March 2008 Wellness Ezine

Joint and Muscle Health
By Megan Forbes

    Whether you experience joint pain or not, it is imperative to address the nutritional needs of cartilage, ligaments and the muscles that support them. Joint pain can happen due to injury, disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, exercise, weight training, aging and carrying extra body weight. Muscle pain may be related to the very same conditions, but also may be due to dehydration, lack of proper minerals and electrolytes, or consuming too many acidic foods. To prevent pain and encourage healing of joints and muscles, proper nutrition is key.
    To support, protect, and rebuild cartilage and bone, calcium and Vitamin D are important. Getting enough zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium is also important in preventing muscle soreness and recovery. Magnesium and potassium are usually deficient with people who experience muscle cramps. Depending on your activity level and diet, you may need extra supplementation for one or more of these nutrients.
    Avoiding excess salt, protein, and caffeine will help protect the body from stripping calcium from the bone. Eating alkalizing foods like fruits and vegetables will not only help you achieve your vitamin and mineral needs, but will protect your bones and keep them strong.
    Anti-inflammatory foods are also a great asset to help get over any joint or muscle pain. Turmeric, ginger, rosemary, pineapple and omega-3 oils all contain anti-inflammatory compounds. Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, and quercetin (skins of apples and red onions) are two phytonutrients that will aid in reducing inflammation as well.
    Dietary supplements can help get to the underlying cause of the pain and help it heal. There have been numerous studies that assess the effects of different supplements on joint health, many of which have shown efficacy. The following is a list of supplements and common dosing that may help with joint pain and inflammation.
    *indicates more science behind efficacy.

Glucosamine 1,500mg*
Chondroitin 800-1,200mg*
MSM 1000-3,000mg
Boswellia 1,000mg
Vitamin C 200-2,000mg/day

    The body has the ability to regenerate healthy joints with many of these natural options, but once bone is on bone there isnít much you can do. Thatís why prevention is essential. Being able to get to the root cause of a joint problem and correct it naturally is always preferable than just masking the symptoms with painkillers.

Meg Forbes is a Registered Dietitian focusing on wellness, gastrointestinal distress, autoimmune disease, heart disease, sports nutrition, and food allergies. An athlete herself, Meg has also had a long history of coping with Crohnís Disease. Her philosophy is one that looks at the whole person, not just dietary intakes. If youíd like to schedule an appointment with Meg please call MassageSpecialists.com at 303-938-0388 or email her personally at megforb@gmail.com.

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