One day, when I showed up to work at a skilled nursing home, a young college student I work with declared, “I’ve decided I’m never getting old!” I pointed out that working in an environment where people come when they need help with daily tasks or to recuperate after surgery was probably skewing her view of aging. I started sending her links to videos like the 103-year-old woman who won the gold medal at the Senior Olympics in the 50- and 100-meter dash, and the Senior Monster dance group in Tokyo. A lot of factors come into play in aging, including genetics, but many people are able to maintain their body function into “old age.”
Boswellia may enhance joint function. A pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a novel Boswellia serrata extract in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee. This study recruited 48 people with knee joint degeneration to take a placebo or 338.66 mg of boswellia extract (30% AKBA) for 4 months. After 4 months the group that took the boswellia supplement experienced decreased pain on 3 different pain scales, reduced stiffness, traveled further on a 6 minute walk, and had improved quality-of-life scores. X-ray data showed improved gap size in the knee joints and decreased spurs. Decreased CRP values suggested overall inflammation was decreased by the supplement. After 4 months of boswellia supplementation, the participants felt less pain and gained mobility in their knees.
Curcumin may enhance muscle recovery. Effective Timing of Curcumin Ingestion to Attenuate Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness in Men. This study involved 24 young adult men. These men performed 30 maximal isokinetic eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors to induce muscle damage. Participants were assigned to take 180 mg/day of oral curcumin for the 7 days before the exercise event, 180 mg/day of oral curcumin for the 4 days after the exercise, or nothing before the exercise and a placebo for the 4 days after the exercise as a control group. Although there were no differences in torque or serum creatine kinase, the group that took the curcumin supplement for the 4 days after the exercise event had a greater range of motion and less muscle soreness than the control or pre-exercise-supplement group. The researchers concluded that curcumin ingestion after eccentric exercise was effective in reducing muscle soreness and may “contribute to improvement of performance after eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage”
Caffeine may enhance physical performance. Effect of caffeinated gum on a battery of rugby-specific tests in trained university-standard male rugby union players. This study involved 17 male university rugby players who received a placebo or 200 mg caffeine (between 2.1 to 2.7 mg/kg bodyweight) in gum form before performing three countermovement jumps, an Illinois agility test, 6 × 30 m repeated sprints, and the Yo-Yo IR-2 test (20 m shuttle runs that gradually increased in speed until the player could no longer beat the timer), separated by short rest periods. While there was no difference on the agility test, the group of players that received caffeine experienced an enhanced countermovement jump, greater resistance to fatigue during the 6 × 30 m repeated sprint test, and better performance on the Yo-Yo IR2. The researchers concluded that caffeine may enhance performance in rugby matches.