I thought I'd share this post with you after devising a diet for my dear little sister, who managed to sustain a badly broken wrist in a horse related incident. See her story here.
|Freshly plastered, swollen arm|
She called me desperately wanting to know what would help her recover from a serious break which the Doctor described as looking like 'cornflakes and rice crispies'.....
So to rebuild bone, it is helpful to first understand which nutrients are needed to build strong, healthy bones.
Vitamin D. We all know the best form of vitamin D comes from the sun. Unfortunately, due to scaremongering in the media, we have been led to believe the sun is dangerous and consequently slather on sun lotion on the rare occasion that the sun decides to make an appearance in good old Blighty. What many people do not realise, is that using sunscreen blocks the ability of the body to make vitamin D, which coincidentally is now proving to be one of the biggest nutritional deficiencies in northern Europe. So my advice? Sit in the sun for at least 20 mins whenever possible but be careful not to burn; that is bad for your health. It is also helpful to up food sources of vitamin D such as oily fish (mackerel, sardines) and egg yolks.
Vitamin K2. This largely ignored vitamin appears to actually hold the key to laying down healthy calcium deposits, such as in the bones and teeth, rather than in soft tissues. Read Dr Mercola's great article on vitamins D and K here. Cheese, eggs, butter (grass fed), meat and poultry (especially chicken breast and ground beef) and natto are rich sources of this vitamin.
Calcium. No, cow's milk is NOT the best source of calcium. In fact, according to Vivian Goldschmidt MA, consuming pasteurised cow's milk actually results in a net loss of calcium. How does that work? The acidic nature of milk causes calcium to be leached from your bones, as it tries to restore a more alkaline environment. Instead, opt for full fat yoghurt which is much easier to digest, or sheep's/ goat's cheese. Dark green leafy greens such as spinach and kale, sesame seeds, almonds, sardines and beans are a great source of easily absorbed calcium. Think twice about supplementing; studies show calcium supplementation can increase myocardial infarctions by 30%....
Magnesium. This essential mineral is needed to convert vitamin D into the active form in the body so that it can turn on calcium absorption. It also stimulates production of the hormone calcitonin, which helps circulating calcium in the blood or in soft tissues to be taken to the bones. And the best sources of magnesium? Almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocados, bananas, figs and dark chocolate.
Boron. This little known mineral supports the function of other bone friendly minerals such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Founds in almonds, apples (organic, red apples appear to contain higher amounts), dried apricots, avocados and hazelnuts.
Phosphorous. One of the most abundant minerals in the body, this plays an important role in bone health. Fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and legumes and meat, including poultry, are all good sources.
Vitamin C. Important for building the bone matrix due to its role in stimulating osteoblasts (bone building cells). So increase vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwi fruits, strawberries.
Silicon. A highly underrated mineral which encourages absorption of calcium and increases bone strength. Richest in cucumber (with the peel!), lettuce, celery, apricots, strawberries, carrots, oats, millet and brown rice.
The thing to remember, is that even though your cast may come off after 6 weeks, it takes months for the actual bone re modelling to finish, so you need to think about extra dietary support for a good 6 months. So, in summary, you will need to:
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen as bone healing is an inflammatory process.
- Avoid calcium inhibitors such as coffee, soft drinks, refined sugar, alcohol and cigarettes
- Increase protein to help collagen formation. Try making broths and stews from bones
- St John's wort can be helpful to prevent nerve damage- 20 ml/ week (1:2 tincture. This should be used under guidance from your healthcare practitioner as it is contraindicated with certain drugs).
- Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), dandelion leaf (taraxicum officinalis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) tea will provide excellent bone building nutrients. Drink 3-4 cups daily
- Increase dark leafy green veg, fresh fruits, almonds, avocados, celery, cucumbers and pumpkin seeds.
- Avoid as much as possible, refined white flour, sugar and processed foods.
- Cut back on phytate rich whole grains which inhibit mineral absorption (unless properly prepared by soaking)
- Try Symphytum officinale homeopathic remedy to speed up bone repair and Arnica for any bruising.
- Keep well hydrated. Aim for 2 litres of water per day
- Himalayan crystal salt contains all 84 elements found in your body, providing you with much needed nutrients. Sprinkle over food or add a small pinch to your water.
- Add generous amounts of good quality olive oil to your diet. The polyphenols have been shown to increase osteoblast production, speeding up bone recovery.
Paul Pitchford, in his fantastic book 'Healing with Whole Foods' suggests the following mineral rich tea formula for "improving teeth, bones, arteries and all connective tissue and for strengthening calcium metabolism in the body:
1 part Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
1 part Oatstraw (Avena sativa)
1 part Kombu seaweed or Kelp powder
1/3 part Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)
Simmer each 1 ounce of formula in 1 pint water for 25 minutes and drink 1/2 cup two or three times a day. At the end of every three weeks, stop using the formula for one week." Note that Lobelia can only be prescribed by a Medical Herbalist, otherwise, it can be omitted from the formula, still with very favourable results.
So, providing my sister is compliant, she should hopefully increase her chances of rebuilding her bone quicker and stronger than following her usual diet....
Any more ideas? Who's had some bone-building success through dietary measures?