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Ask Bonnie: “What do you do to support your body before/after surgery?”

A pre-surgery x-ray of Bonnie's. You should see the other guy.A pre-surgery x-ray of Bonnie’s. You should see the other guy.



Emily, a busy young canary in NYC, asks, “I’m going in for (another) surgery next week. Don’t you have some stuff you do for bone and connective tissue healing?”


I do.

Here’s a HUGE DISCLAIMER: None of this is medical or nutritional advice. It’s just for general informational purposes. These are resources I’ve found useful for my own education and health, but everyone is different. Please talk to your doctor and healthcare team, especially regarding drug interactions and contraindications, before considering major changes to your diet, lifestyle, or supplement regimen.

I linked some of these to make things easy for you, but I don’t make any money off this stuff. It just took me a lot of time and effort to find these (especially supplements without garbage), so I thought I’d pass along my favorites and save you the time.

Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan MD

Because you’re busy and pre-hospital, I’m not gonna point you toward radical diet change. But this book will introduce you to some dietary stuff that may interest you longer-term.

Written by a doctor who was skeptical about healing through food, experienced it firsthand, and went out to find out why it works. There’s a lot in here about bone and connective tissue. Also, some strong arguments for restricting/removing “vegetable oil” (I’ve put that in quotes because, well, it’s not made from vegetables) and sugar from the diet if you’re concerned with building/rebuilding healthy tissue.


My personal favorite superfood for connective tissue recovery.

(Caveat: Herpes loves arginine, and broth and gelatin are rich in arginine. So, if someone gets cold sores or has other herpes, they might want to stop gelatin use around outbreaks, or even consider supplementing with additional lysine. But supplementing with amino acids like lysine should definitely only be done under the supervision of your healthcare team).

Some other big ones for building healthy new tissue are:

Vitamin C

Essential for synthesizing connective tissue and putting all that gelatin to use. We don’t make our own, we need more when we’re stressed, and it’s rare for a stressed young professional to get enough through food alone.

Vitamin K2

to make sure all the circulating calcium for bone repair gets deposited in the right places and not, say, in arteries or other soft tissues. (pairing it with D3 is a popular way to mimic real food synergy and make sure the D3 doesn’t get out of line). K2 is not the same as Vitamin K. You can’t get it from leafy greens.

B Complex

Stress management, nuff said. (Unless you’re eating organ meats daily, which is uncommon, you’re unlikely to be getting balanced ratios of the full spectrum of b-vitamins through diet)

Trace Minerals

Mostly for magnesium, another really important component for both stress management and making sure calcium ends up in the right places. (Mag is another one of those things that’s super tough to get enough of through diet, as the soil is now so depleted). What form?

  • For some people (including me), Magnesium citrate is tough to absorb and about as useful as swallowing rocks.
  • Chelated forms of mag like magnesium glycinate are said to be gentler than citrate and possibly more easily utilized in some people.
  • I prefer the ionic form (in solution, you drop it into water), because my system likes it, I can feel the difference, and I believe the trace minerals that come with the mag in ConcenTrace mimic what we get from food grown in healthy soil. It takes people a while to get used to the taste of ConcenTrace; I started with 2-4 drops in a glass of water to start, and over a few months worked up to 40 drops a day in 40 0z water over the course of the day.


There’s no right, or best, probiotic, but in general it’s great to have diverse strains of lactobacilli, some sort of bifidum, and little to no garbage/fillers. Everyone will react differently to the same probiotic, because it’s interacting with your existing gut ecosystem. Some options to try starting out:

  • The gentlest I’ve encountered is Culturelle; pretty much everyone seems to tolerate it.
  • The next step up from Culturelle is something like Ultimate Flora; they have many levels, which is great if you want to work your way up in potency and have more diverse strains.
  • Some interesting stuff has come out about how, in a combined lacto/bifido capsule, the bifido maaaaay take over and kills all the lacto. So maybe two separate supps is the way to go for max effectiveness. In that case, I like Securil for bifido and Lacidofil for lacto.
  • A lot of people love PrescriptAssist, but it may be a shock to a city dweller’s system: the organisms are soil-based.
  • I’ve heard good things about MegaSpore, but haven’t tried it. Let me know if you like it.

To recap: this is not advice. It’s just my experience. I am not responsible for what you do with this information. These are some of my favorite resources and nutrients for healing, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be yours. Do your research and talk to your healthcare team before making any changes.


Email with your name (You can be anonymous if you wish! Just say so), your question, and whatever background you think I’ll need.