The skeletal system is an internal framework that supports the entire body. Bone tissue is 25% water, 25% protein, and 50% mineral salts. It contains a reservoir of minerals from which the body can deposit and withdraw from as needed for metabolism. Osteoblasts are cells that add minerals to the bone from the blood stream and Osteoclasts are bone cells that absorb minerals from the bones and deposit them to the blood stream. Mineral absorption is the key to healthy bones.
As we age, the skeletal system begins to lose some of its density and can become weakened due to an increase in vata forces. According to Ayurveda, the air energy (vata) is heavily present in the bones. Osteoporosis and arthritis is common when excess air begins to dominate.
During a person's life span, there exists doshic cycles. Vata is predominantly air, Pitta is fire, and Kapha is earth.
From ages 0 to 25: Kapha stage of life. Kapha is anabolic. The cells of the person are constantly multiplying and increasing in quantity.
From ages 13 to 50: Pitta stage of life. Pitta represents transformation. Fire is heavily present starting with hormonal changes at puberty and continue until around 50. Nature planned it this way as fire is needed for motivation and for success in life.
From ages 50 and on: Vata stage of life. Vata qualities are cold, dry, and light. Bones can become porous at this time. Wrinkles appear as your skin loses some of its moisture. Digestive enzymes begin to weaken.
6 Strategies For Excellent Bone Health
1. Digestive fire (agni) must be strong in order to absorb nutrients. Malabsorption is the bone system's enemy. The minerals will simply not reach their destination and the bones will weaken. Some signs of malabsorption include hair loss, brittle nails, joint pain, and fatigue. Check with your Ayurvedic practitioner to see if you are absorbing well.
2. Use nourishing herbal infusions for a powerhouse of nutrients much needed by the bones. These herbs contain a good quantity of protein along with vitamins and minerals. Large quantities can be taken as there are little to no volatile oils present. Nettles, Oat Straw, Comfrey Leaf, Red Clover, Chickweed, and Horsetail are some of your more nourishing herbs. Instead of using extracted vitamins and minerals in a pill form, use a nourishing herbal infusion instead.
This is the more natural way to get your nutrition.
To Make Nourishing Infusion: Take 1 oz of nourishing herb or herbal blend and pour 1 quart of boiling water and cover. Let sit for a least a couple of hours to extract the nutrients. Then simply strain and drink 2 to 3 cups per day.
3. Lubrication of the joints is vital as they are the transfer points of much needed minerals. Ghee, Bone Broth, Omega 3 fatty acids (sardines, salmons, nuts, and seeds), supplements like chondritin, and msm can all contribute to healthy joint fluid (shleshaka kapha). Osteoarthritis is sure sign of poor lubrication.
4. Mineral rich foods such as seaweeds (kelp, kombu, wakame, chlorella) are crucial when it comes to bone health. In Japan, studies have shown that osteoporosis and bone health issues are dramatically lower than other countries. They enjoy their seaweeds and use them in large quantities.
Celtic sea salt is a great salt substitute which contain over 82 minerals. It is superior to Himalayan pink salt because it contains 3 extra magnesium molecules which help with nutrient absorption. It tastes great as well, giving your food extra flavor.
5. The number one mineral supplement in Ayurveda is called Shilajit. This is a tar that oozes out of the Himalayan mountains. It contains over 85 trace minerals and has fulvic acid. This acid acts like a charged battery in the cells and helps absorb nutrients. It is good to use Shilajit with other herbs if you want those herbs to reach their destination. Shilajit is also used for adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid, infertility, impotence (called Indian viagra), and for losing weight.
6. Finally, one of the most important things you can do for strong bones is resistance training. Light training is enough to keep your bone density and this also builds a little muscle necessary for good cushioning. You don't need to become a body builder. A little resistance training goes a long way.
Take this information and begin applying it little by little to your daily routine. Start using nourishing herbs, eating mineral rich foods, and using smart supplementation to see a great improvement with your bones. Osteoporosis, arthritis, and other skeletal system issues can be reversed with time and patience.
Clarified butter (ghee) is sent from the heavens. In Ayurveda, ghee has been used for thousands of years as a cooking medium and as a vehicle for intaking herbal medicine. The herbs can be sent to the deeper layers of tissue as fat is an excellent carrier. It is one of the best forms of fat which is much needed for proper brain functioning, joint lubrication, nerve tissue, and strong immunity.
When you make ghee, you separate the solids from the butter, getting rid of lactose and casein.
Use 4 sticks of organic unsalted butter available in most supermarkets.
Place the sticks in a small saucepan and begin to cook at medium high, then reduce to low heat. After a few minutes you will notice white froth forming on its surface. Get a large spoon and begin to remove this froth.
When the solids on the bottom of the pan begin to turn golden brown (10 to 15 min) remove from heat. Cool and strain into a glass container. You can store inside refrigerator or outside in pantry.
Ghee can replace your spread on toast, cooking oils, and it can be stirred into grains like oatmeal.
Malabsorption is the root cause of many physical and mental deficiencies. As an Ayurvedic practitioner, this is a common occurrence that I see in my practice with a good majority of my clients.
Malabsorption takes place in the vital area of the small intestine, where most of the food and nutrients are absorbed. Hair like protuberances called villi absorb the nutrients from the liquifed food. When the transaction in this area is compromised, then vital nutrients will not be distributed to feed our tissue system (dhatus). This results in a plethora of tissue deficiencies and system imbalances. This phenomenon is the root cause of many diseases.
How absorption takes place:
The first portion of the small intestine, the duodenum, receives the liquified food from the stomach. While this happens, enzymes from the gallbladder and pancreas squirt into the common bile duct. The bile emulsifies the fat and the ferocious pancreatic juices break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into absorbable material. Most of the absorption happens in the small intestine. The villi in the intestines also excrete enzymes which further breaks down the nutrients and absorbs the material like a sponge. This is met by GALT, ( Gut Associated Lymph Tissue ), which fights off any toxic substances. There is a cascade of white blood cells that are activated to prevent toxic substances from damaging tissues every time we eat.
With GMO's, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals that are heavily present in our foods, our immune system has had to adapt. With time, poor eating habits and toxic foods like GMO's lead to a weakened immune system as the spleen and lymph tissue become overly taxed.
In Ayurveda, there is a unique way that post digestive nutrition is described. This is called dhatu (tissue) nutrition. There are seven dhatus in Ayurveda. They include in order of refinement (lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bones, nervous tissue, reproductive tissue). The reproductive tissue is the most refined tissue and it is where ojas is produced. Ojas is that substance that gives immunity, luster, intelligence, and vitality. Good digestion leads to quality ojas.
Once the liquid substance (rasa) goes into circulation, it goes through a fixed sequence of increasingly refined metabolic processes. The first dhatu to get nourished is the lymph and the last one is the reproductive tissue. This whole process takes around thirty five days. In other words what we eat today turns into the seven tissues in a period of a month. We literally are what we eat. When there is malabsorption, the tissues do not get proper nourishment and they will start developing weaknesses. A plethora of diseases can manifest.
Causes of malabsorption:
Finding out the cause is complex as there are many players involved. The liver, spleen, pancreas, and stomach can all affect assimilation. If any of these organs are weak, then Agni can weaken. Agni is fire . When there is a lack of fire (digestive enzymes), nutrients will not get absorbed.
How to detect malabsorption:
Ayurveda gives us a few clues to detect malabsorption.
Here are a few.
As you reset your digestive system, malabsorption will disappear and health will return. Give this system of eating some time and your body will thank you. Try the different remedies I suggested and make some of these eating habits into a lifestyle. Let thy food be your medicine and let thy green allies support you.