Keeping it real – alkalinity and tendon/fascia pain

I've been involved in the health and fitness industry for something over 30 years now, and no one can say that I don't appreciate the good that the industry has done over the last few decades. People are getting out and moving more, and that goes a long way toward combatting the ill effects of today's sedentary lifestyle.  And a lot of folks have become much more aware of what they're putting into their mouths.  But if there's one thing that makes me roll my eyes, it's the exaggerated, unfounded claims that come with trying to sell something that's exercise- or nutrition-related.

I'm not just talking about bodybuilder protein shakes ("Put 7,423 calories of PURE ENERGY into your body! Supermaxidynamize it! Gain slabs of muscle in only five short minutes!!!"), although the supplement industry's claims are as outlandish as any. And I'm not just talking about the claims that various exercise disciplines make either - although some of them would put Joe Weider to shame. (I read one book on Pilates that actually seemed to suggest the exercises helped to immunize people against the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.) No, the problem is everywhere. And remedies for tendon pain are no exception.

The specific point I want to talk about today has to do with one's diet, and how alkaline it is. Recently I've seen some discussion--and even some articles--about how people have supposedly cured themselves of long-term tendon pain by changing up their diet to make it less acidic and more alkaline. The most generally recommended way to do this by eating more in the way of vegetables and less in the way of meat, especially red meat.

I fully agree that too much acidity in the body can make it easy for inflammation to occur, and as we all know, tendonitis/fasciitis are conditions of inflammation. But thinking that your diet alone is going to determine whether or not you get (or can cure) some sort of ~itis is sort of like thinking that replacing your tires is all you need to get you into the next town. Certainly, if your tires are old and worn it would be a good idea to get some new ones. But most people are going to need some other stuff as some gas in the tank...and a battery under the hood.

Another point is that long-term tendon or fascia pain usually isn't an ~itis at all, but an ~osis. Tendonosis/fasciosis means degeneration of the tissue itself, not inflammation, and you can eat all the vegetables you like but it won't have any effect on the collagen fibers that make up both of these structures.

Nutrition experts tend to see everything in terms of diet, and exercise folks look at everything through the lens of movement. But this overloading of one or another facet of health obscures the truth. And the truth is this: a combined approach is the best, surest, and most complete way to eliminate persistent tendon or fascia pain.

Author: Alex Nordach

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