I am three weeks into having a broken jaw. Last week I discussed research I found that suggested fracture healing could be delayed by smoking, consuming alcohol, taking certain antibiotics, NSAIDs, opioid analgesics, and eating a diet high in sugar. This week I want to discuss what I have been taking to help facilitate healing and the research behind each one.
Here is a comparison of my x-rays one week apart. There is very good progress after only week as both the top and bottom of the fracture have almost fully calcified. Also the space of the non-union has decreased a good amount.
Most people think of calcium and Vitamin D when they think about bone health. Though those are two important nutrients, they are not the only things that matter. Vitamin C and other antioxidants are needed not only to quench the oxidative stress of the inflammatory phase, but also for bony callus formation. A study done on Shionogi rats was done to determine the effect of vitamin C on fracture healing. They did it on Shinigami rats because unlike the common rat, Shionogi rats cannot synthesize vitamin C so they are more similar to humans since we also cannot synthesize vitamin C. Supplementation of Vitamin C on the Shionogi rats resulted in significantly improved callus formation. Effect of vitamin C on fracture healing in elderly Osteogenic Disorder Shionogi rats. Alcantara-Martos et al. 2007.
Minerals are essential for fracture healing. In order to help the healing process the body needs adequate amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, manganese and silicon. I take a multivitamin with many of these minerals but one that was not included was silicon. I was unable to find silicon supplements because silicon binds to oxygen and becomes silica which can be found in the form of a supplement. To help with bony callus formation I have been taking Silica as well. Silicon and Bone Health. Jugdaohsingh R. 2007.
Topically, I apply a comfrey poultice with ground comfrey root I bought at the farmer’s market. I also have been using comfrey cream I bought at the health food store. Comfrey has been shown to help regenerate cells thus making it fantastic for wound healing especially fractures. The nickname for comfrey is “knitbone” because it was used by herbalists to help heal fractures. Comfrey: A Clinical Overview. Staiger C. 2012.
In addition to supplements, a lifestyle that is conducive to health should be followed. Eat plenty of vegetables, drink enough water, exercise if possible, and get enough quality sleep. The body needs to be performing at optimum capacity in order to maximize its healing potential.
During the week, many of my friends from NUHS attended a concert in Madeira Beach. The lineup consisted of LIT, Everclear, and Sugar Ray. It was a great time with great friends! Did I mention we bought tickets for $10 each? There seems to always be something fun to do in the St. Pete area.
Over the weekend we had our annual tri-games. This year we went down to Gulfport and planned on playing beach volleyball and kickball, but due to the rain we ended up at a local restaurant and played games under the awning. We played cornhole, ping-pong, billiards, and giant jenga. Even though I was looking forward to some tough competition, we still had a really fun time. Kelsey and I were also undefeated in cornhole so Tri 5 took home bragging rights!
In conclusion, I hope physicians of the future will advise their patients on what they can take and what they can do to help potentiate their innate healing ability. There are supplements patients can take to help them heal, yet it is seldom mentioned to patients of conventional medicine. Instead, patients are given medications that have the potential to impede healing or lead to non-union. We can use natural, safe, evidence based approaches to help the body heal rather than simply mask the symptoms. That is my philosophy and it is the reason I am here at National.
That is all for this week. Please email me at [email protected] if you have any questions about the curriculum or life at NUHS.