Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Good Nutrition

Fibro Notes for March 10, 2011
Hi !
Our speaker for this month was Dr. Candace Corson, a Yale-trained medical doctor specializing in Family Medicine. Soon after graduating 34 years ago, she learned that normal, basic, good nutrition was sorely lacking in the patients where she was assigned to work. This made it completely impossible to heal or cure anyone’s ailments – the common cold or even the most minor infections would literally go wild and create all sorts of long term, difficult-to-heal maladies.

Because she needed to learn about nutrition (which wasn’t included in her curriculum at Yale), she went to the west coast to study nutrition, supplements, and herbs, all manner of alternative healing methods. This put her in the most beneficial position of being able to help people at the most basic level, so that she could then actually treat people’s illnesses starting from a proper base – a healthy nutritional base. She soon found out that when the proper nutritional needs are taken care of, many illnesses and maladies, soon healed on their own. The body can actually heal itself in many cases, when good nutrition is a part of the lifestyle.

This evening Dr. Corson shared with us some of the most important facts we need to know concerning basic healthy nutrition…which can then help us move on to less pain and fewer chronic symptoms!

“You really ARE what you eat!” Dr. Corson says. Back when your grandparents and great grandparents were thriving, they ate fresh farm foods and wild foods like fresh-picked ripe blueberries, strawberries, veggies, etc. They were grown in good soil and picked when ripe with all the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes and nutrients a body needs. They also ate wild foods - free range animals like deer (venison) and wild turkey, as well as free-range pigs, beef, and chickens that ate grasses, bugs and natural foods which, when processed internally by these animals (a process called bio-concentration) created the proper foods for people to eat. Their meat was full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and the proper balance Omega 3 to Omega 6 - a ratio of 1:1.

Animals these days are fed grain (basically pro-inflammatory Omega 6) to fatten them up – especially just before they’re sent to market. This throws off the animal’s ability to process the good Omega 3 within their system. So their meat becomes loaded with Omega 6 inflammatory fatty acids, and almost totally depleted of Omega 3 – this includes the eggs from chickens too! And what little Omega 3 is still left is then destroyed by heat, air and light. So the meats, eggs, etc that we eat has a nasty balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 at the most undesireable ratio of 1:25, OR as has been measured in lactating women, up to 1:40! This means 25 to 40 times more inflammatories than should ever be in any human being! Is it any wonder we have so many inflammatory conditions in our bodies? Chrone’s disease, arthritis, lupus, heart disease, cancer and many more – all inflammatory conditions!

Your body needs fats! Without them you would die! Your brain is mostly made up of DHA essential fatty acids, after all. However, these fats must be the right KIND of fats – Omega 3, EPA-DHA, as well as ALA, essential fatty acids are ANTI- inflammatories! Hooray! Dr. Corson drew a picture of a cell on the board showing the double wall of the cells. The “proper fat” (Omega 3) should make up the outer cell wall and inner cell wall, with water as a cushion between the two. Omega 3 keeps the cell walls soft and flexible – “breathable.” These double walls, made with the proper Omega 3, allow nutrients and oxygen to flow smoothly into the cell, process the nutrients, creating energy, and then allow the waste to be released and flow out of cells.

Fatty fish and flax seeds are two excellent ways to get essential fatty acids. If fish is not a regular food for you, you may consider a supplement of Omega 3 Fish oil. (See Fibromyalgia Basics, Tate Publishing, 2011, for recommended brands and doses.) Flax seed is rich in Omega 3 ALA and tastes great in a smoothie or yogurt or even sprinkled on salads.

[By the way, sugar is an inflammatory also. And excess sugar makes your cell walls rigid, which means that nutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, etc, not to mention oxygen, has a hard time getting into your cells! Trans fats make the outer cell walls downright hard! Dr. Corson recommends Stevia as a natural sugar substitute. I have also found “Just Like Sugar” to be quite excellent. Both are made from plants, and are completely natural, with no calories, no artificial chemicals, and zero calories. Sucanant is another sugar substitute - with only 15 calories per teaspoon - this sweetener is dehydrated sugar cane. ]

Dr. Corson reminded us that these days fruits and veggies are sprayed with chemicals to prevent bugs from getting to them, and they are picked before they are ripe, leaving them weak in nutrients. Then they are put in a truck and shipped to our local grocery – which may take days! By the time they are on our local shelf, they are days old and sprayed again with other chemicals to make them shiny, so that they LOOK good enough to eat. These fruits and veggies, may not have the same nutritional value as the foods your grandmother ate, but it is still good to load up on all the fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grains and legumes (beans) you can eat because they are still the best way to go for overall health and well-being - they are still whole, REAL foods with antioxidants, bio-available vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc. So in spite of everything, these vitamins and minerals still fortify your body as no prescription or pill can!

Eating locally from your farmer’s market, or better yet, from your own back yard is definitely the best option. When you do shop the grocery store, be sure to 1) do the bulk of your shopping from around the outer edge aisle of the store, and 2) be certain to thoroughly wash your fruits and veggies. Dried fruits and veggies, or fresh frozen, are also quite full of nutrients and she considers them the next best thing.

The items that are processed, usually found in the center of the store - boxed and prepared/instant foods - can be causing a great deal of your pain! These items contain a lot of Omega 6 pro-inflammatory acids! Read the labels. Pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids are found in processed oils like corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. and in cooking oils, and anything hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, which of course, often leads to trans fats - HEAVY inflammatories one and all! Check the labels and be sure you are not adding a lot of hydrogenated, sugared, high fructose corn syruped, and trans fats (not to mention MSG in all its forms, by all its names) to your diet! Don’t add more Omega 6. Remember, adding Omega 6’s means you are adding inflammatories! Inflammation creates pain! And it aggravates existing conditions already inflamed.

Dr. Corson spoke of milk. Did you know that a full 70 to 75% of the human population has a sensitivity to milk? The reason is simple. Milk is for nursing. Humans (and all mammals) were meant to drink milk as babies, then wean off it in a year or so. Mother Nature encourages this by adjusting our enzyme, lactase. Lactase is the enzyme which processes the lactose in milk. Babies have lots of it. But as we age to one year old or so, our body stops making it and it begins to disappear from our system. After we are finished nursing there is no longer a need for this enzyme. Dr. Corson also pointed out that humans are the only beings on earth that drink milk from another species. Wolves don’t drink buffalo milk, for example.

Sensitivity to milk can and does cause a number symptoms like sinusitis, bronchitis, thick mucus, and other allergy-like symptoms. And it can also cause inflammation and affect the insulin-like growth factor. Dr. Corson also told of many tests have shown that the more milk and cheese you consume, the higher your risk of Osteoporosis! It turns out that you lose more calcium than you take in after digestion – it creates acid in your cells and so calcium is pulled from your bones to make up for this and neutralize it. Thus less calcium in your bones.

If you want to use milk, in cereal for example, Dr. Corson recommends almond milk, or any type of nut milk. Goat’s milk is less offensive than cow’s milk, though, so that may be a possibility. With the nut milk you get the added benefit of the nuts’ protein, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Soy milk may not be for everyone as it tends to block foreign estrogens (or xeno-estrogens) and may affect the hormonal balance in some people. The website was recommended by Dr. Corson to find out more about the effects of milk.

On the other hand, yogurt is highly recommended! Good intestinal flora is a must in our bodies all the time! This becomes critical if antibiotics have been prescribed! Antibiotics are prescribed for a bacterial infection, and the only way for them to work is to kill bacteria - thus antibiotics. The problem is, they also kill the GOOD bacteria so necessary to our health, and they must be replenished. Yogurt rarely bothers someone with a mild sensitivity to milk because when yogurt is made, lactase is created, which actually helps you digest lactose. But if your sensitivity is severe, probiotics in the form of a supplement is recommended. In any case, maintaining good intestinal flora is extremely important for overall health!

We discussed oats as a wonderful whole grain food that contains especially helpful enzymes that literally work as cancer scavengers! Steel cut oats are ideal, but any oats work in this fashion.

Dr. Corson has such a wealth of information at her fingertips, that it is hard to do her justice! I cannot possibly get everything into a “short” newsletter! You really had to be there! But fear not. We will have her come again and you will have another chance to hear her wisdom!

Summing up: Omega 3 is extremely important to our bodies and helps keep inflammation at bay. Cutting back, or cutting OUT, hydrogenated foods (inflammatory Omega 6’s), trans fats and excess sugar, is very important to keep pain at bay. Adding an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes is the best thing that you can do for your body.

Dr. Corson and I highly recommend Juice Plus+, the fruits, veggies and berries in capsules, as a great way to easily get whole, real foods into your body to help build your nutritional base!

Contact Information:

Dr. Candace Corson, , cell 574-850-2039.

Pati Chandler,, cell 574-344-9998