Muscle Soreness - What's the Cause?There’s nothing like your muscles feeling sore. It can make us feel old, tired or just out of sorts. While it may appear as poor posture and be related to what you have done to your spine, and its effect on your general health, Ari is the expert there. Today I’m going to talk to you about the nutritional aspects of muscle soreness.
Before we get started, we will be mentioning specific nutrients. Remember, it’s always best to see a naturopath who has done lots of study to assess and make sure you are getting the nutrients that you need in the right form in the right dose.
If muscle aches and pains aren’t related to your body structure, here are some nutrients to consider.
Muscle aches and pains can be due to not getting enough anti-oxidants in your diet. If you’re waking up feeling stiff and sore, try increasing your vegetables or salad to 5 different colours at lunch and dinner. Decreasing the amount of red meat you eat for more white meat and increasing your water intake also has a natural anti-inflammatory affect on your body, therefore helping your muscles. In clinical practice I have often found that this has improved or resolved niggling muscle aches and pains that many people tend to experience in the morning.
Of course, it if isn't alleviated, see your Healthcare Professional for additional care.
Magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium are all needed for contraction and relaxation of muscles. In the body, everything needs to be in equilibrium (balanced), so it is important to ensure you have enough, but not too much of each mineral. Overall, eating plenty of nuts and seeds, fresh organic vegetables and using a little rock salt on your food (as long as you don’t eat highly processed foods or most restaurant foods – that’s often where the hidden salt lies), will help to keep you in balance.
High stress levels can tend to deplete magnesium and potassium levels, so ensuring your diet is full of vegetables (for potassium) and nuts and seeds (for magnesium), is important during those stressful periods. Sometimes an additional magnesium supplement recommended by your naturopath may help to ease leg cramps and muscle soreness as well.
CoQ10 is a nutrient that is commonly found in animal protein (meat, fish and chicken). Cq10 is part of our “powerhouse” that provides energy to our body. As we get older we naturally decline in CoQ10, but for anyone on a statin drug long term, with muscle pain can eventuate and it may indicate the need for an increased amount of CoQ10. Statin drugs are used to help lower cholesterol. If you’re going to supplement with CoQ10, talk to your naturopath about one that is stable and highly absorbable. It’s not just about what you eat and take, supplement-wise, it’s also about what you absorb. CoQ10 is often difficult to absorb, so you need to choose carefully which one you buy.
People with extremely low iron can also start to experience muscle pain. This is because iron is needed to carry around oxygen around the body. If we are very low in iron, our muscles can start to get sore because they aren’t getting enough oxygen to keep them healthy. It is always best to have an iron blood test before you start taking iron because if iron isn’t the problem, you could take too much and that can do more harm than good. Foods that are high in iron are red meat, molasses, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables.
So if you’re experiencing muscle pain that isn’t related to a structural issue, consider seeing a naturopath to work out if there are any nutritional imbalances. And remember what you eat can always be the best medicine!
This post is from Andrea Strand, a practicing Naturopath at Empowered Healthand has been a practicing naturopath for the last 10 years. She uses nutritional and herbal medicine to help bring the body back into balance and specializes in period pain and hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue and digestive issues. For more information, call us on 1300 21 44 25!