4 natural ingredients to help manage aches and pains


These are the natural alternatives a doctor recommends to help ease inflammation and joint pain. 

Photo: iStock

Arthritis is one of the most common long-term diseases in Australia, affecting over 15% of the population – that’s around three million Australians. In other words, there’s a big market out there for anti-inflammatories to help ease the symptoms.

More and more Australians, however, are reconsidering their backs on anti-inflammatory drugs, preferring to manage their condition with natural ingredients and supplements. So we consulted one of Australia’s leading preventive and integrative health experts, Dr Ross Walker, for advice on the ones worth considering.

Krill oil

You’re probably already familiar with fish oil, but krill oil possesses antioxidant activity that is 48 times higher than fish oil. Studies have shown that krill oil can help to reduce inflammation in the body, including inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

Krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) in a phospholipid form, which are more easily absorbed than the triglyceride form of omega-3s found in fish oil.

The best food sources of EPA and DHA are fish and shellfish. However if you are struggling to reach the recommended 2-3 serves of fish per week, or need some extra dietary support, consider a krill oil supplement to help increase your omega-3 intake.

Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric is best known as a powdered spice used to give foods flavour and colour – think curries. It contains a natural chemical compound called curcumin that scientists have found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research suggests turmeric and its components can potentially alleviate arthritis inflammation and pain. With curcumin accounting for only 3-5% of turmeric, you’re unlikely to get enough from diet alone, so consider a supplement to help boost levels.

Glucosamine

The glucosamine in your body provides natural building blocks for growth, repair and maintenance of cartilage – the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at your joints. But as you get older, your levels of this natural compound begin to drop, which leads to the gradual breakdown of the joint.

Research has shown that glucosamine supplements (often combined with chondroitin) appear to reduce pain, stiffness and improve joint function in osteoarthritis. There aren’t any natural food sources of glucosamine, so consider supplementation to help increase levels in the body.

Ginger

Used in Asian medicine for centuries, ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib. Studies have shown that ginger extract decreases joint pain and reduces inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, by reducing the production of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation.

Before taking ginger as a supplement, however, consult your healthcare professional as it may interfere with blood thinning medications.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about choosing the right supplements for you. When taking supplements, make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner.

For more information on Krill Oil, visit www.superbakrill.com.

Dancer Amrita Hepi takes you through a stretching routine you can do in the office



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