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An Update on Nutrition and Pain
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Peter Abaci, MD posted:
Hi All,

I recently attended the 2011 Nutrition and Health Conference put on by Dr. Andrew Weil and his crew, and I thought I would share with you some of the latest information provided on how nutrition can impact pain.

First of all, the hot topic of Vitamin D deficiency in our society remains a hot topic. Evidence suggests that our rate of Vitamin D deficiency remains very high and is associated with many different chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and asthma, but you may have also heard that low Vitamin D is associated with chronic pain. In particular, muscle pain can improve by supplementing with 2000-3000 units of Vitamin D per day. I also heard that many insurance companies are now refusing to cover routine Vitamin D screening which makes no sense. Many of us may just spend too much time indoors to make enough.

Glucose levels that spike in our blood can also be a source of increased pain. It forms Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE) that activate our genes to create pro-inflammatory mediators that increase pain sensitivity in our nervous system. Learn about the glycemic index to help avoid foods that will increase your pain by forming AGE, and stay away from anything that has that awful high-fructose corn syrup in it.

Here are some foods shown to decrease inflammation and pain:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids-found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed, and can be supplemented. Has been shown to reduce pain from many different sources, including fibromyalgia.
  • Soy protein and a combination of avocado-soybean unsaponafiables reduces joint pain
  • Ginger-reduces joint and muscle pain
  • Tea-contains compounds that protect collagen in the joints and reduce inflammation
  • Herbs like turmeric turn off the production of inflammatory mediators to preserve joints, nerves, and reduce rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cherries-more on this later as the season approaches!

If possible, go to your nearest farmer's market this week and pick up whatever is in season to avoid turning on pain with processed, sugary foods. If nothing else, a little sun might do you some good. Bon Appetit!
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Thanks for this, Dr. Abaci!

I have taken Vitamin D supplements for years now, with blood testing showing how low I was. It, along with some other supplements, really have helped with my Fibromyalgia pain.

Thanks for the explanation of the high-sugar connection. I've found the same thing in my own life.

I knew about the other items but not the ginger. I may have to look into that.

I'm wondering what others here have found in their own lives and if they find this information helpful to them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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Stathi responded:
Dear Dr. Peter Abaci, MD,

A sural nerve biopsy was performed on me in August of 2000 and since then I have severe chronic pain that prevents me from sleeping, as in right now. I have tried neurontin and other similar things that did not help and then they sent me to the pain clinic. At the pain clinic they wanted me to use a mild antidepressant. That did not work either. I've tried acupuncture and that did not help with the pain either. I've been to several physical therapists and still, though there were benefits as with acupuncture, the pain did not go away. I've tried mirror therapy which was fascinating but the pain still did not go away. I'm into good nutrition and eat the healthy foods including ginger root. I have periodically am swayed & eat a bit of junk food and that includes something sweet at times. I guess I have to be more strict with the eating habits even though most observe me as a person with a very healthy choice of diet. It really doesn't seem to make a difference though when I go through a really vigilant period of avoiding the bad stuff and eat only the good stuff. I'm 5'8" and weigh 146 lbs. It gets frustrating and discouraging as like right now the pain in my foot is wicked and I can not sleep as a result so here I am searching on the web for the solution. It's now going on 13 ears living with this severe chronic & consequential sleep deprivation. I even saw a total of 7 neurologists and some were neurosurgeons in the Boston area. It seemed the only thing they had to say was that I have to learn to live with the pain and that's basically what I've done. Nevertheless I experience severe chronic pain on an average of 6 days a weak. It's a stabbing or pulsing pain that subsides for a few seconds and I'm ready to fall asleep then I get a sharp jab in my foot and I wake before I can get any real sleep. It really is horrible but I still have hope and believe that I will find relief. I have to.
Sincerely, Stathi


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