Musculoskeletal Health Bone Health
Many people tend to think of bones as just tubes made of calcium. The role of calcium in bone health has been stressed to the exclusion of the other components of bone. Bone is living tissue. It is a protein matrix that is reinforced with calcium and other minerals. Many minerals other than calcium are important to bone health.
Magnesium, manganese, folic acid, boron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and even strontium are necessary for healthy bones. Exercise, digestion, and hormonal balance also play a role in bone health.
Muscle, Joint and Ligament Health
Healthy joints require protein, minerals, and other nutrients. Sometimes the health of the joints is dependent on the health of other organs and systems. Poor digestion may deprive the joints of necessary nutrients for good health. In the past, holistic practitioners attributed arthritis to being caused by liver toxicity. This is interesting because the liver needs sulfur for detoxification and sulfur is also necessary for cartilage production. In fact, the two most talked about supplements for arthritis, gluosamine sulfate and chondroitan sulfate, both contain sulfur.
A Natural Health Approach to Chronic Pain
Over‐the‐counter pain relief products and NSAIDS are only good short‐term: These products stop inflammation but will work only for a short period of time. After a while they actually set the stage for oxidative stress and inflammation. They deplete glutathione (an important antioxidant and a substance that the liver uses to remove toxins). They irritate the GI lining, increasing intestinal permeability which leads to more oxidative stress and inflammation.
Fats and oils play an important role in inflammation: Essential oils are converted to substances called prostaglandins (aspirin is a prostaglandin inhibitor). Some prostaglandins are pro‐inflammatory and some are anti‐inflammatory. The type of fat or oil you eat helps determine the kinds of prostaglandins you produce. Animal products, containing arachadonic acid are converted to the pro‐inflammatory prostaglandin (also called PG2). Flax oil and fish oil are converted to the anti‐inflammatory prostaglandin (also called PG3). Hydrogenated or partially‐hydrogenated oil block an enzyme that helps to produce anti‐inflammatory prostaglandins. Hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all costs, they help create pain and inflammation. If the pain is severe or hard to control, animal products should be limited or eliminated.
Some herbs are useful in controlling pain: Feverfew does many of the same things that aspirin does, plus it is often effective in treating migraines. Ginger is a good pain‐killer as is curcumin (an extract of cumin).
Enzymes help to control pain and inflammation: Pancreatic enzymes and vegetable enzymes (like bromelain) can be effective in eliminating pain and inflammation. When taken on an empty stomach, some of the enzyme is absorbed by the body. Once inside the body, the enzyme removes cellular debris associated with inflammation. It sort of cleans house, which reduces pain and inflammation. It is important to take these on an empty stomach. When taken with food, they help your digestion, but not your pain.
How to Control Pain Naturally:
• Absolutely avoid hydrogenated oil. You should avoid other pro‐inflammatory foods like animal products,
refined sugar, and chemical additives. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables. Your practitioner will help you to plan a supplement regimen.
- Take fish oil or flax oil. Take a minimum of 1000 mg four times per day. You can take a lot more, especially if you are deficient in essential fatty acids (your practitioner can easily test you). If you get an after‐taste from taking essential oil supplements, you probably need bile salts and liver support.
- Bromelain or pancreatic enzymes can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Feverfew, curcumin or ginger can be useful for controlling pain and inflammation.
Your practitioner will help you to determine which supplements are best for you. Additional Steps if You Have Been Taking a Lot of NSAIDS of Other Drugs:
If you have been taking drugs long‐term, getting your pain under control is a little trickier. You have to undo the damage done by the drugs. There is also a rebound effect. In other words, symptoms will sometimes flare up when you suddenly stop taking a painkiller.
If you are taking an over‐the‐counter painkiller, gradually reduce the amount. Start by slowly extending the time between doses. If you take it every four hours, try to go for five or six hours between doses. After a few days, see if you can go seven or eight hours, and so on until you are weaned from the medication. Your practitioner will help you to plan a strategy and which supplements are best.
If your drugs are prescription, donʹt just reduce doses on your own. You need to discuss it with your practitioner.
- You may need to take something to heal the GI lining. Examples of substances that help heal the GI lining are Aloe Vera juice, fresh cabbage juice, whey (get it from goat’s milk, not cow’s milk), glycine, bioflavonoids, etc.
- You may need to take a general antioxidant
- Take something for liver support. A supplement that has Milk Thistle, lipoic acid, and glutathione would
provide good liver support.
- Glutathione may be necessary. Glutathione is best taken on an empty stomach.
- Balancing the bodyʹs structure is also useful: Techniques like chiropractic and other hands‐on techniques are effective in reducing nerve irritation and muscle spasm. In fact, many chiropractors get excellent results in eliminating pain without using any nutritional therapy.