By Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT
Collagen: It’s the most abundant structural protein in the body, and it’s more than just a hip, new trend popularised by different lifestyle personalities and brands. It takes the shape of a triple helix composed of the continuous repetitive motif, Gly-X-Y, where Gly is glycine, X is proline (Pro), and Y is hydroxyproline (Hyp).1 The latter two amino acids are specific to collagen structures. These protein building blocks make up the structure in skin, tendons, bones, and teeth and are integral in the health and maintenance of these structures over our lifetime.
Collagen is found naturally in the connective tissue of land animals such as humans, cows, and chickens, as well as some marine life, including fish. It makes up about 25% of our bodies’ protein content and is helpful in soft-tissue repair.2-3
People who consume animal protein regularly in their diet are consuming some collagen; however, muscle-meat proteins largely lack the rich proteins found in connective tissue. Individuals who routinely sip traditionally prepared bone broth benefit from the collagen extracted from the cartilaginous tissue used in the broth’s preparation. Furthermore, studies show that easily digested and absorbed forms of collagen, like those found in quality dietary supplements, can have an even greater rate of absorption than traditionally prepared foods.
Different types of collagen
Whether from animal or marine sources, all collagen comes from amino acids, the building blocks of protein in the body. Animal and marine collagens are constitutionally the same—that is, they’re made up of the same amino acids—however, animal sources have a larger quantity of some amino acids (proline and hydroxyproline, specifically).4
Research shows there are more than 28 different types of collagen, but the three most abundant are Types I, II, and III. These collagen types form the structural fibrils of tissues, while the others take part in the association of these fibrils with other tissues.2
What is the difference among hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, and gelatin?
In addition to improving structural integrity and elasticity of the skin, the consumption of Types I and III collagen also improves skin’s ability to retain moisture and may fight UVB photodamage, which in turn promotes healthier and younger looking skin, according to studies.8-10
There is also mounting clinical evidence of collagen’s benefits in strengthening the collagenous structures of hair and nails. A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reveals that collagen is strongly deposited in hair follicles, and the lack of collagen delays hair cycling and growth, suggesting that collagen could be a potential area warranting further investigation.11
In a six-month study looking at brittle nails, researchers found that daily supplementation with collagen resulted in increased nail growth and improved brittle nails in conjunction with a notable decrease in the frequency of broken nails.12
Inner strength and resilience
Additional evidence shows that supplementing with oral collagen stimulates collagenic tissue regeneration by increasing not only collagen synthesis, but minor components (glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid) synthesis, as well. One such study used validated self-perception questionnaires to measure joint comfort and overall joint health in study subjects. After 90 days of intervention, 78% of subjects in the test group reported to have less joint discomfort, and more than 60% of the subjects agreed their joint health improved by increasing joint flexibility, mobility, and reducing joint stiffness. There were no statistically significant changes in the control group.13
As if the benefits of adequate dietary collagen seen in hair, skin, nails, and joints aren’t enough, there is also evidence to support collagen and gelatin’s role in bone health. In bone, approximately 95% is Type I collagen, providing viscoelastic strength, torsional stiffness, and load-bearing capacity. Type II collagen is also involved in bone formation, even though it is mainly found in cartilage.14
While the body of evidence around collagen supplementation continues to grow, the benefits of daily supplementation with collagen peptides (hydrolyzed collagen) can already be seen. There are uses for both gelatin and collagen peptides in cooking, baking, smoothies, and other means; however, the higher rate of digestion and bioavailability of the peptide form makes this supplement a great addition to anyone’s health routine.
Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT
Whitney Crouch is a Registered Dietitian who received her undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. She has over 10 years of experience across multiple areas of dietetics, specializing in integrative and functional nutrition and food sensitivities. When she’s not creating educational programs or writing about nutrition, she’s spending time with her husband and young son. She’s often found running around the bay near her home with the family’s dog or in the kitchen cooking up new ideas to help her picky eater expand his palate.
Whitney Crouch is a paid consultant and guest writer for Metagenics.
Introducing SPM Active
New & Improved
SPM Active New & Improved delivers a greater concentration and dosing size of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) compared to the previous formula
What has Changed?
Double the concentration of 18-HEPE and 17-HDPA as compared to original SPM Active.
Softgel size is now double that of the original SPM Active.
What are the benefits for your patients?
Greater concentration and dosing size facilitates patient compliance.
Supplementing with SPMs may help facilitate the body's natural resolution process
What hasn't changed?
Why Metagenics SPM Active?
It offers a targeted nutritional approach that is designed to boost the body’s natural capacity to respond to physical stress and promote resolution.
Study in research models suggests that a short-term, high-fat diet may negatively impact natural production of specialized pro-resolving mediators.
Clinical case study results with SPM Active show signiﬁcant improvement in biomarkers of activated immune function, increased quality of life, and reduced interference of symptoms during general activity.
Specialized pro-resolving mediators may help promote resolution of physical stress after an episode of strenuous physical exertion.
Metagenics set the standard for delivering SPMs based on activity for use in nutraceutical formulas in collaboration with world-renowned SPM experts.
MetaKids Multi Soft Chew is a convenient, great-tasting formula kids will love. Each soft chew provides 15 essential vitamins and minerals to help meet the nutritional needs of growing, active children along with unique phytonutrients from fruit and vegetable powders
Benefits of MetaKids Chews:
Available now in 30 chews
Going out tonight? Going on holiday?
Dining out and going on Holiday should be relaxing, but it’s not ALWAYS easy to stick to the Ketogenic Diet.
This guide will help you and your patients to maintain your Keto eating style during the holiday season. Get ready for delicious food anywhere!
1. Being Prepared
2. Your Action Plan During the Meal
3. Drinking Wisely
4. Keto on the Go
5. What to order: Different Types of Cuisine
6. Keto During the Holidays
7. How to Get Back on Track After a Cheat Meal
by Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT
What is Golden Milk?
Popularized across social media, golden milk is a cross-cultural drink originating in Asian countries and consumed for its anti-inflammatory properties and pungent flavor. Also known as “golden milk latte” or “turmeric tea”, golden milk is made with freshly grated or ground turmeric, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, honey or lemon to taste, and hot water, milk, or dairy alternative.1-2 The addition of freshly grated or ground ginger adds extra flavor and additional anti-inflammatory characteristics, with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg rounding out the flavor.1-2
The Golden Milk “MVP”: Turmeric
While turmeric is the star of the show with its golden color and unique flavor, golden milk is a purposefully designed elixir including ingredients that aid in the absorption and delivery of turmeric’s polyphenolic compound, curcumin, the primary curcuminoid found in turmeric. Curcumin is a poorly absorbed compound on its own, but the addition of piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, increases the absorption by approximately 2,000%.3 Another well-designed feature of the golden milk beverage involves the use of whole fat milk or added fat (such as coconut milk or oil) to facilitate improved bioavailability of the fat-loving (lipophilic) curcuminoid phenols; leveraging a lipophilic design has been shown to allow for greater bioaccessibility of curcuminoids.4
Golden Milk and Arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition characterized by swollen, painful joints. It affects children and adults and presents in many forms – autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and infectious arthritis, to name a few.5-6 While each condition has a different etiology, the clinical presentation includes stiff joints, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, rigidity, and inability to use the affected limb(s).5-6
Sometimes called degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans.5 OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.5 In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving joints.5
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. Since this is a systemic condition, it may also affect organ and body systems.6
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous perennial plant of the ginger family.7 Curcumin, the medicinal compound found in turmeric root, has been used for thousands of years, but has only recently been studied extensively. A curcuminoid polyphenol (also called diferuloylmethane), curcumin has been used medicinally in Asian countries for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-mutagenic, and anti-cancer properties.8
Typical anti-inflammatory medications are successful in blocking the pro-inflammatory COX pathway, while curcumin’s benefits are seen via inhibiting actions of both COX and LOX enzymes, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes.9 Unlike many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), curcumin does not irritate the gastric lining when taken with food.10
Recent studies have examined the role of curcumin in the gut, specifically its interaction with the gut microbiota. Highly concentrated amounts of curcumin have been used as a standalone or adjunct approach to many clinical conditions. Until recently the dose of curcumin ingested through daily food intake and its clinical relevance was not well understood.
Oral administration of curcumin is beneficially involved in many health processes, including those underlying osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.11 Limited bioavailability and inability to detect curcumin in circulation or target tissues has hindered the validation of a causal role, however studies suggest the relationship between curcumin, microbiota, and gut tissue to be at the base of improved overall health and reduced inflammation with dietary intake of turmeric.12
In their review of current studies, Gosh, et al. theorize that the mechanism underlying the attenuation of metabolic dysfunction is a curcumin-mediated decrease in the release of gut bacteria-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into blood circulation, by maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier function.12 In this role, lacking extensive systemic circulation, curcumin reduces the release inflammatory LPS molecules, thereby protecting several layers of the intestinal barrier.12
While the data on curcumin’s role in supporting healthy joints and combating arthritis is growing, it should be noted that the clinically effective doses studied range from 1000-1500 mg/day of curcuminoids. The typical golden milk recipe includes 0.5-3 teaspoons of turmeric, or approximately 3-9 grams of ground turmeric root.1-2,14 With the lower bioavailability of dietary curcumin, and the curcumin content of the turmeric root averaging 3.14% by weight,13 actual curcuminoid intake per golden milk drink ranges from 0.05-0.28 mg when preparing it with 0.5-3 teaspoons of turmeric (based on simple math).
Golden milk tea is a wellness-promoting drink that should be incorporated into a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. While higher, more targeted doses of curcumin may be necessary to promote clinically significant changes in arthritic pain outcomes, the sum of all diet and lifestyle parts should be considered when approaching inflammation from a more natural, holistic perspective.
Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT
Whitney Crouch is a Registered Dietitian with a BS in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. She has over 10 years of experience across multiple areas of dietetics, specializing in integrative and functional nutrition and food sensitivities. When she’s not writing about nutrition or educating others, she’s spending time with her husband and young son. She’s often found running around the bay near her home with the family’s dog or in the kitchen cooking up new ideas to help her picky eater expand his palate.
Golden Fusion is a modern take on the centuries-old golden milk recipe that is both great-tasting and convenient. Golden Fusion features CurQFen - a highly bioavailable form of curcumin with fenugreek, along with grass-fed collagen peptides.
What is Golden Milk?
Popularized across social media, golden milk is a cross-cultural drink originating in Asian countries and consumed for its anti-inflammatory properties and pungent flavour. Also known as “golden milk latte” or “turmeric tea”, golden milk is made with freshly grated or ground turmeric, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, honey or lemon to taste, and hot water, milk, or dairy alternative. The addition of freshly grated or ground ginger adds extra flavour and additional anti-inflammatory characteristics, with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg rounding out the flavour.
Why Golden Fusion?
The Golden Milk: Turmeric
While turmeric is the star of the show with its golden colour and unique flavour, golden milk is a purposefully designed elixir including ingredients that aid in the absorption and delivery of turmeric’s polyphenolic compound, curcumin, the primary curcuminoid found in turmeric. Curcumin is a poorly absorbed compound on its own, but the addition of piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, increases the absorption by approximately 2,000%. Another well-designed feature of the golden milk beverage involves the use of whole fat milk or added fat (such as coconut milk or oil) to facilitate improved bioavailability of the fat-loving (lipophilic) curcuminoid phenols; leveraging a lipophilic design has been shown to allow for greater bio-accessibility of curcuminoids.
How To Enjoy Golden Fusion:
Mix one scoop with 150ml of hot water or your favourite milk (cow's, coconut, or almond) for a great-tasting and comforting way to supplement your diet with curcumin and collagen peptides.
Frequently Asked Questions...
What’s the Ancient Secret of Golden Milk?
With roots in traditional Chinese and Indian recipes, golden milk dates back thousands of years, and is used within the ancient branch of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda as a nourishing, delicious tonic that supports the mind and body in several ways.
The main ingredient in golden milk is turmeric, which gives it a beautiful yellow colour and healing benefits. Traditionally used to impart colour and flavour to Indian curries, the health benefits of turmeric are well-documented and researched. These include anti-inflammatory properties and support of detoxification, as well as the potential to improve cognitive function, blood sugar balance, joint health, and more.
What is the source is of our golden fusion collagen?
The source is grass-fed bovine collagen.
What is the type of collagen used?
Why does Metagenics list “Predominantly Grass-Fed” Collagen Peptides?
Grass-Fed designation is often desirable because some experts believe that these cows may deliver greater nutritional benefits. However, labeling grass-fed without qualifying with “predominantly” would be is false and misleading. The majority of cows are not exclusively grass-fed because they often eat other food, such as grain, when weather is bad and there is no grass to eat. Many other companies and suppliers do not disclose this information.
We pride ourselves on quality and transparency and will continue to set the standard for clear and accurate labelling.
by Deanna Minich, PhD
As you read through health magazines or blogs, you probably see all kinds of articles or ads promoting the next great miracle product: a detox or cleanse. The influx of products—many of which have no scientific evidence backing their promised efficacy—has led many to think that detox is just a scam or a fad. However, that is not the whole truth.
Although some of these products might be ineffectual, there are also many reputable items and programs out there that actually do work. It is these that will withstand the test of time and demonstrate that true metabolic detox is not merely a fad.
Not convinced? Read on and find out why you should give it a shot!
We Live in a Toxic World
The industrial, chemical, and technological revolutions greatly benefited us in many ways, but they have led to a highly toxic world. Environmental exposure to pollution, chemicals, and other toxins is linked to a variety of noncommunicable diseases,1 including cancer, asthma, neuro-development conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.2
Everyone is exposed to a number of toxins through their water, food, air, personal care products, and other elements in the environment. These include:
It Requires Support
Your body has its own detoxification process, which in the scientific and medical community is often referred to as bio transformation. There are three steps to this process: bio transformation, conjugation, and elimination.
During the first stage, toxic molecules, which might come from the outside world or from metabolites of your own body processes, get molecularity transformed into a different molecule. Sometimes it becomes less toxic, but many times, it actually becomes more toxic! Luckily, the next step mollifies it into a less toxic molecule. In this phase, the molecule combines with another molecule to create something that the body can eliminate. The third step is elimination, which in some discussions on detox is excluded but is just as important as the other two steps. Once your body has transformed the toxic elements into a benign molecule, it must be excreted through your urine, feces, or sweat.
All of these processes occur whether you are on a metabolic detox regimen or not, but they often need help! Each phase requires certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. If you have more toxins, then you will need more of these nutrients to handle the increase in the processes while your body tries to remove them from your system.
Some people have genetic differences that alter their detoxification pathways. In some instances, it speeds up either stage one or stage two. In others, it slows a stage down. Certain foods, medications, and other factors also might impact the efficacy either positively or negatively. In these instances, you might also require additional support to handle the detoxification process.
If two stages are not in sync, problems might arise. If you churn out more toxic molecules from stage one without being able to handle stage two at the same rate, then all of a sudden you have a backup of potentially troublesome molecules in the body. Similarly, if you finish stage two but cannot eliminate the toxins, they might get recycled, causing issues.
Good detox programs provide you with the food, nutrients, and herbs that support your body’s own natural detoxification system to ensure it works smoothly, in sync, and at the speed you need.
Nutrients Needed for Metabolic Detoxification
You want to ensure that you have the nutrients necessary to support the bio transformation and elimination process to get rid of the toxins in your body. You can also incorporate foods known to support the process,6 such as green tea, curcumin, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and dandelion. Additionally, you want to support your liver, your kidneys, and your gut, the three systems most heavily involved in detoxification.
First and foremost, the process needs energy to undergo the different stages of detox! Phase one requires antioxidant support, since it typically releases a lot of free radicals. Nutrients to ensure you consume to support your phase one include:
Creating a Metabolic Detox Diet
Many of these nutrients are found in a generally healthy diet made up of primarily plant foods and whole foods. Thus, an essential step in providing your body with these nutrients is replacing calorie-dense foods with little to no nutrition, such as the highly processed foods rampant in the typical Western diet, with nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats. Furthermore, switching to an organic diet has been shown to significantly lower the level of pesticides in the body even in a short period of time.
To take it a step further, you want to incorporate a detox diet that emphasises certain foods, nutrients, and herbs known to provide support for the pathways. A good detox diet not only provides you with the nutrients your body needs to process and eliminate the toxins you face every day, but it also should have the nutrients you need for all the other processes your body undertakes, as well as your daily activities!
Don’t forget to mitigate your exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible through using air and water filters, consuming organic foods, limiting your plastic use, and more.
So, is detox a fad? NO!In the highly toxic environment in which most people live, our body requires support to do its natural practice of eliminating toxins. In fact, it is essential not just to do a metabolic detox or a cleanse as a one-off, but to adopt a detoxifying lifestyle that provides a defence against the toxins to which you will be inevitably exposed.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.References:
About Deanna MinichGuest blogger Dr. Deanna Minich is an internationally recognized health expert and author with more than 20 years of experience in nutrition, mind-body health, and functional medicine. Dr. Minich holds Master’s and Doctorate degrees in nutrition and has lectured extensively throughout the world on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals about nutrition. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Currently, Dr. Minich teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the graduate program in functional medicine at the University of Western States. Her passion is bringing forth a colorful, whole-self approach to nourishment called Whole Detox and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine.
View all posts by Deanna Minich →
When your body’s gut microbiome falls out of balance, there are many ways it can affect your health.
What’s a microbiome? It’s the genetic material of all microbes—bacteria—that live on and inside your body. The good bacteria that contribute to your intestinal microbiome are essential to your health, development, immune function, and nutritional status.
Sound complex? It is! And it’s a delicate balance that can easily be disrupted. Here are five key ways your gut microbiome may be negatively impacted:1
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Eat a healthy breakfast. It sounds simple enough. But what exactly does that mean?
While there is no definition of the “perfect breakfast,” it makes sense that there are ideal and less than ideal ways to energize your body. So let’s compare typical breakfast options to various types of fires and ways to fuel your morning right!
The Cooking Fire:
This fire is the equivalent of a stove range. It burns slowly, evenly and can literally last all day.
The breakfast equivalent? A breakfast that will keep you energized all day with stable blood sugar levels should always have lean protein as its base. Like seasoned firewood, lean protein is a slow burn fuel. It improves glycemic response, inhibits the secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates the secretion of the satiety hormones peptide YY (PYY), glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CKK). 11 The net effect? You feel more satisfied and have fewer food cravings, which may also help maintain a healthy body weight.
In addition to protein, some minimally processed fats, such as avocado, olive or coconut oil, not only add flavor but also further increase satiety. Carbohydrates should ideally be limited to whole food sources (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains)—as close to their natural form as possible. Think steel cut oats, rather than instant oatmeal.
Here are some examples of slow burn breakfasts and tips to get you started.
The Kindling Fire:
This fire burns hot and fast. It ignites quickly, then extinguishes once it has consumed its fuel: paper, leaves, etc. It’s all kindling, no logs.
Think of the typical bagel and juice breakfast as a kindling fire. The more processed, more sugar-laden your breakfast, the faster your body burns it. In the big picture of long-term health effects, within reason, any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. True, it gives you some fast energy. But keep in mind, it may leave you hungry and needing energy by mid-morning.
Do you skip breakfast? If so, you’re in good company. In fact, according to a national survey, “breaking the fast” is not on the morning agenda of 31 million American adults. How might skipping the most important meal of the day affect you? Research supports the importance of breakfast for better energy and healthier food choices throughout the day, wins for everyone. But if you fit the following criteria, you may have even more to gain from breakfast 1,2.
What’s your excuse for skipping breakfast?
About Maribeth EvezichMaribeth Evezich, MS, RD is a functional nutrition and therapeutic lifestyle consultant. Maribeth is also a graduate of Bastyr University and the Natural Gourmet Institute. Whether she is in her kitchen experimenting, at her computer researching, or behind the lens of her camera, she is on a mission to inspire others to love whole foods. as much as she does. She lives in Seattle and is the founder of Lifestyle Medicine Consulting, LLC and the culinary nutrition blog, Whole Foods Explorer. Maribeth Evezich is a paid consultant and guest writer for Metagenics.
View all posts by Maribeth Evezich →
Why sleeping position matters
By Robert G. Silverman, DC
How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Refreshed, rested, and ready to go? Or stiff, achy, and wishing you could go back to sleep for another few hours? The difference may depend on your sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back
Most experts agree that sleeping on your back is the ideal position, but it’s not for everyone. When you sleep on your back, you stretch your body out evenly on the mattress. Your head, neck, and spine are aligned in a neutral position—there’s no extra stress on any part of your body. As a chiropractor, I recommend back sleeping, because it puts the least amount of pressure on the vertebrae and discs of the spine.
If you have trouble with acid re-flux, lying on your back with your head elevated a bit by your pillow is a good way to keep acid from coming up. But sleeping on your back has one big drawback: snoring.
If you already snore, lying on your back makes it louder. This is the most likely position to trigger “Honey, roll over” from your bed partner. It’s also the worst position for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that makes your breathing repeatedly stop and then start again, sometimes with a loud snorting or choking sound, usually because the throat muscles relax during sleep and block the trachea.
Sleep apnea is linked to heart disease and high blood pressure (among other problems), and can even be fatal. If you’re a heavy snorer, talk to your doctor about doing a sleep study to detect sleep apnea.
Sleeping on your side
The side position, with your torso straight and legs stretched, keeps your spine elongated and unstressed. If you tend to wake up with back and neck pain, try this position—after a few days, you’ll notice a positive change in how you feel in the morning. It’s also a good choice if you snore or have sleep apnea, because it helps keep your airway open.
If you have acid reflux, sleeping on your side keeps the acid from coming up. Sleeping on your left side works better for this, because in that position, the stomach is below the esophagus; gravity keeps the acid in the stomach where it belongs.
During pregnancy, many women find that sleeping on their side is the most comfortable position for breathing comfortably and relieving backache. If you can, sleep on your left side to increase the amount of blood that flows to the womb and nourishes the baby. For added comfort and support, put a pillow between your legs.
The fetal position
Curling up on your side, much as babies and small children do, is perhaps the ideal sleeping position. With your torso and legs bent, you’re putting as little stress as possible on your spine while you sleep. This is a great position for reducing snoring and preventing acid reflux.
The drawback is that it can be tough on the joints if you have arthritic hips or spinal stenosis—you might wake up feeling stiff and sore. Put a pillow between your knees to reduce the risk of lower back pain or stiffness.
If you regularly sleep on your side, your pillow matters. You want a pillow that will support your head in a neutral position and avoid putting stress on your neck. Side sleepers who wake up with neck pain or stiffness should take a good look at their pillow. Ideally, it will be firm enough to comfortably support the head and neck. Position yourself so only your head and neck—not your shoulders—are on the pillow.
Sleeping on your stomach
Ordinarily, you would be inclined to tell your patients to sleep in whatever position is most comfortable for them. There’s one exception, however: sleeping on your stomach. This position puts a lot of pressure on the back and neck. Because you have to turn your head to one side to breathe, you’re likely to wake up with stiff and sore neck and shoulder muscles; you might even wake with numbness and tingling in your arms. Sleeping on your stomach also puts a lot of pressure on the lumbar (lower) spine, so you could wake up with lower back pain.
Sleeping on your stomach also puts pressure on your digestive system, heart, and lungs. If you snore, you’ll snore more sleeping on your stomach. And if you have sleep apnea, it will be worse when you sleep on your stomach.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, I suggest trying to alter your sleeping habits and sleep on your side instead. To help you get used to the new position, lie on your side and put a pillow next to you near your abdomen. It will help keep you from rolling onto your stomach.
Choosing the right pillow
Your sleep position is crucial for waking up feeling great, but other factors come into play. Your pillow is critically important for supporting your head and keeping your head and neck aligned while you sleep. Choose a pillow that matches your favourite sleeping position.
Back sleepers usually do best with a medium-soft pillow that supports the natural curve of the neck. If you’re a snorer, elevating your head may lower the volume and help with sleep apnea. Try using two or three firm pillows or a wedge pillow to raise your head, neck, and shoulders.
Side sleepers should look for a firm or even extra-firm pillow that will keep your head and neck aligned. If you must sleep on your stomach, look for a thin soft pillow that won’t bend your neck out of its natural curve. For your patients with neck pain, recommend a cervical pillow.
Pillows are filled with all sorts of materials: latex, polyester, down, even buckwheat hulls. Many chiropractors feel the best choice of material by far is memory foam. The foam adapts to provide pressure-free support for the head and neck and helps keep the spine in alignment during sleep.
Nevertheless, good sleep position won’t make up for a bad mattress. Anecdotal reports from patients that suggest the ideal mattress is made of memory foam. A memory foam mattress contours to the spine’s natural curves and distributes body weight evenly. With no pressure points or sags, memory foam mattresses promote comfortable sleep through the night.
About Robert SilvermanRobert G. Silverman, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, MS, CCN, CNS, CSCS, CIISN, CKTP, CES, HKC, FAKTR is a chiropractic doctor, clinical nutritionist and author of Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body, an Amazon number-one bestseller in 2016. The ACA Sports Council named Dr. Silverman “Sports Chiropractor of the Year” in 2015. He also maintains a busy private practice as founder of Westchester Integrative Health Center, which specializes in the treatment of joint pain using functional nutrition along with cutting-edge, science-based, nonsurgical approaches. Dr. Silverman is a seasoned health and wellness expert on both the speaking circuits and within the media. He has appeared on FOX News Channel, FOX, NBC, CBS, CW affiliates as well as The Wall Street Journal and NewsMax, to name a few. He was invited as a guest speaker on “Talks at Google” to discuss his current book. As a frequent published author for Dynamic Chiropractic, JACA, ACA News, Chiropractic Economics, The Original Internist and Holistic Primary Care journals, Dr. Silverman is a thought leader in his field and practice.
View all posts by Robert Silverman →