While a varied and nourishing diet, progressive training and adequate rest are the fundamental components of an effective training programme, sometimes the body needs help achieving optimal performance and repair. This is something I have had to research, with success, for my own fitness journey - post shoulder injury. It's also something I've researched to relieve general aches and pains and to aid my, now slower, recovery time (that comes with a sigh!.... not being not 21 anymore).

The natural supplements and diet changes mentioned below are not suggested as a replacement for a prescriptive exercise programme and physio work, but are a great way to support injury and post workout recovery.

I have not covered omega 3's and adequate protein, as I wanted to give you some less familiar options - but these two are always a good place to start. 


Bromelain is a protein enzyme derived from the hard core of pineapple - yes the bit we often don't eat! Bromelain has been shown to prevent swelling and reduce inflammation to relieve pain. It also promotes blood circulation and so can speed healing. A recent study showed that people who supplemented with 500mg of Bromelain, three times a day, had comparable results to those taking anti-inflammatory drugs. You can't get this amount from fresh pineapple, but try adding it to your post workout shakes to help the recovery process - it is also a great digestive aid. 

Vitamin C and Flavonoids

These antioxidants aid in the healing of connective tissue. Foods high in flavonoids include tomatoes, almonds, green beans, peppers, green tea, blueberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C plays an important role in the formation of Collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is the protein that forms connective fibres in tissues such as skin, ligaments, cartilage, muscles and capillaries. Taking a Collagen supplement can help rebuild and repair tissue damage and may help wrinkle prevention- double bonus! 


Magnesium helps with muscle relaxation and is used alongside Manganese for the normal formation of connective tissue. Rich sources of both of these minerals can be found in whole grains, nuts and vegetables, in particular broccoli. For an added boost, try a magnesium spray. You can apply this spray directly to an injury or swelling. Magnesium is also helpful in calming the nerves, relaxing muscles and encouraging sleep. 

Soaking in magnesium salts is another (enjoyable) option. A soak in the bath with added magnesium flakes is ideal for achey muscles and joints and has been shown to markedly improve skin hydration, speed up healing, enhance skin barrier function, and decrease inflammation. It is also highly effective for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Just check with your doctor first if you have high blood pressure. 

Green lipped mussel tablets

I feel like I'm letting you into a Kiwi secret here as currently there is little consistent evidence in the therapeutic use of green lipped mussels - but watch this space! I've seen great results with clients.  The difference between the UK version and the bigger NZ mussels is that they contain omega -3 fatty acids, amino acids and minerals which have anti-inflammatory and joint-protecting properties. I've seen success in reducing the pain and inflammation with rumathiod arthritis, after 2 months of consistent use.


Right now this is the supplement I'm singing the praises of - it has provided me with some personal relief from my shoulder bursitis. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for inflammation for a long time. It's the spice that gives curry its yellow colour. We can now source 'Curcumin' - the actual compound that is required in turmeric for the anti inflammatory effects.  One established problem with Curcumin is that it does not easily dissolve in water. This may limit the amount that can be absorbed from our digestive systems. To prevent this make sure you select a Curcumin extract with ‘enhanced absorption’. 

All of the above supplements can all be found in your local health food shop.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need supplement selection advice or would like to schedule a nutrition consult to find out how I can assist your training further.

To find out more about nutrition at OPUS, click here and to read more about Holly click here.