Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can weak abdominals cause knee pain?

A few very common problems today that I see and hear about today are poor posture, weak abdominals and chronic knee pain. Did you ever think that all of these problems could be interconnected and related somehow? Let’s take a look and see how it all fits together.

First, we have to look the abdominal wall and the pelvis. The pelvis is supported by the abdominals, so if the abdominal wall looses coordination or doesn’t work properly the pelvis will tilt forward. To give you a visual, think of pouring water out of a bucket by tipping it forward. So if your pelvis is not supported and tips forward, this causes a shift in your spine to balance out the weight, but it also causes your knees to turn in. Contrary to that, if you tip your pelvis back, your knees will go outward. You can easily stand up and try it for yourself to see what I mean.  When the knees turn inward it is called pronation. When the knees are pronated this causes the knee cap (or patella) to shift laterally. If the knee moves laterally while walking it will start to wear the cartilage out, this then triggers a chronic inflammatory process in the knee joint.

An extreme case of weak abdominals is called Visceroptosis.  Visceroptosis means that the abdominal wall is so dysfunctional that the organs behind it can not properly be supported.  A quick test you can do to see if you have visceroptosis is to take a couple deep breaths (in through the nose) while standing and observe how much effort it takes.  Then do the same thing while lying down on your back.  If you can breathe much easier while lying on your back it could indicate visceroptosis.  

Getting the core functioning properly is very important on many levels and these are just a couple of examples mentioned in this article.  There's no point to going to the gym and doing 100 sit-ups if your abdominal wall is so screwed up it can't support the pelvis.  I recommend having a thorough assessment to make sure your abdominal wall is working properly and helping to support the rest of your body.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vitamins... The Solution or Problem?

How many people do you know that take some sort of vitamin everyday?  I would be willing to bet that most people would say almost everyone they know takes a vitamin.  Unfortunately, all "vitamins" today are not created equal and the vitamins that are in so many household cabinets might not be as good for us as we think.  Natural, organic vitamins in nature are found in a complex, which includes minerals, trace minerals, enzymes and co-enzymes, that no scientist or laboratory can duplicate.  Mostly all vitamins people buy today are synthetic vitamins, where the one vitamin is isolated from the complex making it an incomplete product. 

So, what does it matter if the vitamin is separated from the rest of the complex?  For example, if B1 is removed from a B Vitamin Complex supplement, can't we just take a B1 vitamin to "complete" the complex?  No, you cant.  I know some of you were hoping I would say yes, but sorry, nature doesn't work that way.  There are so many other things (minerals, enzymes) that the body needs to properly process the vitamin.  Another example of isolated supplements not being effective is beta-carotene. 

In an article from one of the worlds greatest nutritionists, Dr. Royal Lee, he says, "Beta carotene is a precursor the body can convert to vitamin A. Unfortunately, as a supplement, synthetic beta carotene is usually 'stabilized' in refined vegetable oils. In this trans fatty acid form, oxidation occurs and the chemically 'pure' beta carotene can no longer act as a nutrient, because it was changed. Almost all synthetic beta carotene is produced by the Swiss drug giant Hoffman-LaRoche. This form can no longer be converted to vitamin A. The best it can be is worthless, and the worst is toxic".

To give you some evidence of a real life situation, the book Food and Nutrition by E.W.H.  Cruickshank, MD shows an experiment using Vitamin D.  The experiment took a group of three chicks (no, not women) that were fed on the same diet.  The first group received no vitamin D at all, the second group was given a synthetic vitamin D supplement and the third group was given natural vitamin D preparation made from cod-liver oil.  In the no-vitamin chicks, sixty percent died. In the  synthetic-D group, fifty percent died. However, in the natural vitamin D  group, there was not one death! 

The major issue with taking vitamin isolates is that it can create other vitamin deficiencies.  Reason being is that the body uses its vitamin stores to try and complete the complex because it just got an overdose of a certain vitamin and doesn't know what to do with it all.  If you think about it, it's a great way to keep the vitamin companies in business.  For example, if you go to the doctor's office complaining about bleeding gums he'll probably tell you that you have a vitamin C deficiency, then you're gonna go home and eat them like M&M's.  A month later you go back and he says, "glad to see your gums have stopped bleeding, but now you have a vitamin E deficiency".

My recommendation is to get your vitamins for natural, organic whole foods.  You don't need a multi-vitamin if you have a well balanced, diverse diet of fruits, vegetables and meat.  I've asked this question before about other things, but how did we survive millions of years without a GNC multi-vitamin.  I personally don't believe that science can outsmart Mother Nature.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy!