EFFECTIVE NUTRITIONAL HEALING FOR SOFT TISSUES
If you have read through any of the information on this website, you’ve come to realize that although the connective tissue problems that I deal with each and every day in my clinic are not typically caused by inflammation, they definitely attract inflammation to them. This is important to know, because frankly, most people (doctors included) do not understand really tissue injury, nor do they understand the corresponding inflammatory process that follow it.
In a nutshell, Inflammation is collective name given to the group of Immune System mediators that are normally found in the body’s cells. When cells are injured and die, they rupture their contents (including these inflammatory chemicals) into the extra-cellular fluid — the fluid that is outside of the cells. Thus, when tissue injury occurs, there are a lot of cells dying and rupturing their contents. The greater the tissue injury, the more inflammatory chemicals get dumped into a given area, which attracts mediators from other areas to the area of injury as well. Although these chemicals are absolutely vital for healing; too many of them can wreak havoc, actually causing excess scarring and adhesion (FIBROSIS), not to mention pain (HERE). And this is just the beginning.
WHAT’S AT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM?
WHAT DO I DO THEN?
If you are already following some of THESE STEPS, the single most important supplement to take for Chronic Pain of any type; and particularly those that involve Deep Somatic Pain caused by injury to the Elastic, Collagen-Based Connective Tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia), as well as bone, is probably Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil (PGFO). Current research shows that Joe-Average American is getting about 1/30th of the Omega Three fatty acids that are required by the body for optimum health. Hold on. I doubt that you picked up on that the first time, so I will repeat it. Current research shows that the average American is getting about 1/30th of the Omega Three fatty acids needed to maintain health.
Omega Three fatty acids are incredibly anti-inflammatory. They help people not simply with whole-body inflammation (see our SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION web page), but they attack local inflammation as well. Our number one selling supplement for the last decade and a half has been Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil. I would love to tell you that the majority of our patients take it because they have read the research and realize that controlling inflammation is good for everything from HEART DISEASE, to BOWEL PROBLEMS, to TYPE II DIABETES, to DEPRESSION, to SKIN PROBLEMS, to MENTAL ACUITY, to CANCER, etc, etc, etc. The truth is, PGFO is good for most everything that is caused by Inflammation (HERE and HERE are lists of inflammatory health issues). Far and away, the reason that most people take our PGFO is because it helps them with the pain and dysfunction of ARTHRITIS (joint – inflammation).
OK DOC, I HAVE DEALT WITH INFLAMMATION. WHAT’S NEXT?
The next step is to get some specific nutrition into the injured area so that the tissue actually has the raw materials available to repair and regenerate the injury to your elastic, collagen-based connective tissues. Standard Process makes a wonderful product called LIGAPLEX. Whole Food Vitamin C (not the FAKE 500 or 1,000 mg per tablet stuff) is critical for healing any kind of connective tissue. Ligaplex has this and other Whole Food vitamins, minerals, and nutritional complexes in it.
Because most of these tissues that we are discussing, attach or ‘anchor’ to bones, a good calcium supplement is in order as well. For you ladies that are being sold bone density exams (DEXA), just remember that in most cases, these are just like OTHER REGULAR EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS — a way to convince you that you need more drugs and procedures. The first thing you need to realize is that most calcium supplements are terrible, not doing what they claim to do, while actually causing osteoporosis (HERE). American women get as much or more calcium than the women of any other country in the world, yet we have the highest rate of osteoporosis of any Westernized nation. Do you detect a snow job taking place?
Standard Process makes a product called CALCIFOOD (wafers or powder). It is the only product like it on the planet — a cold-processed, whole-bone, bone meal supplement. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH CALCIUM ALONE! (especially if it comes from rocks or shells —- HERE —- and even if it has VITAMIN D in it). I realize that this web page is specifically for dealing with nutritional supplements for the elastic connective tissues, but ladies, check out the information on our blog. Bone is a load-bearing Connective Tissue that is important in our discussion because it provides the attachment or anchor points for the other connective tissues — particularly tendons.
As strange as it sounds, digestive enzymes can play a huge part in cleaning up scar tissue. The part of the enzyme complex that breaks down proteins is called a PROTEOLYTIC ENZYME. Although these Proteolytic Enzymes actually attack scar tissue on some level (I know a guy that took so much that it broke free the mesh from a hernia surgery), I think their mechanism of action aiding digestion, which helps to heal LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, which is always a large driver of Systemic Inflammation.
Another great line of products consist of Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin, and MSM. Although Glucosamine is critical for people with cartilage problems (a load-bearing connective tissue), it can sometimes be beneficial for the elastic connective tissues that have to deal with tensile (pulling) forces. As far as anti-inflammatory herbs are concerned, there are many of them out there, but the best group is the YELLOW SPICES.
Still another supplement that is excellent for cartilage, as well as the Elastic, Collagen-Based Connective Tissue (ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia, is Powdered Collagen. There are many forms of this stuff on the market that all claim to be better than the next. Many patients claim that Knox Gelatin (pure hydrolyzed collagen) gives equivalent results. Get your Vitamin D from sunlight when at all possible. Again, there is no substitute for a HEALTHY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET.