May 17, 2016

Structural System

Structural System
bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and connective tissues

The structural system supports the body and protects internal organs, enables movement, produces blood cells in the bone marrow and is a storage site for some minerals…97% of calcium is stored in the bones.

Structural system health can be harmed by:

  • poor diet
  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • aging ~ e.g. bone loss increases with age
  • prescription medications ~ i.e. contraceptives, SSRI’s, etc.
  • excessive physical activity / athletics
  • excess mechanical stress ~ causes damage/degeneration of cartilage
  • weight-loss ~ can decrease bone density

Common structural system diseases include arthritis and osteoporosis.  It is estimated that 27 million Americans age 25 and older suffer from osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis and the second most common cause of long-term disability among middle-aged and older adults.  According to the US Surgeon General, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis of the hip, while an additional 33.6 million adults aged 50 and older have osteopenia (e.g. low bone mineral density) of the hip, which places them at risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.

Bones ~ A newborn baby has about 300 soft bones—some bones are actually cartilage at this stage of development.  As the baby grows, the cartilage calcifies as calcium phosphate permeates the bones.  Eventually the calcified cartilage is replaced by true bone, and some of the baby’s bones fuse together.  Bones stop growing in size during the mid-teens for girls and around age 20 for boys, though the growing process lasts as bones constantly rebuild themselves.  Bones contain two types of cells—osteoblasts and osteoclasts—which work together to build new bone material on the outside and remove old material on the inside.  To sustain this regenerative effort, the body must receive sufficient supplies of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.  If a shortage of these minerals occurs in the bloodstream, the body will pull them from the bones, which can lead to weak and porous bones.

Connective Tissue ~ Some of the most important connective tissues in the structural system are those that make up the joints.  Joints are designed to permit movement between bones that must meet, but not touch.  These engineering marvels bind two or more bones together while cushioning and lubricating them to withstand a lifetime of bending, twisting, swinging and lifting.  Most joints are composed of similar elements.  The joint is enclosed in a tough fibrous capsule filled with synovial fluid to lubricate the moving parts of the joint.  Ligaments surround the capsule to protect it and provide stability to the joint.  Cartilage is a type of dense connective tissue.  It is made up of chondrocytes that produce a matrix of collagen and elastin fibers.  Cartilage provides support and structure to body tissues without being as rigid as bone.  It also serves to cushion the joints.

Muscles ~ Bones and joints provide the framework for the body and determine how it can move.  Muscles create the movement by converting chemical energy from food into physical energy.  There are more than 600 muscles in the body in three basic types: cardiac muscle, smooth muscle and skeletal muscle.  Each muscle is made up of countless fibers, and each fiber is composed of minute filaments that vary in length.  Muscles produce movement by contracting.  They never push; they pull, which means a pair of muscles is required to make a full range of movement.  Muscles grow through use.  The effort it takes to use muscles signals the heart to supply them with more blood and nutrients, which in turn stimulates the growth of the size of each muscle fiber.

When Things Go Wrong ~ Damage to the structural system can affect the way you move and enjoy life.  Three of the most common problems occurring in the structural system are osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and a loss of bone tissue, leading to weak and brittle bones that are prone to breaks.  Osteoporosis is especially common among post-menopausal women, but men also develop osteoporosis.  While it is usually thought of as a disease for the elderly, research shows that peak bone density is achieved by age 25.  It is vital that men and women alike develop strong bones by that age so the bones can remain strong throughout life.  While the best defense against osteoporosis is to build strong bones during childhood and adolescence, other steps can help you lower your risk, such as getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise and choosing a healthy lifestyle free of smoking and excessive alcohol.

Arthritis is a general term for a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body.  The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, and this is the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States.  Osteoarthritis is caused by an abnormal wearing of cartilage in the joints, a decrease in the synovial fluid surrounding the joints, and chronic low-grade inflammation.  Since the bone surfaces in the joint are inadequately protected, osteoarthritis sufferers experience pain with weight-bearing activities, including walking and standing.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic muscle pain.  This disorder is not entirely understood and is often referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome because researchers are learning that pain is just one element of fibromyalgia.  Associated pain can present itself in a variety of ways, from muscle pain, spasms and weakness, to sleep disturbances.  Other sufferers also experience brain fog and depression.  The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but certain triggers such as stress, physical exertion and lack of deep sleep seem to exacerbate symptoms.

A healthy structural system is built on basic principles of good nutrition, particularly adequate vitamin D and calcium intake, and regular exercise. The structural system gives your body strength and the ability to move. Taking care of it will allow you to engage in your favorite hobbies and activities for a lifetime.

Are you ready to keep the body’s bones, joints and muscles strong and healthy and to optimize full function of them?

Excellent Nutritional Supplements to Consider:

Skeletal Strength®
As we age, proper bone support and maintenance become a priority.  Working in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise, Skeletal Strength helps us maintain good bone health, which may lessen the risk of osteoporosis later in life.  Each daily serving of 4 tablets provides 600 mg calcium, 600 mg magnesium, plus key vitamins and trace minerals in a blend of six synergistic herbs.

EverFlex®
EverFlex combines all of the most promising joint health supplements into one tablet—hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and devil’s claw herb—to protect and lubricate joints and help increase shock absorption.
EverFlex Pain Cream
Enhances flexibility and joint mobility through pain reduction.  This penetrating, fast-acting cream features MSM and the cooling relief of menthol to help with minor joint discomfort.

HSN-W®
The botanical ingredients in HSN-W nourish hair, skin and nails with nutrients that support the entire structural system—including bones, joints and muscles.  HSN-W contains dulse and horsetail, which contain high natural concentrations of the trace mineral silicon, plus sage and rosemary for antioxidant protection.

Collatrim®
Collatrim delivers proteins and important amino acids to the body, which it may utilize to rebuild muscles and strengthen lean muscle mass.  The key ingredient in Collatrim is collagen, an important nutrient for healthy skin and strong joints.  Available in capsules or powder, Collatrim provides the amino acids your body needs to build muscle tissue and help keep joints healthy.

IF Relief
IF Relief combines herbal extracts that may support the body’s natural process for relieving minor muscle pain due to overuse.  While it can be especially effective following strenuous exercise or physical activity, it’s also a great choice for people seeking simply to maintain ongoing joint and tissue health.

Nature’s Noni®
The juice of the Morinda citrifolia fruit is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Phytonutrients nourish the body’s cells, organs and tissues.  They, along with antioxidants, fight oxidative stress caused by pollution, strenuous physical activity and other free-radical-generating factors.  By fighting free radical damage to the body’s cells, the nutrients in Nature’s Noni provide essential support to the structural system.

SynerPro® Calcium–Magnesium
Keep bones healthy and strong by providing them with 800 mg calcium and 400 mg magnesium—plus beneficial amounts of vitamin D, phosphorus, zinc, copper and boron—in each serving of SynerPro Calcium–Magnesium.  This is a great daily supplement for ensuring you always get the nutrients you need, even when your diet falls short.

Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that supports both bone health and the immune system.  Normally, the body synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight, but recent studies indicate that we may not be getting enough from sunlight alone.  Our Vitamin D3 supplement that provides 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, which is the amount many studies recommend for maintenance.  This essential vitamin is naturally derived from lanolin.

Fibralgia
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic muscle soreness, stiffness and fatigue.  The body’s energy production process may make muscle discomfort worse.  When the body is deficient in energy-producing fuel, it breaks down muscle protein to create energy.  Fibralgia contains malic acid and magnesium.  Malic acid, found naturally in high concentrations in apples and other fruits and vegetables, plays an important role in cellular energy production.  The body uses magnesium to help absorb several vitamins and minerals, promote bone strength and regulate nerve impulses.

Essential Fatty Acids to Consider:

Flax Seed Oil
Krill Oil
Super Omega 3 EPA

Pure Essential Oils to Consider:

Clary Sage
Lavender
Marjoram, Sweet
Patchouli
Rosemary
Thyme, Sweet
Recover Soothing Blend


Links for high quality supplements:


There are other considerations…please feel free to contact me for more information!

“Thank You” for wanting to learn about natural health!

Have a Wonderful Day!    

Shari Uhazie, CH, CNHC, “The Himalayan Salt Lady”
Herbalist, Natural Health Consultant
Sunshine Natural Health Shoppe
920-639-7645
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This information is for educational purposes only.

If you suffer from undesirable conditions, seek the advice of a competent health care professional.