Originally published October 4 2013
Got pain? Alleviate it long-term with safe natural remedies
by Linn Cole
(NaturalNews) Pain is one of the most common ailments (millions of people report experiencing chronic or acute pain on a monthly basis), yet medical science has yet to offer a non-toxic painkiller good for long-term use. Natural pain relievers may trump drugs on this score. A handful of vitamins, minerals and amino acids are known to address pain at its root, stocking the body with the nutrients it needs to reduce discomfort.
Vitamin DThis vitamin, which acts more like a hormone in the body, appears to be vital for sleep, mood, and regulation of pain. It's been found that over 90 percent of people living with chronic musculoskeletal pain have vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that anyone encountering this type of pain could benefit from screening for vitamin D deficiency.
60 percent of Americans are estimated to be deficient, with much higher rates among people whose ethnicity typically has dark skin pigmentation and people living in northern latitudes. People under 30 also appear to be at much higher risk for severe vitamin D deficiency. Natural sources of vitamin D include sunlight, fish with small bones, and fortified milk and cereal.
Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 occurs mainly in meat and milk products; vegetarians, vegans, people suffering from anemia, infections, celiac disease and Crohn's disease are all at risk for deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include depression, memory impairment, irritability, numbness and tingling. In an Italian study, supplementation with vitamin B12 provided relief for low back pain at a rate statistically significant when compared against a placebo.
To supplement with vitamin B12, try sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets. Vitamin B12 may also be administered in muscular injections.
MagnesiumAs one of the most prevalent minerals in the body, magnesium wears a number of hats. It has implications for blood sugar levels, blood pressure, protein synthesis, energy metabolism and immune system function, among hundreds of other processes. Various studies have confirmed that supplementation with magnesium reliably reduces lower back pain and the frequency of migraines.
Signs of magnesium deficiency include depression, irritability, PMS, heart arrhythmia, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and heart disease. Magnesium is found in nuts and seeds, whole grains, green, leafy vegetables and chocolate, and can be taken orally in doses of 600 mg a day.
5-HTPThis naturally occurring amino acid is converted in the body to tryptophan, then serotonin and melatonin, and aids in depression and insomnia. Since certain migraine medications affect serotonin levels, 5-HTP has been tested and, in some cases, found to be on par with those medications for relieving migraines.
Though doses up to 600 mg/day may be used, start with doses of 50-250 mg/day. Since 5-HTP may induce drowsiness, it's best to take it shortly before bedtime. If daytime drowsiness still occurs, reduce the amount of 5-HTP taken until you find a suitable dose.
DLPAThe amino acid DLPA, a combination of L and D forms of phenylalanine, serves to produce the energizing hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline and the feel-good hormone dopamine in the body. Supplementing with DLPA decreases appetite and improves mental alertness and mood. The D form in particular works to enhance endorphin action in the body, acting as a kind of natural opiate. This aspect makes DLPA a natural painkiller; one physician has implicated it as especially useful in treating arthritis pain.
DLPA should be taken in doses of 500-1000 mg once or twice daily: once before breakfast, with an optional second dose after lunch. Avoid taking DLPA in the evening or at night.
Cass, M.D., Hyla, and Patrick Holford. Natural Highs: Feel Good All the Time. New York: Avery, 2002. Print.
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