Systemic Inflammation, Pain and Degenerative Disease: Part I

by Dr. Greg Fors, DC - Board Certified Neurologist DIBCN

The inflammatory response serves to protect, defend, and repair our tissues. It begins by preparing damaged tissues for repair and initiating the healing process. Therefore, if your patients are taking drugs to inhibit the inflammatory healing response, such as NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory drugs, they are actually inhibiting the healing process. If the inflammatory healing response of the musculoskeletal system goes beyond the usual six weeks, and causes recurrent pain for over three months, your patient has developed a chronic myofascial pain syndrome.

With this, the normal acute inflammatory healing response has now become an abnormal chronic inflammatory disorder; a metabolic disorder that must be managed through proper dietary and nutraceutical intervention.

Chronic inflammation can smolder in the tissues of the body for many years without causing any obvious disease. The epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases, as well as the explosion of allergic and autoimmune disorders in your patients is related to their development of chronic “silent” inflammation. People are more than two times as likely to have a heart attack when they experience higher levels of chronic inflammation. One blood test that is highly predictive and helpful in monitoring chronic inflammation is high sensitivity C-reactive protein or hsCRP.

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The presence of refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids in our diet, along with our sedentary lifestyles are the primary factors in the cause of this chronic inflammation. Another major factor is that our diets are deficient in anti-oxidants, micronutrients, and fiber. Research has established that the Standard American Diet (SAD), high in sugar and saturated fats, is inherently pro-inflammatory and associated with the high incidence of chronic muscle and joint pain disorders, which are epidemic in our modern life.

An excellent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002 found that diets with a high amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates actually raised hsCRP, that all-important marker of chronic “silent” inflammation. This means that our sweet tooth is causing us a great deal of chronic pain and degenerative disease. In the United States, our consumption of sugar now averages more than an unbelievable 154 pounds per person per year. Between 1970 and 1990, the consumption of high fructose corn syrup increased more than 1000% in the United States, from one half pound to over 72 pounds per person. This consumption of high fructose corn syrup comes primarily through soft drinks and processed foods, not through the family sugar bowl.

Another pro-inflammatory constituent of our SAD diet is the presence of trans-fatty acids. These types of fatty acids, not generally found in nature, have been added to the food chain through man's manipulation. Trans-fatty acids are created when vegetable oils are hydrogenated to make them more solid, in order to resemble saturated animal fat and reduce rancidity. Trans-fatty acids are common in snack foods, commercial baked goods, deep fried foods, fast foods, margarine and vegetable shortening to name just a few. Consumption of these trans-fatty acids has been shown in research to raise important indicators of chronic “silent” inflammation. More importantly, the elimination of trans-fatty acids from the diet can help lower chronic inflammation, thereby potentially lessening your patients’ chronic musculoskeletal pain.

If the threat of “silent” inflammation causing chronic muscle and joint pain is not enough to make your patients stop eating trans-fatty acids, perhaps a heart attack is. Research has established that trans-fatty acids significantly raise your “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C) and lower your “good” cholesterol (HDL-C) twice as much as saturated fat. Not only that, trans-fatty acids in the diet raise plasma lipoprotein(a), one of the most deadly fatty acids when it comes to heart attacks. Additionally, trans-fatty acids have been shown to increase the risk of colon and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the fast-growing rate of allergies in children.

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BIOSPEC's CLINICAL UPDATES
with Dr. Greg Fors

Biospec Nutritionals has been in business for 15 years and is dedicated to bringing physicians premium quality formulations at prices their patients can afford. Biospec Nutritionals is committed to providing doctors with quality information and education, including this issue of Biospec's Nutritional updates. Find us at www.biospecnutritionals.com or call us at 800.825.7921

Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is the Chief Science Consultant for Biospec Nutritionals, a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. Trained through the Autism Research Institute he is a registered 'Defeat Autism Now!' Doctor. As the clinic director of the Pain and Brain Healing Center in Blaine Minnesota he specializes in a natural biomedical approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, depression, autism and ADHD. He is a sought after international lecturer for various post graduate departments and state associations. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.

FOOTNOTES

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  2. Liu S., Manson JE, Buring J. E., et al. Relationship between a diet, with a high glycemic load and plasma concentrations of high-sensitivity      C-reactive protein in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002; 75(3): 492 – 98.
  3. Food consumption, Prices, and Expenditures, 1970-1997. Economic Research Service, USDA. Statistical Bulletin No. 965. April 1999.      [http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/sb565/].
  4. Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J. Clin      Nutr. 2004; 79(4):537-43.
  5. Lopez--Garcia E., Schulze MB. Meigs JB, et al. Consumption of trans-fatty acids is related to plasma biomarkers of inflammation and      endothelial dysfunction. J Nutr. 2005; 135(3): 562-66.
  6. Katan M., Zock PL, Mensink RP. Trans-fatty acids and their effects on lipoprotein in humans. Annual Review of Nutrition, 1995; 15:473-93.
  7. Baker and, van’t Veer P., Zock P. L. Adipose fatty acids and cancers of the breast, prostate and colon: an ecological study. EURAMIC Study      Group. Int. J cancer. 1997 7; 72(4): 587 – 91.
  8. Morris MC. Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Dietary fats and the rise of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. 2003; 60(2):194-200.
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