Delicious Common Spices Can Reduce Pain and Inflammation–Right in Your Own Kitchen

Delicious Common Spices Can Reduce Pain and Inflammation–Right in Your Own Kitchen

Different Types of Pain Relievers

 

There is quite a bit of controversy about just what pain relievers are good and effective, versus what kinds may have possible harmful side effects.  Common spices right in your kitchen may sometimes help, without the side effects of chemical drugs

So, drilling down into this, we can say that there is more than one level in the realm of pain relief medicines, natural remedies or otherwise.

 

The First Level is a Purely Chemical Approach.

 

The purely chemical approach would be using something like Ibuprofen, which you can take as a capsule or tablet, or applied topically, that is, directly on the affected area. Possibly the most well known Ipuprofen type cream is called Voltaren.  I actually used this on a burn I received, but I used it for only a short time.

Experts differ on whether it is useful for knee pain, though it is at least according to this article.

At the total opposite end of the spectrum, is the use of solid, as opposed to liquid, Di hydrogen monoxide. Di hydrogen monoxide is fairly common in liquid form, and it appears in solid form if cooled.  What is Di hydrogen monoxide? (This is a trick question, so be forewarned:))

 

Tube Ice from an ice maker

Icing a sore knee by just wrapping some in a bag and leaving on your knee is maybe the easiest fast way to get some pain relief at home.

 

That right, good old H2O–Water!! I just wanted to make sure I have your attention. And of course, Di Hydrogen Monoxide in its solid form is ice.

So if you have pain, which is often a form of inflammation, putting ice on the affected area helps, and is obviously at the opposite end of the treatment and medicinal spectrum.  It is probably the most natural thing you can do.

 

But seriously, there are a number of completely natural herbs and foods that can stop inflammation and pain. Better yet, they are consumed as food or spices or at least related to food. So let’s dive in, and look at 4 examples, though there are numerous others.

 

The Most Common ‘Nature’s Medicines’

 

Turmeric-for-pain-relief

First, there is Turmeric

A bright orange spice related to Ginger. Turmeric, like ginger is a root, and it can be ground up and dried, then stored and used as a powder.

However, recent research shows that turmeric does not get absorbed so well, unless you take it with black pepper, or its extract. That’s why, if you scramble your eggs, you put both turmeric and black pepper in with them.

Just about any common dish tastes great with the turmeric/black pepper combination. Not only does your food taste good, but it also helps with pain and inflammation.  LIkewise, if you prefer, you can get supplements where the main ingredients of both are concentrated and made as bio-available as possible.

 

 

 

Ginger-for-pain-relief

Next is Ginger

Ginger is very common in Oriental foods, for example in dishes served along with garlic. In the West, we often also use it in powdered form, such as in gingerbread.

Both Turmeric and Ginger are basic commodity items. By that, I mean that they are essentially unprocessed, and can be relatively inexpensive if bought generically. Here is an example of Turmeric and Ginger sold on Amazon.com

 

and here is powdered ginger. I personally try to avoid buying the name brands like McCormick since you are paying brand name prices for a very basic commodity.

 

Here is an example of an organic spice product that I would recommend.

 

Cloves and nutmeg, both common spices also have anti inflammatory properties

 

Cloves both ground and in their natural state. Whole nutmeg as well as ground nutmeg on the right

Cloves, both in their natural state, and ground. Usually, you’d put ground cloves in things such as spiced bread, apple pie, etc. Whole nutmeg as well as ground nutmeg on the right. They’re often used in the same recipe.

 

The 4 Great Things I Like about All These Spices

 

  • They are not chemicals, which, as I have discussed in other articles, are often not always carefully tested for safety
  • They are not ‘drugs’ that have been ‘monetized’ to make some drug company enormous profits
  • They have been in use for thousands of years, and stood the biggest test of all—the test of time
  • Unlike your mom’s admonition to “Take the bitter pill” or take your medicine, these things actually make food test good!

 

No, they are gifts of Mother Nature, where we as humans, if we act in harmony, find that we can be healthy simply by living well and consciously, using what comes naturally.

Fourteen of the Best Joint Supplement Ingredients for Knee Pain Relief

Fourteen of the Best Joint Supplement Ingredients for Knee Pain Relief

As People Age, Knee Pain Becomes an Issue

If you have knee pain, the obvious first steps are Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  But once you know that, what’s the next step? Looking for answers, many seek the benefits of joint supplements. That raises the question of what are the best joint supplement ingredients?

Maybe you aren’t the one who needs a joint supplement. Are you researching joint supplements for an aging parent suffering from arthritis pain? Are you looking for ways to protect against injury for your young athlete?

You might already know about the different types of knee pain. You understand the causes and are familiar with treatment recommendations.

Perhaps you’ve tried other recommended treatments. These include physical therapy, assistive devices, over-the-counter pain relief, prescription medications, and cortisone injections.

If you’re considering surgery as your next stop, there may be a helpful detour available.

 

What’s Next? Joint Supplements

 

They are organic, naturally occurring substances. Many joint supplement ingredients are produced by the body. It’s important to realize that joint supplements may not offer immediate pain relief. But effective joint supplements offer solutions. They provide long-term repair and possible regeneration of materials necessary for healthy joints.

 

If you or someone you care about suffers from joint-pain, consider a joint supplement. They are an excellent alternative to the side effects of harsh drugs. And they are worth considering before surgery.

 

Joint supplements, as they increase in popularity, are flooding the health market. The number of joint supplements available is staggering. Trying to decide which is right for your individual situation can cause frustration.

 

The key is to know which ingredients to look for.

 

Important note: like pharmaceutical drugs, joint supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new treatment.

 

Your Guide to the Best Joint Supplement Ingredients for Knee Pain Relief

 

The following list offers a sample of some of the more effective dietary nutrients found in joint supplements. These recommendations are based on reviewing the science and research. It is not all-inclusive but is a good start.

 

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

 

The Scoop

 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are joint supplements made from natural compounds produced in the body. They are both found in the fluid surrounding knee cartilage.

 

The Research

 

Glucosamine combined with Chondroitin sulfate offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers with moderate-to-severe pain. Results from a double-blind study found the combination yielded “statistically significant pain relief.” (See study here)

 

The Benefits

 

Glucosamine may reduce cartilage breakdown and relieve osteoarthritis pain. Some research suggests chondroitin curbs cartilage deterioration in knee joints, but experts agree more data is needed. Chondroitin sulfate helps maintain water levels in cartilage.

 

The Source

 

Glucosamine can be harvested from the shells of shellfish. Chondroitin is extracted from the cartilage of animals such as cows and sharks.

 

The Dosage

 

500 mg three times daily for glucosamine; 400 mg three times a day is recommended for chondroitin

 

Cetyl myristoleate (CMO)

 

The Scoop

 

A natural fatty acid first isolated in the 1970s. Dr. Harry W. Diehl, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, has been credited with discovering CMO. Cetyl myristoleate has proved successful in the treatment of dogs suffering from arthritis and joint pain.

 

The Research

 

In a recent double-blind trial, researchers concluded: “CMO is effective in alleviating knee pain in persons with mild degree arthritis of the knee joint, at an effective dose of 62.4%.”

 

The Benefits

 

CMO may act as a lubricant for joints and as an anti-inflammatory. (Note: combined with menthol as a topical blend, CMO shows promise. When applied to the skin, some patients report less pain and improved knee movement.)

 

The Source

 

Found in the cartilage of sperm whales, mice, and beavers. Cetylated fatty acids can be extracted from beef tallow in a highly purified form.

 

The Dosage

 

For osteoarthritis: 350 mg of cetylated fatty acids plus 50 mg of soy lecithin, and 75 mg of fish oil taken 6 times daily.

 

MSM molecule image graphic

MSM graphic image

The Scoop

 

An organic, sulfur-based compound associated with the adrenal gland. Supports connective tissue maintenance and repair. Has also been shown to have antioxidant benefits.

 

MSM–Methylsulfonylmethane

 

A Mayo Clinic study reports positive outcomes for osteoarthritis patients given MSM. Patients showed “significant improvement” in range of motion for their knees. They also reported less pain and discomfort in their joints.

 

Researchers are hopeful that continued studies will confirm the antioxidant capabilities of MSM. This could improve treatments for osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions in the elderly.

 

The Benefits

 

MSM stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid. This lubricating fluid is essential for protecting joints from wear and tear.

 

New research offers promising results for MSM. Daily doses may reduce muscle damage caused by vigorous exercise.

 

Interesting fact: the anti-inflammatory properties of MSM may offer relief for asthma sufferers. Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., discusses this, and other benefits in his book “The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain.”

 

The Source

 

One of the few joint supplements found in a variety of foods: fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens), bone broth and raw milk. Trace amounts are found in tomatoes, corn, tea, and coffee.

 

The Dosage

 

A maximum of 3 g twice daily is suggested

 

Curcumin

 

The Scoop

 

Chinese medicine has utilized curcumin in treatments for centuries. It is the active ingredient that causes the bright orange-yellow color in turmeric.

 

Turmeric is a natural root used in cooking. It is an excellent choice for people seeking plant-based ingredients.

 

The Research

 

An article in the Journal of Medicinal Food evaluated research from several studies. It recommends the need for continued research. But, researchers agree that current studies do provide “compelling justification” for using curcumin. The studies recommended adding curcumin to joint supplements used in arthritis therapy.

 

The Benefits

 

Widely accepted as an anti-inflammatory for the relief of arthritis pain. Shown to be as effective as NSAIDs in reducing pain.

 

The Source

 

Herbal remedy Turmeric root and powder

turmeric for knee pain

Curcumin is harvested from turmeric roots, which belongs to the ginger family. The root is dried and ground into a fine. The powder (now called turmeric) is available in the spice aisle at your local grocery store.

Adding turmeric to recipes is a common recommendation. It’s important to note that the body has difficulty absorbing the substance. Increase absorption by dissolving the powder in hot tea. You can also take it in capsule form in combination with other joint supplements.

The Dosage

 

500 mg three times daily is the recommendation

Omega 3 Fish Oil

The Scoop

A fish-oil based fatty acid that is not just a miraculous new trend – it is essential to our health. This naturally occurring fat lubricates joints and delivers well documented anti-inflammatory benefits.

 

Look for Omega3 joint supplements containing Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) or Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).

 

Choose brands with verified mercury-free labels.

 

(A not-so-well-known fact: Omega3s should be refrigerated).

 

The Research

 

Studies are abundant and comprehensive. The verdict is indisputable. Omega3-fatty acids have anti-inflammatory capabilities, relieve stiffness, and reduce tenderness in joints.

 

The Benefits

 

Experts agree Omega3s (popularized due to their benefits in heart and brain health) are highly effective. They are vital to breaking the cycle of inflammation cartilage. And their role in maintaining connective tissue health is promising.

 

The Source

 

This wonder fat is found in a wide variety of foods: salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts, almonds, seeds, flax, raw soybeans, and leeks, to name a “few!”

 

The Dosage

 

Daily intake recommendations vary from 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg depending on the purpose.

 

Vitamin D

 

The Scoop

 

This vitamin has recently become the topic of discussion in medical practices. There is strong evidence of widespread deficiency.

 

Exposure to sunlight is the best-known source for Vitamin D. Unfortunately, the amount gained by sun exposure does not reach recommended daily amounts.

 

The Research

 

There is a link between autoimmune conditions and Vitamin D deficiency. Disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other degenerative joint disorders may develop.

 

Solid evidence from the American College of Rheumatology offers hope. They concluded that “achieving vitamin D sufficiency may prevent and/or retard cartilage loss in knee OA.”

 

The Benefits

 

Getting the recommended amount Vitamin D on a daily basis decreases knee joint pain. Increasing Vitamin D intake reduces risk factors associated with cartilage loss in the joints.

 

The Source

 

Created when skin is exposed to sunlight. Some fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) contain the vitamin in its D3 form. Smaller amounts are found in mushrooms, eggs, organ meats, such as liver, and Vitamin D fortified milk.

 

The Dosage

 

Joint supplements containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D are recommended as a daily source.

 

Vitamin C

 

Oranges on display at fruit market

good fruits for knee pain

The Scoop

 

A natural antioxidant, is there anything Vitamin C can’t do?

 

Medical practitioners recommended Vitamin C for treating a wide variety of conditions. Included on the list: chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.

 

It is also beneficial in the treatment of many arthritic conditions. This includes collagen depletion, arthritis, pain in the back due to swollen discs, and osteoporosis. Just to name a few.

 

Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system.

 

The Research

 

Beware: Recent clinical studies suggest monitoring daily intake. Excessive amounts (more than 90 mg per day) may actually aggravate osteoarthritis.

 

The Benefits

 

The immune system boosting properties can play a key role in osteoarthritis pain relief. It also promotes collagen production, which is important in reversing arthritis conditions.

 

The Source

 

Also referred to as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C occurs naturally in fresh fruits (especially citrus). It is also available in vegetables such as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and red peppers.

 

The Dosage

 

90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women

 

Boswellia

Boswellia plant produces frankincense resin

This Boswellia plant produces the aromatic resin called frankincense

The Scoop

Well-known as a source of frankincense, it is the main ingredient in many perfumes and incense. Used for its anti-inflammatory properties in ancient medicines dating back to Egyptian times.

The Research

 

Research shows promise for boswellia extract as a treatment for arthritis symptoms. A study published in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology showed “All patients receiving drug treatment reported a decrease in knee pain, increased knee flexion and increased walking distance.”

The Benefits

Reduces pain and swelling in inflamed joints. Curtails pain as well as prescription medications used for the same purpose. The results of using Boswellia extract oil as a pain reliever are impressive.

The Source

Extracted from the resin (and sometimes bark) of Boswellia. Boswellia are types of trees and shrubs found in of Northern Africa, Middle East, and India. There are about 25 known species of Boswellia.

The Dosage

Varies based on the concentration of boswellic acids. Follow package directions or consult your doctor for dose recommendations.

What About Minerals? Can They Benefit Your Joints?

Fruits and Vegetables shown

Mineral rich foods are best. Sometimes a nutritional supplement can provided necessary minerals for health

Needless to say, minerals are a key component of our bodies, so it follows that if we don’t have enough minerals we could have adverse health consequences. First off, what is a mineral. We usually refer to minerals as chemical elements. Everybody knows that we need Oxygen, which is usually a gas, which we don’t even see, yet it is part of the air we breathe. Nitrogen, another gas and Oxygen make up most of the air we breathe, with small amounts of Carbon Dioxide, which is the result of things like wood, natural gas, oil, and so on, getting burned.

 

More common minerals are iron, which makes up not just so many materials we see around us, such as knives, car bodies, and bars used in reinforcing buildings. However, iron is a key component of our blood, because it attaches oxygen we breathe, and transports all over our body.

 

 

In the case of joints, though, there are some minerals that are not so well known, dosages are not necessarily certain, yet numerous studies show how important they are.

 

Here are some example of mineral you may not be aware of, that can help your joints.

  • Boron can improve bone health
  • Chromium
  • Copper aids in making blood and helps with connective tissues
  • Manganese helps joint health and  may aid arthritis relief
  • Magnesium works with calcium to improve bone health
  • Zinc not only helps with immunity, but also supports cartilage

 

While a detailed discussion of the many different minerals needed for good health is beyond the scope of this article, it’s fair to say that  the modern diet, which is generally not organic, can be deficient in various nutrients. I once knew a cattle farmer in Northern California, whose cows were mysteriously not up to par. A study of the soil showed there happened to be a lack of an essential mineral in the soil, which meant that the grass the cows ate was also lacking that nutrient. That’s just one anecdote, but the point is clear, supplementing with some minerals can help with joint health.

 

The Good News About Joint Pain

 

There is hope!

 

You are not condemned to the life of a couch potato, even if you suffer from joint pain in your knees. Many scientific studies prove that joint supplements promote knee health in many different ways.

 

The key is to find the one that works for you.

 

 

Reason Why You Need Vitamin C

Vitamin C: A Key Factor in Helping Your Knees

Did you know that osteoarthritis affects more than 50% of over 60 year olds?

This disease, indeed, is the most common degenerative joint disorder that affects both small and large joints and it is a leading cause of disability in older adults. The knee is the principal peripheral joint affected resulting in progressive loss of function, pain and stiffness with a negative impact on health-related quality of life.

Because this disease is so prevalent the relevance of this disease, let’s discover together its pathology, risk factors and treatment options to prevent/retard the progress of osteoarthritis and maintain the knee’s function and health.

 

Impact of Osteoarthritis on Cartilage and Collagen

Osteoarthritis significantly impacts articular cartilage, which gets severely degraded over the course of the disease. The figure below shows a comparison between healthy (left) and osteoarthritic (right) cartilage in the knee.

Articular cartilage is a specialized type of connective tissue found at the end of long bones and within the intervertebral discs. Its unique structure forms a smooth and lubricated surface that allows for a proper joint motion with a low friction coefficient, good shock-absorbing capabilities and minimized pressure on the bone.

Water accounts for 65–80% of the weight of cartilage providing it the possibility of deformation under load, while 10-15% is made up of collagen, which provides tensile strength (defined as the ability to resist a force that tends to pull the system apart).

Notably, type II collagen constitutes 90% to 95% of the total collagen and is specific to articular cartilage. Although it is normally resistant to degradation, specific enzymes called collagenases, are able to degrade it and they have been implicated in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis.

A measurable increase in type II collagen degradation is seen in an early stage of the disease with a net loss of this type of collagen. This is accompanied by an increase in the synthesis of collagen II to reconstitute the physiological and functional properties of the cartilage. However, the newly synthesized molecules are often damaged, compromising any effective attempts at cartilage repair.

Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial disease that affects the entire joint.  Due to the intimate contact between bone and cartilage, any changes in either tissue will influence the other components (the figure above shows the loss of cartilage and how the bone structure is remodeled).

 

Risk Factors for Cartilage Loss

There are multiple risk factors for cartilage loss in osteoarthritis. As shown in the image below, the aetiology of this disease is a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

Generalized constitutional factors are related to age, obesity and occupation, adverse mechanical factors include trauma, surgery on the joint structures while some genetic syndromes lead to joint malformations and early-onset osteoarthritis.

By analyzing these risk factors and considering the fact that knee injuries are associated with accelerated osteoarthritis, it is evident that nobody can feel safe!

Thus, let’s discover together the treatment options.

 

The Therapeutic Challenge of Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately, there are no approved drugs able to stop the disease progression and pharmacological treatments aimed at osteoarthritis are mostly to combat symptoms like pain.  On the other hand, non-pharmacological treatments include exercise, physiotherapy, weight loss, and surgical joint replacements.

On the basis of the fact that once the collagen network is degraded, it cannot be repaired to its original state, the crucial therapeutic challenge is the prevention of these damages.

In this context, the regulation of oxidative stress, which has been described to play an important role in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, offers a promising therapeutic approach. Although reactive oxygen species (free radicals responsible for oxidative stress) at moderate levels are essential in many physiological processes of our body, their overproduction in the knee joints is responsible for the destruction of the articular cartilage. Oxidative stress is also strictly correlated with the severity of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Collectively, it has been demonstrated that oxidative stress has a double negative effect:

  1. decreases in the synthesis of collagen II;
  2. promotes the breakdown of molecules of type II collagen.

 

Do not forget that type II collagen constitutes 90% to 95% of the total collagen of the articular cartilage!

Thus, the maintenance of optimal levels of free radicals is essential for healthy knee joints. Normally, our body gets rid of the excess of free radicals using natural antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, glutathione and various enzymes.

Vitamin C, in particular, is not only a powerful antioxidant but also plays a key role in collagen production. As reported in the image below, limited vitamin C intake is associated with an increased risk of joint injury and pain, cartilage loss and osteoarthritis.

This body of evidence provides for the rationale that a good bioavailability of vitamin C may retard the progress of osteoarthritis.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that was first isolated in 1923 by Nobel laureate Szent-Gyorgyi. The excellent antioxidant effect of vitamin C is due to the fact that it can exist both in reduced (ascorbate) and oxidized forms as dehydroascorbic acid which are easily inter-convertible and biologically active.

Roles and Benefits of Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is not only an important co-factor for collagen production, the body requires vitamin C also for normal physiological functions essential for our health. It takes part in enzyme activation, oxidative stress reduction and immune system response and contributes to brain health playing a role in Central Nervous System functions.

Vitamin C also helps in the synthesis and metabolism of tyrosine, folic acid and tryptophan and facilitates the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids. Furthermore, some academic articles have shown that it protects against respiratory tract infections and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (i. e. hemorrhagic stroke) and certain cancers.

Even though it has so many key roles, our body cannot synthetize ascorbic acid (from glucose) due to the deficiency of the specific enzyme (gluconolactone oxidase). Thus, vitamin C has to be obtained from the diet.

Let the food be the medicine and the medicine be the food

This phrase, stated by Hippocrates around 2500 years ago, seems to be more accurate than ever!

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a variety of fruits (i.e. citrus fruits, kiwi, etc.), vegetables (green and red peppers, broccoli, etc.) and juices while animal sources are poor in it (<30–40 mg/100 g).

Vitamin C content, evaluated by the food, is reported in the table below, however, it is important to highlight that the stability of this vitamin is precarious and highly influenced by oxygen, heat, pH, and metallic ions. It is well preserved in frozen foods, indeed, the vitamin C losses during vegetable and fruit storage are up to 70%. Cooking also reduces the vitamin C content of vegetables by 40% to 60%.

When we think of vitamin C, we probably consider oranges and orange juice as good sources, thus it is interesting to learn that orange juice reconstituted from frozen concentrate is a better source of vitamin C as compared with liquid ready-to-drink juice (86 mg per serving vs 39-46 mg per serving).

Fertilization also impacts vitamin C content: the highest concentrations of vitamin C are usually recorded in fruits and vegetables from organic farming.

How Much Vitamin C Does Your body need?

Recommended doses of vitamin C range from 45 mg/day to 155 mg/day. In the table below are reported the reference intake values for children, adolescents, males, females and smokers. Elderly people require higher intakes because of their lower blood concentrations of vitamin C which may be due to chronic diseases or other factors like permanent medication, but not to an effect of aging itself.

Smokers have more metabolic losses and consequently lower plasma levels of vitamin C than non-smokers. Interestingly, when smokers stop smoking, their vitamin C plasma levels increase.

Vitamin C is transported in the plasma as ascorbate. As described earlier, ascorbate is the reduced form of vitamin C. The plasma ascorbate concentration is a good indicator of the vitamin C status. A plasma ascorbate concentration of 50 μmol/l or higher represents an adequate status while levels between 10 and 50 μmol/l indicate an increased risk of deficiency which requires a vitamin C dietary supplement.

Since vitamin C deficiency is a risk factor in the development of knee osteoarthritis, the correction of its concentration is crucial both for primary prevention and as a therapeutic intervention.  In addition, vitamin C supplement has been found to yield multiple potential pain-reduction benefits in knee osteoarthritis.

Valentina Colapicchioni, Ph. D.Valentina Colapicchioni, Ph. D.

I am Scientific Writer and Researcher in Chemical Sciences. I am Italian but I live in Switzerland, the land of chocolate!

I am driven by the passion to not only produce great Science but also render it accessible to a wide audience. For that reason, I created a scientific blog where I address issues of common interest by communicating in an engaging manner that both academic and non-expert audiences can easily understand. Follow me at https://vale-colapicchioni.medium.com/!

As a researcher I have been working in several academic institutions across Europe:  CNR – National Research Council (Italy), Centre for Life Nano Science (CLNS@Sapienza) at the Italian Institute of Technology- IIT, Centre for BioNano Interactions (CBNI) at the University College Dublin (Ireland) and the University of Rome La Sapienza where I took an active role in several research projects.

Part of my research is focused on preparative nano-chemistry for diverse range of biomedical applications including development of organic (liposomes, polymers, etc). and inorganic nanoplatforms (silica, quantum dots, etc.) for targeted delivery of drugs, genes and vitamins.

My work aimed at better understanding the interactions of liposome-based nanoparticles with biological fluids after their introduction in the bloodstream. I have also developed several liposome formulations with a distinct skill in killing human prostate and breast cancer cells.

My areas of research are Nanomedicine, Liposomes, Nanoparticle Synthesis and Characterisation, Bio-Nano Interactions, Proteomics, Cancer Therapy, Organic Micropollutants, Chemical Sciences.

Email: vale.colapicchioni@gmail.com

Scientific blog: https://vale-colapicchioni.medium.com/

Scopus profile: https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=55790308800

 

 

Are You Overweight? – 3 Reasons Why Obesity Causes Joint Problems

Are You Overweight? – 3 Reasons Why Obesity Causes Joint Problems

Are You Overweight? Three Proofs Show How Obesity Hurts Your Joints

Did you know that obesity is one of the leading causes of immobility in adults? The excess body weight some people carry around increases the pressure that is being put on the joints. Over time, this excess weight can cause the cartilage to begin to break down as well, which can lead to severe pain and difficulty when walking.

Can Obesity Cause Joint Problems?

By losing weight, you are not only reducing risks of heart failure and cholesterol increase, but you are reducing the pain as well. In addition, experts were able to find out that obesity bone and joint problems lead to osteoarthritis. So, if you want to treat joint pain, cut back on those double cheese bacon burgers and fries.

Does Obesity Cause Joint Problems?

Before you end up with obesity-related joint pain, it is best that you are aware of the other risks of being overweight. One of the common health risks brought on by obesity is coronary heart disease.

A study proved that as your body mass index (BMI) increases, your coronary heart disease risk also increases. The condition is characterized by reduced blood flow and blocked coronary arteries.

Moreover, high blood pressure is common among obese people. According to an American Heart Association study, being obese or overweight increases your chances of developing high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that increased weight causes heart strain. Moreover, even triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels rise.

Type 2 diabetes risk is another disadvantage of being obese. Obesity increases blood sugar levels. Having diabetes causes kidney problems, stroke, and blindness.

Obesity causes joint pain and other health problems

Health Problems Caused by Obesity

The Relationship Between Obesity and Knee Pain

There are different ways you can understand the relationship between obesity and knee joint pain. To make it easier for you, given below are three situations explaining how obesity wrecks joints:

  1. Increases pressure on the knee. According to a study, a pound of weight is equivalent to a four-pound load to your knees. With increased pressure on your knees, you will be at risk to wear and tear.
  1. Additionally, your osteoarthritis risk may also increase. In contrast, you can reduce your risk of osteoarthritis by losing weight. According to the American College of Rheumatology study, a four-fold reduction in knee load is achievable by losing a pound. The research added that the progression of osteoarthritis occurs when biomechanical joint stress increases in obese adults.
  1. Worsened pain in the knees. Obesity and pain have long been related, based on numerous studies. The studies concluded that obesity could cause health problems as detrimental as chronic pain. This is due to the fact that chronic pain is associated with increased triglycerides, harmful cholesterol levels, and metabolic syndrome. Aside from knee pain, obesity has been related to other pain issues. These pain issues include headaches, abdominal pain, and fibromyalgia, among others.
  1. Cartilage Breakdown and Higher Osteoarthritis Risk. Being overweight results in a breakdown of the cartilage, which covers the ends of the bones. The more obese you become, the more stressed your joints are. Rheumatology experts claimed that knees and hips have the most weight-bearing joints. This is the main reason why obese people have joint problems more frequently than people with normal weight. Obesity dramatically increases arthritis risk.

It can be depressing to know that your obesity causes all your pain, including knee problems. However, you can still correct this by losing weight. Start eating right, exercising, and getting professional help for weight control. If you want to learn more about your obesity and joint pain, watch this video:

 

So, what’s the answer to this?

Eat Less Sugar, Refined Foods, Fast Foods, Trans fats, Diet and Sugary Sodas

I got a phone call from one of my customers at one point. He was complaining about his knee pain. So, I asked him how much he weighs. “350 pounds”, was the reply. I said, ” Gee, maybe you should consider changing your diet.” He said that he eats a perfectly healthy diet of a large bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce.

My friends, if you are eating like that, you are probably overweight, too. And unless he changes his diet radically, I don’t see any hope of improvement for him.

Switch to a Healthy Diet and Include Some Superfoods

There has been a lot of research into what constitutes a healthy diet, and that includes lots of fruits and vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals we need, plus a good amount of protein to keep muscles in shape.

Some oils are better than others. Olive oil and coconut oil are two of the most common ones. In fact, some common foods, called superfoods, can reduce knee discomfort.

Here is another advantage of eating wisely. Did you know that spices not only make food taste better, but they’re good for you, too!

Foods to Avoid

Sugar, refined foods, fast foods, diet or sugary sodas, and lots of dairy are all examples of foods you want to minimize or avoid. Likewise, lots of bread, pasta, and refined grains like white rice, white bread, and pasta made from refined flour, are best to minimize as well.

The question arises, if you are reading this, and you are overweight, then take a look at a structured diet program, something to keep you on track.

Obesity and Joint Replacement Surgery

There have also been investigations into how obesity can affect joint replacement surgery. Some studies found that patients who were overweight had a much higher chance of infection and developing blood clots. The surgery can also take longer for an obese patient because of a more extended period of anesthesia is necessary. This all means that the recovery time may also be extended.

Losing Weight with Bad Joints

So, what if you have knee pain and bad joints, and you are in pain? There are still ways you can lose weight safely and effectively. Weight loss is definitely not easy, and it will only get harder with each excuse you make not to follow through.

Exercise is one of the best ways you can lose weight by burning calories. Eating fewer calories is also beneficial and a critical part of a weight loss journey. If you have arthritic joints and it makes it hard for you to engage in many physical activities, consider changing your eating habits as we have described above and then find some low impact exercises like rowing and swimming to start incorporating into your routine.

Low impact exercises put far less strain and pressure on your joints. They can also boost your cardiovascular fitness while allowing you to burn the calories you need to burn to lose weight.

Health Problems Linked to Obesity

In addition to joint problems and knee pain, obesity can also be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease, and kidney disease.

In summary, to help with knee pain, and to benefit your overall health, work on losing weight and decreasing the pressure you are putting on your knees and reduce the inflammation in your body. Even just a 10 percent reduction in your weight can mean much lower inflammation throughout the body.

As always, before you embark on this health journey, make sure to discuss everything with your doctor to make sure you are losing weight safely and effectively.

Homemade Bread: 13 Reasons How It Makes You Happier

Homemade Bread: 13 Reasons How It Makes You Happier

What are the Benefits of Baking Homemade Bread?

Nowadays, we all seem to be pressed for time and money. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of both. This all leads to stress. This blog is also about knees and how to have healthy knees. So first let’s take the issue of stress, which just about everyone is feeling, head on.

One indirect factor of knee pain is stress. And fact is, stress is a major component of modern life. Decades ago, Freud the famous psychologist wrote the book, Civilization and its Discontents. What to do? We need to get back in touch with the everyday stuff humans used to do for themselves. One thing I do is bake my own bread.

8 Spiritual Benefits of Baking Your Own Bread at Home

  • It gives you a mental break from all the stress, cares and preoccupations of daily life.
  • You know exactly what ingredients went into it, maximizing benefits and minimizing artificial and other ingredients, such as excess sugar, that cause inflammation and undermine health. This gives you peace of mind.
  • Those around you appreciate home made bread.
  • Home made bread is fresh and delicious out of the oven.
  • You can teach others, such as your children, your spouse, or neighbors and acquaintances.
  • Baking bread is a community event that is free of controversy and builds friendships and solidarity.
  • As the old saying goes, ‘nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven.
  • To paraphrase the three great demands of the people–Peace, Love, and Bread.

 

 

5 Additional Benefits of Homebaked Bread

  • You avoid the store bought packaged bread, which often has weird additives that we shouldn’t eat in the first place. Bad for health.
  • We have more control over the ingredients–you can put almost anything we want into a loaf of bread!! Different flours, even things like olives, walnuts, seeds cheese, etc.
  • If you have food allergies, for example, to gluten, you can make bread without wheat and its gluten
  • Fresh bread is, well, fresh, whereas store bought is usually several days old by the time you get it
  • Homemade bread is cheaper. You don’t pay for packaging, advertising, transport and middlemen

 

 

Here is the Bread Recipe I Made Up

 

Homemade sesame whole wheat breadI just baked this bread. It’s made with mostly regular bread flour. If I use all whole wheat flour it is more nutritious, but doesn’t look as nice.

My white bread loving friends say that a heavy whole wheat, whole grain bread tastes like eating a brick. And my all natural foodie friends think white bread tastes like eating a feather pillow. So each to his or her own.

Whatever you do, if it’s fresh with real ingredients, you can’t go too far wrong. The only ‘danger’ is that it tastes so good, right out of the oven, you may eat the whole thing before it cools down, adding to your weight. So a little restraint, OK:)?

 

1 1/2 cups White Bread Flour
1/4 cup Whole wheat Flour
1/4 cup Rye Flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 duck eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
Honey, yeast, water, oil for total liquids 1 cup.

Take a look at the ingredients. While whole wheat, white unbleached and rye flours are quite common in bread. But where do you think you’ll find bread made with duck eggs (which are more nutritious than chicken eggs), poppy seeds, which also add nutrition and flavor, and olive oil. Most breads, especially store bought, have cheaper ingredients. Which are also not as healthy.

I hand made this. No bread machine. Let it rise once, made this loaf, baked 35 minutes for nice brown crust. A great midnight snack.

 

Secret to a Quick Bread Rise

Before you get your other ingredients together, heat a small amount of water, hot enough to dip your finger in. Add it to a mix of activated dry yeast and either real natural brown sugar, or a couple of table spoons of honey. Get your dry ingredients together while the yeast mixture is doing its thing.

By the time you put your dries into a nice big mixing bowl. and get your wets, such as eggs, milk, honey, oil, butter, and so on, the yeast mixture should have frothed up to make a nice thick head of foam. Add that to the other ingredients in a measuring cup. It should come to about a cup of liquid.

The oil keeps the bread dough from being too sticky, so it is easier to cleanup.

Yes, all my Vegan, Keto, low carb, zero gluten and all the other diet fad friends. It breaks all their rules. But sometimes, there’s nothing like a nice piece of bread, a sandwich, or some of the other great stuff you can do with bread, like stuffing or french toast or even the lowly PB and J sandwich.

 

Learn to Bake Bread the Zen Way

I learned this when I lived in a Zen community in the USA. One of the first books on natural foods baking was by Zen monk Ed Brown, who wrote The Tassajara Bread Book, named after Tassajara, site of the first Zen monastery in the USA, where I lived for 2 years.

The Tassajara Bread Book
436 Reviews
The Tassajara Bread Book
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Brown, Edward Espe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 196 Pages - 02/15/2011 (Publication Date) - Shambhala (Publisher)

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Post Note: Scared to Bake from Scratch? Try This

After writing this post, I realized that, while baking is second nature to me, having baked for almost 40 years, that it might be a bit intimidating to try baking at home with no one right at your side. So what to do? Get a bread baking machine! You just add the ingredients, press the button, and these machines do all the rest.

I just did a quick search on Amazon, and as ‘a bread expert’ (hope I’m not being presumptuous here:) I picked out three which look real good. Check them out!

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Physical Therapy You Can Do at Home: Knee Meniscus Tear Exercise

Physical Therapy You Can Do at Home: Knee Meniscus Tear Exercise

Physical Therapy Helps to Treat Knee Injuries

 

Let’s face it: Joint pain is not fun. You will not know how dreadful it is until you’ve got surgery or a bunch of medications to take. However, joint pain treatment should not only be limited to those two. You also have a more natural solution, such as  physical therapy, which can help relieve joint pain.

If you go to a licensed physical therapist, he or she will probably perform several procedures, including the use of pain relief devices such as ultra sound, TENS, use of hot and cold packs, and so on. Plus, teach you some exercises to do at home.  You can learn about pain relief devices here.

Joint pain causes difficulty in climbing the stairs, walking and playing sports among others issues. Not only that, but when you have knee problems, even doing exercise, which you need, becomes problematic. So it’s a matter of knowing the right kinds of exercise to do.  That is how physical therapy may treat your knee problem,  by bringing back the natural movement of your body. Besides, physical therapy will also strengthen your joints, restore their health and maintain fitness.

There are different approaches by which physical therapy heals knee pain.

  • First,  low-impact aerobic training. The training will engage your joints for mobility improvement. Furthermore, it helps in enhancing your heart rate. Instead of engaging in rigorous exercises, the therapy will teach you to warm up properly.
  • Second, strengthening your body. Besides knees, the targets of the therapy are your back, belly and butt. The therapist may ask you to perform body weight-based or machine-supported exercises.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is vital to improving not only your joint health but also your overall wellness. Besides strengthened joint muscles, you can also maintain bone health, get higher energy, and control weight.

Why Choose Physical Therapy Over Other Joint Pain Treatments?

 

A good physical therapist can help you  preserve your health, which is difficult if you have arthritis or an injury such as a meniscus tear, ACL or MCL tear, and so on. According to National Health Interview Data Survey, 37% of arthritis patients are inactive. The situation is brought by increased general distress, disability and poor quality of life. Physical therapists will be able to support you in overcoming barriers while exercising.

Improved mobility is achievable with physical therapy. By attending sessions regularly, and then doing the exercises on your own, physical therapists can help you gain pain-free movement. Though you may have  knee pain or arthritis, you can now enjoy recreational activities. In addition, increased mobility and physical independence will reduce your hip fracture and heart failure risks. Watch the video for a quick lesson by a physical therapist.

Choosing physical therapy as an alternative will give you an edge to avoid prescription drugs. Physical therapy is cheaper and equally effective in treating knee osteoarthritis, low back pain and degenerative disc disease, too.

Participating in your own recovery is ideal using physical therapy. These health professionals will help you develop physical independence. They will work by teaching you what to do, and later on, letting you do the activities alone.

Physical Therapy Relieves Knee Pain, Aids Faster Healing, and It’s Not Painful

 

Physical Therapists, who specialize in bringing back your mobility, know how to make you stronger without pain. They prioritize activities that do not require you to exert much effort. However, take note that physical therapy is challenging since the focus is on using your injured joints. So, ask for a recommendation from your doctor for the physical therapist option. On the other hand, you can get suggestions around your area through peers.  For a discussion of 26 things you can do to treat yourself, go here:

 

 

Dr. Jo, who is featured in the video, is a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy.  You can learn more about her at her website page:https://www.askdoctorjo.com/content/about-me