Nutraceuticals to reduce chronic pain

First of all, please refer to “My body is my home” (on the site menu). Without a strong foundation in largely plant based whole foods, any “house” built with vitamins or supplements is not going to be sound! Always preferable to get nutrients from food on a regular basis, and add high quality supplements in therapeutic cases.

Curcumin/Tumeric– with food, or in food- root or powder form. Tremendous anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutraceutical, with far reaching effects throughout the body, including the brain. Not easily absorbed but adding black pepper helps. May need to get high doses in good quality supplement form.

Magnesium. Deficient in so many diets, essential for so many functions. For constipation, instead of stool softeners (read the chemical ingredients label!) use Magnesium oxide tabs or capsules. For muscle cramps and spasm (as well as menstrual issues, bone health or insomnia) use Magnesium malate, other amino acid chelate like glycinate, or citrate. Average daily dose about 400 mg; unfortunately the tabs/caps tend to be large. I am just now exploring topical Magnesium chloride “oil” for increased absorption through the skin.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. Our diets tend to be predominant in omega 6 rich vegetable oils, upsetting the ideal balance in our bodies. Nutrient rich sources are oily cold water fish and seeds- flax, hemp, chia, etc. Essential for anti-inflammation, hormone balance, brain, eye, and nerve tissue health. Go for total of 1000 mg of EPA and DHA combined in high quality supplement form if you have conditions that would benefit from therapeutic above maintenance doses.

Vitamin D. So many important functions, with widespread deficiency due to pervasive sunblock use and lack of time outdoors. Request “25-OH Vitamin D” levels with routine blood tests – it is not part of most test panels. Deficiency associated with osteoporosis, immune dysregulation with increased risk of many cancers, increased risk of autoimmune diseases including MS and Type 1 diabetes; depression, muscle weakness and global myofascial pain, often mistaken for fibromyalgia! No significant food sources for the levels required for optimal health, so most everyone needs to supplement especially in the winter- best in oil or oil capsules, 2000-4000 a day for maintenance is totally safe; very low blood levels may require much higher doses.

Digestive support. Without a healthy gut and proper absorption of nutrients, our health is significantly compromised and system wide inflammation can result, no matter what other measures we take . If symptoms from anywhere in the digestive tract suggest anything less than optimal GI function, digestive enzymes and probiotics should be used. Sometimes HCL (gastric acid) supplements or digestive bitters (herbs promoting gastric acid secretion naturally) can be the final missing link if other measures fail to bring digestive health. Also, refer to my March 2014 blog on the dangers of GMOs in your food.