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February 21, 2020 6 min read

There are 2 main ways to address this matter:

* restore gut health


* reduce inflammation

Reducing inflammation, is empirically, about managing stress and then nourishing the body through food, movement, supplementation etc. There are many ways to manage stress, from the herbs we use, such as adaptogens, to the way we breathe, to the manner in which we perceive our reality, to the environmental influencers, and so on.

We all have inflammation, and we are all affected by it, however, we each experience it, in that organ, or system, that is the weakest in the whole operating system. We can only function as well as our weakest physiological/biological contributor, thus people with weak respiratory systems will experience asthma, those with liver impairment will experience skin conditions e.g. eczema and acne, etc.

Those with flexibility issues (stubborn, fixated, co-dependent, addicted...), may often find that their joints are influenced. These people may feel brittle, and dry, including their sense of humour. They will also find that eating certain foods especially, coffee, alcohol and red-blooded animal flesh, but also those from the nightshade family such as aubergine, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes etc, will exacerbate discomfort.

A plant based eating approach will work well, in that many of our green leafy vegetables are high in calcium, magnesium, and a source of protein. Calcium and magnesium are effective as a baseline approach to balancing the internal environment, by binding with free floating elements to create molecules that the body can then use or lose. There may be benefit to adding a magnesium supplement, and this should be done as the primary step, for a few months before seeing if calcium is necessary. Essentially, magnesium binds with calcium to make it more effective.

An elimination protocol will determine if a food allergy is a contributing factor towards systemic inflammation. There are many examples of these online, but essentially, you are removing wheat, dairy, nuts, eggs, and foods that are moulded, sweetened, preserved, processed and canned.

When treating for joint pain, consider the following:
  • SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionin) works for pain relief, like analgesic, is an anti-inflammatory that is known to work as well as NSAIDs e.g. ibuprufen, it regenerates cartilage, and influences serotonin which helps manage pain and discomfort. Good for osteoarthritis & fibromyalgia.

  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is rich in organic sulphur, an important ‘building block’ for healthy bones and joints, and it’s very useful for your immune system. Studies show that MSM may have a moderate effect in improving joint pain and swelling as well as general functional wellbeing in people with osteoarthritis. This effect was greater when MSM was combined with

  • Glucosamine is an amino sugar available in two forms: glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride, which can both delay the breakdown of and repair damaged cartilage. Avoid if allergic to shell fish (primary source) and use cautiously if diabetic due to influence on blood sugar levels. May interact with chemotherapy and statins.

  • Chondroitinis a complex sugar produced from the cartilage of cows, pigs and sharks. It's a vital part of cartilage, giving it elasticity by helping it retain water. It prevents deterioration and stimulates repair.

  • Collagenis the human body’s most abundant protein, it ensures the integrity, elasticity and strength of our body's connective tissues and thus maintaining the form and function of our skin, cartilage and bones. Joint cartilage is made up of cellular building blocks (chondrocytes), which produce an extracellular matrix, which make up 70% of cartilage and are responsible for its structure and strength, while proteoglycans serve as lubricant to the joint. For bones, collagen, provides the structural framework on which calcium and other minerals are anchored. Collagen fibers also provide bone flexibility. Vitamin C helps to improve efficacy of collagen and support immune system.

  • Boswellia Serrate (frankincense) works in the same way, as above in pain relief and anti-inflammatory, but also prevents degeneration and influences the auto-immune response. It has many beneficial uses, particularly on respiratory discomfort, and excellent anti-ageing agent.

  • Capsaicinhas pain-relieving properties due to temporarily reducing substance P, a pain transmitter. This also complements the absorption of curcumin. It can also be used topically for it's warming and soothing effects, similar to Deep Heat.

  • Tumeric(Curcuma longa) Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. Effective longer term on pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Try this golden milk recipe for a soothing medicinal drink. It is best absorbed when added to black pepper or capsican.

  • Bromelainis an enzyme found in pineapple. Reduces swelling and inflammation and muscle ache. Assists with digestive issues, as well.

  • Cat’s Claw(Uncaria tomentosa)works like an anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF). It also contains compounds that may benefit the immune system. Look for a brand that is free of tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids. Good for rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant native to South Africa that contains iridoid glycosides, a class of compounds which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. It is being studied as a potential remedy for inflammatory-related conditions, such as arthritis and gout. In addition, it has been proposed to reduce pain and may support weight loss.

  • Pine Bark Extract (pycnogenol) is rich in several bioflavonoids that have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are substances that can override harmful effects of free radicals that cause damage or disease. Other studies have found that it can reduce the production of specific enzymes that break down cartilage.

  • Willow Bark contains salicen, which acts as natural asprin by reducing pain and inflammation.

  • Ginger(Zingiber officinale)has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, similar to steroids. It can be used raw by adding to smoothies, or as an ingredient in cooking, or this way for better preservation, and available when you need to make a flu shot.

  • Rosehiphas many benefits, and amongst them anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects. It is high in Vitamin C and this the anti-oxidant effects support the immune system, which is often negatively influenced by cortisol-containing medications. I love it as a beverage, warm or cool.

  • Rooiboshas anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants. Drink this instead of coffee.

  • Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid). It is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort, American elder, and others. Buckwheat tea has a large amount of quercetin. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Omega 3essential fatty acids block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. EPA and DHA have been proven effective for dozens of other inflammatory conditions, including Sjögren’s syndrome, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Best sources are from oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel, and Green lipped mussels.

  • Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)is an omega-6 fatty acid that the body converts into anti-inflammatory chemicals. Combined with the above, Omega 3's, form an effective base for long term treatment of inflammation. This fatty acid can cause inflammation too, so should be used cautiously. Found in Evening Primrose and Borage oil.

  • Mushroomshave wonderful medicinal value, particularly, Chaga,Cordyceps& Shiitake, for assisting with inflammatory issues. They can be eaten as a food, or available in supplement format from various retailers.

  • Aloe Vera is very soothing and has superb anti-inflammatory properties. It will promote healing in the gut, promoting improved immune defense and create a barrier against leaky gut.

  • Tissue salts, and trace mineral drops can benefit cellular functioning, where imbalances of micro elements, and nutrients, disrupt osmosis, diffusion, magnetic and electrical states of the cellular operations. And sometimes just a pinch of Himalayan pink salt, to our water, will also have enough effect, as long as your food consumption is plant based, as that is high in all the bio-available nutrients we require. Popular science says we require amino acids and vitamins, that are only sourced from animals, however, I'd like to challenge that ideaology, by asking 'would we require supplementing with those elements, if we were not depleting them with coffee, poor diet, stress, medications, alcohol etc'?

  • CBD and/or CBD can assist with stimulating the body's natural capacity to heal and restore.

Remember that we are all different, and that most of these supplemental helpers can be eaten as bio-available food sourced nutrients, drunk as teas or added to water in the form of tinctures, applied topically (magnesium sprays, MSM creams, tiger balm ointment etc), and in supplemental form, which i find to be effective due to the correct dosages and formulations.

Movement is important, to maintain flexibility and functionality of limbs and joints and to prevent knock-on muscle or skeletal trauma. Find something that yo enjoy doing and that supports your body e.g. swimming, or water aerobics. Some light strength training will improve bone density and encourage usage of major movement support structures.

Remember that our body's are a blessing, and pain is a reminder that we need more self care. Give thanks to all your body parts, for the many ways they serve you. Ask your body what it needs, be quiet and listen, then fulfill.

Taking time out for oneself is valuable and a soak in an Epsom salts-laden bath, listening to groovy tunes, or dancing with a loved one, or snuggling with your pet; do what is bliss for you...and always remember to breathe!

Article by and with permission of Nicci B


Brenda Hutchinson
Brenda Hutchinson

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