denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
Denny ([personal profile] denny) wrote2013-06-05 12:57 pm
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Supplements for joint pain; glucosamine and cod liver oil

TL;DR: A month ago I started taking glucosamine tablets and cod liver oil capsules. I would recommend trying them to anyone who is experiencing pain in their joints.

For those who don't know, I'm a freerunner and trainee acrobat (started both hobbies last year), and I'm 40 years old in a few months. I didn't have any background in fitness/sport until 2 years ago when I started trying to lose my fat and build up some muscle at the gym - I basically hadn't exercised for the preceding 25 years - so taking up two fairly high-impact activities came as quite a shock to my body!

In addition (as if that wasn't enough), I have a dodgy right leg due to a bad motorbike crash 10 years ago which shattered my knee and shin. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, my knees got a bit sore when I started jumping around on concrete. Both sides, which might seem a bit weird, but there's a lot of compensating stuff going on with my left leg/hip because of the weak right leg, so not entirely unexpected. In fact the left knee was often worse, particularly a pain that appeared just under the kneecap - probably the patellar tendon?

Anyway, I was a bit concerned about this, so I decided to start taking some basic supplements for bones/joints. The two that I saw recommended the most were cod liver oil (for bones) and glucosamine (for cartilage). Cod liver oil has been a well-known thing since I was a kid. I hadn't heard of glucosamine until quite recently, but a lot of Fitocracy and freerunning people seemed to think it was a good idea, despite not a great deal of scientific study backing it up yet (that I could find anyway).

There's no recommended dose for glucosamine; I've been taking two 500mg tablets a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. I take my 'high strength' cod liver oil capsule in the morning, along with a multi-vitamin (Bassets chewable vitamin sweets, because I am a child) :)

I've been training quite hard the last month or so, because of the improvement in the weather, and yet my knees have been much better. This may be partly due to the weather - cold and damp does affect my leg quite noticeably - but given how much jumping around I've been doing I'm feeling pretty confident that the combination of the capsules and the tablets is helping. If I had to guess I'd say it's probably more the glucosamine than the cod liver oil that's helped me, given the kind of pain I had before, but as they're both pretty cheap I'm going to keep taking both.

(I bought supermarket own-brand versions of both supplements. I wouldn't recommend paying the (often significantly) higher cost for brand-name versions - the ingredients are simple and, as far as I can tell, identical.)

Hope that's helpful to anyone who's been idly considering it (as I was for many months before finally getting around to buying some).