By Steven Ashton
What I like about nutrition and exercise is that both can be constantly tweaked to fit the individual. Being active and exercising regularly can be a double edged sword. The benefits of exercise far outweigh the liabilities but normal wear and tear from exercise can cause problems. Besides knowing how to use self healing techniques on soft tissue such as myofascial release, aka foam rolling, there are many nutrition hacks that can be done to offset and minimize the wear and tear of joints and bones. Our bodies need the proper raw materials to manufacture the bone and joint tissues that become depleted and damaged through use and age. It is our responsibility to ensure we are taking in the necessary amounts. No rocket science here. Be sensible and minimize the anti-nutrient type foods such as processed foods and sugar.
Get in the Kitchen
Of course eating a whole foods natural, organic, non gmo, grass fed, etc. type of diet is the way to go but it isn’t always available nor practical. Learn the basics of food prep and cooking. Read the labels. Use spices and herbs liberally. Be well rounded in food choices. Do the best you can and refer to the next paragraph to “accessorize” your dietary regime.
Eat the Right Foods
- Dark green veggies, apples
- Pastured eggs
- Organ meats and pastured meats
- Grass fed whey protein
- Pastured butter and dairy
- Bone broths
- Small fish with bones (sardines), cold water fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Green powders and sea vegetables
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, miso, natto, pickles, pickled vegetables
Bridge the Gap, Add Supplements
Who needs supplements? They cost money and are inconvenient. Guess what?, It is a lot more costly and inconvenient to not be sufficient in nutrients. It is a fact of modern living that food does not contain as much of the nutrients as it once did. There are more environmental toxins for the body to deal with. Now people and especially athletes need to supplement to obtain and maintain a high standard of health.
Make sure your supplement doesn’t just say “vitamin K”. The actual forms should be listed, such as: Mk4, Mk7 or K1, K2 and can come from a high quality multi-vitamin.
These are the fat soluble vitamins that work synergistically and should be taken together and with a fat such as fish oil. These can come from a high quality multi-vitamin.
Don’t buy wimpy fish oil! Choose the fish oil with the highest concentration of Omega 3’s(EPA/DHA). Stronger, Faster, Healthier(SFH) is among the best. This brand of fish oil also gives you a big dose of vitamin D3 and E and comes in several flavors. All it takes is 1 teaspoon daily. Check out more details on fish oil here.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid
I take this trio as part of my joint cocktail. I use the powdered form and mix with water. Common dosages are usually listed on the packaging. This combination has long been successfully used to treat pain and dysfunction of joints.
Don’t Take the Calcium
Taking a calcium supplement by itself can be detrimental. It should be accompanied with K2, A , D3 and E. Without the getting enough K2 and D3, calcium will most likely get deposited into the arteries where we don’t want it. It is best to get calcium from natural sources like green vegetables and soaked and or sprouted grains and legumes.
Vitamin K2 and You
Most people have probably heard of vitamin K but that is a general term and is usually referring to vitamin K1 which aids in blood clotting. Although vitamin K1 is a very important nutrient we want to focus on K2 which is the nutrient(or enabler) most responsible for bone building and repair. This is a critical vitamin for maintaining our bone strength and artery health well into old age.
The food with the highest concentration of K2 is a fermented soy product called natto. Natto is not always easy to find and the smell turns some people away. Not to worry as there are other good sources of k2 such as most hard cheeses, especially gouda cheese, egg yolks, mayonnaise made from avocado oil, chicken liver, goose liver and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
Get Some Sun and Keep Exercising
Aim for about 20 minutes of unprotected sun each day. We all need sunshine. Darker skin requires more. This is the best hack for the critical vitamin D3 and doesn’t cost anything.
Treat your skeleton well and reap the rewards by following ancestral eating habits and allowing science to be your servant.
Rhe`aume-Bleue, K. (2012). Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. Mississuaga, Ontario, Canada: Wiley.
Yance, D. (2009). Osteoporosis, nutrition, and botanicals: Myths, perceptions, truths, and natural solutions. Medicines from the Earth, pg. 141-149.