Stroke Smart Magazine
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
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Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin E Can Stop the Pain
By Roger Maxwell
As a stroke survivor, you
might experience headaches as well as swelling and pain – also called inflammation
– in any affected joints and limbs. This takes place as the brain and nervous
system heal. With help from your health care provider, there are a number of
ways to reduce the effects of inflammation, including the use of nutrients
such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Fish Oil Capsules
The U.S. Office of Dietary
Supplements, part of the National Institutes of Health, has researched omega-3
fatty acids in the forms of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic
acid (EPA). Among the office’s findings:
- Both DHA and EPA reduce pain and swelling of the joints and
- DHA produces a compound that helps reduce swelling brought about
by “insults” (the medical term for “injury” or “trauma”) to the brain.
- EPA helps to reduce swelling by limiting the amount of inflammatory
compounds the body can make.
Fish is a good source of
both DHA and EPA. Choose fish oil capsules that include both DHA and EPA to
reduce swelling and pain. There are many fish oil supplements on the market:
some are made so they don’t cause a fishy aftertaste or
burps. Find a fish oil capsule and treatment regimen that you and your health care
provider feel is right for you.
The health benefits of vitamin E are well known. The Office of
Dietary SupplementsVitamin E Fact Sheet notes that antioxidants such as vitamin
E protect cells against free radicals – unstable molecules that cause tissue
damage and possibly some diseases.
Vitamin E also:
- helps reduce pain and inflammation.
- boosts immune function.
- helps with in DNA repair and other metabolic processes.
The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that two national
surveys found most Americans do not receive the recommended intake for vitamin
E (15 mg or 22.5 IU per day for men and women older than 14) in their diets.
Good sources of vitamin E include:
- vegetable oils.
- green leafy vegetables.
- fortified cereals.
You and your health care provider can find a supplement that
ensures you get the vitamin E you need for good health and that fights pain and
While modern medicine relies on medications,
many of which offer a great deal in the way of healing, we shouldn’t forget the
power of nutritional supplements that work with your body naturally, just like
food, to help it heal faster.
Roger Maxwell had a massive stroke in March 2003. When his
regular rehab ended, he set up a plan for full recovery. Today, he is a
marathon runner and full-time patent attorney. Maxwell’s recovery is detailed
in Taking Charge of Your Stroke Recovery: A Personal Recovery
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