CHRONIC PAIN AND SUPPLEMENTS* Recent studies have shown that chronic pain patients may suffer from low levels of vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12. You should be taking from 1000 IU to 3000 IU of Vitamin D per day. You may also wish to try B12 1000 to 1200 mcg per day. Unless you have kidney problems (kidney failure or reduced kidney function) you should also be taking from 100 to 400 mg of supplemental magnesium daily. You will have diarrhea if the dose of magnesium is too high for your system. Regular magnesium may provide more regular bowel movements. Magnesium glycinate is my preferred brand of magnesium as it is better absorbed and may help with sleep. We also know that patients with chronic pain, as well as those with depression, may benefit from fish oil capsules containing omega-3 fatty acids. These have been found to have an effect in reducing inflammation and are also used to reduce triglycerides and to lower the risk for heart disease. The best source is fish oil: preferably from sardines, wild pacific salmon or sable-fish (black cod), which you can also enjoy on your plate! Flax oil does not contain the correct combination of omega-3 so do not use this by itself. However olive oil and canola oil are good choices for cooking. The dose of fish oil would be in the range of 2 – 3 grams per day, or 2 – 3 capsules per day. If you don’t like the taste of fish, you can keep the capsules in the freezer and take them frozen. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, has pain reducing effects in patients with arthritis. Cooking with turmeric, or just taking capsules of either curcumin (One study used 200 mg twice a day, another used 500 mg four times a day) or turmeric may be helpful: too much can upset your stomach, however, and be careful if you are on blood thinners, have stomach ulcers or gallstones, or hard to control diabetes. If you cook with turmeric, and add black pepper, you will absorb more. Vitamin C taken after a fracture or injury (500 mg a day) has been shown to prevent a serious pain disorder known as CRPS or RSD. Cherries, and cherry juice can lower your uric acid levels, and may reduce pain after exercise as well as improve sleep. Maybe life really is just a bowl of cherries! Dark chocolate seems to reduce fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome. So for improved pain and health: curcumin/turmeric, Omega 3/fish oils, cherries, dark chocolate, vitamin C, Magnesium, Vitamin D and B12…. *BUT ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OR DIETICIAN FIRST TO DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. Sources: Canadian Pain Society Refresher Course, Feb 2012.