Healing Bone Fractures
Bone fractures.When bones are healing, the bone tissue around the fracture is broken down before the construction of a new, strong tissue begins. During this process it is extremely important that one gets enough calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium.
When one has fractured a bone, one must have all the necessary repair materials available in the body. Equally important is it that they can reach the place in the body where the fracture has occurred. Therefore is it important with a good blood supply in the area close to the fracture. A healthy and varied diet and sufficient supplements are also vital to prevent the healing from being counteracted or delayed.
Text Doctor Carsten Vagn-Hansen
The Blood Supply
Normally, significant forces are required to fracture a bone. The injury also often affects the periosteal and muscles around the fracture. Splinters from the bone can damage blood vessels to form blood clots, which in turn can inhibit blood flow and thereby the healing process. Also, nerves can become damaged. This is when one is supposed to use the so-called RICE-principle to limit the damage. The R stands for rest, I is for ice, C is for compression and E for elevation. However, if one moves a fracture in the wrong way, the damages might worsen. Therefore, if one does not have proper first aid knowledge, it is wise to wait for professional help. If there is a poor blood supply, an oxygen deficiency occurs in the tissues, something that slows down the healing. It can also damage the nervous system so that a regional pain syndrome might occur, which further aggravates the blood supply, healing and pains. This is typical if the plaster is placed too tight and there is a swelling around the fracture.
To counteract the regional pain syndrome, it could be helpful to take large supplements of vitamin C, which also is important for the reconstruction of the bone tissue in the skeleton. Any injury will drain the body of this vitamin.
Vitamin C helps control the minerals in the healing process. It also makes sure that enough of the necessary connective tissue (collagen) is formed so that cuts and fractures heal properly. Vitamin C also counteracts inflammation, something that easily occurs after open bone fractures. On the other side, we have smoking, which inhibits both blood supply and healing of fractures significantly.
Minerals and Vitamins
When bones are hailing, the bone tissue around the fracture is broken down before the construction of a new, strong tissue begins. During this process, one must get enough calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium.
Without vitamin D3 one cannot absorb the calcium, and without the magnesium, one cannot incorporate the calcium in the bones. D3 is the natural form of vitamin D. One have to consume more than 250 micrograms daily before there are any associated risks.
Never take calcium supplements without also taking magnesium supplements. Otherwise, you will risk calcification in the body. The supplements should be taken in the evenings, as the body is best at absorbing during the evening and night. Vitamin K is important for the skeleton, both for the uptake of calcium and for the incorporation of calcium in the connective tissue. It is therefore important to take supplements with K2- the natural K vitamin.
The K2 in Eqology’s K2 Plus is extracted from fermented soybeans – an excellent alternative. If one has a healthy bacterial flora in the intestine, a little bit of vitamin K2 is formed here. Vitamin K1 is also natural and exists amongst other places in green vegetables.
Vitamin B12 also affects bone structure. Especially older people suffer from B12 deficiency. It is because older people often have less gastric acid and gastric acid is necessary for the uptake of B12. Besides, older adults often use a lot of medicines, and some pharmaceuticals can lead to a lack of B12.
If one has fractured a bone, it could be wise to stay away from coke and other types of soda, as these make the body acidic and contains decalcifying phosphoric acid. All of these things prevent the fracture from calcifying the way it is supposed to. Painkillers of the type NSAID, for example, Ibuprofen, can harm the healing process if used over time. Also, the risk that the bone does not grow properly together increases.
The body should be in balance concerning the breakdown and formation of tissue. In that context, the diet is crucial. During an operation, the body is exposed to a lot of stress. Therefore it must be in the best shape possible before the operation. To be able to keep up, the body must have sufficient depots of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Also, healthy fatty acids affect the healing process of bones.
Protein (albumen) is one of the things one have to make sure to have enough of, as protein deficiency leads to fatigue and wake muscles. Lack of proteins also increases the risk of complications and weakens the immune system. Consequently, the risk of inflammation increases and the healing process is inhibited.
The fracture itself can also cause weakening of the muscles that because of the fracture cannot be used. Too little proteins in the diet will promote this tendency. It is not only the amount but also the type of proteins that affects the resistance. Proteins are broken down to amino acids in the intestines, and these are vital.
If you are having difficulties consuming enough proteins, it could be beneficial to take a protein powder, for example, whey protein, containing all the essential amino acids. If one does not consume enough fat and starch, it is proteins that are used to make the vital glucose. This is evidence of how important proteins are. However, too many proteins from milk and meat can acidify the body, especially if one does not consume enough vegetables and fruit. Vegetables are essential for the acid-base balance in the body. Therefore can basic proteins from peas be a good alternative. Also, pea protein has a high content of amino acids and is besides amongst the plant-proteins with the highs absorption percentage (89%).
Swedish studies show that older adults often lack proteins. Already after 3-4 weeks on effective protein supplements, it was possible to determine weight gain, increased appetite and increased physical activity. Dairy products, for example, cream, have a high content of proteins and energy, and the same applies to, for example, fish.
It is beneficial to utilise sour milk products, for example, natural yoghurt, as it strengthens the intestinal bacterial flora and therefore maintains a good immune system. Older people normally eat less and normally lack important nutrients. This is mainly because they do not absorb nutrients from the intestines as effective as young people and maybe because of a uniform diet. The appetite decreases, even more, when one fractures a bone or get sick. Therefore it is even more important for older adults to ensure that the body gets sufficient vitamins, minerals and other things that are important for its function. If one has lost a lot of blood due to illness, an iron supplement might be necessary. Too much iron, however, is not good for healing of cuts and general health. Therefore one should measure the iron depot to figure out if one needs iron or not. This can be done by taking a simple blood test.
If the fracture has been open or one has been forced to operate, the wound healing will improve by taking a vitamin and mineral supplement. The vitamins B5, C and A in addition to cobber zinc, magnesium and manganese are most important when it comes to healing of wounds and scars from operations. Zink shortens the time it takes for the wounds to heal. The enzyme bromelain, found in pineapple, prevents swelling after operations and injuries. It has anti-inflammatory effects and strengthens the immune system.
The green algae Chlorella is according to Japanese studies very efficient with regards to increased cell growth, which is important for the healing of tissue and scars after operations. The growth of bones and muscles is strengthened, so is the immune system—the element silicon assists in the healing of skin, ligaments, tendons and other tissues.
Exercise. It is important to keep the body active, also after a bone fracture. Do not let the injury become an excuse not to exercise. Regardless of what you have fractured, there will always be other parts of the body you can move.
It is important to strengthen muscles, blood circulation and respiration to maintain a healthy body and a good circulation.
When a bone is fractured, parts of the body close to the fracture cannot be used as normal as it has to be kept at rest. Still, one mustn’t use this as an excuse to avoid using the rest of the body. With a little bit of imagination, it is easy to keep the muscles moving. It is also possible to get good advice from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
The growth hormone HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is important for maintaining good brain function, energy levels, muscle and bone mass, cell division, reparation of DNA in the cells and metabolism. The best one can do avoiding fast carbohydrates like white sugar, pasta, white bread and potatoes. Eat instead complex carbohydrates like vegetables, which are converted slowly into sugar in the stomach and intestines and that have a low glycaemic index (GI). This will facilitate the release of the natural growth hormone from the pituitary.
Too much fat in the diet will also inhibit production and release of growth hormones, so it is best to eat food with less than 25-30% fat. Consuming as little calories as possible also stimulates the formation of growth hormones.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase the amount of growth hormones.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase the number of growth hormones. Especially relatively hard exercise, as lifting weights. It is best to avoid eating two hours before exercising, as increased blood sugar and insulin levels in the blood can counteract the release of growth hormones.
Stimulate the Healing
Pulsating ultrasound can shorten the healing process, but even better is it to create an electric current through the fracture, for example, with a TNS apparatus. TNS stands for transcutaneous nerve stimulation. Resin from tree species Boswellia increases the blood supply to the inflamed area. Magnetic therapy is also a good alternative as it increases blood flow in the injured area. Magnets also have painkilling effects.
Within in magnetic therapy pulsating magnetic treatment is the best. However, one can also use flat magnets attached to the bandage or the skin using plasters. If one gets metal inserted in the body to help heal the fracture, it is best to avoid using magnets close to the fracture and the metal.
Carsten Vagn-Hansen is from Denmark, has been practising medicine for 18 years and is a lecturer and tutor at Practicing Doctors Centralized Postgraduate Education. He was the president of the International Society for General Practise. He has also received several awards, including The International Nature Medicine Honorary Price. He is the author of numerous books within health and fitness. To top it off, he has been a radio doctor at Danish radio and a TV doctor on DR TV.