Welcome to part three of my series of blog posts on natural pain relief. If you didn’t read the first two you can catch up and read them here and here. they are full of lots of useful information on essential oils and crystals that you can use and incorporate into your daily pain management.
I have mentioned already that pain management is a part of my daily life and routine, there are quite a few different things I take and do to get the best quality of life possible. I hope by sharing some of these with you here it can help you too! So lets get started. Today we are talking all about natural supplements…
What are supplements
For the purpose of this post Supplements are tablets or powders that you can take to enhance and/or improve your diet and your body from the inside out. A powdered or ground down form of a supplement means that you are able to take a more concentrated dose. Be that adaptogen, fruit, vegetable or plant etc. You can ingest more in powdered or dried form than if you were just to eat the whole plant. Therefore you get a higher concentrated dose that contains additional benefits to you and your health & well being.
You can also sometimes find supplements that come in liquid or drink form, such as aloe vera or probiotics.
Using natural supplements
Although the supplements covered here are all natural and come from plant based sources, always ensure to read the labels and follow dosage instructions. Although natural that can still do your body harm if not taken in the correct quantities and treated with respect and care.
I am not a doctor or medical professional. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before taking any natural supplements, especially if you are already taking other prescribed medication or have other medical conditions. Always ask first f you are unsure in any way!
When you are including a supplement into your diet, in capsule or powdered form, your body will absorb and get the most nutritional benefits from digesting them in the most natural way possible. Adding powders into your cooking, baking, smoothies and meals is the best way to do this. If you cannot add them to your food than you are best taking any supplements with or directly after food so that are absorbed more easily, rather than being taken on an empty stomach.
Before you start taking any supplements I would recommend that you look at your diet first!! Supplements should not ever be a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. If you suffer with ongoing pain and inflammation the best thing you can do for your body is follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Food is medicine too!
An anti-inflammatory diet includes eliminating foods such as sugar and sugary treats, alcohol, processed foods, simple carbs and most grains (including rice, corn and wheat), dairy, and red meats. Instead increase your intake of nutrient dense plant-based foods and focus on improving how you are feeling. You may find that your energy levels improve as a result too!
There are plenty of articles on anti-inflammatory diets if you want to find out more for yourself. I have also written previously on why you should cut out sugar, and eating intuitively if you’d like to read more.
Natural supplements for pain relief
Look at the food you eat and decide if you need to make any positive changes to your diet. If your diet is good these are the supplements you can also add to your daily routine to help with chronic pain:
Turmeric powder is a completely magic root that is part of the ginger family, read in detail its benefits and uses here. I take a turmeric supplement in capsule every morning.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and is well known for reducing joint pain. It is pretty potent, you can take as little as a 250mg dose per day and start to see benefits. For chronic pain I would recommend starting at a 500mg dose daily and working your way up.
If you are taking other prescribed drugs it is best to check for any possible adverse reaction (as mentioned above). Turmeric should not be taken at the same time as other pain relief drugs.
As well as reducing pain and inflammation Turmeric has many other benefits, including relieving arthritis symptoms, helping to reduce symptoms of depression – something that can become a side effect, or be triggered in those suffering with long term pain. Turmeric also works to detoxify your body, and even boosts skin health!
Glucosamine + Chondroitin
Glucosamine is a component of your cartilage, the tissue that acts as a cushion in your joints. The two are both produced naturally in your body, but in conditions such as arthritis cartilage becomes worn down causing chronic pain.
You can take a Glucosamine + Chondroitin supplement to help slow or prevent the damage of joint cartilage and alleviate joint pain. Although it doesn’t deal directly with inflammation and pain directly it is worth trying for a month or so to see if you feel any improvements. You could be suffering from joint pain because of your cartilage without even realising it!
We can get Vitamin D naturally from the sun, or from vegetables such as mushrooms. Unfortunately if you live in the UK like me we don’t get nearly enough sunshine! Vitamin D is a key nutrient in the workings of your body. In this instance it can prevent the immune system from responding excessively, which can lead to chronic inflammation and therefore pain.
Recent studies have shown that by putting a limit on how much inflammation can take place in your body, high doses of Vitamin D can be taken to help reduce pain. You want to be taking at least 5,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for pain.
N.B. it is worth mentioning that if you are taking high levels of vitamin D for a prolonged period of time, you should be working with your doctor to get regular blood tests to monitor things.
DHA and EPA are two essential omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA can help to restore nerve and immune cell function, as well as reducing cellular inflammation by inhibiting certain enzymes that lead to the production of pro-inflammation molecules.
To take a supplement of DHA/EPA you want to look at taking a 2-3 gram does daily. If possible you want to get a supplement that is higher in EPA than DHA. You can find both of these omega-3’s in an omega-3 fish oil supplement. For you vegans and vegetarians out there don’t despair – algae can be taken instead as it also contains high levels of EPA and DHA.
Take an omega-3 supplement for two to three months to start seeing consistent benefits.
If you suffer from ongoing or chronic pain CBD oil is definitely worth looking into. CBD is completely natural and does not contain any of the chemical that causes the ‘getting high’ effects of marijuana. This is usually peoples first concern – I know it was mine(!). For the last year I have taken CBD oil continually, and have seen much improvement.
I have written about the benefits of CBD oil for pain relief in full here, including its many other benefits if you want to find out more. I would always recommend that you do your own research before taking any supplement, especially if you are unsure.
There are many wonderful healing benefits of CBD oil, including relieving and reducing chronic pain. It is a natural relaxant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Specifically, cbd has an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints, helping to reduce stiffness, pain, and associated swelling.
Matcha Green Tea Powder
Matcha is the healthiest and most potent form of green tea. Because the whole leaves are ground into a powder you are consuming 137 times the antioxidants compared to a normal green tea bag. Amongst its many health benefits Matcha is an anti-inflammatory. It contains the highest levels of the antioxidant EGCCG which works to prevent the build up of inflammatory chemicals in your body.
Therefore Match can be drunk throughout the day to help reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body, as well as helping with chronic conditions like Arthritis.
While no one single supplement I’ve talked about here will be a ‘quick fix’ to your pain, spend the time to see which supplements work for you and your body. By combining a blend of several of them – in addition to a healthy anti inflammatory diet, exercise, meditation, and other complimentary therapies – you will find what gives you the best results and quality of life.