Belfry Meeting 4 January - Harvey Hutchinson On Joint Health

By Carol Sencicle

Harvey, a New Zealander, was a Trauma & Emergency Nurse from 1991-2004 where he had hands on experience of injuries to joints. He is currently a representative for a company selling food supplements.

He started his talk by relating his involvement in a serious car crash when he was 17. It was thought at that time that his knee joint would never recover from the accident. However, after many years he is not troubled by the injury. He believes that his knee joint has been regenerated by a sensible diet and food supplements.

To keep joints healthy he advises that we should try to prevent inflammation by eating good food and maintaining an appropriate weight. Anti inflammatory foods include: Foods rich in Omega 3 such as fish oils; Low glycaemic carbohydrates; Zinc; Polyphenols (found in green tea); Vitamin C and Grape seed extract.

A Healthy body = Healthy cells = Healthy joints
Unhealthy cells = unhealthy joints

Primary prevention comes from a good diet. Oxidants can damage cells. Some of the reasons for cells aging are: Stress; Radiation from the sun; Pollution; Chemicals in water; Poor diet and Cigarette smoke. Anti oxidants can help reverse the damage. They come from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and there is more in organic foods.

Secondary prevention comes from pharmaco-therapeutric approach. Some research shows that joints improve if Glucosamine and Chondroitin are taken as supplements. Harvey advised that supplements should be of high quality. It is hard to tell from the labels what quality you are buying so you must buy from a reputable source.

Harvey went on to explain the Glycaemic Index (GI). In 1981 a Dr Jenkins measured the rate at which the blood sugar level is raised for different types of food. He then came up with an index for each food. High GI foods are foods such as potatoes, white bread, pasta and sugar. Low GI foods are most fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Research shows that children given a high GI breakfast will eat more calories in the rest of the day than children given a low GI breakfast.

High GI foods can lead to high blood pressure because blood vessels are damaged. They can also lead to Type 2 diabetes. Harvey thinks that the solution is to eat low GI foods and take high quality supplements. Low GI foods give a slow release of sugar into the blood stream which leads to better energy levels and feeling satisfied for longer. The sugar is burnt rather than stored as fat and blood pressure is improved. Low GI foods can reverse damage to blood vessels and produce less demand for insulin.

There followed an interesting question and answer session. Harvey concluded that a healthy person could benefit from a daily supplement of fish oil and multi vitamins.

Jane Fairclough introduced Harvey and thanked him at the end for a most thought provoking talk and discussion.