American Society For Nutrition

Rebecca Reports: Vitamin D and Chokeberries

Rebecca Reports: Vitamin D and Chokeberries

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 04/25/2010 at 09:34:09 PM by EB 2010 Blogger
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By: Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist
ASN Blogger at EB 2010

Watch my latest video report on the nutrition research at the ASN meeting.

Getting enough vitamin D is important for all stages of life. Vitamin D is involved of hundreds of reactions in the body. Not only is it essential for bone health, but it also plays a role in helping to prevent chronic diseases, manage blood sugar, and prevent fatigue.

A new 4-year study on nearly 3,000 seniors indicates that those with higher levels perform better on physical function tests like walking and getting in and out of chairs. That's good news for people who have enough vitamin D and maintain those levels later in life. But many people are vitamin D deficient and may not even know it. You need a lab test for a diagnosis. 

The primary researcher, Dr. Denise Houston, would like to see clinical studies on whether or not higher amounts of vitamin D actually preserve muscle strength and physical function and what amounts would be needed to do so.

Chokeberries, a distant relative of the cherry, grow in the U.S. but they are inedible in raw form. They have a very high anthocyanin content (plant chemical that gives berries their color). Pre-diabetic rats were given an extract of chokeberries and they were able to manage their weight and reduce blood sugar levels. This early study shows promise because Chokeberries can be made into wine, syrups, jams, and used in supplements. For now, keep eating the edible berries with anthocyanins like cherries, cranberries, blueberries, purple grapes, and blackberries.

Rebecca Scritchfield is a Washington, D.C. based registered dietitian in private practice specializing in healthy weight management. She is a member of ASN and is covering several events at EB 2010 through social media.
1 Comment
Posted Aug 06, 2010 6:19 PM by John Scatchard

Dear Fellow Nutritionists: Point A, if the public learns to resist all the advertising for junk food etc., obesity heart disease and the rest of those horrific diseases will be a smaller problem. Education needs to start at a young age to be successful. Michelle Obama is doing well by promoting better food in schools, but it is a small step. One hitch I recently became aware of is that Doctors do not like to diagnose any problems for which they do not have treatments. Yeast and mold problems fit into this category. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrate obviously causes such problems and for yeast/mold problems, nutritional therapy is more effective than drug therapy Please pass these ideas along if you like any of them. These two letters explain the need for serious nutrition education and a method for tuning one's diet. Thanks. Sincerely, John Scatchard Ph: 509-209-1377 Spokane, WA: There are two main points in this letter. One is that actively creating better public health will minimize the use and high cost of health insurance. The second is that Multiple Sclerosis and many other diseases are caused by microbes. Strict dietary control is the first line of defense, and it would be cost effective to do a comprehensive assessment of nutritional status before the need for drugs is assessed. The distinct advantages of not consuming any offending foods such as sugar and fried, greasy snacks have not been researched. This omission may possibly have occurred because pharmaceutical and medical interests have no financial incentive to fund projects that will take market share from drug manufacturers. In a kinder and more ethical world, greater market share would go toward sustainable agriculture and nutritional therapy. I …… Specific Health Care: Many recent studies have shown a definite response to antibiotics in diseases such as XMRV, MS, Lyme disease, RA and others. Researchers report that pathogen titers drop quickly when given the correct cocktail of drugs, but symptoms are slow to improve. This effect is thought to be due to lingering microbial metabolites or possibly spore-like units. Fasting for 36 to 72 hours is not horribly painful and it gets rid of symptoms quickly. The following information is included for researchers. It is not suggested that untrained or unsupervised individuals fast for more than a day. Many common problems are aggravated by intestinal Candida and possibly many additional unrecognized molds and fungi. So far, not many good drugs exist for treating yeast, mold and fungi. A traditional and effective way to eliminate such undesirable intestinal flora is to fast for a short time, then with diligent use of a food testing journal, add back only foods that a person can easily digest and metabolize. A day or two into a fast rather than being in the digestive system as usual, the body's enzymes and immune cells are free to work in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), lymph and tissues, where they digest lingering pathogens, glycation products and immune complexes. Free enzymes also digest lipoprotein and glycolipid barriers around viruses and spore-like formations so the immune system can recognize and destroy them. Drinking water and exercising help the process by circulating lymph and CSF. After a fast, eating a proper balance of high quality protein foods, essential fatty acids and carbohydrates is necessary to restore a normal state of metabolism. Taking supplemental probiotics, trace minerals and vitamins is highly advantageous. The improvement of symptoms effecting joint mobility, clarity of vision, digestion, heart rhythms and skin problems including rashes and warts is well worth the few days it takes to resume a normal eating pattern. Consuming vegetables, protein foods and moderate consumption of beans and whole grains, while excluding sugar and fast burning carbohydrates is usually an effective way to keep the immune system functioning well. New research also shows the connection between low levels of Vitamin D and MS! The new recommended amount is about ten times what it used to be. A useful diagnostic technique that could be introduced around the second day of a fast is the analysis of the slime that can be scraped off the tongue with a spoon. There must be clues in the form of metabolites and genomic signatures that are left behind by the individual pathogen species that are being eliminated. Maldigested foods will also leave behind clues regarding an individual’s unique enzyme deficiencies etc. It is possible that metabolites from mold around the toenails for instance, could nourish or upregulate pathogens in kidney cysts. Such microbial interactions or metabolite translocation could also apply in the case of undesirable large intestine flora and the gall bladder. These insights are the result of the following recent research and thirty-five years of experience using a food testing journal. Sincerely, John Scatchard 1 >>> www.davidwheldon.co.uk/ms-treatment.pdf David Wheldon MB FRCPath............... After much controversy there is now powerful evidence for the respiratory pathogen Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae being a causal factor in some variants of the neurological illness Multiple Sclerosis. The evidence for a causal association of C. pneumoniae with majority subsets of MS has been garnered by a surprisingly diverse array of methods; cultural, molecular (both DNA and RNA based), immunohistological, serological (blood and CSF based), animal model, ultrastructural and therapeutic trial. It is this very diversity of methodology which makes the evidence compelling. The subject has recently been reviewed in some detail by Chuck Stratton and myself [Stratton CW, Wheldon DB. Multiple sclerosis: an infectious syndrome involving Chlamydophila pneumoniae. Trends Microbiol. 2006 Nov;14(11):474-9.].... …recommended the following oral antichlamydial regimen: doxycycline 200mg once daily roxithromycin 300mg once daily (azithromycin 250mg three days a week is an alternative.) ….. Short courses of metronidazole will later be added to this regimen. 2 >>> brain.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/124/7/1325. Sriram S, Mitchell W, Stratton C. “Multiple sclerosis associated with …..” Intrathecal antibody production against Chlamydia pneumoniae in multiple sclerosis is part of a polyspecific immune response …….Tobias Derfuss1,*, Robert Gürkov1,*, Florian ………. Recently, a link between Chlamydia pneumoniae and multiple sclerosis has been claimed. To test the possible role of C. pneumoniae in multiple sclerosis, we analysed (i) whether there is intrathecal IgG production against C. pneumoniae in multiple sclerosis and (ii) if the oligoclonal IgGs in the CSF of multiple sclerosis patients recognize C. pneumoniae. … Together, our findings strongly suggest that the immune response to C. pneumoniae is part of a polyspecific intrathecal Ig production,..... 3 >>> www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15124758 Multiple sclerosis attacks are associated with picornavirus infections. … Mult Scler. 2004 Apr;10(2):145-8. The viral causes of 21 separate URIs were investigated using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of nasal swab specimens, and by serology. Sibleys 'at-risk' period for MS attacks, beginning two weeks before and continuing for five weeks after a URI, was used for the analysis. Seven of the nine (78%) URIs due to picornaviruses were associated with an MS attack during the at-risk period. By contrast, only two of 12 (17%) picornavirus-negative URIs were associated with an MS attack (P = 0.01). The possible role of picornaviruses in the pathogenesis of MS deserves further study. 4 >>> www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9316607 ....... Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF. Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706, USA. ... .....MS may be preventable in genetically susceptible individuals with early intervention strategies that provide adequate levels of hormonally active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or its analogs. ……. 5 >>> www.springerlink.com/index/1DR30P0821ML73CM.pdf - D. Theegarten, Grigori Mogilevski1...Virchows Archiv...Volume 437, Number 2 / August, 2000 … The role of chlamydia in the pathogenesis of pulmonary emphysema ... Chlamydia pneumoniae has been detected in atherosclerotic plaques by various means. .....Chronic infection and bacterial colonization associated with progressive disease seems to be relevant not only in atherosclerosis but also in pulmonary emphysema. 6 >>> http://www.chlamydiae.com/restricted/docs/infections/chp_alzheimers.asp. …….However, in 1998, Balin et al., reported that they were able to find C. pneumoniae DNA in the brains of 17 out of 19 persons with sporadic Alzheimer's disease, but in only 1 out of 19 controls …. It was concluded that therapy with doxycycline and rifampin might have a therapeutic role in these patients……… 7 >>> www.chlamydiae.com/restricted/docs/.../chp_alzheimers.asp - (similar) MacIntyre, A., Hammond, C. J., Little, C. S., Appelt, D. M. & Balin, B. J. (2002). Chlamydia pneumoniae infection alters the junctional complex proteins of human brain microvascular endothelial cells. FEMS Microbiology Letters 217, 167 - 172. ….. …decreased expression of the tight junctional protein occludin [MacIntyre et al., 2002]. This provides a plausible mechanism by which C. pneumoniae might cross the blood brain barrier to promote inflammation within the central nervous system. …. of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in Italian multiple sclerosis patients. ... doxycycline and rifampin for patients with Alzheimer's disease. J Am ... 8 >>> doi.wiley.com/10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02130. …… Moreover, C. pneumoniae has been reported as a possible cause of atherosclerosis and central nervous system disorders... Tetracyclines and erythromycin show good in vitro activity……. 9 >>> www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15468362 - ......... Doxycycline versus doxycycline and rifampin in undifferentiated ..... Carter JD, Valeriano J, Vasey FB. Division of Rheumatology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612, USA…. OBJECTIVE: Chlamydia is a known trigger of reactive arthritis (ReA). It may also be common cause of undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy (uSpA). Persistent, metabolically active, Chlamydiae have been observed in the synovial tissue of these patients years after their initial exposure….. CONCLUSION: The combination of doxycycline and rifampin for 9 months seemed to be effective in treatment of chronic uSpA. This is the first study to demonstrate therapeutic benefit with antimicrobials to a chronic inflammatory arthritis possibly secondary to persistent Chlamydia. ........................ Using a Food Testing Journal to Help Manage Chronic Diseases Disclaimer: These pages in no way imply that one should use any of these principles. This information should be understood as education about techniques that people have used in the past to fine tune their diets. The reader assumes all responsibility for any experimentation that one does on their own behalf. The author, penname Dan Skagit, will accept no responsibility for undesirable effects that any individual may experience as a result of their own personal use of this food testing journal or of ideas relating to it. Purpose: The purpose of this work is to learn how to eat satisfying, health promoting meals by observing and recording the effects of specific foods. It is not a weight loss program, yet learning how to eat satisfying, nutritious meals may allow a person to consume fewer calories. Dedication: In part this pamphlet is a response to feelings of desperation I experience when going into a grocery store and seeing overweight, middle-aged, disabled people in wheelchairs piling their carts high with breakfast cereal, crackers, white bread and greasy snacks. We know the means of preventing type II diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but it has not been promoted. The avoidance of these and other chronic diseases through specific dietary restrictions has not been researched. For industries other than the fresh food industry there is little profit in teaching personalized, health promoting diets which may reduce demand for pharmaceutical drugs and junk-food. Another reason that this system of specific diet control has not yet become popular is because it is slightly complicated and it can take two weeks or more to see improvement. There is a time delay in clearing out maldigested milk products, immune complexes and microbial waste. Possibly, a portion of the ten or twenty percent of the population that is food sensitive does not realize the huge benefit that can be experienced by completely giving up sugary pastry, greasy chips and other hard to metabolize foods. The trick is to replace the yeast and mold promoting foods with satisfying meals that contain the best balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. The key word is satisfying. It is the opposite of craving, which results from eating sugary, starchy, food that is devoid of nutrition. The proposed solution is to approximate a natural type of diet on which we humans evolved. There are many people who have health conditions that are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and dietary factors. It is possible for a person to address one or two of these parameters, and still ignore a few personal genetic details relating to food intolerance or environmental toxicity problems. Good results will not manifest unless all three conditions are effectively cleared up. If you knew a way eat meals that are slightly less delicious, yet very satisfying, which meant that you would live a longer and happier life, would you do it? The following is the basic method for keeping track of the foods you eat and how your body responds to each one. Because of the difficulty in writing for people of both average and above average education, readers are encouraged to persevere through the complicated parts and if need be, focus on the simpler summary statements that appear throughout. If you consciously and responsibly decide to investigate how individual foods affect your health, create an ongoing chart and record this type of information every day: I. General Form: Date / Food / Observations Breakfast + snacks Record any disturbances or improvements in digestion, joint flexibility, skin conditions, Lunch + snacks energy levels, fingernail health, etc. It’s also a good idea to record the amount and Dinner + snacks type of stress and exercise you get. II. The Techniques: (Choose one that suits your style or blend the two.) A. The limited time food testing plan: Eat almost as usual and write down everything you eat. One potentially troublesome food at a time can be eliminated from the diet for two weeks or so. Then it is reintroduced and the results observed and recorded. This is the easiest, but most time consuming style. Any commitment to controlling one’s quality and quantity of food intake is a good thing. B. Comprehensive Food Testing Plan: (A much more effective style) Simplified strategy: Stay on a minimal diet which will gradually expand. Test one food at a time, in normal serving sizes and at three day intervals. It may take three days for adverse reactions to become apparent. STEP ONE: Temporarily eliminate unnecessary foods to attain a minimal diet that causes no apparent problems. (a) Main Protocol: START: For a week or two, do not eat any foods that that are suspected of causing digestive or other health problems. Eat a basic, minimal diet that is adequate with respect to protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. Many professionals agree that a balanced diet contains about 20% Calories from protein, 30% Calories from fat and about 50% Calories from carbohydrate. Remember that most high protein foods only contain about 25% protein and they usually contain a good deal of fat. For fairly normal folks, a balanced minimal diet will include a high protein food such as beef, fish or poultry, a carbohydrate source such as rice, corn or buckwheat, a tablespoon or so of high quality oil such as olive oil, corn oil or safflower oil and plenty of vegetables. For vegetarians who eat very little saturated fat, a teaspoon of coconut oil per day will help to balance the unsaturated vegetable oil. (This means that salad dressing and mayonnaise should be very limited.) Stay on the minimal diet for the first week or so, or until symptom noticeably resolve. Some people with blood sugar related problems might find that a week or two on a minimal diet that contains no sugar or starch at all is usually a good way to start. Using only green, leafy vegetables as a carbohydrate source is preferable during this preliminary stage. Using cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower is generally OK, except that people with Herpes simplex might experience more symptoms than usual. Potatoes are too starchy and they are in the nightshade family, to which some people have arthritic reactions. Most fruits and orange vegetables like carrots and squash can also cause problems because of the fructose (fruit sugar) they contain. Interestingly, fructose is more chemically active in an oxidizing way than are sucrose and glucose, which are the two other common kinds of naturally occurring sugars. Grains can be reintroduced, one at a time, as conditions are carefully observed and recorded. This approach is a radical one and anyone who may have any condition related to diabetes should consult with their physician before changing their usual carbohydrate intake. The foods that have commonly and unknowingly caused problems for people are sugary foods, fatty foods, processed starchy foods, fried-foods, excess salt, yeast containing foods and some high protein foods which are hard to digest. Milk products, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, tomatos, some kinds of meat and any vegetable have been known to cause allergy or intolerance problems in some slightly rare, enzyme deficient people. (b) Things to keep in mind: SUGARS: Eating sugary food at the beginning of the day will cause one to crave sugary food all day long. The herb, stevia or stevia extract is a very satisfying substitute for sugar. Eating piles of pasta also tends to be rather unsatisfying because processed grains lack the more satiating nutrients, protein, essential oils, minerals and vitamins. It may be better to include a serving of a high quality protein food and several servings of B-vitamin containing foods such as vegetables and whole grains if tolerated. Some people may have trouble digesting whole grains, beans and vegetables unless a few ounces of high quality protein food are included in each meal, which will fuel enzyme making processes in the liver and pancreas. MEAL SATISFACTION: Excess dieting, fasting or a generally poor diet may cause a feeling of constant craving because the body can become deficient in protein, minerals, trace minerals, essential fatty acids (EFAs), lutein and more. This rebound effect often manifests as uncontrolled eating later in the day. Maintaining good mineral, vitamin and EFA status by consuming foods that stimulate the body’s satiety sensing mechanisms will make meals seem more satisfying, which helps to avoid strong impulses to over eat. Foods that are abundant in essential minerals are teas made from alfalfa, kelp, fennel, cinnamon, stevia, celery seed or other herbs. EFAs and a bit of protein can be acquired from sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seed, other nuts and seeds, cod liver oil and possibly balanced, food-derived supplements. Beans also contain lots of good minerals including magnesium and manganese, but as with nuts, they should be boiled in one or two changes of water to get rid of indigestible sugars that cause gas and indigestion. Despite their fine qualities, nuts and beans also contain phytic acid and anti-trypsin factors, also called anti-nutrients, which can be reduced by boiling and discarding the water. Roasted nuts are reported to contain more anti-nutrients than raw nuts. Trypsin is an important protein digesting enzyme, thus anti-trypsin factors are worth avoiding. HERPES: People who are known to have Herpes simplex II and maybe Papilloma viruses may do well to refrain from eating large amounts of cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc. People’s responses are individual however, and testing only one at a time is a good option. Onions, garlic, radishes, celery salt and stress may also cause flair-ups to occur. SALT: With regard to salt intake, about half the population is genetically susceptible to a rise in blood pressure from excess salt intake. It is probably related to kidney function. GENE EXPRESSION: Obesity may be genetically caused, but genetic expression can be modified through diligent control of one’s diet. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis are thought to be related to genetic predisposition and aggravated by eating too much carbohydrate. Just because a person acquires DNA or RNA viruses or is born with genes that predispose one to genetic diseases such as colitis, psoriasis, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, etc., it does not mean that those genes need to become active. Recently, scientists have discovered that certain small segments of RNA that are found in plants, viruses and body tissues can turn on or turn off the genetic programming in animals. It may even be true that a person’s core beliefs and life style influence which inherited genes are turned on or off. It is well known that toxic molecules in the environment can make animals much more prone to developing cancer and other horrific diseases. MILK: Northern Europeans and cattle coexisted for thousands of years. Therefore, these people have become genetically able to digest milk products. Many Native Americans and Asians cannot digest milk products, so for them it may be best to avoid such foods. TOXICITY; CHEMICAL DAMAGE: People with known liver problems often have trouble digesting fats, so they usually do better if their fat intake is limited to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which about two ounces per day. In this case the fat intake should be high in essential fatty acids (EFA). Fish oil is thought to be better than vegetable sources such as flax oil because it is close to the molecular form that the body uses. People who have taken antihistamines for long periods of time may have damaged goblet cells in the stomach which produce hydrochloric acid (HCl). In such cases they may produce low amounts of HCl in the stomach. Other people may have low pancreatic enzyme output that resulted from toxicity, excess alkalinity or dehydration. Some elderly or ill people have both problems. Taking vegetarian based or pancreatin based digestive enzymes, betaine hydrochloride and probiotics with meals will often help people with injured digestive systems digest food that is otherwise hard to digest. VEGETARIAN DIET: Some people are blessed with the liver and pancreatic enzymes needed to turn vegetable proteins and fats into human proteins and human fats. They do well and prosper on vegetarian diets. Anyone who wasn’t born perfectly however, will generally do better by eating moderate amounts of animal protein. It may take months of trials and observations to reach definite conclusions concerning food tolerance specifics. Such is the purpose of using a food diary to test one food at a time. HEREDITARY TRENDS: About 10,000 years ago the Human Race expanded rapidly after discovering agriculture. Adding large amounts of grain to the diet allowed for greater body size and reproductive capacity, but some people do not have the genes to metabolize much grain. Doctors and television ads do not publicize this undeniable fact even though it is causing susceptible individuals to become laden with yeast related problems that may include obesity, psoriasis, some types of arthritis and blood sugar challenges. Additionally, many people, especially older people, cannot adapt to eating large amounts of processed grain and sugar. The TV will not tell you about this fact. Health care and food production industries have no financial incentive to promote the personal value of maintaining a diet that produces excellent health. A worthy goal for most people is to maintain a fairly natural diet that contains an optimal balance of protein, vegetables, whole grain, fruits, nuts and beans. To reiterate, nuts and beans are easier to digest if the anti-trypsin factors, undigestible sugars and phytic acid, which are all anti-nutrients, are reduced by boiling in water that is then discarded. INTESTINAL FLORA: If the main symptom associated with eating starchy foods is heartburn and/or constipation, the problem may be related to an overgrowth of Candida albicans which is a kind of yeast. It is a normal component of about half the population’s intestinal and skin flora, but some people are genetically susceptible to yeast overgrowth. It can dominate the flora in the male and female body where it can produce symptoms including rashes, acne, digestive and urinary troubles, obesity, muscle cramps and more. Yeast and mold are similar organisms. Some strains benefit the digestive tract by producing good vitamins. The strains that are not beneficial make tiny holes in the intestinal membranes as they anchor themselves to the gut wall. This kind of damage causes a condition known as leaky gut syndrome which is thought to allow partially digested proteins, starches etc. to creep through membranes and into the blood and lymph. When the partially digested nutrients end up in the wrong places they can contribute to arthritis and other mysterious chronic diseases. Assertive control of the diet can strongly limit overgrowth of yeast/mold type microbes and viruses, but even with an occasional two or three day fast, they can never be totally eliminated from people who are genetically susceptible. About four thousand species of microorganisms are thought to reside in the human intestinal tract. The dominant species are established soon after birth, so the environment of a newborn infant is very important. Later in life the diet that someone chooses is about the only means of influencing which species will predominate. For instance, if a person is genetically predisposed to harbor a predominance of undesirable yeast species and he eats lots of starchy, greasy food which favors growth of those species, the person may be catering to intestinal pathogens that contribute to digestive trouble, high blood pressure, kidney trouble, blood sugar problems, excess weight and other conditions related to metabolic syndrome, or as it is known, pre-diabetes. Recent research suggests that strict avoidance of excess calories and especially starches and overheated fats can reduce most of these problems except for insulin resistance. This pamphlet may be one of the only clues that readers will get which states that this miserable condition can be controlled through dietary means. There are more cells in the intestinal flora than there are in the whole human body. This can happen because human cells are bigger than the cells of bacteria, yeast, mold and viruses. In a way, the flora can be thought of as a pet. What do you want to feed your pet? The health of your pet is important to you because you both live in the same house. Is a pet easier to live with when it is fed greasy, fried food and sugar or food that is higher in essential nutrients? It may be possible to feed a pet so it is mutually beneficial to live with, but it isn’t possible to kill the bad part of it with antibiotics, oregano oil or whatever, and keep only the good part of it. Probiotic bacteria such as acidophilus often help humans maintain a favorable flora, but they cannot do much to stop seriously pathogenic yeast species. A balance must be maintained between what a person eats, how well the host’s immune system can control undesirable species in the intestine and which components the flora started with in the first place. Feeding the flora easily digested, nourishing food generally works out better than feeding it food that gets moldy quickly. Foods that are conducive to a rapid transit time through the intestine generally are more beneficial and easier for the immune system to handle than are foods that cause constipation. Yeast/mold can cause problems in sensitive people whether it is consumed in foods such as bread or beer, or whether it is inhaled as a result of being near moldy carpets and the like. Indigestion, which creates conditions that favor the growth of intestinal pathogens, can arise from any type of unclean conditions or even from physical or emotional stress. If heartburn is a result of simply eating too much starch, sometimes adding a few ounces of protein food and some vegetables to the carbohydrate meal will solve the problem. In some cases, a person can get heartburn from eating too much junk food and it can last for several days or until their own normal flora restores predominance. If eating protein doesn’t help, taking digestive enzymes and HCl might do the trick. If not, there might be a more serious problem and one should seek out a nutrition oriented MD or a good Registered Dietitian. FOOD COMBINING: Certain combinations of foods can result in irritation, cramps or gas etc. Even if a person’s pancreatic and liver enzymes are adequate, food combinations such as avocado and tofu, nuts and beans, milk products and shellfish or excess protein and sugar (which includes fruit) can cause digestive trouble that results in an overgrowth of the wrong kind of intestinal flora. Occasionally digestive aids including enzymes, HCl and probiotics may help, but remember we’re looking at microbial mixture that contains thousands of species. The best solution is usually to eat only foods that one can easily digest and to not eat foods that cause discomfort. INFLAMMATION: Inflammation can be caused by many things. It is a normal process in the body and it is kept in check with the help of dietary antioxidants and cellular control. Illness, physical stress, injury, indigestion and allergies can all cause inflammation. A less recognized cause of inflammation in certain individuals is cartilage. It doesn’t matter whether tiny particles of cartilage end up in the blood or lymph because of joint injury or just because it is eaten in the form of gristle or ground meat. Either way, cartilage starts an oxidative inflammatory process that includes signaling between immune cells. It puts added stress on all the other body systems that require a good supply of antioxidants. The best ways to avoid too much inflammation is to limit the causes and to take in lots of dietary antioxidants. Some individuals might find that some foods will be tolerated only in small quantities or infrequent servings. These foods can be consumed as tolerated when a person is not reintroducing foods for which it is necessary to observe subtle clues to intolerance. (c) Questions: MAINTAINING THE PERSONAL DIET: What if I feel like I’m starving on a diet of 20% Calories from protein, 30% Calories from fat and 50% Calories from carbohydrate? What do I do? Do the best you can. This plan is a lifestyle, not a fad. It took a long time to get sick from eating improperly and it will take some more time to resolve the damage. Be patient. After a few weeks most people will be able to include a comfortable variety of foods. It comes down to a choice between enjoying delicious, fast food and putting up with obesity and ill health, or putting up with cooking whole, nutritious food every day and enjoying good health. Carrying hot food to work is challenging, but definitely possible. Pot luck dinners and smorgasbords may prove to be challenging for food intolerant people. Do the best you can. Returning to the minimal diet until symptoms resolve, then resuming the food testing regimen is a good way to regain control of one’s health. FOOD ALLERGY vs. INTOLERANCE: What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance? They are similar in that both conditions make a person feel terrible after eating a food that does not agree with them. An allergic reaction to a food occurs when the immune system responds directly to a substance by producing large proteins called immunoglobulins, kinins, and other signaling proteins that all work together to gang up on a perceived threat to the body and eliminate it. The ensuing immune reaction is very complicated and involves huge cascades of blood components that tend to cause congestion and misery. Allergies tend to cause symptoms rather suddenly. They can involve hives, swelling, abdominal pain and sometimes severe breathing difficulties. If a person is known to have allergic reactions to certain foods and is testing a food for the first time, it is wise to try only a tiny portion at first. If no reactions occur, portion sizes can be increased appropriately. A food intolerance on the other hand, is mainly due to a lack of enzymes that are supposed to digest that particular food. When the food goes through the alimentary canal in a partially digested state, of course it fosters the growth of pathogens including yeast/mold, bacteria and viruses. Therefore, a microbial infection can follow both allergy and intolerance problems. So far, the only practical treatment is to avoid foods that cause either of these situations. At first, the decision to avoid specific foods may be a difficult one. When the benefits of good dietary practices are experienced, the conscious avoidance of harmful foods becomes more appreciated. STEP TWO: Reintroduce foods one at a time. (a) Main Protocol: NEW FOODS: After a week or two on the minimal diet that is determined in the elimination part of the food testing plan and most symptoms have resolved, it is a good time to start reintroducing more foods. If symptoms have not changed they are probably not related to diet and professional medical or psychological help might be indicated. One at a time, and at three day intervals, the technique is to start expanding the diet by testing another favorite protein food. If all goes well, in three days reintroduce another favorite carbohydrate food and so on. Do the same with vegetables. Finding a variety of tolerable vegetables right at the beginning of the process will provide a good intake of vitamins and minerals. BALANCE: Most people will do well to eat not much more or not much less than the recommended intake of protein, which is about eight ounces of meat, fish, poultry or eggs per day. An excess of vegetable based protein is thought to be less harmful than an excess of animal based protein. One of the biggest problems related to combining excess protein and sugar or processed grain is the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These substances are brownish, gooey, sugary molecules that activate the immune system and cause unnecessary inflammation. They are related to auto-immune diseases and the like. (More on this important subject later.) Also, some people with poor digestion, illness or injury do better if they eat a reduced amount of carbohydrate and more protein which allows the body to produce ample enzymes. The basic diet will grow in diversity as people learn more about their unique sensitivities. SUPPLEMENTS: If one wants to add a good, food-based multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, just as with a new food, observe the body’s responses for a few days. Taking individual minerals such as Calcium or vitamins such as Vitamin C or B-50s tends to cause imbalances and are best avoided. Sometimes a supplement with even a small amount of yeast or other substance will cause symptoms to reappear in very sensitive people. Also, certain people cannot metabolize an excess of vitamin B-6 and it causes tingling of the toes and fingers. A different supplement from a different manufacturer might work better. Being sure that one is not deficient in any essential nutrients is a good idea because even one deficiency could cause unusual problems. Anyone who takes drugs of any kind is more likely than others to experience deficiencies. (b) Things to keep in mind: RETESTING: If after reintroducing a food the symptoms reappear, stop eating that food and wait until symptoms have noticeably resolved. That food can be retested at a later date if there is any doubt. If all goes well continue adding foods at three day intervals. After several weeks of testing individual foods, if symptoms resolve only slightly yet there is a noticeable change in health, you may still be eating a food you can’t digest or are allergic to. It might then be necessary to retest a food that initially appeared tolerable. If there is only one food in a person’s diet that is causing serious problems, symptoms will not go away completely and it will be hard to see effects when foods that present only mild problems are being tested. In such a case, eliminate any suspected foods and try a different food in the same category. For example, if a person can't handle beef, then fish or turkey might be OK. Some people can't handle corn or wheat, so buckwheat or spelt might work. If a person cannot handle any grains, they might need to get carbohydrates from vegetables such as cauliflower, squash, beans or possibly potatoes. If symptoms haven’t resolved or they sporadically reappear, you may still be dealing with a food you can’t digest or that causes allergy. Or, the symptoms may not be related to food and again, one should seek a qualified professional. (a) Main Protocol continued: (b) STABILITY: For the majority of people whose symptoms have resolved, the next step is to slowly work toward a balanced diet with plenty of variety. After a few months when one has established a comfortable and stable diet, there may still be some foods that cannot easily be digested or that may produce mild allergy symptoms. If there is any doubt, Doctors can check for allergies by administering IgE, IgG or other allergy tests. Occasionally, after testing a food a few different times it might become easier to digest. Sometimes a body just happens to be able to increase its ability to make more of a critical enzyme. On the other hand, some foods can produce sensitivity over a period of weeks or months. In this case the problem might be related to a slightly pathogenic kind of yeast, bacteria or virus which learns to outsmart the immune system and it begins to proliferate in the digestive tract. The more under control a food-sensitive person’s diet is, the faster it is to retest foods and see consistent responses. Developing a personalized diet becomes a lifestyle. If things get out of control and one introduces many new foods all at once, as sometimes happens at parties, it is best to go back on the tried and true minimal diet until symptoms resolve and then resume testing. (b) More things to keep in mind: LACK of RESULTS: Some factors may prevent recovery even when diet is optimal. For example, moldy carpet or other filthy kinds of environmental factors can present a constant intake of yeast/mold spores that stress out the immune system and prevent it from healing the body the way it has evolved to do. Emotional stress can also keep the immune system so occupied that it cannot function well. Lack of exercise does not allow for the necessary circulation of body fluids such as blood, lymph and cerebrospinal fluid. There are one-way valves in the veins of the legs. With the exercise of walking, fluids are pumped back up toward the heart so they keep moving in the right direction. This is why daily walking and vigorous exercise is of such great benefit for the brain and other tissues. On the other hand, especially for older people, too much exercise or stress from too much office work often fails to give the body the time it needs to recover. Rest that is focused on true relaxation is an art that is worth learning because it tends to be overlooked these days. KIDNEYS: An enzyme system involving rennin and angiotensin II, which functions to eliminate excess water from the body, only operates when the body is vertical. Thus, lying down too much can cause a person to gain water weight. This condition is also known as edema. GOUT: When a person with a high uric acid level in the blood progresses to the point where the uric acid crystallizes as sodium urate and causes pain in the joints, the condition is called gout. The uric acid molecule is over twice the size of the urea molecule, the normal form in which humans excrete nitrogenous waste. For some unknown reason, which may be a lack of a group of enzymes known as uricase, sodium urate builds up in the blood and joints. (Goats have lots of this enzyme and they metabolize uric acid into allantoin, a soothing, greasy molecule humans use in lip balm! How could God forget about our aching joints?) Sodium urate crystals form sharp, star-like formations that damage the joints during exercise. Inflammation follows. Cold extremities, infection, emotional stress and who knows what, can make the crystallization problem come on suddenly. As usual, it is much harder to re-dissolve the crystals than it is to form them. The classical drug used for gout is called Allopurinol. It works by inhibiting the enzymes that turn certain waste proteins into uric acid, but then there is a back-up of the up-line waste products. Most people can handle the situation. The big drawback comes when the drug is discontinued and an abundance of uric acid again forms. The classic dietary way to deal with gout is to avoid eating foods that contain amino acids called purines which are contained in DNA. Foods that contain high amounts of purines are organ meats, beans, canned small fish, mushrooms and some vegetables. For those who suffer from the problem, it is one worth studying. AGES: In the last twenty years or so, scientists have characterized the inflammatory effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, macular degeneration etc. Over a lifetime, AGEs accumulate in and around body cells and they overly stimulate the immune system. The oxidized, sugary protein containing goo causes the immune system to produce signals that activate inflammation and cause fibrosis. It is one of the factors that cause arteries in the kidneys, heart, liver and eyes etc. to stiffen with age. AGEs tend to accumulate over a lifetime and they are very hard, if not impossible for the body to get rid of. So, it is best to avoid conditions that form them. AGEs are formed when corrosive, reducing sugar molecules from glucose and especially fructose (fruit sugar) come into contact with proteins, amino acids, DNA and sometimes fats. The main problem is thought to arise when people combine protein and too much sugar or processed grain. Some say that AGE formation and fibrosis may result from too much high intensity exercise and sugar is only a contributing factor. Since, for good health, it is necessary to eat about eight ounces of a high quality protein food every day, and people have differing abilities to metabolize sugars quickly, some people are more susceptible to AGE formation than others. It may have something to do with heredity and also dietary antioxidant intake, the main sources of which are vegetables and fruit. Keep in mind that excessively sweet fruit contains enough fructose to be pro-oxidant in nature. Sadly, primary care professionals rarely explain the benefits of eating vegetables and risks of combining sugar, starch and too much protein in the same meal. A good strategy for people who feel they might have a problem with AGE formation and the resulting fibrosis might be to stick to a high vegetable, moderate protein type of diet whereby the carbohydrate source is limited to that contained in green vegetables and a small amount of whole grain. In general, fried meat, poultry or fish etc. will have about five times the AGE forming detriment as the same food that is lightly steamed or boiled. Foods that are known to reduce the formation of AGEs are ginger, cinnamon, cumin and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. (c) More questions: What is there left to eat? My gums get sore, I get skin rashes and urinary problems when I eat any amount of grain or sugar. My arthritis gets worse when I eat fish, chicken or sweet fruit. What do I do now? In such an extreme case, a person will probably choose to get used to carrying their own special lunch to work. Consider the basics. Choices for protein foods that one might begin testing include beef, turkey, lamb, milk products, beans etc. Carbohydrate choices might be limited to green or orange vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or maybe millet, buckwheat, beans and celery. Essential fatty acids can be acquired from fish, flax seed, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, nuts etc. The choice may come down to sticking to a personalized diet, exercise and enjoying better health or ignoring good health strategies and paying for more medical care.