CHRONIC PAIN AND YOUR DIET
Chronic inflammation is now accepted as the root or driver of most, if not all chronic disease. Stress, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like secondhand tobacco smoke) can all contribute to such chronic inflammation, but dietary choices and lack of exercise seem to be the most important determining factors.
Most people eat a diet that is "pro-inflammatory." Breads, baked goods, sugar, candy, boxed cereals, cornstarch, fast foods, fried foods, grains, grain flour, margarine, meat from grain fed cows, meat from grain fed chicken, rice, ice cream, frozen yogurt, jams/jjellies, pizza, corn products, peanut butter, and soda all cause inflammation in our bodies. These foods slow the healing process in our bodies and cause unnecessary pain. Evidence suggests we need to eat more fruit, vegetables, and omega-3 animal products (i.e., eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and wild game). We also can add raw nuts, and if you want a starch, potatoes are the best choice.
In addition to these foods, there are supplements we can take to mediate this inflammation.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fish Oil
Humans are supposed to consume a balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, we consume a diet of as much as 20:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Anything above 4:1 is thought to be pro-inflammatory. This excess causes the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. You need to know that correcting these imbalances is not something a doctor can do for you. Only you can reduce your consumption of Omega 6 and increase Omega 3s, and this requires a disciplined approach to diet and supplementation. Grains, grain flours, peanuts, and seeds have ratios of 20:1 or greater. Soy has a ratio of 7:1. Potato chips are oiled with corn, sunflower, cottonseed, or safflower oil, and these oils have ratios that range from 70:1 to over 100:1. A good fish oil supplement can help you get this ratio back on track. After trying dozens of fish oil supplements over the years, I have found one I take, my wife takes and my son takes: Liquid OM-3. This has 2250 mg of DHA and EPA per teaspoon.
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This Liquid OM-3 has only DHA and EPA. Almost all fish oil supplements have filler oil. Carefully examine the label and add the amount of DHA and EPA. This is the total number that is significant, not the total on the front of the label. You should be taking 2000 - 4000 mg of DHA + EPA per day.
I have written many times about vitamin D and if you are not taking it, you should be. The best source is the sun, but if you have slathered on sun screen, then you will not absorb the vitamin D. The vitamin D you get in milk is vitamin D2, a very poorly absorbed form of vitamin D. A vitamin D supplement should be vitamin D3. You should be taking 2000 IU to 5000 IU per day. I recommend and take (as does my family) this product:
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According to a paper published in The American College of Sports Medicine, vitamin D may give American athletes an advantage in the 2012 Olympics. The paper, "Athletic Performance and Vitamin D," says vitamin D "which improves reaction time, muscle strength, speed and endurance" may give Americans the same edge that Russian and German athletes received in the 1950s and 1980s, when they used sunlamps to stimulate vitamin D production to increase performance and reduce injuries.
The paper also mentions the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Many athletes trained in Mexico to acclimate to the high altitude and weather and it just so happens that many world records were set and Americans won more medals, especially in outdoor sports, during those games.
You will be reading about this supplement more and more. Magnesium plays a role in the production and transport of energy. It is also important for the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Magnesium is involved in the synthesis of protein, and it assists in the functioning of certain enzymes in the body.
Many people do not even get the RDA of 350 mg of magnesium daily and are deficient. Symptoms include: cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw (TMJ) dysfunction, constipation; urinary spasms, menstrual cramps, difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat-especially provoked by eating sugar, difficulty adjusting to oncoming bright headlights in the absence of eye disease, loud noise sensitivity, insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness, panic attacks, agoraphobia, premenstrual irritability, numbness, tingling, palpitations, heart arrhythmias, angina, high blood pressure and mitral valve prolapse.
A therapeutic dosage could easily run between 400 mg and 1000 mg daily. In people with normal kidneys, it is difficult to reach toxic levels of magnesium. However, too much oral magnesium will result in diarrhea.
Try taking an Epsom Salts bath at least once per week. Epsom salts are magnesium salt and muscles love magnesium. Good dietary sources of magnesium include whole grains, leafy green vegetables (spinach is a great source) as well as almonds, cashews and other nuts, avocados, beans, soybeans and halibut. Be aware that a diet high in fat may cause less magnesium to be absorbed, and cooking may decrease the magnesium content of food.
The best oral magnesium is magnesium taurate (we have this in the office) and a Magneium oil I use called Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil:
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Eat right and use the correct supplements and you will notice a BIG difference in the way you feel.