Gout, Arthritis, Inflammation: The relation to the diet

This may be one of the most complex areas to understand, and we are gaining new knowledge all the time. For far too long we have remained focused on certain food triggers rather than the source and the reasoning behind our reaction. Food selection is very important. The larger, and often overlooked, picture would be the lack of pH balance to each meal, general unhealthy food choices for far too long, high-heat cooking methods, and an overabundance of processed and now genetically modified selections in the typical diet.

Questions to consider:

  • Is red meat the enemy OR is it the grain fed caged source vs. grass fed and free to roam source?
  • Is the inflammatory inducing acid of the protein the problem OR are we not providing enough alkaline food sources in the same meal to buffer the acids and still benefit from the good it has to offer?
  • What is the true source behind the body’s inflammatory reaction?

You will continue to find conflicting information on what is considered to be a ‘healthy diet,’ rendering you helpless in making concrete decisions on your approach for change.

Here is what we do know:

Eat to live, don’t live to eat. This is one rule we truly do not follow as typically we include food as the staple of just about every celebration, and usually not the best of selections.

• Don’t fear the fats! Since the 1970s we have been told to consume a low-fat and rather high carb diet for our ‘health’. However, our obesity and diabetes rates have been soaring ever since. Logic would define fat consumption as rather fulfilling, hence requiring less to feel satisfied. On the contrary, while carbs may provide fewer calories, we continue to consume them at a much higher level to gain the feeling of being ‘full’. This is a double-edged sword for a diabetic who would then in turn require more insulin resulting in even more fat storage. What we have come to believe is the right way to eat, turns out to be all wrong. Our soaring disease rates and prescription drug use is living proof.. Saturated fats and fatty acids contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Include low mercury fish selections (about 7-10oz/week) and/or raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, ground flaxseed, grapeseed and pumpkin and sesame seeds. Include healthy saturated fats from real butter (made from raw grass fed organic milk), organic pastured eggs, coconuts and coconut oil, tropical palm oil, olive oil (not cooked), unheated organic nut oils, ghee, avocados, and grass fed meats in moderation. Avoid processed fats/trans-fats and hydrogenated/vegetable oils.

• Not all carbs are created equally. Complex and fiber rich is the way to go. Fresh vegetables (mostly) and fruit (non GMO & preferably organic) should remain the largest part of your daily diet. To avoid blood sugar surges, simply stick to complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as apples, asparagus, beans, broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, green beans, leafy greens, pears, raspberries, spinach and strawberries.

• Trying to avoid high temperature cooking methods as much as possible (microwave, grilling, broiling, frying-anything cooked in oil) and choosing more slow indirect heat (crock pot, rotisserie, steaming, low heat baking and roasting, simmering) can make a difference in the acidity level of your food. High direct heat chemically alters the food, makes it more acidic, and can strip away most of the nutrients.

• Limit or eliminate sugar, sugar substitutes, white flour, synthetic oils, refined carbs and grains, caffeine, non-perishable, genetically modified, and processed foods in general. Fresh is always best.

• Limit or eliminate alcohol, smoking, recreational and prescription drugs.

• Whenever possible, choose non-gmo, organic, and organically grown foods.

• The ph balance of your meals and in your body speaks volumes about your health. An overly acidic diet, or even excessively alkaline diet, equally raise many concerns. When the body is too acidic, it has to work overtime to expel the residue or to have to store it and use vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium as a buffer to lower the body acidity. This is extremely stressful on the organs and depletes essential nutrients in the body. When the body is immoderately alkaline, it has to deal with low electrolytes, which can weaken the nerves and muscles also affecting the body’s functions. Generally, we deal with overly acidic diets and, in turn, with very imbalanced pH levels. The body is relentlessly working overtime to achieve balance, as this balance is essential to all bodily functions and cell health. One should strive for an eating balance of at least 70/30 ratio of alkaline (think fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices) to acidic (think grass fed meat sources) food intake, per meal. Our typical diet is exactly the opposite, and often times even worse than that. Fortunately, pH can be tested. Healthy functioning range is around 6.5 in the AM, and 7.5 by evening. How you heat the food and what you eat together in a meal can make all the difference, and very important one at that.

Important tips regarding Gout and other Inflammatory Conditions

Eating too much causes inflammation-

We know that overeating promotes the inflammatory response and suppresses the immune system. Tests performed by the National Institute on Aging revealed that when animals were fed 50 percent fewer calories per day, their immune response improved, the number of inflammatory cytokines in circulation was reduced, thymus size was maintained and inflammation-fighting T-cell function improved. This study looked at higher and lower calorie consumption; it did not distinguish among the types of calories consumed. Heavy, red-meat-based diets or lots of sugar-laden foods would definitely have a negative impact on immune function and promote inflammation, whereas calories in the form of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds would improve immunity. No matter what the food choices, moderation is the key in terms of both total daily quantity and amounts consumed at one time. Generally, five or six small meals (of the right foods) throughout the day are considered to be healthier than consuming fewer large ones. [4]

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Traditional Gout Medications

Most commonly prescribed Gout medication options include:

Xanthine Inhibitors: These actually block the enzyme, (xanthine oxidase) necessary for the conversion of purines to uric acid. As of result, blood serum levels are lowered and used to prevent chronic gout, stones, and hyperuricemia. It is not actually a treatment for an acute attack, and can even exacerbate an attack if used while it’s running its course. This treatment sounds good in theory, however, un-naturally stopping a very natural and necessary production such as uric acid must take its toll on the body somehow? After all, uric acid is a potent antioxidant vital to the human body. Attempting to halt its production could be detrimental to its important role as the protector of our DNA. As a result, it is necessary to monitor the liver, kidneys, and blood during its use.

Possible side effects include:

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INFLAMMATION: WHEN A GOOD THING GOES BAD

Inflammation is a natural, thriving mechanism of the immune system. Acute inflammatory response is a way to fire at and ward off disease and infection, as well as to fuel cellular regeneration. We all require a healthy measure of inflammation in order to survive. What happens when the body feels as though it is constantly under an attack of some sort? What if the inflammatory response persists and you are plagued with an incessant slow burning fire inside of you? This is precisely when a good thing, goes bad.

The body is amazingly resilient, but relies solely upon communication between the major systems within the body (the endocrine, digestive, respiratory/cardiovascular, and the central nervous system) in order to function and heal properly. When chronic inflammation is present, these systems can no longer communicate, and disease is

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The Almighty Liver

Why is the liver so important?

The liver may just be one of the most fascinating and forgiving of all organs.  It literally has over 500 functions in the body.  It is an organ that just keeps giving, despite all of its abuse.  As your number one protector, could you be doing more to help the liver do its job?

The liver faces a daily onslaught of abuse from pathogens and toxins in our environment, water, air, hygiene and household products, and our diet.  From the time we were nothing more than a fetus in our mother’s womb, our liver was already protecting us as our first, and main level, of defense.  The liver cleans your blood, your lymphatic system, and supports your adrenal glands.  Healing and cleansing the liver can help heal and cleanse all of the above.

What are some signs of liver congestion?

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Arthritis and Joint Pain

Many forms of arthritis are caused by chronic low lying inflammation. Inflammatory cells called cytokines lead to the production of enzymes that attack the tissues and break down cartilage in joints. The word ‘arthritis’ literally means inflammation (itis) of the joints (arthri).

When the body feels as though it is ‘under attack’, it responds by sending white blood cells to that area in an attempt to repair. In cases of chronic inflammation, when these cells fall victim of misfiring, this ‘repair’ actually becomes the damage. The increase in blood flow to these areas causes tender, red, and swollen joints. In turn, the nerves are stimulated, and pain is the result. The heightened number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint can cause irritation, wearing of the cartilage, and swelling of the joint lining (synovium).

Common Types of Arthritis

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Gout and Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones (renal calculi) are formed as a result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. Once they make their way into the urinary tract severe pain in the groin, stomach, or flank area can ensue. A decrease in urination coupled with a large amount of stone-forming substances can cause these types of stones to appear. These stones can be formed by the mixture of calcium with oxalate or phosphate; and/or the combination of uric acid and amino acid cysteine.

Much like Gout, Kidney stones are being diagnosed more and more in recent years. The same type of stones can develop in the bladder as well, but are much more uncommon and have remained relatively low and unchanged by comparison. Over the span of almost 30 years, the Mayo Clinic observed a significant rise in the incidences of kidney stones; particularly in adult women. With more accurate CT scans our ability to monitor and diagnose stones are partly behind a good portion of this rise in cases, but also goes hand in hand with the rise in Obesity and Diabetes Type 2. Diets high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt have been to blame for stones and this type of diet certainly fits the profile for all of these conditions.

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The Gallbladder: Facts and Myths

What is a Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomies are one of the most over performed surgeries in the United States, and far too often, completely uncalled-for. Even in the presence of gallstones, one should always consider alternatives before rushing under the knife. The gallbladder is an essential organ responsible for collecting and storing bile in order to process and digest fats. To say that it can just be removed without consequence, is rather reckless. Aside from a number of potential dangers and complications stemming from its removal, weight problems and diabetes type two risks rise significantly.

Gallbladder attacks are often a sign of much larger problems, problems that do not simply disappear only once a small piece of that puzzle is removed. Our typical desire for instant gratification, coupled with the misconstrued notion that the gall bladder is an unnecessary organ, has led to an alarming number of these senseless surgeries.

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Understanding Uric Acid

Uric Acid

Purines perform multiple important functions within our cells, including regulating energy metabolism and signaling the energy conversion from one to another.  Purines are essentially the building blocks for all living things as a necessity for the growth, proliferation and survival of all cells.  The two purine bases, adenine and guanine, create bonds that form the DNA ladder. Humans breakdown purines and convert them into uric acid.

Uric acid happens to b a potent DNA protector.  All other mammals possess an enzyme known as uricase.  Uricase converts uric acid into allantoin, which can easily travel through the bloodstream and readily eliminated through the urine.  Humans do not possess this enzyme, therefore, we cannot oxidize uric acid into the more soluble compound of allantoin.  Our liver and kidneys are left to do the all-important jobs of purine breakdown and uric acid disposal, conducted respectively.

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What is CRP and what does it have to do with your health?

What is CRP?

CRP stands for C-reactive protein.  This protein is produced by the liver in response to elements released from certain white blood cells known as macrophages; as well as elements released from fat cells (adipocytes.)  CRP levels rise in the presence of inflammation and take on a role to bind with chemical compounds that are released on the surface of a dying or dead cell.  This process is part of an immune system response to enhance the ability of antibodies and bacteria/pathogen eating cells (phagocytic cells) to eliminate damaged cells from the body.  Certain chronic inflammatory conditions cause the release of IL-6 (interleukin-6) that trigger the release of CRP.  IL-6 is a type of immune protein in the family of cytokines that can act as both an anti-inflammatory and a pro-inflammatory.

As discussed in previous blog posts, inflammation is a normal body process necessary for our body’s response to fight infection and injury.  It is a natural part of our immune system’s ability to send white blood cells and other chemical compounds to a trouble area of the body in an effort to help it heal.  However, in the presence of chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Colitis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Gout, Heart Disease, Asthma, Diabetes, and more – the constant “fire” of inflammation can be disastrous, even deadly.
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