Recently, while researching knee pain on the internet, I came across a comment from a woman with arthritis who had been taking fish oil supplements. She claimed that because of the fish oil, she was able to discontinue her usage of NSAIDs, and was in far less joint pain. My curiosity was piqued, but I know better than to trust one person’s opinion of something. I was aware of the benefits fish oil has in terms of cardiovascular health, and since it was recently concluded by several large studies that glucosamine isn’t as effective at reducing joint pain as originally thought, I figured it might be worth looking into.
Sure enough, a study out of the University of Pittsburgh and led by Dr. Joseph Maroon, surveyed 120 people with arthritis (I am assuming osteoarthritis, although it didn’t specify), who were placed on omega 3 supplements. Of those, 59% experienced a decrease in joint pain and 68% stopped using NSAIDs completely (to read the complete article, click here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_271554.html). While this is a small sample size, the research was prompted by studies of the Greenland Inuit people in the 1970s. The Inuits suffered from less heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis than the rest of Europe. Researchers speculated this was because their diets were high in omega 3s from whale, seal, and other fish. If you are experiencing joint pain, check with your doctor first, but you might want to consider fish oil as a natural alternative to ibuprofen or aspirin.
The TRX is a portable unit consisting of adjustable straps. It can be used anywhere (house, outside at the park, the gym) and, while a bit pricey at $250, is a whole lot cheaper than a regular gym membership. The exercises that can be done on the TRX range from fairly easy (a modified back row) to the insanely hard (the crossed one legged squat will challenge even the most seasoned athlete). All exercises require quite a bit of core stability, and you should be very careful using it if you are prone to arching your back. It is a great tool for almost everyone and, like most pieces of functional exercise equipment, is limited only by your imagination. For more information about the TRX, please visit http://fitnessanywhere.com/.
As the weather improves and you begin spending more time outside, make sure you are wearing a sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. While sun exposure allows us to synthesize vitamin D, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States (http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-facts/). Take advantage of the outdoors, but be safe while doing it.
Yours in health and wellness,