A well-balanced and healthy diet obtains vitamins and minerals from natural sources of fruits, and vegetables. You should always use food first and nutraceuticals second. However, in times of physiologic stress, such as injury, it can be hard to meet the body’s increased needs through diet alone. It is also important to stress that nutritional supplements do not work immediately and must be taken consistently, even if effects are not immediately and directly noticed. The underlying repair mechanisms of the body only work when they have the correct substrates and cofactors. Following are some notes on nutrients for bone and wound healing. Always remember that dietary sufficiency is the best protocol.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM: Glucosamine is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage. Glucosamine HCl is a cheap form and poorly utilized. Glucosamine sulfate is utilized more appropriately for repair. Chondroitin sulfate promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage and inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage. MSM is also important for joint lubrication. You need to consume a minimum of 1500 mg of Chondroitin and Glucosamine, as well as 750mg of MSM per day after injury. A minimum dosage period would be for two months….after that stabilize your diet with sulphur containing foods.
Bone-Healing: rates may be enhanced by following some of the recommendations for preventing and reversing age-associated bone loss, such as supplementing with the nutrients calcium, magnesium, boron, and vitamin K. It should also be noted that you must have sufficient vitamin D (D3) to facilitate the absorption of calcium and magnesium. The preferred forms of calcium and magnesium are the citrate forms. Do not use calcium carbonate. It is possible to obtain enough vitamin D from 20-30 minutes of sun exposure daily in the summer months, but few ever get this….our population has been proven to be chronically vitamin D3 deficient. Proper D3 supplementation is 5,000IU per day for adults and takes months to create sufficiency. Additionally, you must eliminate the intake of carbonated beverages and sodas. These products contain phosphoric acid and will inhibit the repair mechanism of the bone and leach calcium from the bone structure.
Copper: supplementation is important in fracture healing and in the early formation of collagen in a wound. Eight milligrams of copper daily provides adequate supplementation and should be taken for six weeks for a fracture of a non-weight-bearing bone such as ribs or the upper extremities. It should be taken for 2-3 months for a major weight-bearing bone such as the femur or pelvis. Because copper is also a pro-oxidant, supplementation should be stopped after this period of time. In addition you will need to have an increased intake of antioxidants such as vitamins a, c, e, selenium, bioflavanoids, quercetin, pycnogenol, co-enzyme q-10, and ginko biloba to combat the excess oxidant actions of copper….so increase all your fruits and veggies.
Zinc: has been recommended at a dose of 90 mg daily (as recommended for early healing of wounds). Zinc’s enhancement of fracture healing may be related to its effects on increasing IGF-1 and TGF-beta.
Vitamin-C: and additional anti-oxidants have also been shown to speed the healing process. Whole food complexes of vitamin C are preferred over synthetic forms. Vitamin C is a major constituent concerning collagen repair….Get it from your diet, not a pill.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: are genetically required for proper physiology. They act as anti-inflammatory agents, making them beneficial for patients with any inflammatory condition. There are three major types of omega 3 fatty acids that are ingested in foods and used by the body: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)-18 carbons, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-20 carbons, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-22 carbons. Once eaten, the body converts ALA to EPA and DHA, the last two types of omega-3 fatty acids more readily used by the body. Unfortunately, the conversion is many times incomplete or slow in humans, therefore, EPA and DHA supplements are most effective, however current research is affirming that DPA, the intermediate between EPA and DHA is also very important.
Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and more. Typical dosage after injury is 4000 to 6000 mg daily for 3 months. Then reduce to a maintenance dose of 3000 to 4000 mg daily. In addition the supplement should be in the natural form, NOT CONCENTRATED, molecularly distilled, pharmaceutical grade, and free of toxins. I only utilize Innate Choice Omega Sufficiency for my family and patients.
Flaxseed-Oil: One or two tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily is considered optimal for a healthy individual. Capsule doses are 3,000 mg per day for disease prevention and 6,000 mg per day for treatment to reduce inflammation. However, flaxseed is NOT utilized well by the body and is poorly converted to EPA, DPA, or DHA, but may still have importance in eicosanoid management (chemicals in the body that promote or reduce pain transmission).
Alpha Linolenic-Acid: A diet that gets 1-2 percent of its calories from Alpha-linolenic acid has been shown to give maximum tissue levels of DHA, avoiding any apparent deficiency symptoms. ALA does have to be converted in the body through an enzymatic process using delta-5-desturase, before it can enter the cell membrane.
Precautions???: The ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to other essential fatty acids is important. Some publications say caution is warranted, even though research has failed to confirm any negative effects. For instance, some sources suggest limiting omega-3 oils if you bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood-thinning medication. It has been stated that excessive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may increase the amount of time that it takes for the blood to clot following a cut or other injury, however when researched this effect was still found to be within the normal time limits.
Possible-Interactions: Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the blood-thinning effects of buffered aspirin. While this combination may be common in the treatment of some diseases, it has been confirmed that the buffering of the aspirin is why this works, not the aspirin. Discussion should take place on omega-3 fatty acids under the guidance and supervision of your healthcare provider if you are on aspirin therapy. Ask logical questions, expect logical answers and then ask for scientific validity. That being said, it is not advisable to take aspirin or NSAIDS like ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain for 72 hours after injury, due to research showing that it interferes with the normal inflammatory process, and will hinder optimal healing of bone and cartilaginous structures. Healing times are actually increased when aspirin and NSAIDS are consumed.
Lastly, when it comes to the nutritional needs of the body, we are all genetically programed for the same requirements. If you create and maintain a proper diet, even in times of injury, no additional requirements are needed, only sufficiency. A diet rich with 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetable on a daily basis, wild/organic lean proteins, and good fats will already provide the proper constituents for healing. The only true nutrients that we cannot get in proper amounts on a clean diet is enough omega III fatty acids, vitamin D3, and probiotics. Therefore, these are the true needs for supplementation.