My 15-year-old son broke his collarbone five weeks ago. He was discharged from the fracture clinic this week and told he could run but not take part in any sport for eight weeks. He is a goalkeeper for a soccer team, and due for trails. Can you suggest anything to help the bone continue to strengthen, so that it won’t break again when he returns to the pitch?
Bones form the skeletal system, which has a range of vital functions. They support muscles. which are attached to them, and enable us to move and stay upright. The yellow marrow of the bone stores minerals and lipids (fats). Both red and white blood cells are produced within the cavity of many bones. Bony structures such as the ribcage, skull, pelvic cradle and spinal column protect organs and some give leverage. Bone matrix (structure) consists of crystals of mineral salts such as calcium, phosphate and calcium carbonate, plus protein-based collagen fibres, which hold the minerals together. This makes bone strong, somewhat flexible and resistant to shattering.
Bones are involved in a constant dynamic process of degeneration and regeneration. The various cells include bone-making osteoblasts (which mature into osteocytes), and osteoblasts, which are involved in dissolving bone. As the bones break down, they release minerals which are carried in the blood to various sites -for example, calcium helps skeletal, heart and involuntary muscles to contract. Dissolved bone tissue is immediately replaced by new crystals derived from fresh blood coming into the bones via osteoblasts. Osteocytes provide enzymes that facilitate the ongoing turnover process.
Cuts, burns, bruises and fractures heal on their own, provided the blood supply to them is intact. The speed at which fractures recover also depends on the body’s own healing power, which is dependent on general health. After a fracture, the outer layer or bone surface, which is relatively inactive under normal conditions, becomes alive and forms a collar of cartilage and bone around the break This closes off the internal pan of the fracture where, with the participation of osteoblasts, cartilage and spongy bone tissue are formed. These develop into new bone matrix which consolidates the fractured area. Over a period of time the repair is total, and the newly haled area is even stronger than the original bone.
Normal bone growth and maintenance cannot take place without a constant supply of dietary calcium and phosphate salts. Other minerals such as magnesium, iron, fluoride and manganese are also required. Additionally, the hormone calcitrol, produced by the kidneys, is essential for normal calcium and phosphate ion absorption in the digestive tract. Calcitrol synthesis is dependent on vitamin D, which is either synthesised by the skin, when exposed to the sun, or absorbed from dietary sources. Vitamin C is also essential in bone repair, while vitamins A , K and B12 are necessary for synthesising proteins in bones. Vegans and strict vegetarians are lacking in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), which are found in animal proteins, so their bones tend to heal poorly.
When you have a fracture, you must refrain from strenuous work. Excessive activity or stress drains your energy and the body’s healing power suffers.
Here is my advice:
* Eat protein: eggs, fish, chicken and meat (preferably organic).
* Eat homemade chicken broth or marrowbone soup every other day for two months.
* For vegetarians, I suggest Dr Ali’s Protein Powder (Integrated Medical Centre,) one scoop twice daily for six months. Also, add one
teaspoonful of ghee (clarified butter, available from Asian grocery shops) to hot rice or mashed potato.
* Take Bone and Joint Formula, one tablet daily for four months (lMC).
* Take Coral Calcium: soak two sachets in two litres of water and drink throughout the day for six months.
* Take Shilajit, one capsule daily for four months (lMC). This mineral, which is found in the higher Himalayas, contains calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and other components: ideal or boosting both energy and bone healing.