By Alexander Germanis
Spring has already sprung, and we are on the threshold of summer. After another cold, dark winter, the flowers have bloomed, the grass is once again green, and the air is fresh and new.
That newness of the warm months encourages many of us to perform a “spring cleaning” of our homes. According to Dr. Jess Bruin of Eastland Chiropractic, however, our homes are not the only things in need of a spring cleaning and reinvigoration. Our bodies require even more attention, especially as we increase our level of physical activity.
Supplement intake and functional movement screens (FMS) are two of the best ways to initiate this cleaning for the body. The functional movement screen is meant to spot possible movement problems before they can result in injuries. There are a variety of FMS tests which may include hurdle step, in-line lunge, push-ups, straight leg raises, shoulder mobility, rotary stability, and the deep squat.
Meant to look for issues in stability, symmetry, balance, and movement, there is a score associated with the FMS. Should your score be too low, corrective exercises or postural recommendations can be prescribed to change the patterns of those movements.
While the FMS is meant for the parts of the body we can see, supplements can help to sweep the proverbial cobwebs out of the rest of the body.
Supplements have become a big thing as of late. “That ties in more to nutrition and the way our food supply chain has changed over the last 50 years and especially the last 20 or 30,” says Dr. Bruin. “We eat more fast food and processed food. We’re always on the go, have this fast lifestyle and a need for immediate gratification. Because of that, we’re losing a lot of important nutrients.”
An important nutrient everyone needs is vitamin D. While our body actually produces most of its vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight, deficiency in this vitamin is more rampant than one might think. “Unless you live on the equator,” Dr. Bruin says, “you probably need more vitamin D than what you get from the sun.”
Vitamin D helps keeps bones healthy, can help maintain healthier skin, can boost the immune system, and will also regulate the body’s absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium.
Calcium is, of course, one of those minerals we should always be including in a regular diet, but it serves more purposes than simply supporting bone and teeth health. Calcium is also a necessity for proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and nerves.
There are some tricky things to note about the mineral, warns Dr. Bruin. “There are different types of calcium,” she says. “There’s citrate, carbonate, gluconate, and more.” It is also important to note when purchasing calcium supplements, only elemental calcium is actually being absorbed by the body, and certain types of calcium supplements contain different percentages of elemental calcium. For instance, if one takes a 1,000 milligram calcium carbonate supplement, one is actually only getting about 40 percent, or 400 milligrams, of that in elemental calcium.
With calcium there is also the issue of there being too much of a good thing. Consuming too much calcium can result in a condition known as hypercalcemia. Although symptoms differ between people, hypercalcemia can lead to weakened bones, the formation of kidney stones, and it can even affect the functioning of the heart and brain.
Another supplement Dr. Bruin mentions on the spring cleaning list is magnesium. Like calcium, magnesium is linked to bone growth and maintenance, but its uses extend well beyond that, including nerve and intestinal health. For spring cleaning purposes, “Magnesium can help with muscle aches and the regulation of sleep,” she says. As the warmer months often mean an increase in exercise, avoiding muscle aches and injuries and improving the quality of sleep become even more important.
Always consult a health care professional about the proper supplements for you.
For more information on the best spring cleaning supplements, read “Spring Clean Your Body, Part 2” in next month’s issue of Healthy Cells Magazine.
For more information on chiropractic care, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle, please contact Jess Bruin, D.C. at Eastland Chiropractic & Lifestyle Center, 309-662-8418, or online at www.EastlandChiro.com. Their office is located at 2406 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.
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