Don’t let joint discomfort compromise your exercise routine, which is one of the best ways to prevent chronic medical conditions.
The amount of research demonstrating the benefits of physical activity to body and mind is staggering. Recently, a team of experts in movement science referred to physical activity as a “super-drug” for the prevention and treatment of chronic medical conditions. Who could argue this truth? I see it every day in my transformational consulting practice.
There are many barriers to physical activity, including the perception that there is “no time,” or engaging in exercise that doesn’t provide the critical “feel good” payoff that fuels the desire for further exercise. Many a shiny new treadmill in North America subsequently becomes a place to deposit clothes, for that very reason.
Discomfort in the joints also puts a real damper on the desire to be active. Up to one-third of all visits to a primary care doctor involve some sort of musculoskeletal complaint, and a bulk of those complaints are directed at knee and shoulder discomfort. These can run the gamut from mild “weekend warrior”-type complaints to full-on osteoarthritis. Although there may be many causes and mechanisms surrounding different types of joint discomfort, there is a common thread–chronic inflammation.
The story of chronic, low-grade inflammation is a story of the immune system, as well as the physical and nutrition elements, and all three are connected. Sedentary behaviour and unhealthy dietary choices can ratchet up low-grade inflammation, including the production of pain-promoting and mood-compromising immune chemicals called cytokines. In my new book, Your Health Destiny (HarperOne, 2015), I underscore that just the right amount and type of exercise is critical to healthy immune system functioning.
Dietary choices also go a long way towards reducing the low-grade inflammation that contributes to compromised health. Whole foods, deeply-coloured greens, berries, spices such as turmeric (with its well-known anti-inflammatory chemical called curcumin), omega-3 essential fats, and fermented foods are all part of my plan.
I also make specific reference to an anti-inflammatory food that is often overlooked– eggs. For various unfounded reasons, healthcare practitioners once scared patients away from eggs. Then the research shifted to say that it’s “safe” to eat eggs. We now know that eggs can actually have anti-inflammatory properties; human research shows that daily egg consumption can curb the cytokines that cause so many problems.
There is also remarkable research concerning the ability of the egg membrane (also called the eggshell membrane) to significantly reduce inflammation. The egg membrane sits between the shell and the egg white; visibly, if you cracked open an egg, it is the shiny part that sticks to the inner part of the shell. Although researchers aren’t sure precisely how the egg membrane reduces inflammation, research suggests that the natural chemical constituents such as collagen, elastin, transforming growth factor, glycosaminoglycans, desmosine, and indodesmosine are involved in immune system signaling.
Emerging clinical studies report impressive results when egg membrane powder is orally consumed, with improvements in overall pain, joint discomfort and range of motion being noted quickly, sometimes within days. One source I am familiar with, pain relief supplements from Genuine Health, contain a potent form of eggshell membrane: BiovaFlex® that provides results in just five days: two days faster than other eggshell membrane products. Not only do these formulas relieve pain, they help to restore the structural integrity of the joints, and are safe with no side-effects. For these reason, I advocate these supplements as part of my anti-inflammatory diet plan.
Although egg membrane has been the subject of safety and toxicology testing, I also underscore that supplements for specific medical conditions, and to rule out allergies and contraindications, should be consumed under the recommendation of a healthcare provider.
Eva M. Selhub is lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School and operates a private practice as a comprehensive medical specialist and transformation consultant. She is author of Your Health Destiny (HarperOne, 2015).