Certain foods and nutrients can modulate the complex cellular metabolism that sustains chronic inflammation. They will not relieve pain quickly in the way that conventional medications do but generally have to be used over a period of weeks and months before they take effect. But they will affect the underlying physiological mechanisms of inflammation and degeneration, which the NSAIDs do not.
Red meat can aggravate or cause chronic back pain. Uric acid contained in red meat can cause joint inflammation. Furthermore, the body uses the arachidonic acid in animal fat to manufacture series-2 Prostaglandins, hormone-like substances which worsen inflammation. Vegetables such as potatoes, soy beans and other legumes, and cold-water fish should replace animal meat as the main source of protein.
Nuts and seeds are another excellent source of protein, and provide other significant health benefits. Nut and seed oils, as well as fish oil, contain essential fatty acids which the body converts to series-1 or series-3 Prostaglandins. These Prostaglandins derived from vegetable sources act as anti-inflammatory agents. Almonds, walnuts and peanuts are particularly beneficial, due to their high magnesium content. Magnesium is not only a constituent of bone and cartilage, but also maintains muscle tone. Chronic back pain is often a symptom of poor abdominal muscle tone.
The diet should include a wide variety of raw vegetables and fruits, and wholegrain cereals to provide the nutrients needed for the maintenance of bones, nerves and muscles, all of which contribute to a strong and supple back. Eat oatmeal, porridge or a Swiss muesli made with soaked oats every morning. These foods are excellent sources of silica, which is particularly important for building strong bones, and B vitamins, which support muscle and nerve health.
Calcium and magnesium are vital for the muscles and bones, and help alleviate muscle spasms if they exist. Silica is also highly recommended to improve bone structure. Bioflavonoids and vitamins C and E are essential for maintaining connective tissue, and are useful for alleviating disk injuries. Vitamin C also helps if calcium absorption is poor due to inadequate stomach acid. Evening primrose oil is an excellent, mild anti-inflammatory and is useful whether the source of the pain is sciatica or muscle spasms.
Recommended Daily Dosages
Calcium - 1,000 mg
Note: Consult your physician if you are suffering from any kidney problems before taking these supplements.
Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400-800 IU
The antioxidants and the antioxidant precursors and cofactors: Whenever there is an inflammatory reaction in the body, toxic substances called free radicals are released. These free radicals can cause further damage to tissue, which again increases the inflammation in a kind of vicious circle. Enhancing the antioxidant reaction in the body can help relieve symptoms caused by inflammation.
Recommended dosage: up to 2000-3000 milligrams per day.
Recommended dosage: up to 800 International Units per day.
Zinc, copper, and
Zinc and manganese also function directly as antioxidants. Excess zinc can create copper deficiency and depress immune function, so it's important not to consume more than 90 milligrams per day.
Recommended dosage: 25,000 International Units daily.
Recommended dosage: 10,000 International Units daily.
Essential fatty acids, including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), and linolenic acid:
These have been shown to help in treating arthritis, and particularly rheumatoid arthritis. These oils work together through different pathways to reduce inflammatory Prostaglandins. Linolenic acid is found in flaxseed oil and in cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, sardines, and cod liver. GLA is found in vegetable sources, including primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil.
Borage oil is a good source of GLA, or gamma-linolenic acid. It has been shown to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as other types of musculoskeletal pain.
Recommended dosage: two to three 1000- or 1700- milligram capsules three times daily.
Flaxseed oil in the same amounts provides a vegetarian alternative.
Other nutrients are able to relieve pain and slow degenerative processes through different means.
Recommended dosage: 50-200 milligrams daily.
Warning: Higher doses of vitamin B6 may cause toxic neurological side effects, especially when it is taken alone without complementary B vitamins and magnesium.
Recommended dosage: 500-1500 milligrams, two or three times daily.
Recommended Dosage: 500 - 1000 milligrams two or three times daily.
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