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pain journal promotes anti-inflammatory diet


Anti-Inflammatory diet

Andre Koch – Hamburg/Germany – Pixabay

Although I get all sorts of Chiropractic Journals, I get exactly one Medical Journal.   For some strange reason I get a journal called PPM (Practical Pain Management).  Make no mistake about it; this is a journal by the medical profession for the medical profession — most specifically, for those running ‘Pain Clinics’ (it is said to be the ‘Pain Doctor’s’ number one journal).  Although I usually do not actually read the journal cover to cover, I typically skim the contents for their one or two articles I can glean something useful from. 

I must say that this issue’s (November 2012) cover caught me off guard.  It said ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet‘, and is shown as a collage of vegetables and herbs.  Needless to say, I was surprised at the cover’s topic.  But my jaw hit the floor when I realized that the article was written by one of the Chiropractic profession’s most well-known and respected nutritional lecturers, DR. DAVID SEAMAN of Florida.  I have attended a couple of Seaman’s weekend seminars, and his material is not only excellent, but is extremely relevant to anyone — practitioner or patient — who deals with chronic pain in any fashion. 

It’s always nice to be vindicated / validated.  I have been promoting an Anti-Inflammatory Diet for almost the entire time I have been in practice (I am nearing the beginning of my 22nd year).  Although the article was essentially material that Seaman (a Chiropractic Neurologist) has been writing about in the Chiropractic Journals seemingly forever, it’s nice to see that this critically important message is finally making its way to mainstream medicine.  Who better to get the message to than pain doctors.  And who benefits the most?  If the medical profession actually takes Seaman’s message to heart, patients in CHRONIC PAIN will often see life-changing differences when they clean up their diets!

Although most of the general public thinks that swelling and INFLAMMATION are synonymous terms (they seem to always be used in tandem), this could not be farther from the truth.  Although ‘Inflammation’ attracts swelling to it locally, it is actually the word we give to a group of normal Immune System chemicals.  Just remember that when these chemicals get out of balance (i.e. there are too many of them in the blood stream), there will be hell to pay as far as health problems are concerned.  Just how big a part does Inflammation play in the poor health of such great numbers of Americans?  Listen to what Dr. Seaman writes under the header, “What is Chronic Inflammation?”.

Low-grade chronic inflammation is now known to be a driver of most chronic degenerative diseases”

Although he did not delve into this issue disease by disease by disease, the above quote begs the question of exactly what Chronic Degenerative Diseases are.  Interestingly enough, he gives us a primer via his bibliography, as the quote is followed by (1-14).  Here is a short list from one of my previous Blog Posts of some of the more well-known diseases that are causally related to Inflammation.  

  • Disc Injuries, Slipped Disc, Disc Herniation, and Disc Rupture (HERE)
  • Heart Disease and virtually all forms of Cardiovascular Problems (HERE)
  • Skin conditions including Eczema and Psoriasis (HERE)
  • Most Autoimmune Conditions (HERE)
  • Arthritis & Fibromyalgia (HERE & HERE)
  • Asthma (HERE)
  • ADD, ADHD, Depression, and various forms of Dementia (HERE & HERE)
  • Neurological Conditions (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • Female Issues (HERE & HERE)
  • Cancer (HERE)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease / Leaky Gut Syndrome (HERE & HERE)
  • Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Hypoglycemia, and other Blood Sugar Regulation Problems (HERE)
  • Obesity (HERE)

Interestingly enough, I have seen statistics saying that although we spend more on healthcare dollars than any country in the world both per capita and grossly (we have 3% of the population and take almost 2/3 of the world’s pharmaceuticals), we rank at or near the bottom of the world as far as CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES are concerned.  Just look at the lists in the link.  It’s easy to see why Inflammation is such a huge deal.  But let’s cut to the chase.  What does Dr. Seaman say about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid?  Although this article did not come right out and say it, I can tell you what he recommends for his patients (he says it over and over at his seminars).  It is an extremely easy-to-remember rule of thumb.  “Eat vegetation or animals that ate vegetation“.  And don’t forget —- grains (corn — everyone’s favorite ‘vegetable’ — included) are not considered to be “vegetation”.  What Dr. Seaman’s is essentially recommending here is a PALEO DIET.  This becomes more clear when you look at his lists below.



(Don’t Eat These)

  • High Glycemic Index Foods (Starches / Sugars)
  • Breads
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Refined Sugar
  • Refined Flour (HERE)
  • Meats that were fed Grain (feedlot meats)
  • Corn Oil, Sunflower Oil, Peanut Oil, Cottonseed Oil

(Eat These)

  • Fish, Lean Meats, Skinless Chicken
  • Free Range Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Low Glycemic Index Fruits
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Raw Nuts (peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes)
  • Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Butter
  • Red Wine (moderation)
  • Dark Chocolate (at least 75% cocoa)
  • Real Coffee / Real Tea
  • Ginger, Turmeric, Garlic, other Spices


“Recently, it has been shown that patients are more likely to suffer with musculoskeletal pains and tendinopathy if they also have metabolic syndrome —- which, is, in part, treated by adopting anti-inflammatory dietary changes”

We know from the scientific literature that the vast majority of Tendinopathies are TENDINOSIS.  Although Tendinosis is certainly not considered an inflammatory condition in and of itself, systemic inflammation can contribute to its development.

“Low grade chronic inflammation is now known to be a driver of most chronic degenerative diseases.  It is important to understand that low-grade chronic inflammation is not associated with an obvious infection or injury (i.e. acute inflammation) and does not predictably resolve [on its own].”

Just look at the list from earlier in the article.  Shocking.  And Inflammation is said to be a causal factor in all of them.

[Inflammation] can generate pain in somatic tissues such as joint, muscle, disc, ligament, tendon, fascia, or epineurium [the fascia-analogous membrane that surrounds nerves]

I have specific pages on MUSCLES, TENDONS, LIGAMENTS, FASCIA, and DISCS.  I have written extensively about the fact that these tissues generate pain in the Deep Soma (HERE).

“Germane to the topic of this paper, it appears that nutrition is likely a key determining factor that generates the tissue ‘flavor’ of inflammation and, thus, pain expression.”

This is a no-brainer you learned in grade school.  You are what you eat.  However, it is critical that you not miss what Dr. Seaman implies here.  Although many people love blaming all their problems on poor genetics, Inflammation is one of the factors that makes up the field we know as EPIGENETICS.

“‘Dietary Injury’ [is] a term that may be helpful to appreciate how diet can cause chronic inflammation and pain.  Dietary injury should be viewed as a cumulative and chronic event, such that monotherapies with nutritional supplements or medications are unable to counteract the ‘hits’ delivered by a pro-inflammatory diet….   But in making unhealthy lifestyle choices, an individual’s body is transformed into a ‘state’ of chronic inflammation.  The patient may not feel this transformation until an obvious clinical sign or symptom is present.”

I have said it repeatedly.  Supplements are just that — supplementary.  There is no way to correct a crappy diet simply by taking more supplements.  The same can be said of medications.  Deal with inflammation at the source because trying to cover the vast array of Inflammation-induced symptoms is a losing battle — a battle that will eventually take your life, and leave you miserable in the process.  More on MONOTHERAPIES.

“Diet is most important because the chemistry of the diet is reflected in the chemistry of the cells.”

No explanation needed.  Again, you are what you eat.

“The reduction in Omega-3 fatty acid intake adds to the inflammatory / painful state because Omega-3s convert to mediators that resolve inflammation and reduce pain.  these mediators are derived from EPA and DHA.”

This is a good place to mention the importance of EPA and DHA.  They are the active ingredients of Omega Three Fatty Acids, and while abundant in High Quality Fish Oils, are found in only limited amounts in Flax Seed Oil.  Your body is not efficient at converting Flax to EPA and DHA.  This is why Flax Oil is not a substitute for PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL.  By the way, PGFO is our number one selling supplement and has been for years.  Why do people take it?  Believe it or not, not because it is good for their health.  They take it because they feel better — less pain.

“The overconsumption of Omega-6 fatty acids leads to a change in cell membrane anatomy…..  chronic joint pain is the diet-derived outcome”

Trans Fats create what the renowned Dr. Janet Lang calls “Stupid Cell Membranes“.  When Trans Fats are incorporated into cell membranes, the membranes not only get terribly inflexible, they let things into the cell they should not, and keep things out that should be let in.  This is a component of numerous illnesses —- including DIABETES. 

“And while red meat is often impugned, studies have demonstrated that the consumption of lean red meat does not lean to post-parandial [post-meal] inflammation [like carbs do], and the substitution of lean red meat for carbohydrates had a blood pressure lowering effect in hypertensive men.  While often touted as a healthy anti-inflammatory food, whole grains may contribute to low-grade chronic inflammation.  It is known that lectins from all grains, and gluten from wheat, rye, and barley, can disrupt the Gut Barrier integrity and allow the absorption of dietary and bacterial antigens…  Gliadin from gluten is known to stimulate enterocyte production of zonulin, which disrupts intestinal tight junctions and can lead to systemic inflammation.”

This is nothing less than a clinical description of LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, which the medical community refers to as ‘Increased Intestinal Permeability”.  Although up until about 15 years ago, the medical community denied the existence of Leaky Gut Syndrome, there are now nearly 10,000 peer-reviewed medical studies on the subject.  GUT HEALTH is the foundational principal for healing all sickness and disease.
Be aware that Dr. Seaman also mentions the importance of proper gut ‘Microbiota’ (the critters that live in your gut) as far as the inflammatory / anti-inflammatory balance is concerned.  Why is this?  Think about it.  You have approximately 10 times more bacteria living in your gut than you have cells in your body.  According to numerous sources, including a 1999 edition of the American Journal of Physiology, 80% of your total Immune System is found in your Gut (HERE).  INFLAMMATION is considered to be a group of Immune System chemicals.  POOR GUT HEALTH leads to overall poor health.  You can combat this by eating like Seaman says and taking a quality PROBIOTIC

I salute you Dr. Seaman for working so hard to take this message to a wider audience for the benefit of humanity!   I would also like to applaud Dr. Forest Tennant, editor in chief of PPM for having the gumption (albeit with a disclaimer of sorts) to run an article by a chiropractor in a medical journal.  Hopefully your readers (MD’s running pain clinics) will take this message to heart. 


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