Category Archives for "Nutrition"

How Magnesium Helps Soothe Sore Muscles

Everyone has stiff, sore muscles now and then. From overdoing it at the gym to sleeping in an awkward position, there are many reasons you might feel some muscular aches and pains. Some medical conditions or illnesses can also cause soreness. Several studies have found a remarkable, effective, inexpensive cure that is natural and safe – magnesium. 

Pain – It’s all in your Head

Well, it’s in your brain, anyway. A chemical in the brain, NMDA, is responsible for pain. When this brain chemical is overly stimulated, the body experiences pain. The way the brain processes pain in an individual determines how that person will experience it and manage it.

There are very few medications that deal directly with NMDA, balancing it and decreasing its production. However, the side effects of these drugs are usually significant and undesirable. Magnesium has been found to calm production of NMDA without causing the side effects or toxicity. What’s more, magnesium is very inexpensive. It is far cheaper than pharmaceuticals at just pennies a dose. One drawback is that the FDA has not yet put its stamp of approval on the mineral that is often called the “gateway to health.”

Clinical Studies find Magnesium is an Effective way to Relieve Pain

A study published in The Journal of Physiology in October 2010, explores the effectiveness of magnesium in decreasing nerve pain. The study, conducted on rats, found a strong link between magnesium deficiency and pain. In fact, that authors of the study suggest that pain is increased, or the sensitivity to pain is increased, due to magnesium deficiency.

As people are moving away from fresh foods, processed foods are becoming more prevalent. While processed foods offer easy, quick preparation and gratification, the trade-off has been a significant decrease in nutrition, leaving most people magnesium deficient. However, adding a magnesium supplement that provides 250 to 500 mg of the mineral will not only eliminate the deficiency, but decrease the pain as well. This usually happens surprisingly quickly – after only a few weeks you will notice a definite difference.

Other Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium has a wide range of uses and benefits for the entire body. It has long been used to treat indigestion as well as constipation when taken by mouth. For heartburn and indigestion, magnesium hydroxide has been noted as the fastest acting. It is also given to pregnant women to treat high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia). When given as a shot or by IV, magnesium helps lower blood pressure during pregnancy. It is also the treatment of choice for eclampsia because it reduces the risk of seizures that accompany the condition.

Magnesium, given intravenously, is effective in treating torsades de pointes, a type of irregular heartbeat. Additionally, it is believed to help these other conditions:

  • Angina
  • Asthma
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Colon and Rectal Cancer
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • High Cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Various types of pain including nerve damage associated with certain cancers, pain after surgery, pain after hysterectomy, and chest pain.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, and reducing the stress in your life will also help with your pain management. When your body is properly nourished it functions at a more optimal level, meaning not just less pain, but better management of it. Exercise causes your brain to produce endorphins which not only minimize pain, but also boost your mood.

Stress can make you more sensitive to pain, causing you to feel it more and experience it on a more intense level. It decreases your ability to tolerate pain and manage it. Even learning relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help you better manage stress that you may not be able to eliminate completely. Adding magnesium to your diet can help improve your overall wellbeing as well as decrease your pain.

Foods That Fight Inflammation Caused by Arthritis

Arthritis pain can be debilitating. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between the years of 2010 and 2012, an estimated 22.7 percent, or 52.5 million, adults in the United States alone were diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, or fibromyalgia – annually. Also during that time, almost 50 percent of adults 65 or older were diagnosed with arthritis. It is estimated that by the year 2040, 78 million Americans ranging in age from 18 years old to 85-year-old will be diagnosed with arthritis. What’s more, nearly 1 in every 250 (around 294,000) children in the U.S. under 18 years old suffer from a form of arthritis or rheumatic condition. 

A Case for Healthy Eating

As medications and treatments get more expensive and drugs have significant unpleasant (and sometimes horrifying) side effects, more people are looking toward natural ways to treat their arthritis pain. In most cases they need look no further than the foods that they eat. While there is not nutritional magic bullet, studies have shown that getting the right nutrition from certain foods can help to minimize inflammation and pain that comes from arthritis. It can also help with your overall health and influence the symptoms as well as progression of conditions that may be related to arthritis.

There are certain foods that act as anti-inflammatories while other can increase inflammation. Arthritis sufferers who learn what foods to eat and which ones to avoid can enjoy better pain management, improved mobility, a more active lifestyle, and a more positive outlook on life. These foods provide great benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gout, and other forms of inflammation caused by arthritis.

Foods that Fight Arthritis Inflammation

Different types of foods seem to affect different types of arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation offers some very good guidelines on dietary recommendations for arthritis sufferers based on their type of arthritis.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These types of foods are the core of the Mediterranean style diet which consists of olive oil, fish, fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, and nuts. It should be stressed that choosing fresh foods in these categories is best. The key is to select foods that are as minimally processed as possible and contain no additives or preservatives. This means that most canned foods should be excluded. However, many supermarkets now have olive bars and other fresh, healthier food options that direct consumers away from processed, unhealthy food items. Fiber also plays a significant part in reducing arthritic inflammation.

Specific foods to incorporate into your diet to combat arthritis pain include:

  • Salmon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Egg yolks
  • Milk
  • Green tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Wild and brown rice
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Tart cherries
  • Berries – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage

Foods that Increase Arthritis Inflammation

Just as there are foods that help alleviate arthritis pain, there are also foods that increase it. The Arthritis Foundation offers advice on foods that should be avoided by arthritis sufferers as they have been shown to increase pain and inflammation.

  • Sugar – Read the labels! Anything ingredient that ends in “ose” is a form of sugar. This includes sucrose and fructose.
  • Saturated fat – Cheese, pizza, red meat, pasta dishes, full fat dairy
  • Trans fats – Processed snack foods, cookies, crackers, stick margarine, fast food, donuts, fried foods, frozen breakfast products
  • Omega 6 fatty acids – Corn oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, many salad dressings
  • Refined carbs – Crackers, rolls, bread, white potatoes, white rice
  • MSG – A food additive found in soy sauce and many Asian prepared foods, deli meats, prepared soups, salad dressings
  • Gluten and casein – Dairy and wheat foods, whey protein, rye, and wheat
  • Aspartame – Most diet sodas, artificial sweeteners, many “diet” or “sugar free” products
  • Alcohol

Paying attention to what you put into your body will not only help you better manage pain and inflammation, it will also help you feel better both physically and emotionally. A healthy, fresh diet can literally change your life.

How Chiropractic Benefits Kids Diagnosed With ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by impulsivity and hyperactivity over a period of more than six months. Symptoms are usually noted and the condition can be diagnosed in children younger than 7 years of age. 

It impacts children socially and academically. According to the CDC, around 10 percent of children in the United States, age 5 to 17 years, has been diagnosed with ADHD. It is usually treated with medications that can have very serious, even frightening side effects. Chiropractic care has been proven to be an effective treatment for ADHD in children.

The Truth about ADHD Medication

The increasing prevalence of ADHD has led to the development of several drugs that are intended to treat the symptom’s conditions. Ritalin has long been the standard for treating ADHD. This drug is a schedule II controlled substance and its effects are frighteningly similar to cocaine and amphetamines.

What’s more, it has been linked to certain cardiac related conditions in young children. Adderall, another ADHD drug is very popular on the street and students in high school and college illegally sell it and use it. Emergency room visits due to Ritalin intoxication has been steadily increasing and is at the same level as ER visits that involve cocaine. Both Ritalin and Adderall, as well as many other ADHD drugs, are highly addictive and commonly abused.

Chiropractic for ADHD

Chiropractic care does not necessarily “treat” ADHD, but it does have very positive effects on children who have been diagnosed with the condition. There have been several studies that support how chiropractic helps ADHD. It is a safe, natural treatment for the condition and helps treating the symptoms. It goes far beyond treating back pain and neck problems. The adjustments can help a great deal.

The chiropractor will find dysfunction in the spine and address it. Regular adjustments can help with more efficient and effective nerve flow. If the child has a spinal misalignment that could be the cause of the behavioral issues. Another popular theory is that an imbalance in the child’s muscle tone creates the brain activity to be out of balance. Adjusting the child’s spine restores balance to the brain and body.

Chiropractic also offers a whole body approach to wellness and that can help ADHD symptoms as well. The child may be exposed to a variety of sound and light frequencies as part of their therapy. The doctor may also recommend certain dietary changes and exercises. In many cases, eliminating certain foods from a child’s diet can cause many ADHD symptoms to subside or even disappear completely.

A chiropractor may have specific lifestyle changes:

  • Find out if the child as any allergies and address them
  • Eliminate additives, food dyes, preservatives, and sugar from the child’s diet
  • Avoid any stimulants like nicotine, alcohol, and certain medications while pregnant
  • Use unprocessed, natural foods and avoid all herbicides and pesticides
  • Avoid stress while pregnant; take time to relax

These changes can make a significant difference in the child’s behavior.

There is also an upper cervical technique that chiropractors use to realign the bones in the spine and skull. It is believed that when these bones are out of alignment it puts pressure on certain areas of the brain, resulting in the behavior issues. This treatment has a very good response rate in children who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Chiropractic care is a viable alternative to some of the more undesirable treatments for ADHD. It is easier on the child and healthier as well as safer. It will help them perform better in school and have better behavior at home. More parents are opting for chiropractic care instead of harmful drugs. It is a child’s best chance.

How Vitamin D Supports the Skeletal System

The human body needs vitamin D in order to build strong muscles and bones. When the body does not get enough vitamin D, it is not able to absorb calcium effectively. This makes it very important for good bone health. Children who do not get adequate vitamin D develop rickets, a condition that causes weak bones, deformities in the skeleton, and a stooped posture. 

What is Vitamin D?

Most people believe that vitamin D is a vitamin; it isn’t. It is actually a hormone. A vitamin is a nutrient that the human body requires but is unable to produce. This means that it can only be obtained through supplements and food.

However, the body is able to manufacture vitamin D. When the skin is exposed to the appropriate sunlight, the body begins a process that produces vitamin D. It should also be noted that vitamin D plays a part in a strong immune system and can prevent certain chronic diseases in older adults.

There are supplements for people who do not produce enough vitamin D or who do not get adequate amounts in the food that they eat (fish liver oils, certain fish, and egg yolks are good sources). Children and adults typically do not get enough from their foods and activities. People spend a great deal of time indoors with adults at work and children at school. The emergence of digital devices and video games has managed to keep children inside as they engage in these activities.

Vitamin D is not measured in milligrams like many other supplements, but in International Units (IU) instead. Research has caused the daily recommended allowance for vitamin D to increase over the years, and the current recommendation is 400 IU. It has been determined that this amount is the most beneficial in promoting healthy bones.

The Role of the Skeletal System

The skeletal system has several functions. The first and most obvious is that it is the structural support for the body. It also protects vital organs.

For instance, the skull protects the brain and the rib cage protects the lungs and heart. It is also an anchor point for muscle so it helps with mobility. The red bone marrow provides illness fighting white blood cells, as well as red blood cells. Calcium is stored in the marrow, as is phosphorous. Certain minerals and fats are stored in the yellow marrow which is found in the long bones of the body.

How Vitamin D Benefits the Skeletal System

Getting enough vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which is a bone building mineral. In addition to that task, it also promotes good muscle health.

Stronger muscles can work much more effectively in protecting the muscles and supporting the skeletal system. This can help with joint health as well. Older people who have adequate vitamin D do not fall down as often and people of all ages have fewer broken bones.

Results of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a serious condition mainly due to its essential role in the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Muscle weakness and bone pain are two common symptoms, but are typically seen in more severe cases.

A simple blood test can check for vitamin D levels – and it should be checked regularly. Even “minor” cases of low vitamin D (those without any symptoms) have been linked to some serious health conditions including:

  • Certain cancers
  • Asthma – often severe, especially in children
  • Cognitive impairment, especially in older adults
  • Increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease

Vitamin D is generally very accessible. You can get it through foods and sunlight or via a supplement. People who may have some trouble getting adequate amounts are those who have limited exposure to sunlight, fail to consume the necessary levels of the vitamin, and people who have dark skin. If you think that you may have low vitamin D, it is best to talk to your doctor so you can come up with a plan to get your body back in balance.

How Shoulder Pain Can Be Relieved by Chiropractic

How Shoulder Pain Can Be Relieved by Chiropractic

The shoulder goes through a lot in a day. It is comprised of an intricate network of ligaments and muscles, with the rotator cuff taking the brunt of much of the movement and exertion. 

Not only is the shoulder the most flexible joint in the human body, it is also one of the most unstable. Among athletes, the shoulder injuries are quite common; the shoulder sustains more injuries that almost all other parts of the body.

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