Nutrients for Pain Relief

Pain | February 23, 2018 | Author: Naturopath


Nutrients for Pain Relief

Pain…. What is it?

Pain can be defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is not just a physical sensation, instead it is something that can be influenced by attitudes, beliefs, personality and social factors, and can affect emotional and mental wellbeing.

Pain falls in to two categories:

Acute pain

This lasts for a short period of time and occurs following surgery or trauma or other conditions. It acts as a warning to the body to seek help. Although it usually improves as the body heals, in some cases, it may not.

Chronic pain

This lasts beyond the time expected for healing, (usually three months) following surgery, trauma or other conditions. It can also exist without a clear reason. Although chronic pain can be a symptom of disease, it can also be a disease in its own right, characterised by changes within the central nervous system.

How Australians are dealing with pain

How Australians are dealing with painThe number of overdoses from prescription pain killers is on the rise, with 800 Australians dying per year. Reports from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre say that there has been a particular increase in the number of pharmaceutical opioid-related deaths in the past decade. The most commonly prescribed medications include oxycontin, fentanyl, codeine and morphine.

Perhaps this statistic may highlight the reason that so many Australians are turning to complementary medicine in order to gain pain relief. An alternative that offers relief without the risk and side-effects of prescription pain-killers.

Nutrients as an Alternative for Pain Relief


Methylsulfonylmethane, also known as dimethyl sulfone or DMSO2, is the oxidized form of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), an organic sulphur compound from lignin. It’s an organic sulphur-containing compound that’s used to improve immune function, lower inflammation and help restore healthy bodily tissue. MSM is also a popular joint health supplement. It also naturally occurs in some green vegetables and other food products. 

The reason so many benefits are attributed to the MSM supplement is because MSM provides biologically active sulphur, which is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the body and needed for many different critical bodily functions.

For pain relief it is most commonly used topically on the skin and also taken orally in a powder form. MSM is especially popular as part of an arthritis diet and supplementation plan to treat arthritis or osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease since it helps form connective tissue and repair joints, tendons and ligaments.

A clinical trial testing the effects of MSM on joint pain in 118 patients with osteoarthritis found that compared to a placebo, MSM supplements taken over 12 weeks resulted in more improvements in pain, swelling and joint mobility. MSM supplements were given in 500-milligram doses three times daily along with glucosamine (also taken in 500-milligram doses three times daily). Together they safely reduce inflammation and pain without causing side effects.
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ChondroitinChondroitin is a major component of cartilage that helps it retain water. It is made by the body naturally.

For production of supplements, it can be manufactured from the cartilage of animals, like cows, pigs or sharks, or it can be made in the laboratory. The supplement is sold as chondroitin sulfate. It is often combined with in a supplement with glucosamine.


Like chondroitin, glucosamine is a natural compound found in healthy cartilage, particularly in the fluid around the joints. For dietary supplements, it is harvested from shells of shellfish or can be made in the laboratory. It can come in several chemical forms, but the one most used in arthritis is glucosamine sulfate. In laboratory tests, glucosamine showed anti-inflammatory properties and even appeared to help cartilage regeneration.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial nutrient for overall health. The human body is able to synthesize fatty acids, but it does not have the ability to create omega-3s on its own. This is the reason they are termed “essential fatty acids” because they have to be consumed.

The three omega-3s found in food are ALA, EPA and DHA.

Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA): This plant-based omega-3 is found in green, leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, chia seeds and canola, walnut and soybean oils.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): EPA is found in oily fish, algae oil and krill oil.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA):  DHA is found in oily fish such as krill oil and algae oil.
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Omega-3 fatty acids decrease system-wide inflammation which is often the root cause of pain for many suffers. 
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Perna Canaliculus (Green Lipped Mussels)

The green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) also called greenshell mussel, found in New Zealand and is another treatment option for a variety of different health issues including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain. The oil extracted from these muscles acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that is natural and very powerful.

Perna Canaliculus (Green Lipped Mussels)As the body metabolizes the natural omega-3s found in green lipped mussel oil, it begins to restore and soothe inflamed joints, muscles and tissues. This can result in a great deal of pain relief for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and other illnesses which cause severe joint pain.

Green lipped mussel oil is typically produced in a supplement form within a capsule. The oil, powder and the mussels themselves all contain a variety of proteins, minerals, vitamins, omega 3s, healthy enzymes, polypeptides, chondroitin sulphated, glycosaminoglycans, polysaccharides and glycoproteins. These supplementary nutrients aid in the preservation of mobility and joint health, functional cartilage, a healthy heart, glowing skin and overall health.
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Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral in the human body. According to Norman Shealy, an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer in pain medicine, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases.” Not only does magnesium help regulate calcium, potassium and sodium, but it’s essential for cellular health and a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body.

One recent study examined the role magnesium plays in fibromyalgia symptoms, and it uncovered that increasing magnesium consumption reduced pain and tenderness and also improved immune blood markers.  Another study found that magnesium supplementation slowed the development of osteoporosis ‘significantly’ after just 30 days.
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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. This means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb vitamin D and keep it from being used within the body. Vitamin D is different to other vitamins because the human body makes most vitamin D on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.Vitamin D

The body will make vitamin D by converting sunshine into chemicals that the body then uses. The cholesterol in skin converts pre-vitamin D and makes it into usable vitamin D3 which is sometimes also called pro-vitamin D. Pre-vitamin D travels through the kidneys and liver in the blood stream, and is then converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol.

Vitamin D then becomes a hormone within the body, particularly a steroid hormone and in turn impacts on the skeletal structure, blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function, and ability to protect the body from cancer.

A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with chronic pain in some individuals. One small study found the control group that received the vitamin D supplementation experienced a marked reduction in pain.
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