The Structural System
Lesson 14, Page 12 of 16

Malic acid is a nutrient found in certain foods such as apples that may be helpful for muscle conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Nutritional Support for the Hair, Skin and Nails

HSN-W is an herbal combination designed to nutritionally support the Hair, Skin and Nails (hence the name.) It contains the herbs dulse, horsetail, sage and rosemary, which contain minerals, like silicon, which are necessary for strong and healthy hair. The herb horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is also helpful in the absorption and utilization of calcium, providing further benefits for the structural system.

Pure Jojoba oil can be rubbed into the scalp to improve the health of the scalp and hair. When the pure oil is used it only takes two or three drops. Put the oil on the fingertips and work into the scalp, rather than into the hair. For best results it can be used along with a nutritional supplement, such as HSN-W.

Hair loss can also be caused by hormone imbalances, particularly an underactive thyroid gland. If this is the case, nutritional supplements for the glandular system may be beneficial. These can be used along with the above supplements. (See the lesson on the glandular system.)

Nutritional Support for Fractures

Bone fractures should be treated by a doctor to insure that the fractured bone is properly "set" and stabilized. Once this is done, nutritional supplementation can speed healing time and help insure against problems such as malunion (where the bones refuse to completely unite.) A good complete calcium supplement, as previously discussed, should be used when recovering from a fracture. The best one I have found is Skeletal Strength. Broken bones will also knit much quicker and better if a supplement called Bone/Skin Poultice is used during the healing period.

Nutritional Support for the Joints

Joint inflammation and pain are very common. There are many reasons for this including excess weight, joint misalignments and poor nutrition. The typical modern diet, high in polyunsaturated vegetable oils, wheat, and simple sugars, promotes the body's production of histamines, which tend to increase inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and allergies. Healthy eating habits, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, provides the body with antioxidants which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

By no means are all fats bad. Certain "good fats," like fish oil and flax seed oil have an anti-inflammatory effect and are very beneficial for the joints. Ligan-rich cold-pressed oil from flax seeds is a rich source of three essential fatty acids (EFAs.) Flax seed oil contains omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA), alpha-linolenic acid, and linoleic acid (omega-6 EFA) in the correct proportions. This is important to know since the body cannot manufacture EFAs. (That's why they are called "essential." It is essential that we get them in the diet.) North Americans are typically lacking omega-3 EFAs in their diet, and Flaxseed Oil is the perfect supplement. Flaxseeds also contain lignans which provide immune system support in addition to circulatory and structural benefits. Other key components, lecithin and phospholipids, are responsible for the development and integrity of cell membranes. Scientific research has proven that dietary supplementation with flax seed oil has beneficial effects for all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Phytonutrients known as Proanthocyanidins, (previously known by the trade name Pycnogenol), found in certain foods and herbs, particularly in certain types of grape seeds and pine bark, have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Many individuals also find that they are beneficial for allergies. For best results, initially at least one milligram (1 mg) of proanthocyanidins per pound of body weight per day should be taken in divided dosages throughout the day. Once symptoms are significantly reduced a dosage of 45 to 60 mg a day will usually suffice for maintenance. Proanthocyanidins are very safe and may provide many benefits for the body, since they are powerful antioxidants. Negative reactions are rare, usually occurring only at very high dosages (much higher than we have recommended here), and are usually limited to gastrointestinal upset which disappears when the dosage is reduced. (The product High Potency Grapine contains 60 mg proanthocyanidins per capsule.)

Plant enzymes also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Unfortunately, most of the enzymes that are naturally found in our plant foods are destroyed by cooking and food processing leaving the typical diet deficient. Supplementation with plant enzymes (such as Proactazyme) not only aids the digestion but also helps reduce inflammation. Plant enzyme supplements are normally taken with meals to aid the digestive process, but when inflammation is present, additional enzymes should be taken between meals, when the stomach is empty.

Uña De Gato or Cat's Claw Herb (Uncaria tomentosa) has been used for centuries by the Ashaninka Indians of Peru for a wide variety of health concerns involving the immune, digestive and structural systems. The herb comes exclusively from the highlands of the Peruvian rainforest. It is a giant, woody vine that grows to heights of more than 100 feet. The name comes from the thorns found on the vine that closely resemble the claws of a cat.

Recent scientific research has proven many of the claims made by the Ashaninka Indians regarding their prized herb. Scientists have isolated six alkaloids from the uña de gato vine and have discovered that four of these alkaloids have a pronounced enhancement effect on the ability of white blood cells and macrophages of the immune system to attack, engulf and digest harmful microorganisms, foreign matter and debris.

Una de gato has also been shown to have beneficial effects for the structural system, particularly for arthritis. It contains proanthocyanidins which are powerful antioxidants that decrease the production of histamine, reducing inflammation, swelling, and free radical damage to collagen. Uña de gato is very safe, although some individuals may experience a mild laxative effect which usually disappears when the dosage is reduced. It is generally recommended that pregnant and lactating women should not use the herb.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), the "Father of All Herbs," has a long history of traditional use for joint problems, particularly arthritis. Alfalfa is highly nutritious, being especially rich in vital trace minerals. The Alfalfa plant sends its roots deep into the earth, some say as far as 60 feet, where the soil has not been depleted of trace minerals, so common in today's overworked soils. Alfalfa is also an alkalizing food, which offers an additional benefit for "over-acid" conditions like arthritis. Liquid Chlorophyll, a popular alkalizer and blood cleanser that may also be helpful for arthritis, is derived from the alfalfa plant. It is important to choose a brand of alfalfa that uses plants harvested no younger than three years old, because that's how long it takes the plant to send its roots deep enough to reach the best mineral deposits. Most herb companies use alfalfa plants that are harvested when they are less than one year old, yielding an inferior product.

Yucca (Yucca baccata) is a familiar plant to Americans who have lived or traveled in the Southwest U.S.A. or Mexico, where it is abundant. Yucca is also known as soap root, Spanish bayonet and Spanish dagger. The reference to soap comes from a long tradition of using the plant's roots as a foaming agent for cleaning. The American Indians used yucca, not only for its nutritional value but also to make baskets, belts, ropes, cords, sandals and mats. Some Indians—such as the Hopi, Papago and Utes—still use yucca for these purposes today. Yucca root contains large amounts of asteroid saponin, which accounts for its lathering ability as well as its antiinflammatory effect. These saponins are precursors to the natural cortisone produced in the adrenal gland to reduce inflammation in the body. Yucca root also has an alkalizing effect and helps "clean out" accumulations or deposits in the body, such as in the joints in the case of arthritis.

Joint Support is an herbal combination that has been traditionally used for pain and inflammation in connective tissues by enhancing the body's detoxifying and digestive functions. It may help arthritis, bursitis, gout, and joint inflammation. (Relieves excess conditions.) Joint Support (formerly known as JNT-A and ART-A) is a source of natural calcium, selenium and silicon. It contains Alfalfa aerial parts, Horsetail stems and strobilus, Bromelain fruit, Catnip leaves, Celery seed, Black cohosh root, Yarrow aerial parts, Capsicum fruit, Slippery elm bark, Valerian root, Hydrangea root extract, Yucca root extract, White willow bark, Burdock root, and Sarsaparilla root.

Glucosamine is the only substance (nutritional or drug) that has been shown to have the ability to stop and even reverse the degeneration of osteoarthritis. And unlike the commonly used drugs for osteoarthritis (NSAIDS), glucosamine is perfectly safe and without side-effects. (See EverFlex.)

As we age, the hyalin cartilage, or articular cartilage, that cushions the joints where the ends of the bones come together begins to break down faster than the body can regenerate it. As we saw earlier in this lesson, the commonly used arthritis drugs (NSAIDS), although providing some relief by temporarily masking the pain, actually make the condition worse because they interfere with the body's ability to regenerate or rebuild cartilage. Glucosamine, a nutrient found in very small amounts in certain foods, provides the building blocks necessary for rebuilding cartilage. Glucosamine has become the treatment of choice for arthritis in many countries. Double-blind controlled studies have proven that it works.

Research has demonstrated that although NSAIDS such as ibuprofen provide faster relief, glucosamine provides better results when comparing reduction of pain and swelling after two weeks time. Initially, 800 mgs of glucosamine should be taken twice a day. One should drink plenty of pure water with the supplement to help rehydrate the joints. After relief is obtained, usually after about two weeks, this dosage can usually be cut in half, and a maintenance dose of 400 mgs of glucosamine twice a day can be used for continuing care of the joints. Two forms of glucosamine supplements are generally available, glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL). Between the two, research has shown that the glucosamine hydrochloride is the superior form. Many nutritionists recommend that glucosamine be taken with chondroitin (see below.)

Chondroitin is another protein building block for the connective tissues around the joints. It is an ingredient in the "gristle" attached to the ends of the bones in the meats that we eat. Chondroitin, along with proteoglycans, attracts and absorbs fluids, which help cushion the joints. It also inhibits the destruction of joint cartilage. Since we don't normally eat the "gristle" off the ends of the bones in the foods that we eat, chondroitin is available as a nutritional supplement for joint health. For best results, chondroitin should be used along with glucosamine. (See EverFlex.)

Hyaluronic acid (or HA) is another important component of cartilage and synovial fluid; it occurs naturally throughout the body. This molecule plays a crucial role in joint motion, the maintenance of joint homeostasis and skin support. HA supplementation promotes the viscosity and elasticity of the fluid surrounding the joints. (See EverFlex.)

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound found in the body and in certain foods—particular meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, legumes, garlic and onions. Research has demonstrated that nutritional supplementation with MSM has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and may be helpful for individuals suffering from conditions such as arthritis. There are few if any negative side effects from taking MSM at usual dosages. Even individuals who are allergic to sulfur-containing drugs can usually take it without any problems. Extremely high dosages of MSM can result in gastrointestinal complaints, but even these will usually disappear when the dosage is decreased.

Sulfur is a mineral that is needed for the manufacture of several important sulfur-containing amino acids, which are used in the manufacturing of many proteins including the ones that form hair, skin and muscle. Sulfur is needed to make bile, which is necessary for the digestion of fat. It is also a component of teeth, collagen and bones. Sulfur is contained in insulin, which is needed to regulate blood sugar levels. Many potential benefits have been proposed for supplementation of sulfur in the form of MSM, but most of these have not yet been proven due to a lack of scientific research. The greatest benefit for MSM will probably prove to be for the structural system. MSM is available in capsule form to be taken internally, and in a lotion for external application around painful joints. MSM is a key ingredient, along with Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Devil's Claw Herb, in a product called EverFlex tablets. It is also available in a lotion called EverFlex Pain Cream for external application to painful joints.

Which of the following is the only substance (nutritional or drug) that has been shown to have the ability to stop and even reverse the degeneration of osteoarthritis?


(Select the best answer and click on the "Continue" button.)

Go Back         Continue