So as an Old Munki going through some fun shoulder surgery, I have lined up some additional dietary supplements. A number of these are generally pretty good for all round health for munkis old and young alike. But a number of them that I will be taking during my recovery have been recommended to me, by someone else who has been through the same surgery but appeared to recover a lot quicker than I did from my first operation.
So the first supplement I have that I have been taking for a while is Vitamin D. We produce Vitamin D naturally from our skin being exposed to sunlight. However as I live in Manchester in the UK, producing adequate Vitamin D from sun exposure is highly unlikely. Vitamin D has several important functions. For example, it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and supports the immune the system. This is just for general wellness and not actually specific to my recovery. I have to admit I have felt better since I have started taking this a number of months ago and would definitely recommend it.
So now on to the more specific supplements. I’ll start with HMB or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-methylbutyrate (yeah thats why its called HMB) is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of the amino acid Leucine. HMB is produced in our body from the proteins in our diet and is also consumed in small amounts from the foods we eat. Foods like catfish and alfalfa (yeah I eat a lot of those) contain small amounts of HMB. The main reasons for taking this are that HMB is supposed to prevent muscle catabolism and speeds up tissue repair. Obviously having been stitched back together speeding up tissue repair would be a benefit. But also as I’m not exercising, last time the shoulder that had been operated on looked like I’d borrowed it from Mr Bean, after the six weeks in the sling. So hopefully I can reduce this impact this time around.
Now onto Glucosamine Sulphate. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring element in the body that plays a crucial role in building of cartilage. It is needed by cartilage because it plays a role into the incorporation of sulfur into cartilage, which is required to make and repair it. Strong evidence does exist from many trials that can indicate that glucosamine sulfate can play a role in treating osteoarthritis, yeah the “raging arthritis” I have. Generally, the findings from these studies show that perhaps glucosamine provides benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis in the form of reduction of pain, at the moment for me this isn’t an issue. But it also helps improve mobility and function, that one however is a big plus for me at this time.
Next is Krill Oil. This oil comes from krill, tiny shrimp-like creatures that live in very cold ocean waters. A study found that krill oil, like omega-3s in general, could improve osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and functional impairment. Once again it seems like a winner, in getting this Old Munki’s shoulders functioning as good as possible.
Oh I also have some collagen tablets. The claim that collagen can stimulate the growth of new cartilage in joints is borne out by recent medical studies which say that patients with arthritic or damaged joints showed improvement in mobility and pain relief when taking the supplement. I thought this may help with the repair to the damage to the joints that has already taken place. I know I could make bone broth and have that instead, but that is a lot of messing about and I have to find some suitable bones on a weekly basis. So for now the tablets are the way forward. Also a side effect is they might also improve my wrinkly old munki skin too. Bonus!
The final supplement is Coconut Oil. Once again this is not a specific supplement for the operation, but one that I take generally. Coconut oil is one of those saturated fats that is actually good for you. It is a medium chain fatty acid which means your body can digest it easily. It supports you immune system and cellular health.
I also intend to stick to my clean diet (paleo) throughout the recovery. Hopefully all of these little extras will boost the overall recovery process for me. I am aware that for every report stating the positive influence a supplement can have there will be another that will state it has no impact at all. However if they do help ME in anyway with the initial speed of recovery from the operation and get me back on the mat quicker. Also if the help with my longer term physical condition, including the “raging arthritis” I’ll take it. So to see if they work I’ll try them for myself and base continuing use on my own experiences and probably cycling of the non oil supplements.
Two and a half weeks into the recovery and the additional supplements and I have very little pain in my shoulder post operation. Comparing this to how I recovered last year. Also based on the amount of pain relief medicine and the number of warnings about the pain, the anaesthesiologist gave me. I am really surprised by this, so I can only put this down to my diet and supplements. Oh and the quality of the surgeon. I have also been to see the physiotherapist this morning to see how I’m healing and they have told me to start easing out of the sling and have given me some “exercises” to do. I’m really pleased with how this is going this time around.
If you have any specific questions about the supplements I’ve used or the operation I’ve been through, feel free to ask them.
Krill Oil & Inflammation – An interesting blog post by Dr M. Eades
Coconut Oil Benefits – An article by Dr J. Mercola