Hey guys and welcome back to another edition of 3 question Friday where our head nutritionist Ben answers his favourite nutrition and health questions that you have been sending in each week!
In this week’s edition you’ll be learning about the dangers of taking anti-inflammatory drugs (that they probably didn’t tell you!), how anxiety could be causing your heartburn, and how taking certain supplements together can make them ineffective!
Congratulations to Carol, Mike, and Bev who all won $20 gift vouchers just for asking Ben a question! You can always send your questions to email@example.com
Without further ado this week’s questions are:
- Carol: I’m already taking an anti-inflammatory drug, why should I take TheraJoint+?
- Mike: I’ve been experiencing heart burn, is it possible that my anxiety is causing this?
Bev: Can I take magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc supplements at the same time?I’m already taking an anti-inflammatory drug, why should I take TheraJoint+?
1. I’m already taking an anti-inflammatory drug, why should I take TheraJoint+?
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is common in people who suffer with joint pain and inflammation from conditions like arthritis, musculoskeletal disorders and other pain disorders.
Some commonly used NSAIDs include:
- Aspirin (such as Disprin)
- Ibuprofen (such as Nurofen)
- Naproxen (such as Naprosyn)
- Diclofenac (such as Voltaren)
- Celecoxib (such as Celebrex)
These types of anti-inflammatory drugs work by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (aka COX) that is required to make prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are inflammatory chemicals in the body that contribute to inflammation, pain, heat, redness, swelling and heat by increasing temperature and dilating (opening) blood vessels in inflamed areas.
It’s important to note that acute inflammation is a natural part of life and helps us to heal, whether that’s after a big gym workout or when you cut your finger cooking dinner. However, a chronic inflammatory response contributes to pain and inflammation and can result in debilitating inflammatory conditions.
So why would you take TheraJoint+ if you can take anti-inflammatory drugs likes NSAIDs?
Unfortunately, NSAID’s can cause many common unpleasant side effects that include- Gastrointestinal issues (eg. stomach aches, feeling sick and diarrhoea)
- Stomach ulcers (can cause internal bleeding and anaemia)
- Allergic reactions
- Raised liver enzymes
- Salt and fluid retention
- High blood pressure
While less common side effects include:- Ulcers of the oesophagus (food pipe)
- Rectal irritation (if suppositories are used)
- Heart failure
- Hyperkalaemia (high levels of potassium in the blood)
- Reduced kidney function
- Bronchospasm (difficulty breathing)
- Skin irritation (1)
Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently strengthened existing label warnings that NSAIDs increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke (2).
While taking anti-inflammatory drugs is sometimes necessary, we want to do everything we can naturally before using NSAIDs to avoid nasty side effects as much as possible!
A natural anti-inflammatory approach should be considered by implementing an anti-inflammatory diet and the use of anti-inflammatory supplements.
To adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet first remove processed foods, refined sugars and junk foods, and replace with lots of whole-foods that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, legumes, healthy fats (eg. olive oil, hemp seed oil, fatty fish) and lean proteins.
To further combat inflammation there are also nutrients and herbs that have anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, we’ve just launched our brand-new turmeric supplement called TheraJoint+ that contains high amounts of the anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric called curcumin.
Curcumin is a natural compound that has a potent anti-inflammatory response in the body with studies suggesting it may be as effective as common anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and Advil (ibuprofen) (3).
Curcumin is also known to block COX & LOX pathways that are associated with pain and inflammation. Curcumin can also reduce inflammation by inhibiting other inflammatory molecules too (eg. NF-kB, tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin-12 etc) that are associated with chronic health conditions (4).
2. I’ve been experiencing heart burn, is it possible that my anxiety is causing this?
Heart burn can be experienced as a result of acid reflux.
Acid reflux can occur when the muscle called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) that connects your oesophagus to your stomach is weak or doesn’t tighten properly that causes the acid from your stomach to flow backwards into your oesophagus that can result in symptoms that include heart burn, chest pain, chest pressure, cough, sore throat, and sour taste.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic, more severe form of acid reflux.
There are many reasons for GERD such as being overweight, hiatus hernia, smoking, alcohol, pregnancy, delayed stomach emptying, poor diet (acidic foods), and medications. However, anxiety may also be a common cause for acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
Photo credit: https://tulsagastro.com/conditions-symptoms-faq/what-is-gerd/
A study conducted in 2015 found that anxiety and depression can increase the risk of GERD, while several other studies found that anxiety increases heartburn, abdominal pain and other symptoms of GERD (5).
Certain medications can be effective for GERD and anxiety, however nutrient depletion as a side effect can also occur from taking these medications. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (eg. Nexium) are typically used for GERD that are associated with an increased risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that include vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium (6).
To naturally reduce anxiety, we can start by implementing stress management techniques to help calm the nervous system and reduce our stress hormone cortisol.
Some simple stress management techniques that include:- Regular exercise
- Mindfulness (eg. guided meditation)
- Tai chi
- Deep breathing
Increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids have also shown to reduce anxiety in studies. Foods’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids include hemp seeds, fatty fish and algae (7).
Once you have managed anxiety, there are natural ways to help reduce acid reflux that include- Eating a healthy diet
- Avoiding acidic foods (eg. alcohol, spicy foods, dairy, coffee, tomato, fatty foods)
- Avoiding smoking
- Eating smaller meal portions
- Staying upright after eating
- Taking a few deep breaths before eating
- Chewing your food slowly
3. Can I take magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc supplements at the same time?
Magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc are all important minerals in the diet that have various roles such as:- Magnesium: muscle health, energy production, brain health
- Calcium: bone, muscle and heart health
- Iron: blood oxygen, immune function, brain health
- Zinc: immune function and brain health
These nutrients can be easily be obtained in the diet, however nutritional deficiencies can occur due to poor diet, poor gut health, medications, and certain medical conditions. Therefore, supplementing with nutrients may sometimes be necessary to acquire adequate amounts.
The problem is that some of these nutrients compete for absorption in the gut. That’s why it’s important to know what minerals interact with each other so that the supplement you use is working efficiently as possible!
What are some common mineral interactions?
Calcium and magnesium work together to support bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Presumably you’d think that calcium and magnesium should be taken together. However, when it comes to supplementing large doses both of these minerals reduce the absorption of each other. Aim to take them at least 2 hours apart (8).
Zinc and iron also compete with each other in the gut. One study found that zinc reduced the absorption of iron in healthy men. It’s important to note that these effects are unlikely when consuming iron and zinc in the diet, compared to supplemented in high doses. Aim to separate zinc and iron supplements by 2 hours (9, 10, 11).
Magnesium and zinc also compete with each other. In one study, healthy men were given a large dose of zinc supplement (142mg/day) that resulted in decreased magnesium absorption. Magnesium supplementation should be considered for people taking large amounts of zinc, and potentially lower amounts of zinc too (12).
Calcium from food and supplements interferes with iron absorption. A study of 126 humans investigated the effects of calcium on iron absorption by increasing calcium in diet that significantly reduced iron absorption. This effect was dose related with 300-600mg of calcium (around a standard calcium supplement) reducing iron absorption by 50-60%! Definitely, try to separate these two as well to get the most of your supplements! (13, 14)
If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.