Musculoskeletal Support for Fitness Enthusiasts
There are 206 bones in the human body coming together to form 360 joints. In addition, there are more than 600 muscles. Keeping those joints and muscles in good working order is key to maintaining an active lifestyle for all adults. For most integrative practitioners, turmeric extract is a foundational product in musculoskeletal health protocols. And there’s good reason for that.
The phenolic compounds in turmeric root (Curcuma longa), known as curcuminoids, give turmeric many of it’s health-supporting benefits.* When turmeric root extract is standardized to contain a high percentage of curcuminoids, it is usually combined with other ingredients to enhance absorption and efficacy. For example, when black pepper extract is added to turmeric root extract, there is better absorption and bioavailability.
Research shows that curcuminoids help support healthy inflammatory response – good news for supporting joint and muscular health. Anyone participating in sports and other activities, from seasoned athletes to active seniors, will all experience inflammation and sometimes pain, from occasional overexertion. Supporting a healthy inflammatory response on a daily basis can mean the difference between running that 10K and watching from the sidelines.*
Even though we know that exercise and physical activity is good for the body, it also creates free radicals and turmeric is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It’s one of the reasons turmeric extract and curcumin support overall health and wellness. The authors of a 2017 review published in the journal Foods stated, “Curcumin, a polyphenol, has been shown to target multiple signaling molecules while also demonstrating activity at the cellular level, which helped to support its multiple health benefits.”*
A 2017 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine featured 10 elite rugby athletes who took 2 grams of curcumin and 20 mg of piperine three times a day starting 48 hours before they were asked to do intense exercise and then the same amount 48 hours post-exercise. Results showed that curcumin and piperine (black pepper extract) effectively supported muscle recovery following exercise.*
A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of eight randomized clinical trials involving turmeric extracts and/or curcumin, published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods, demonstrated scientific evidence showing that turmeric extract at a dose of about 1,000 mg/day is effective at supporting joint health.*
In another randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2019 in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, 19 men were asked to exercise intensely. The curcumin group took 1.5 grams daily following the exercise. The researchers found that the men taking the curcumin had better muscle recovery compared to the men taking the placebo.*
Lifestyle Affects Musculoskeletal Health
Turmeric extracts and curcumin products help support healthy inflammatory response in muscles and joints.* But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.
For optimal musculoskeletal health, lifestyle influences include the following:
- Maintaining normal body weight.
- Avoiding overexertion
- Paying attention to pain signals and responding to prevent injury.
- Using proper body mechanics.
- Choosing low-impact activity like swimming when muscles or joints are sore or healing.
- Enhancing flexibility by stretching on a consistent basis.
- Adhering to an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean-style whole foods diet.
And, the American Association of Orthopedic Society reports that most people don’t realize that smoking has serious negative effects on bones and joints. Smoking causes systemic inflammation, and increases the risk of many inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendonitis, along with joint and muscular pain. Smoking impedes the healing process, impedes muscle repair and diminishes muscle gain from exercise.
Better musculoskeletal health can be achieved through a comprehensive program that includes attention to diet and lifestyle in addition to supplement protocols which target healthy inflammatory response. The benefit for patients is greater strength and flexibility which allows them to continue the athletics and activities they enjoy throughout their lifespan.
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