Your spine is the epicenter that controls every human movement. It’s a conduit of nerves that lead from the brain and stem to the entire body. Supplements can play a specific role in maintaining a healthy spine by building bone density, strengthening surrounding ligaments, improving joint mobility, and reducing chronic inflammation and pain.
Pain is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Often times, when you peel back one layer you're left with another. Back pain starts with a constant chronic throbbing or shooting nerve pain. Non-surgical and minimally invasive interventional therapies such as physical therapy, ablations, injections, anti-inflammatory and regenerative supplements are the first step in treatment. These treatments are effective to a certain degree, yet if there is an anatomical abnormality, spine surgery is inevitable. Back pain originates from an abnormality in the spine, such as a disc herniation, compression, or improper joint mobility.
Back surgery such as a multiple level spine fusion is meant to improve stability by connecting two or more vertebrae in your spine. Pain which results from an injury will greatly diminish your movement and mobility and a spinal fusion will help you regain that mobility. Pain however is an entirely different animal. You may be able to regain some of your mobility after surgery, however, diminishing and treating your pain entirely is not guaranteed. Therefore, you should always incorporate supplements for the joints and spine, throughout your journey, to help build a healthier foundation, in order to improve your overall quality of life.
Research has shown that Collagen Hydrolysate has an anabolic effect on the joints and ligaments, which in turn may improve spine health. It’s important to note that supplements for spine health are not only indicated for the spine, but for overall health and wellness.
Collagen is a structural protein, specifically a polypeptide containing a mixture of the amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine. As one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, Collagen consists of nearly one-third or 30% of total human protein. Collagen is engrained within the connective tissue of animals and humans, specifically found in the cartilage, tendons, muscles, and bones (think of Collagen, as the glue that holds everything together) [R].
In a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted at Penn State University 147 collegiate athletes, (72 males, 75 females) were randomly administered 10g of hydrolyzed collagen or a placebo. After 24 weeks, the results showed a significant improvement of joint pain, joint strength, and resilience in athletes who were treated with the collagen hydrolysate. [R].
Other investigative studies have shown that collagen has an effect on bone mineral density and bone formation. This can be extremely beneficial especially as we start aging, to help prevent injury from potential bone degradation and promote spine health. In a very recent randomized, controlled, double-blind 12–month study, published in the journal Nutrients, 131 women were given either 5g of collagen or a placebo. The results indicated an increase in bone density and a favorable shift in bone markers [R].
Studies indicate that Collagen is a promising supplement for spine health and treating lower back pain by improving joint health, reducing joint pain, increasing bone mineral formation, and bone density, thus helping improve mobility.
Krill Oil [Omega 3]
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, also known as EFAs. The body requires EFAs for optimal health but cannot make these essential fatty acids on its own. EFAs are ‘essential’ meaning, these types of fats must be consumed in the diet or by a dietary supplement, such as Krill Oil. The human body requires both groups of EFAs (omega-3 and omega-6) to survive, however the typical modern-day diet, is much higher in Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3, making supplementation critical to your overall health.
The anti-inflammatory effects of Astaxanthin alone can help reduce chronic inflammation of the tendons and joints, which may cause detrimental effects to your spine health. In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 90 patients were recruited with rheumatoid and or osteoarthritis to evaluate the effectiveness of krill oil on arthritic symptoms. The results were astounding. After seven days of treatment with a dose of 300mg of administered krill oil, patients reported reduced pain scores by 28.9%, reduced stiffness by 20.3%, and reduced functional impairment by 22.8% [R]
In a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 125 patients that were diagnosed with nonsurgical neck or back pain were administered 1200-2500mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per day. After 75 days, fifty-nine percent discontinued taking their prescription NSAID medications for pain. Sixty percent stated that their overall pain was improved, and 60% stated that their joint pain had improved. Eighty percent stated they were satisfied with their improvement, and 88% stated they would continue with Omega-3 supplementation. This study concluded that Omega-3 supplementation demonstrated an equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain, as does Ibuprofen [R].
Studies have proven that krill oil helps reduce joint pain and arthritic symptoms by directly reducing the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood; a protein made by the liver in response to inflammation. Therefore, if you’re experiencing joint pain, or exhibit mild arthritic symptoms, krill oil can potentially help reduce pain and joint discomfort [R].
Obtained from the sun and synthesized through the skin, vitamin d is an integral component of overall health and wellness. Vitamin D is unique in the fact, that it doesn’t function like a vitamin, but more like a hormone. Classified as a pro-hormone, Vitamin D is an essential component in bone and mineral metabolism. Often hard to obtain through dietary sources alone, supplementation is crucial for health and wellness. According to a national nutrition examination survey 41.6% of US adults exhibited vitamin d deficiency, with the highest rate seen in African Americans at 82.1% followed by those of Hispanic descent at 69.2% [R]. Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s crucial that you pair vitamin d with a fat, to enable optimal absorption and calcium uptake. Swolverine’s Vitamin D3 is 10,000 IUS suspended in olive oil for optimal absorption and potency.
Low back pain is a chronic condition, which debilitates millions of people and lowers overall quality of life. Several observational and controlled studies have found that vitamin d deficiency may be related to chronic musculoskeletal chronic low back pain [R, R, R]. In a very large observational study with over 9,000 study participants, it was found that low vitamin d levels was directly related to back pain, to its severity, and to difficulty in performing daily activities.
By simply adding Vitamin D3 to your everyday supplement regimen, you can take control of your spine health and try to treat it from the root cause.
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant also known as Curcuma Longa, which is derived from the ginger family. Turmeric grows primarily in India, and also in parts of Southeast Asia. Turmeric is commonly used as a spice primarily in curries. For years, Turmeric has been used amongst ancient Indian tradition for its purported healing purposes, by reducing inflammation and pain.
Turmeric contains over one hundred unique chemical properties that contribute to its countless therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests that Turmeric’s active ingredient Curcumin, which gives turmeric it’s beautiful yellow-orangish color is responsible for the myriad of health benefits associated with Turmeric. Curcumin is a polyphenol (micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants) and targets multiple signaling molecules at the cellular level. Curcumin has proven to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery, and optimizing performance.
One of the core benefits of Turmeric, primarily curcumin is found in its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and reducing pain. Research has shown that curcumin is a highly active molecule that modulates the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines
Evidence suggests that Turmeric also provides similar analgesic (pain reducing) and anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen. Considering that Turmeric is a naturally sourced herbal remedy and ibuprofen is an over the counter NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), turmeric is a safer and natural alternative to Ibuprofen for inflammation and post-workout joint pain.
In a randomized controlled study on knee osteoarthritis published in the Journal Of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 367 collective patients with a pain score of five or higher were administered 1,500mg of turmeric or 1,200mg of Ibuprofen per day for four weeks.
Outcomes measured were joint pain, joint stiffness, and mobility scores. The results indicated that curcumin extracts were non-inferior to ibuprofen. Both groups showed significant improvement in pain, inflammation, and mobility scores when compared to baseline.
The results indicated that 1,500 mg of turmeric supplement consumption daily was shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties comparable to 1,200 mg of ibuprofen with patients with knee osteoarthritis [R, R]
Several studies have been initiated to define Turmeric’s unique role and mechanism of action on arthritic pain, specifically joint inflammation and mobility by reducing joint swelling. In vivo animal studies, have shown that curcuminoids contribute to anti-arthritic effects, helping to reduce joint swelling and inflammation, up to 48% [R ,R]
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Whether you’ve been through multiple back surgeries, or you’re just starting to experience mild spine and low back pain, supplementing with key vitamins and nutrients may help reduce inflammation, joint pain, rebuild bone density and improve your overall quality of life. Before supplementing be sure to consult your physician or healthcare provider in order to determine what supplements you need to maintain a healthy spine and treat low back pain.
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