Losses don’t end careers. Injuries do. And in MMA, injuries are almost as common as stoplights are in New York City. So, what do all injuries have in common? Inflammation, better known to fighters as that sore, achy, swelling redness that seems to spread from body part to body part after every fight. If you’re not fighting it, you’ll eventually be beaten by it, and that’s one loss you won’t come back from.
In the prescription drug world, most fighters turn to Vicodin, Tylenol, Advil and other painkillers for relief. However, with the recent Vicodin/Tylenol health scare, many are trading their prescription drugs for natural remedies. Here are the three natural remedies that’ll put a stranglehold on inflammation.
Among many of its positive benefits, fighting inflammation is one of the most important. EPA and DHA, two active components of fish oil, competitively reduce the amount of inflammatory compounds within your body. Studies have shown that people who consume fish oil have been able to reduce the amount of prescription and OTC pain medications they were taking. 1
A study just recently published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine concluded consuming 1.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day can reduce DOMS after exercising. 2
To achieve its full spectrum of benefits, you should consume anywhere from 2-5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (that dosage is based on the combination of EPA and DHA, not fish oil).
Even though it’s been used for centuries in the Ayurvedic and Chinese medical systems, the U.S. has just recently begun studying this compound for conditions ranging from arthritis to cancer. Its anti-inflammatory properties appear to stem from its COX-2 inhibition, which is the same mechanism by which the popular prescription anti-inflammatory Celebrex works. It also appears to be a potent inhibitor of NF-kB, which is considered the godfather of inflammation in the body.3 With that onetwo punch, many are predicting curcumin will be the king of anti-inflammatory remedies.
A typical dose of 150-800mg daily should keep the pain and inflammation away. Make sure the product contains 95 percent total curcuminoids as well as an ingredient called piperine or similar compound that improves absorption. As always, quality is the key. Also, avoid taking it if you’ve had gall bladder problems or are on blood-thinning medications.
GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN
By far the most popular arthritis supplement available today, Glucosamine alone has been studied in over 20 randomized controlled trials, involving over 2,500 patients.4 However, glucosamine and chondroitin aren’t actually considered anti-inflammatory supplements. Instead of blocking inflammation, they actually help provide the building blocks for healthy joints. Glucosamine helps stimulate the production of important components for healthy cartilage, while chondroitin provides the building blocks for the joint matrix.
A typical dose is 500mg of glucosamine sulfate three times daily and 200-400mg of chondroitin sulfate three times daily.
*Remember, all three supplements above will not work instantly. Their effects will be gradual, sometimes taking up to two months. However, the reward will definitely be worth the wait.
Having one or all three supplements in your arsenal is a step in the right direction. By minimizing inflammation, not only will they help you prolong your career, but they’ll also help improve your performance, range of motion and recovery ability. Inflammation is truly a fighter’s worst nightmare.
• Fetterman James and Zdanowicz Martin. Therapeutic potential of n-3 polysaturated fatty acids in disease. AM J Health- Sys Pharm.2009;66:1169-79. • Tartibian B, Maleki BH, and Abbasi A. The effects of the ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men. Clin J Sport Med. 2009;19(2):115-9. • Leelavinothan Pari, Tewas Daniel, and Eckel Juergen. Role of curcumin in health and disease. Arch Physiol Biochem.2008;114(2):127-49. • Gregory Philip, Sperry Morgan, and Friedman Amy. Dietary supplements for osteoarthritis. Am Fam Phys.2008;77(2):177-84.