do just that, let's take a closer look at our intricate musculoskeletal connections, how they function, and how they break down.
The Ties That Bind
Cartilage is a rigid connective tissue that acts as a supporting framework for joints located at the articulating surface of bone, and in joint spaces (i.e. intervertebral disks, menisci). Articular cartilage is made up of chondrocyte cells within an extracellular matrix (ECM) of collagens (i.e. type II collagen), non-collagenous glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans.[1,2] Proteoglycans play in important role in protecting the joints from compression, acting as a sponge to trap large amounts of water. Chondrocytes are responsible for secreting ECM, a complex of macromolecules vital to the strength and elasticity of surrounding cartilage, allowing for resistance to joint tension and compression forces. Synovial fluid located in joint cavities reduces friction between articular cartilage and bone, transports nutrition to chondrocytes and produces hyaluronic acid.[3,4]
Injury to cartilage entails a slow healing process attributed by a poor blood supply. Lower-extremity joints, typically, handle greater stress. The smaller surface area of upper extremity joints, however, makes cartilage vulnerable to injury from localized concentrations of stress. Joints consist of many different facets and planes, dispersing forces in certain areas. When these forces are concentrated in particular areas, the susceptibility for joint degeneration occurs.
Injury to articular cartilage can be acute (caused by a traumatic episode [i.e. sports injury]) or chronic (progressive degeneration/repetitive joint stress to affected area). If the extent of damage is untreated, joint pain and swelling may impede joint function and, possibly, result in long-term loss of function. A number of research studies, however, have examined several dietary agents that provide chondroprotective effects, optimizing the integrity of joint cartilage. Let's look at some of the most promising and efficacious compounds.
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Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide produced in human tissues from glucose. An abundant compound in cartilage, glucosamine is vital to the production of ECM components (i.e. hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, keratan sulfate), attributing to cartilage and synovial fluid synthesis. Glucosamine is also the rate-limiting step in glycosaminoglycan synthesis, deeming its supplementation to promote glycosaminoglycan content in the ECM. Glucosamine in chondrocytes has been associated with increased levels of aggrecan (proteoglycan), collagen type II and hyaluronic acid.[7.8]
Glucosamine inhibits collagen degeneration as well as inflammatory processes that exacerbate cartilage damage. Joint stress results in cartilage metabolism, which entails the breakdown and rebuilding of type II collagen. When cartilage breakdown exceeds rebuilding, individuals become susceptible to joint pain and the integrity of the cartilage is threatened. Research has shown that daily intake of 1500 mg of glucosamine provides a significant decrease in type II collagen degradation while maintaining collagen synthesis, providing this benefit only during supplementation and disappearing after subjects discontinued use. 
Long-term, daily glucosamine intake has also shown to decrease joint pain, and improve functionality.[10-12] Glucosamine has demonstrated positive effects for individuals with and without cartilage damage, providing a preventative, yet healing, compound that may protect against bone and cartilage degradation.
Injury among athletes is very common. Recovering from injury can be a painstaking process, requiring patience and devotion. Research has examined the positive impact of glucosamine administration following acute injury. Athletes, who had experienced acute knee injury, were assigned to 4-weeks of glucosamine supplementation (1500 mg per day) compared to a placebo. The athletes assigned to glucosamine demonstrated significant improvement in knee flexion and extension, reflecting a hastened recovery from injury, optimizing functional ability during rehabilitation phases. Glucosamine sulfate has demonstrated superiority in efficacy over glucosamine hydrochloride. Researchers have suggested that the sulfate anion of glucosamine sulfate may elicit the production of chondroitin sulfate, further contributing to cartilage health.
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OptiMSM methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a high quality MSM, free of additives and contaminants, delivering an MSM of increased standards that is laboratory-tested. MSM is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. Animal models have shown that long-term supplementation of MSM decreases degeneration of joint surface cartilage.
Research suggests that OptiMSM may reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes (i.e. metalloproteinases) that degrade cartilage ECM. Furthermore, OptiMSM may preserve cartilage surfaces by decreasing inflammation in cartilage and the synovium. For individuals afflicted with generalized knee pain, twelve weeks of intake OptiMSM improved symptoms of pain and reduced physical function impairment, enhancing the capacity for performing activities of daily living.
Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is a very important glycosaminoglycan found in the ECM of articular cartilage. CS retains water in cartilage, which aids in pressure resistance. CS has also shown to increase hyaluronic acid in joint synovial fluid, increasing the viscosity of synovial fluid, while also providing additional chondroprotective effects (minimizing breakdown of collagen). Research has shown that CS promotes collagen and proteoglycan production by stimulating chondrocyte metabolism. Thus CS induces cell proliferation, providing anabolic stimulation to cartilage while also inhibiting cartilage destruction.
An abundance of research has demonstrated benefit with CS intake, greatly reducing joint pain, joint space narrowing and inflammation while improving mobility.[22-26] Research has compared CS to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), finding that CS targeted inflammation at the cellular level more effectively than NSAIDS and with significantly less potential for side effects.
HyaMax Non-GMO Hyaluronic Acid
HyaMax is a natural hyaluronic acid, a glycosaminoglycan (long chains of sugar molecules naturally found in the protective fluid surrounding joints) accompanied by glucuronic acid and N-acetyl glucosamine. The structure of HyaMax allows it to absorb water and expand 1000 times in volume, lubricating joints and muscles. Lubricating joints is conducive to the strength and flexibility of joints while cushioning/protecting bones.
Hyaluronic acid, a major component of synovial fluid, has also been noted for its antioxidant and strong anti-inflammatory effects.[28,29] In the event of injury, hyaluronic acid enhances nutrient delivery to the affected area, enhancing the scar-less healing process attributed by its contributory, distinctive roles even after it is broken down (i.e. improving blood flow and generation of new cells). Hyaluronic acid stimulates the cells in healthy cartilage to produce components of the extracelluar matrix (where hyaluronic acid resides), further promoting joint health.
Research has demonstrated the highly effective therapeutic effect of hyaluronic acid on individuals, successfully restoring synovial fluid (lubricating joints) and cartilage rebuilding while providing anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relief) effects.
Meriva Turmeric Phytosome
Meriva is a patented formulation of curcumin, a dietary phenolic with non-GMO soy lecithin, possessing a greater bioavailability (with an absorption rate 29 times higher) than other curcumin mixtures.
Turmeric is a well-known, gold-colored spice in India, derived from the Curcuma longa plant. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its yellow color and has been a recognized component of turmeric for nearly two centuries. Turmeric has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicinal practices; however, research has identified curcumin as the active ingredient giving turmeric its supplemental efficacy. Research has demonstrated various attributes of curcumin including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
Long-term administration of Meriva has shown to decrease inflammation and pain while improving joint function with noteworthy tolerability of supplementation.[34,35] Thus, the array of benefits of Meriva may also extend to active individuals, providing protection for joint cartilage undergoing the stress of daily impact.
5-LOXIN Boswellia Serrata
Boswellia serrata is a tree found in India that provides a gum (guggul) known for its beneficial effects on inflammation, arthritis and pain. 5-LOXIN is an enriched boswellia serrata extract with enhanced anti-inflammatory properties. Research has observed significant improvement in test subjects, demonstrating decreased swelling and reported levels of pain with increased range of motion and walking distance capability following eight weeks of boswellia serrata extract intake. Research suggests 5-LOXIN may reduce proinflammatory modulators which aids in controlling/minimizing inflammatory responses. Reducing inflammation protects the joint by preventing further joint tissue breakdown.
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The research and development team at ProSource followed each and every one of the investigations enumerated above with great interest. And then, a few years ago, they completed revised and updated their original Joint Command formula to incorporate these new technologies. The result was a joint-support formula that far exceeded its competitors to such a degree, it rendered those competing formulas instantly obsolete. To this day, no other joint support formula on the market even approaches the synergistic power of ProSource's Extra Strength Joint Command.
ProSource's Extra Strength Joint Command contains top-of-the-line ingredients backed by science, creating an unparalleled joint-health formula that is the perfect accompaniment to your physically dynamic life. Athletes (i.e. physique, performance) and active individuals who like to play hard and train hard can reap the vital chondroprotective benefits of the synergistic blend of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM, accompanied by the unsurpassed delivery and bioavailability of HyaMax and Meriva. This distinguished proprietary blend of ingredients promotes healthy joint cartilage, protecting you from the aches and pains of joints that would, otherwise, not repair as efficiently.
For those of you who don't let anything get in the way of your training; Extra Strength Joint Command is the perfect addition to your daily supplement regimen. Focus more on your gains without the pain with ProSource's Extra Strength Joint Command.
Have you experienced a joint injury or joint pain that has forced you to cut back on your workout regimen? How long did the disability last? What did you do to treat it? Let us know in the comments field below!
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