Sure, you can take your once daily vitamin or even your ever-green Glucosamine Chondroitin but you have to get to the point where you ask yourself. Does this stuff actually work? Is my investment in this product really doing what it says it will do? Its hard because a lot of products just say “it’s just good to take”. I understand that but I am looking for something powerful to add to my diet. If I have to swallow a pill or drink some weird concoction lets make it count! Well, I have done the research and a little self experimentation and I want to talk to you about the 4 “supplements that I am currently taking specifically for my training and back pain.
Just like I said above, I want to share with you everything I have been doing when it comes to supplementing what I call “earth source supplements”. I call them this because what I am taking is not just “included” in a once daily vitamin. I am in search of the purest form of whatever ingredient I am looking to consume and only want it BY ITSELF. So this excludes all those “Once a Day” vitamins you see so many people taking. Below I am going to go over my top 4 supplements I am adding to my daily shake, meals or just tossing back with a chaser.
One thing that I want to make clear is the term supplements. In the fitness industry most people hear that and immediately think pre-workouts, post workouts, protein etc. All those have there place but when it comes to dealing with chronic back pain, I am a firm believer in limiting as many foreign ingredients in the body as possible. Inflammation is huge when your dealing with an ongoing issue such as back pain. Months or years of having an issue go unaddressed can leave you in a world of pain, making the smallest and simplest movements extremely limited and painful.
My top 4 supplements I am going to school you guys on today can both be found at your local health food store and maybe in your own kitchen cabinet. Non of them are super expensive but all of them take consistency in order to reap the benefits.
Lets dive in.
The first on my list is MSM
MSM also known as Methyl-sulfonyl-methane. It’s an organic sulfur compound that has been on the up and up for some time. Most tests done by lab guys have involved MSM and Boswellic Acids (we will talk about these on another day) vs Glucosamine Sulfate. Glucosamine has been a house hold name forever. Typically used to treat joint health, arthritis and inflammation. Well MSM has been getting a lot of attention due to its effectiveness compared to other compounds such as Glucosamine. Bottom line it’s better. There are a number of health benefits such as stronger nails and thicker hair but the ones I want to focus on the most are inflammation and recovery. Sulfer at the cellular level helps metabolic junk get removed. These cells contain the inflammation that you find in your body. The MSM helps the body drawl out and flush these toxins. The same thing goes for your recovery. Lactic acid and other byproducts cause pain and soreness and can linger for long periods of time if not addressed. MSM is used to increases the ability to rid the body of this waste on the molecular level.
When your dealing with chronic inflammation and pain from a back injury, the things that happen on a clellular level are just as important as the choices in exercise, mobility and stretches your doing for your current situation. You can pick up MSM in most stores such as Fresh Market and Whole Foods. Word on the street says you can get this stuff from an animal feed store that is 99.9% pure. I have not looked into that myself so shop with caution!
How much MSM should I take?
I encourage you to do your own research on this but I have always been a supporter of doing more than what the bottle says. I know that sounds crazy but here me out. Going this route of course comes with risks but some of these more natural supplements don’t really present themselves useful unless you take a generous amount. For MSM I would start off taking the recommended dosage on the bottle, from there slowly increase to 1-2 tablespoons a day. I have heard of people taking up to 3 but I personally have not gotten to that point yet. It adds a pretty bitter taste to anything you mix with it so it’s not something you can toss in your green smoothie without it tasting like barf. I recommend you consume MSM on the side, in about 4oz of a flavored drink such as gatorade or apple juice. Just toss it in there and throw it back.
No, this stuff is not just used to stem away nauseousness while pregnant. It’s way cooler than that. In a study done at the University of Miami they concluded as a side comment that ginger could actually be the next NSAID. That means no more popping 2-4 of those pills to take the edge off. Instead you can start to strategically introduce more and more ginger into your daily diet to have a lasting affect. There are tons of cool health benefits of ginger but for the sake of this article I want to focus on that nasty word inflammation. Ginger, similar to MSM attacks inflammation at the cellular level. The heavy hitting compounds are called gingerols and shogaols. These are responsible for going to bat fighting inflammation in the body.
According to study’s done on over 247 patients, the high dosages of ginger have had a dramatic affect on joint pain caused by arthritis. The studies that supported relief in patience with arthritis really stood out to me the most. I have never been diagnosed with full blown “arthritis” but I have been told I show arthritic symptoms in my L5-S1 disk/joint. This is the particular thing I have been focused the most on over the past year when it comes to my nutrition. Since I went so long before really addressing my issue I have a lot of irritation and sensitivity in the joint. While lazer focusing on mechanics and how I move, pumping my body with enough ginger (along with the rest of the ingredients in this article) to fight the beat up joint has really been great!
How much ginger should I eat?
The side affects to eating too much ginger are pretty obvious. Upset stomach, nauseousness, and diarrhea. Side effects are actually very uncommon unless you have some kind of allergy to it.
I am currently still experimenting with dosages used on my own body but I have read that starting with 2-4 grams is a smart move. Adding more will really depend on your bodies reaction. I personally will push the envelop with anything I take just to see how my body reacts so Ill keep you updated! To be more specific I will typically add a bit smaller than a golf ball size to my morning shake. For starters that might be a bit much but I have become accustomed to it so be sure to start where you feel comfortable.
Devils Claw is another great supplement to help fight inflammation in the body along with chronic neck and back pain. Devils claw is this narly looking herb that you typically take in a powdered form. The active ingredient is Harpagoside which has been studied and shown to aid in a number of different inflammatory issues along with treating arthritis and gout. There is a laundry list of benefits but for me specifically, I cared more about it’s results when used to treat people with chronic, none specific back pain.
“In 2002 Phytomedicine published a study of 227 people with non-specific low back pain or osteoarthritis of the knee or hip treated with devil’s claw extract. After eight weeks of taking 60 mg daily, between 50 and 70 percent of people reported improvement in pain, mobility and flexibility.”
This is another supplement that needs to just become apart of your daily routine. It’s not a magic pill that instantly takes the pain away. I look at Devils Claw the same way I look at any holistic supplement. The more consistent you are with consuming it the better your results will be. The speed of which it works will vary from person to person. I have seen others experiencing relief within 10 days of consistent consumption. The quality of your products makes a difference so be sure to get the best quality that you can either afford or get your hands on. Key thing is to make it apart of you’re daily routine and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
How Much Devils Claw should I take?
The goal with these ingredients is not to have to consume a ton just to get the relief one Tylenol can bring. But keep in mind it’s the accumulation over time of these products in your body that will bring lasting results. One of the cool things about Devils Claw is the lack of any begative side affects. The studies that have popped up on this herb show that even when taking them in higher dosages, no negative side affects seem to show themselves. I typically will take this information, look at what the suggested amount is on the label and go from there. Always do your research and find out what people are saying about not only there own experiences but what the clinical tests are discovering.
Cinnamon is a spice that is super easy to add to your daily diet as long as you’re only consumption isn’t on top of your bowl of ice-cream… (dairy causes inflammation if you didn’t know). There are lots of great benefits to eating more cinnamon that don’t involve back pain whatsoever but thats not what we are here for right!? The major attractants for me are the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. If you really want to geek out on this spice check this link out here.
If you really want to get technical there are two basic types of cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Ceylon is actually true cinnamon where Cassia is what we “americans” have come to know as table cinnamon. If you are wanting to add cinnamon to your diet on a daily basis I would highly suggest you switch to Ceylon Cinnamon. I only say this from the research that has been done regarding the effects of daily consumption of “basic” or Cassia cinnamon on the kidneys. You can read a little more about it here. If you want to take it to an even higher level you can look into getting you some Cinnamon Bark Oil. This stuff is SUPER concentrated and can go a long way with the little amount that you actually use at one time.
How much cinnamon should I eat.
I like to add it to what I am already eating. If you have ever done the “cinnamon challenge” I would not suggest that be your sole way of ingesting it. Thats actually super dangerous and could result in a collapsed lung or worst case scenario death.
Instead toss some in your pancakes, oatmeal or morning shakes. Remember When it comes to consuming any of these supplements you’re not just sprinkling a little here or there. No, measure. Consume. Repeat. Just like if you were taking an over the counter medication. You take it all until it’s gone or the illness is healed. In this case, since there is no real consumption amount printed on the label I would stick to around 6 grams a day. You can start small with 1 gram and slowly work your way up to six but until further notice (from my research) 6 is enough. On top of that cinnamon just like anything else you take like this could have adverse effects on YOUR body. Listen to your body and how it reacts. Literature suggests cinnamon taken for the health benefits should be cycled every 6 weeks if your taking it on a daily basis. You can also go 5 days on two days off. Whichever works better for you is fine. This prevents any toxic build up in your body.
Oh and remember the results and benefits of consuming something like cinnamon are cumulative. It’s something that takes place over time with a commitment to its consumption.
Boom. 4 power house ingredients that I am personally still navigating my way through. I only want to bring you what I have done myself or am currently doing. I would love to hear from you about any of these above. Let me know about your experience. What are your results!?
Remember just like anything else don’t just take my word for it. Do a little research yourself. Find out if you have any issues digesting these. If you have allergies check with your doc. You know the basic stuff. These are things that I have done research on and have come to a conclusion about what has worked in others along with my current experience by no means am I saying this is gospel and it will work for everyone. So chew up the meat and spit out the bones!
Thanks for reading guys!
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