Natural Joint and Bone Health

Joint and bone health

Bones- vitamin D3 with Vit. K2 seem to be a great pairing for bone health.

It has been shown in many studies that the intake of Vitamins D3 (cholecalciferol) helps absorption and maintaining blood levels of calcium.  Recently K2 has been shown to help the body move calcium into the bones with studies showing reduction of hip fractures, increased bone density and maintaining skeletal height.

Vitamin D3 doses vary and getting blood levels can be helpful

I usually recommend a dose of 1-2000 IU for people in the summer then increase dose to 2000-4000 IU in the Winter.

Vit k2 doses for osteoporosis or osteopenia in the range of 50-100 mcg daily( beware if taking blood thinners)

Inflammation- Fish oils. EPA/DHA, Tumeric/ginger, Digestive enzymes,Glucosamine/chondroiton

There are many things we can do to moderate inflammation of the joints.  I will be focused on some of the more common natural medicines that can be used to help with the inflammatory process


Fishoils- have the active essential omega 3 fatty acids of EPA and DHA.  EPA is more directed to inflammatory response mediation while DHA is geared more for Brain health and functions.

Typical doses need to be high to have a physiological effect.  1-2000 mg of the active EPA/DHA is a good place to start.  This can have some blood thinning qualities so tell your doctor and discontinue before surgeries. 

Tumeric/ ginger- are two very well know anti inflammatory herbs that may be in your cabinet.  They can be found in many anti inflammatory herbal medicines.  

Tumeric can be taken at 500 mg 3 x a day and usually starts to show affects around 6 weeks to 8 weeks time

Ginger can be taken 500-1000 mg 2 x a day with similar time to show affects

Digestive Enzymes- As we age our ability to produce stomach acid and our ability to digest our foods decreases.  Digestive enzymes are a great supplement to get the most out of our foods. They can also be used to help with inflammation if they are taken on an empty stomach.  For inflammatory reduction it is useful to take protein lysing enzymes.  

Bromelain, Papain, and protease are great enzymes to be used for anti inflammatory actions. 

They should be taken away from food 2 hrs after meals or 30 min before meals.  Usually 1 -2 capsules.  

Glucosamine/Chondroiton  These can be taken together to help with arthritis by increasing the lubrication in the joints.  Can start with 1500mg glucosamine and 1200mg chondroitin then move to lower doses if affect is noted.  

Exercise- Weight bearing exercise is great for bone health.  Light weights, walking, qi gong shaking etc. are all great ways to have the bones remodel to help support our weight.  


Elderberry Wild Harvest and Recipies

Elderberries(Sambucus spp.) are a local plant, free, and abundant around the Park City area.  Even though fall has come quickly to Park City with early snows and cold temperatures, there are still berries to be picked.  Just around the first frost the elderberries tend to be their sweetest having had most of the summer to mature and ripen.  The berries make great jellies, syrups, liquors and tinctures.

How to pick them

Elderberries grow in large clusters or umbrellas on a hollow stemmed shrub usually in open sub alpine meadows and mountainsides.  The whole cluster is picked at the stem or cut off with a knife and gathered in bags. ( It is important to remember that the blue and black varieties are safer to eat while the red varieties are reported to be more Toxic.  The stems, bark, roots and leaves have cyanide producing glycosides and should not be eaten.  Will cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting). In general I like to keep consumption down in any one sitting, usually less than a handful at any given time.

The Quickest way to de-stem the berries is to freeze the entire umbrella, then once frozen, the berries literally fall off the stems.

Elderberry juice

Step 1)  De-stemmed berries are put in a large pot.  Fill pot with enough water to cover berries. ( can also slice a few apples, crab apples, serviceberries or other berries and add them to the pot )(for syrup can add ginger, cinnamon, lemon peel, and cloves)

Step 2)  Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil on medium high heat for 30-45 min.  Can use a potato smasher to crush some of the berries.

Step 3)  Strain and press the liquid through a tea cloth and strainer into a large bowl or pot. After the berries are completely drained and pressed they can be discarded.  Measure and pour juice back into a pot and put back on burner.

Step 4)  On medium heat bring to a boil and add sugar at a 1-1 ratio to the Measured juice volume.  Continue to stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

This concentrated juice can be stored in prepared sterilized jars for use later.  Mixed 3-4 parts water with 1 part concentrated juice and enjoy.

This Concentrate can be used as a syrup or further modified into a  jelly by adding pectin.

Elderberry  Liquor  or Tincture

Dried or frozen elderberries with a large slice of ginger and some zest of lemon are put in a jar and covered with vodka and covered with a lid.  I also like to put in some ripened service berries to sweeten the mixture.  This mixture is stored in a dark, room temperature place for a minimum of 1 month. This is mixed occasionally and opened to let out any condensation. The longer it is stored the darker it becomes. After 1 month it is strained through a tea cloth and can be stored for years in a jar.  To sweeten as a dessert liquor 1/3 cup sugar may be added to 1 quart tincture and mixed till dissolved.