Adding salt or minerals to your water for hydration can have certain benefits. Here are a few potential advantages:
Electrolyte balance: Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge and play a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions. By adding a small amount of salt or minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium to your water, you can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat or excessive urination. This can be particularly beneficial during intense physical activity or in hot weather conditions.
Enhanced hydration: Adding a pinch of salt to your water can improve its absorption and promote better hydration. The presence of electrolytes in water can aid in fluid retention and prevent dehydration by facilitating the absorption of water in the body.
Improved taste and palatability: Some people find plain water to be bland or unappealing, which can lead to inadequate fluid intake. Adding a touch of salt or minerals can enhance the taste of water, making it more enjoyable and encouraging you to drink more.
Replenishing trace minerals: Certain minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, are essential for various bodily functions. If your diet is lacking in these minerals, adding them to your water can be a convenient way to supplement your intake.
Support for active lifestyles: For individuals engaged in prolonged or vigorous exercise, consuming electrolytes through water with added salt or minerals can help prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and maintain optimal performance.
It’s important to note that while adding salt or minerals to your water can have benefits, moderation is key. Excessive intake of salt or minerals can have negative health effects, such as increased blood pressure or electrolyte imbalances. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making significant changes to your hydration routine or electrolyte supplementation.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is estimated to affect over 500 million people worldwide. A result of the progressive deterioration of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones, OA most commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, and spine and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility in and around the affected areas.
Without a known way to treat and/or prevent OA from occurring, current conventional treatment of the condition typically involves a combination of prescription and OTC drugs, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments in an effort to treat and slow the progression of the symptoms associated with OA.
As the beneficial applications of stem cells continue to emerge, and considering their ability to replace and repair cells and tissues throughout the body, researchers believe that they can be used to treat joint disorders, including OA. The majority of the current stem cell therapies being investigated for use in treating OA use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), primarily due to their multilineage differentiation towards cell types in the joints and for their immunoregulatory functions.
In this review, Kong et al. provide detailed information on OA and MSCs, share updated information on pre-clinical and clinical trials and related applications of MSCs, and discuss additional efforts on cell-based therapy for treating OA and other joint and bone diseases.
Several preclinical models have investigated MSCs in treating OA and have demonstrated success in generating cartilage from MSCs. In addition, several animal models have demonstrated the beneficial effect of MSCs on cartilage, including protecting existing cartilage, repairing defects of joint cartilage, regenerating and enhancing cartilage, and even preventing OA.
Additionally, there have been several animal models evaluating the effects of intra-articular injection of MSCs for treating OA with researchers noting marked regeneration of tissue and decreased degeneration of articular cartilage.
Clinical trials using MSCs to treat human joint cartilage defects have found that MSCs could be used to repair cartilage defects, improve joint function, reduce pain, and have demonstrated the potential to use MSC therapy for cartilage repair and regeneration as a way to reduce signs and symptom commonly associated with OA.
Although these studies have demonstrated the tremendous potential associated with the use of MSCs for treating OA, they have also highlighted some potential concerns associated with MSC-based therapy. These concerns include determining the specific number and type of MSCs best suited for treating OA, a better understanding of the timing and delivery strategies for the administration of MSCs, and identifying the stages of disease best suited for MSC therapy.
Further concerns highlighted by the authors include the potential of genetic influences when using autologous MSC cells for treatment, the potential for the overall quality of MSC cells used in older patients to be too low, and the overall safety of stem cell therapy as a therapeutic treatment option for OA.
Despite the concerns identified above, Kong et al. conclude that the advancement of regenerative medicine and innovative stem cell technology offers a unique and exciting opportunity to treat OA.
If you’re struggling with health issues related to stress or other lifestyle difficulties, a support group might be able to help.
Support groups create an environment with other individuals who are experiencing similar, if not exact, circumstances. Support groups offer an opportunity to meet with other people who have similar problems, feelings, worries, or treatment side effects.
Here are some of the main benefits of participating in a support group.
You Feel Less Lonely
Diseases, injuries, and chronic pain can make you feel isolated, especially when no one around you has gone through what you’re going through.
Support groups can help alleviate feelings of loneliness by bringing you into a community with others who do know what you’re experiencing.
Reduced Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Feeling less lonely results in reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Support groups give you the opportunity to feel seen and understood, which can help minimize negative mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Learn Different Coping Skills
Everyone has a different approach to managing difficulties in life. You will likely learn about new coping skills that can help you manage your problems.
Coping skills won’t make your challenges go away, but they help you self-manage your response in a healthier way.
Support groups can help you stay motivated to tackle the underlying causes of your chronic conditions. They can also encourage you to stick to your treatment plans, even if those plans are challenging.
Improve Your Understanding
Sharing in support groups can also help you better understand your condition and how it affects your life. Seeing things through the perspective of others adds dimension to how you view your condition.
Finally, support groups can help you feel empowered. They may offer a sense of hope or enhanced control over your life and conditions.
If you’ve felt lost or alone living with a chronic condition, try a support group near you.
Neuropathic pain (NP) is a complex, wide-ranging, and often debilitating condition that contributes to chronic pain. Caused by a number of different factors and contributors, the condition most commonly involves disease, chronic condition, or injury to the nervous system.
Defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as pain that occurs as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system, NP is responsible for 20 to 25% of patients who experience chronic pain and is estimated to affect 8% of the population.
While there have been significant improvements in pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment for NP, these practices only provide consistent and lasting pain relief to a small percentage of patients. Recently regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is being explored as a safe and effective NP therapy option.
In this review, Joshi et al. explore the possibilities of using stem cells in NP patients and discuss the relevant challenges associated with their uses in this application.
After identifying and defining the nine most common conditions associated with chronic, persistent, or recurring NP, the authors begin this review by pointing out that NP, to date, has been poorly recognized, poorly diagnosed, and poorly treated. A review of relevant literature has also demonstrated that the treatment of NP has consistently been a significant challenge for physicians, with most attempting to manage NP by targeting clinical symptoms rather than causative factors.
Most often, pharmacological treatment approaches for managing NP have included a variety of first-line drugs (tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and gabapentinoids) and opioid analgesics (tramadol) as second-line drugs. Third-line pharmacological NP treatment includes stronger opioids, such as morphine and oxycodone. Nonpharmacological NP treatment options for drug-refractory NP include interventional therapies (peripheral nerve blockade and epidural steroid injection), physical therapies (massage and ultrasound), and psychological therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy).
Long believed to arise from neurons, recent studies have demonstrated the important role of immune system response in the development of NP. Specifically, immune cells were found not only to be the source of pain mediators but also to produce analgesic molecules. These findings led researchers to believe that neutrophils and macrophages could each have a major role in early NP development.
Research has indicated that nerve injuries trigger an organized series of events to mount an inflammatory response. As part of this response to injury, pain following nerve damage has been shown to be mitigated by cytotoxic natural killer cells that selectively clear out partially damaged nerves. Additionally, this research has increasingly demonstrated that the immune system interacts with the sensory nervous system, contributing to persistent pain states.
Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment approaches have only produced temporary pain relief in patients with NP. Recently, stem cell transplantation has demonstrated significant potential for repairing nerve damage in NP and has emerged as a potential alternative therapeutic treatment approach. While the exact mechanism underlying stem cell-mediated pain relief remains unclear, specific stem cells (human mesenchymal stem cells, or hMSCs) have demonstrated the potential to provide trophic factors to the injured nerve as well as the ability to replace injured or lost neural cells.
While stem cell-based therapies have been shown to protect against neurodegeneration and promote neuroregeneration, the authors point out several issues that need to be addressed. These outstanding issues include identifying the optimal dosing for stem cell transplantation in the treatment of NP, sourcing of stem cells, considerations of autologous versus allogeneic transplants, precommitment to neuronal lineage, and specific dosing requirements.
Joshi et al. conclude that while NP is a chronic heterogeneous condition of the sensory nervous system with no current curative treatment, stem cells present exciting therapeutic prospects for NP. While further research to understand the exact mechanism underlying stem cell-mediated pain relief is required, current literature provides evidence of the potential of stem cells in slowing the degeneration process while promoting the survival and recovery of damaged nerves.
Many health conditions and lifestyle factors lead to ongoing inflammation within the body. When you have widespread inflammation, it can lead to chronic pain, aches, and other health concerns.
If you want to lower inflammation and feel better overall, you may benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet and what it includes below.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
While certain foods can trigger inflammation, others can reduce it. The anti-inflammatory diet limits inflammatory triggers and focuses primarily on foods that can lower inflammation.
Foods that Trigger Inflammation
Anti-inflammatory diets limit the following foods that are considered inflammation triggers:
Cookies, candy, and ice cream
High sodium foods
When these foods are highly restricted or altogether eliminated, it can lead to lower inflammation levels throughout the body.
Foods that Reduce Inflammation
While the anti-inflammatory diet restricts foods that are triggered, it calls for an increase in foods that can reduce inflammation. These foods include:
Oily fish (tuna, salmon)
Green leafy vegetables
Nuts and seeds
These anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants and other properties that can decrease inflammation. When your diet consists mostly of these foods, you can see a significant reduction in widespread inflammation, which may lead to a resolution of chronic pain and other symptoms.
Starting an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
If you struggle with chronic inflammation and want to try the anti-inflammatory diet, always speak with your medical team beforehand. Making major dietary changes is very impactful and should be discussed with your doctor in advance.
It is important to make sure that the anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy fit for any underlying conditions you already have. It is also important to ensure you are healthy enough to make a major dietary change.
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