Nutrition for Healing
In many instances diet alone will not cure joint pain, nor will significant weight loss alone repair a damaged joint or back. This was clearly suggested in recent research.1 However, diet, weight loss and exercise will be of significant benefit to patients under treatment with Prolotherapy , Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, or Stem Cell Therapy.
Eliminating excessive sugars and sugar substitutes
In discussing nutritional factors with patients who received Prolotherapy treatments, we find many patients consume soda or sugary-beverages in abundance.
- Regular consumption of so much sugar decreases the body’s ability to heal.
Our bodies also see sugar substitutes as toxic invaders and employs the immune system on a search and destroy mission.
A person who cannot control sugar or sugar substitute addiction is not going to achieve maximum healing. In fact, the person could be setting up the body to be in more pain, or become more susceptible to injury. We see many patients whose body pain returns when ingesting sugar substitutes, so our advice is to avoid them as much as possible.
You may ask, “what about the more “natural” sugar alternatives such as Agave, Stevia, and Erythritol? These sweeteners are obviously better options than the traditional chemical “pink” “blue” or “yellow” packets – which should be avoided completely.
Protein is needed to help repair the body
Hi protein diets are not for everyone. This needs to be discussed with your doctor or nutritionist.
Some diet typing factors that may indicate a high protein diet is a good diet for you:
1. Fast oxidative rate (you burn food at a rapid rate, leading to blood sugar crashes and fatigue)
2. High fasting insulin levels
3. High hemoglobin A1C levels
4. Acidic (low) blood pH
Some symptoms that may indicate a high protein diet is a good diet for you:
1. Always feel cold, compared to the average person.
2. Weight problems.
3. Crave carbs
4. Sweets lover
5. Tired after meals.
Good sources of protein
We recommend that you purchase foods in the form closest to its original form
- Organic grass fed beef
- Fresh or frozen fish such as salmon, cod, haddock, grouper, and many other choices. We recommend you try to eat fish at least twice per week.
- Poultry such as organic chicken, turkey, or hen. Avoid processed chicken look for antibiotic and hormone free poultry
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters such as sunflowers, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios, flax seeds, soy nuts, almonds, walnuts. Again, best to purchase fresh, organic – check your labels to watch out for added chemicals such as MSG.
- Pork: choose lean fresh cuts such as pork tenderloin, cutlet, or chops. Processed meats such as bacon/sausage are okay once in a while or in small amounts, but again, purchase those without nitrites and chemicals added.
Vegetarian sources of protein:
1. Legumes (but these also contain significant amounts of carbohydrates) – such as pinto, lima, black, garbanzo, white, etc.
2. Nuts, seeds, and nut butters
3. Soy such as tofu, miso – again purchase organic to get the right kind of estrogen that is healthy for the body.
Don’t underestimate the power that diet can have on your overall health. Protein is essential for the body to heal – whether after a procedure such as Prolotherapy or after a hard workout – the body needs it.
Food Allergy and Joint Inflammation
A food allergy/sensitivity panel checks for any “delayed” allergic reactions your body may have against certain foods. When we eat allergenic foods, our immune cells produce antibodies, which are like little torpedoes. The antibodies try to destroy the invading substance. If the offending food is eaten often throughout the day, you can understand how the body will act as if it is under a continued “attack,” hence, keeping the body in a state of chronic systemic inflammation. A war is literally waging inside your body against the very food you ate to nourish yourself. Commonly, food allergies or sensitivities to dairy, wheat, and eggs are the culprit.
Water is the most necessary nutrient in the body. The human body is composed of 25 percent solid matter and 75 percent water. Many of the supporting structures of the body contain a significant amount of water. Inadequate intake of water may lead to inadequate fluid support to these areas, resulting in weakened structures that may produce chronic pain.
Joint Pain, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes
Commonly patients with elevated HbA1c levels are in a pre-diabetic condition, and will need to drastically change what they perceive as “healthy” eating habits. They are often following one of two types of diets. (1) The “SAD” diet or the standard American diet which is high in carbs, fat, and processed food, low in vegetables, protein, and good fats OR (2) the so-called “healthy” American diet that consists of a low-fat, low-sodium, high carb diet. Both of these diets are not the right Diet Type for a person with high HbA1c levels.
The culprit of elevated HbA1c levels is a typically high intake of carbohydrates in various forms such as those mentioned above, as well as high fruit and/or fruit juice consumption. Interestingly enough, many of these individuals would rate their diets as healthy AND high in protein prior to their lab testing. However, things are not always as they seem. We recommend that our patients write down what they eat in a food diary. It is amazing what is revealed through these if the patients are completely honest! People also have misconceptions about what constitutes protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well.
What are the health risks of elevated HbA1c levels?
Poor blood glucose control and an elevated HbA1c increase the risk for poor healing, as well as development of adult onset diabetes and its associated health risks, which can lead to heart disease. Every day we treat patients with joint pain, arthritis, and sports injuries whose goal is to heal and return to their normal lives. High glucose levels compromise that goal and put them at risk for further diseases in the future.
1. Hunter DJ, Beavers DP, Eckstein F, et al. The Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) trial: 18-month radiographic and MRI outcomes. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Apr 15. pii: S1063-4584(15)00885-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.03.034.