Bones and Joints – Lockdown Edition

Having endured three lockdowns now many of us trying to different ways for staying active whilst gyms, sports centres, etc are all closed. Many of us are doing a Joe Wicks style home workout to get their sweat on whilst others are going the old fashioned route with an outdoors run.Whether we are going on a long walk or working the rowing machine at home it is so important to make sure our bones and joints are also in good shape!

crop unrecognizable chiropractor examining arm of smiling female patient

It’s normal for many of us to not even give our joints a thought until it’s too late and we’re aching and in pain – I’ve been a victim of this myself many times!

Having cartilage protecting the joints with a fluid cushioning is how healthy joint should be. On average, women have more mobility in their bones and joints, because they are moving around more they are more likely to cause wear and tear.

Here are some of the causes that may cause our joints to ache:

  • Being Overweight – The pressure in the knee joints when moving is around five times your body weight, this means even a few added pounds could have an effect. On top of this body fat also increases inflammation which will cause more pain and swelling.
  • Over – Sitting  – Yes this is a thing! It is important to keep the joints moving to keep them working as they should. Doing this regularly also strengthens muscles and ligaments around your joints. Being sat down or inactive too long can result in stiffness and cause the soft tissue to decline.
  • Menopause –  Oestrogen is key to keeping the ligaments that stabilise joints flexible. As oestrogen levels fall, joints become weaker and stiffer. The low oestrogen levels will In turn cause aches and pain.
  • Stress –  You may be thinking, what has stress got to do with my joints? Well, our stress and pain levels affect how we all deal with pain. Studies have shown increased stress levels can actually make the pain worse.
woman sitting in front of macbook

If you find your joints and bones are aching or are in pain then we have some ways to build healthier joints for you too:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight – Shedding ten pounds can take 50 pounds of pressure of your knees. Having a healthy weight means less pain, less inflammation, less pressure on joints and cartilage preservation.
  • Have a Healthy Diet – This is a key factor in health and wellness in general.  Eating fruit and veg can prevent inflammation. Eating lean proteins is important to support the strong muscles.
  • Sun or Supplements – Vitamins D and K are necessary for good bone health. If you cant get enough through the sun, make sure to supplement them to support your bone health in the best way.
  • Keep Active!!
adventure athlete athletic daylight

Exercise can feel like that thing we would want to do when our joints are aching. However, by staying active we can reduce pain, reduce stiffness as well as strengthening the muscles that support our joints.

It’s good and important to get around 30 minutes of exercise per day across five days. The following exercises are best for the maintenance our joint health:

  • Walking –  This can bring so many different benefits. It aids losing or maintaining body weight and also gets all major muscle groups in motion. The great thing about walking is it costs nothing but time and requires no extra equipment.
  • Yoga – Yoga is brilliant as it also helps stress relief and is great for relaxation purposes. Yoga will help keep joints mobile.
  • Swimming To burn calories and sooth muscles swimming is the perfect exercise. It is also great for improving joint pain and stiffness. Swimming can improve mood as well as helping with sleep, it is great for both mental and physical benefits.
  • Strength Training – It’s important to not over do it and go heavy with the weights. Going slow and steady is the best way. Strength training will help support and protect our joints.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Yes, it even applies to our bones and joints!

Vitamin K2 – The Forgotten All Star Vitamin

Vitamin K2 is a vitamin that could help prevent heart disease, could help improve bone and joint health, could help improve dental health as well as playing a role in supporting your immune system.

Surprisingly most people have never heard of vitamin K2 and do not even know such a vitamin exists. We’re here to explain what exactly makes vitamin K2 an “All-Star” vitamin.

The History

The history of vitamin K2 is an interesting one that goes back centuries ago.

The origins of this vitamin began in in feudal Japan. Samurai warriors would eat a fermented soybean dish called natto.

Diets centuries ago would most likely provide enough K2 however over the years vitamin K2 became less available, therefore less used. This in turn meant Vitamin K2 was “forgotten” about (hence the name “The Forgotten Vitamin” until its absence was finally recognised.

From the samurais in the 1600s we would have to fast forward all the way to the 1930s for the Vitamin K family to be discovered thanks to two people :  Henrik Dam (Danish scientist) and  Edward Adelbert Doisy (American Biochemist). They both received the 1943 Nobel Prize was their pioneering work! You can save that one for a future pub quiz!

In the 1960’s, Vitamin K2 as MK-4 was approved as a drug in Japan. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, studies were initiated on K2 for mothers and new-borns as well as bone health. By 2015, Vitamin K2’s effects on cardio vascular was proven. This then brings us to the present day where there is support on the benefits for the immune system also.

The vitamin that plays a star role has finally gained momentum and is ready for a starting spot!

What makes Vitamin K2 an All-Star?

To start with its important to know that Vitamin K2 deficiency is very common in western populations even though this nutrient plays a key role in many aspects of our health.

Simply, our diets do not provide us with enough vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 must be obtained through our diet. Fermented sourced are the main sources of vitamin K2.

As vitamin K2 is lacking in our diets, we must supplement K2 to get the health benefits our body requires. A deficiency in K2 could lead to calcium being deposited in the wrong areas (arteries) instead of the bones.

The main key benefits for either obtaining K2 from your diet or through supplements:

  • Bone Health – Calcium is what is needed to build and maintain healthy bones. With sufficient K2 intake, calcium is guided directly to the bone, and away from the arteries therefore K2 is putting the calcium in balance.
  • Heart Health – An excess amount of calcium being deposited in the arteries could lead to arterial stiffening which is one of the leading factors in heart disease. Also, vitamin K2 activates the Matrix Gla protein (MGP). Essentially, MGP is one of the strongest inhibitors of vascular calcification.
  • Immune Health – Calcium is key for the body, however if it is not correctly regulated this could lead to severe effects to the body. Vitamin K2 activated the calcium binding proteins that stop calcium deposition in soft tissues.

Together with vitamin D3 as The Perfect Pair, they support healthy immune and inflammatory responses.

Vitamin K2 plays an important and essential role in our body functions therefore earning its status as The All-Star Vitamin.

Vitamin D and the Immune System

You have most likely seen or heard about “Vitamin D” in the last year more than you had in the previous five years combined. The devastating impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic was something nobody had predicted at the start of 2020. Since then, many of us have attempted to ensure we are as protected as possible.

Understandably, there has been an increased consumer demand for vitamins which is increasing as each day passes. Supporting our immune health is now a primary concern for many of us with the hopes that our immune systems are protected against any illnesses/viruses. Vitamin D, in all its glory, has been all over various news outlets and has been brought to the attention of many, it has been recommended by scientists.

In this piece, we will explain the role vitamin D has on your immune system and why exactly Vitamin D is so prevalent right now.

The best place to start off with is to dive right into what vitamin D actually is.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so it is absorbed and carried through the body in fat globules. There are four fat soluble vitamins and these are stored in the body within cells and tissues.

There are two forms of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D2 – Man made, usually added to foods or supplements.
  • Vitamin D3 – Natural form also known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. This is because it is produced in our skin in response to sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is something that is prevalent in the UK especially due to the lack of sun we get!

There are a few factors that may stop us from getting the vitamin D our bodies require such as spending time indoors, being in a highly polluted area as well as living in cities where buildings may block the sunlight. In addition to this, the higher levels of melanin one has, the less vitamin D one can absorb. In the UK, it is very difficult to get the sufficient vitamin D which is why supplements are a big help!

Vitamin D is mostly known for the great benefits it provides for our bones and teeth as well as maintaining muscle function. However, it also plays a role in immune function and reducing inflammation.

So how does Vitamin D benefit our immune system?

Vitamin D is able to incite a greater production of T cells. T cells find and destroy foreign pathogens such as viruses. This in turn makes Vitamin D key to help our bodies fight against infections and foreign pathogens. If we maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D we could be giving our bodies the boost it requires to fight different types of infections.

There are a few ways we can all aid our immune systems alongside supplements. We can do the following :

  • Exercise – Exercising regularly helps clearing out toxins from your body. This helps reducing your chances of catching a flu or cold.
  • Sleep – Not getting enough sleep could raise the likelihood of getting ill or sick. Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep at night. Letting the body reset is key for good health.
  • Hydrate – Dehydration can make us more susceptible to illness. Drinking plenty of water throughout day is the key to prevent this.
  • Healthy Diet – Eating foods such as fruits, veg, seeds, nuts, etc that contain plenty of nutrients could give as a big boost against pathogens that could harm us. Eating these foods is crucial for better health.
  • Supplements – Supplements can help fight against viral infections. However it is important to emphasise the importance of purchasing from a brand you can trust.

We hope this piece has given you more of an understanding on Vitamin D and its role on the immune system.

Thanks for reading!