The return to competitive rugby after my battle through severe knee injuries is a badge of honour I wear with pride. Because of my injury history, one of the most frequent questions I am asked, particularly since the launch of Bondi Vite, is what vitamins I take to help reduce my knee and joint pain? So, in the simplest way possible, here it is.
Importantly, I wrote this not just for people who would consider themselves ‘highly active’ but everyone that may suffer from some form of joint pain. Joint pain is incredibly common and is, in fact, one of the most common symptoms that forces people to seek out their GP, particularly as we get older.
Generally speaking, your GP will present you with two courses of action to help combat your joint pain. Firstly, they might suggest taking some sort of anti-inflammatory medicine to give you immediate relief, ranging from simple ibuprofen through to prescription drugs. Whilst effective, these options are not recommended as long-term solutions and it is usually suggested that a trip down the vitamin aisle would be of longer-lasting assistance.
Turmeric and fish oil have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and there’s the reason why they have endured for so long. Quite simply, they are super effective and give people amazing relief from joint paint (among other great benefits). I count myself as one of them. And my parents, my wife, my friends, my teammates… the list goes on. Exercise, sitting at the office desk, old injuries or just plain ‘wear and tear’ from a life well-lived, can all lead to varying degrees of joint pain. The question is, which two of these naturally produced supplements can help best relieve some of your discomfort?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant, also commonly seen written as ‘curcumin’ or ‘curcuma longa’. Yes, this is the same turmeric spice that can be found at home in your kitchen spice cabinet. Unfortunately, popping the lid off your kitchen turmeric won’t help your joint pain very much as medical evidence has only proven the health benefits of turmeric to be activated when consumed at highly concentrated levels (> than 1 gram daily for adults).
At high dosage levels, turmeric has been proven to block the destructive molecules that travel into the nuclei of your cells, thus helping to reduce inflammation within the body and improve many symptoms of ‘metabolic syndrome’, including joint pain. Unfortunately, turmeric is very poorly absorbed into the bloodstream for humans. Thus, I recommend for the best results, select a turmeric supplement that includes an absorption ingredient in the formulation. Our Joint Health – Turmeric includes black pepper as it has been proven to exponentially enhance the absorption of turmeric for humans.
Fish oil, or rather, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, have long been titled as the ‘liquid gold’ of natural health supplements. It’s an interesting fact that our bodies cannot actually produce Omega-3 fatty acids, they can only be derived from our food. In the case of fish oil, it is usually taken from fish; such as salmon, mackerel or trout.
Now getting to the technicalities. Fish Oil supplements will contain two vital Omega-3s; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). I know supplement labels can be quite confusing to dissect, often this is done on purpose, but these two acronyms are all you need to look for.
- DHA provides our body with the needs for many functions; from muscle activity to cell growth. It delivers health benefits such as cognitive function, eye health and immune health.
- EPA is responsible for decreasing inflammation build-up in the body. Like turmeric, EPA can help regulate the inflammatory signalling pathways of molecules. When taken at daily dosage amounts of 2000 – 3000mg it can have highly-effective results as an anti-inflammatory for joints.
So, fish oil or turmeric? For the best, most effective chance of results, the answer is both. Fish oil and turmeric can act as helpful allies in your battle towards joint pain relief. By resolving the chronic inflammation that underlies joint pain through supplements such as fish oil and turmeric, it’s entirely plausible to achieve a sustainable solution to joint comfort in daily life.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as making sure you take enough of it to make a difference. Read your supplement labels carefully and be informed on what you are buying. There are plenty of pointlessly weak formulations on shelves out there, so beware!
For me, taking fish oil and turmeric has helped me extend my sporting career after my three knee reconstructions. They are my two go-to supplements that I plan on taking for the rest of my life. As inevitable arthritis creeps in, I’m happy that there is an alternative to prescription drugs that is an effective and natural solution.
– Damien Fitzpatrick (Founder – Bondi Vite Australia, former NSW Waratah)