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Sugar and Pain

Have you heard all of the news about sugar lately?  Some sources are even saying that sugar is far more harmful to our bodies than fat!   Whether you are in chronic or acute pain, sugar may play an important role in the inflammatory process, which may be contributing to your persistent symptoms.  Read on to find out more!

Excess sugar in the blood leads to a pathological process, called glycation. Glycation is the process of sugar molecules adhering to fascial proteins, causing stiffness and thickening (Cameron, 2014).  Robert Lustig, MD has become an anti-sugar advocate, exposing just how toxic sugar is.  See his presentation, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" here.  Dr. Lustig has published several peer reviewed research articles regarding sugar and its connection to degenerative diseases.  Throughout his research, Dr. Lustig has concluded that about 75% of all diseases in America are in fact, preventable.  UCLA conducted a study on the impacts of fructose and high fructose corn syrup on the brain.   The professor of neurosurgery concluded that, "eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information" (Schmidt, 2012).  Based on the research study, he believes that "eating too much fructose could block insulin's ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions". 

Dr. Teitelbaum has written many books on chronic pain and is currently a medical director at a fibromyalgia center.  He notes that, “Sugar aggravates low blood sugar and adrenal problems, yeast (Candida) overgrowth, and nutritional deficiencies that worsen fibromyalgia,”.  He has seen patients experience a decrease in their pain, a sharper memory and more energy after coming off of sugar in as little as 10 days.

The Oxford Journal of Rheumatology performed a 2 year study, and found that 45% of patients had an increase in symptoms after consuming sweets and refined sugar.

Not only does sugar cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, release of cytokines (inflammatory messengers), and contributes to your risks of developing diabetes, it also attacks cells and tissues in the body.  The sugar and inflammation/chronic pain connection has been researched more and more over the past several years.  Many medical providers are advising all patients to reduce their sugar intake, now more than ever before.  White flour and other simple carbohydrates break down into sugar, so it is essential to eliminate/reduce actual sugar, along with white flour.  Chronic low grade inflammation, greatly contributes to atherosclerosis, strokes, memory loss, and more scary health conditions.

Common chronic conditions negatively affected by sugar:

  • fibromyalgia
  • arthritis
  • autoimmune conditions
  • leaky gut
  • adrenal fatigue
  • strokes
  • peripheral artery disease
  • irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • arthritic conditions
  • colon cancer
  • diabetes
  • cataracts
  • poor memory
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis

As you can see, sugar is not only costly to the human body, but also on the economy.  An estimated 40% of healthcare costs are due to excessive sugar intake (and this is probably a low estimate).  When you make the commitment to quit sugar for good, you will realize just how sweet today's foods are!  Sugar is addictive, don't get me wrong, but the more we consume, the more we crave it, like a drug.  There are several resources online that can help you to wean yourself off of sugar, and structured programs and books, such as the "21 Day Sugar Detox".  I remember seeing a baking tip years ago, that you could half the amount of sugar in any recipe and not notice a difference.  Since I've gone Paleo, I use honey or coconut sugar in recipes, but they usually only call for a few tablespoons, not multiple cups of refined white sugar!  After eliminating sugar and you taste sweet things that you used to crave constantly, you will realize just how sweet and sugar laden they were.

Consider going cold-turkey, signing up for a monthly sugar detox, or start tracking your daily meals, just to see how much sugar you are consuming!  Many products contain sugar, that you might not realize, such as: ketchup, salad dressings, yogurt, dried/dehydrated fruit, sauces, and more. 

If your pain is not going away with over the counter products or routine care, consider eliminating sugar from your diet!  Chiropractic and other holistic forms of healthcare can help to resolve musculoskeletal conditions with a proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan, but sugar may be hindering your progress and overall health and well being.  Remember, things labeled as "sugar free", are not necessarily better alternatives, if they contain harmful artificial sweeteners; always check the label and choose minimally processed foods.

 

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Cold and Flu Season: Boosting Your Immunity Naturally

In today's society we are used to going to the doctor only when we are sick (sick care), instead, we need to focus on preventative care. Do you want to mask symptoms or get the underlying problem fixed? Treating problems before they surface is more effective and cheaper. Boost your immune system year round with supplementation and chiropractic care to minimize sickness.  Eating healthy year round can help you stay a few steps ahead of illness.

Food as medicine

  • Onion: Red/Yellow; contain flavonols and quercetin, powerful antioxidants that help to decrease histamine release. Sulfur found in onions and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties which help to ease aches, pains and congestion caused by the cold/flu.
  • Garlic: Contains allicin, an antioxidant with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal capabilities. Helps to shorten and reduce cold symptoms. Allicin becomes active after being chopped/minced/crushed and is destroyed at high temperatures, so try to sprinkle freshly chopped garlic in soups, on pizza/pasta, etc. Allow garlic to "sit" for 10 minutes before ingesting to allow immune-boosting properties to become activated.
  • Echinacea: Fights inflammation, bacterial/viral infections; boosts the immune and lymphatic systems by stimulating white blood cells. It can help to reduce the duration of a cold by several days when taken at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Zinc lozenges: Decrease cold duration and helps to attack nose and throat viruses while boosting overall immunity. Take at the first sign of a cold for best results.
  • Goldenseal: Contains the anti-fungal phytochemical, Beribine, which fights infection/inflammation and helps to strengthen the immune system. It can be found in combination with Echinacea; alcohol-free varieties are best. (Note: not to be taken for extended periods of time; take as directed by your healthcare provider.)
  • Local honey: Boosts immunity by fighting viruses/bacteria. "In a Penn State University College of Medicine study, researchers found honey to be more effective than dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) at reducing the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing" (Lissandrello, 2008). (Note: not for children under 12 months old.)
  • Ginger: Contains anti-inflammatory phenols, gingerols and shogaols to help relieve cold/flu aches. Ginger also helps to decrease fever, eliminate toxins and allows the body to sweat, without the harsh side effects of ibuprofen. Use in teas/meals; fresh is best.
  • Cayenne: Well known to help with joint pain, it also contains antiseptic properties to ease sore throats and decrease congestion by thinning mucus. (Note: not for nursing mothers or children under two years old.)
  • Astragalus: (Herb) promotes white blood cell production to fight infection.
  • Avoid sugar: Suppresses our immune systems and feeds bacteria.
  • Kiwi: High in vitamin C and can reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory infections.
  • Siberian ginseng: A known adaptogen, allowing the body to restore balance and helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • Probiotics: Healthy bacteria for vital for our bodies; suggested dosage is 3-5 billion live organisms daily. (Yogurt only contains 100-200 million organisms and less effective strains, along with excessive amounts of sugar and additives).

Year-round health

Minimizing and eliminating sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, dairy products, preservatives/artificial chemicals will help to decrease stress placed on our bodies. Eating more vegetables, fruits, and incorporating different vitamins/herbs/minerals/spices into your daily lives for overall health is essential. Seeing your chiropractor regularly to make sure your nervous system is functioning optimally is also important for overall wellness. Chiropractic adjustments help to reduce dysfunction and allow your body to heal itself.

Keeping your immune system running at its best will help to prevent sickness. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs on a daily basis, not only when you are sick, will help with overall health. Taking a variety of herbs and vitamins at the first sign of sickness is important to help decrease the intensity and duration of colds. Getting sick a few times a year doesn't have to be the norm; think about boosting your immune system year round to minimize the not so inevitable common cold.

Sources
http://www.naturalnews.com
http://www.foods-healing-power.com/health-benefits-of-onions.html
http://www.google.com
http://health.slides.kaboose.com
http://www.naturalnews.com/037449_kiwifruit_common_cold_immunity.html
Kitchen Prescriptions Lissandrello, Maria Source:Vegetarian Times, Nov/Dec2008, Issue 363, p78-83, 6p
Prescription for nutritional healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

*Main image source: http://www.oralanswers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/teeth_getting_hurt_this_cold_and_flu_season.jpg

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Pumpkin Spice

Fall is here, and people are going crazy for their yearly "pumpkin" flavored drinks and treats.  Sadly, most don't contain real pumpkin, but artificial flavoring and tons of sugar to give you that "fall in a cup" flavor you crave every autumn.

Many people aren't fond of the "Food Babe", stating she has no educational background to question and enforce what goes into our food.  But, these ingredients speak for themselves.  I even stopped going to Starbucks recently when I found out that their coconut milk contains corn dextrin, and a long list of other ingredients, besides coconut milk. [Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2. Ingredients in most legit coconut milk: Coconut milk, water.] Read more about Starbucks "coconut milk" here

For the 2015 season, Starbucks has claimed to eliminate the caramel coloring in its' pumpkin spice drinks and use real pumpkin.

Starbucks has a "My Starbucks Idea" site, where you can submit ideas to bring back old products or create new ones.  Here you can log in and vote to bring CLEAN almond/coconut milk to their stores!

I have not had a PSL in over a year, since I went dairy free after being diagnosed with Hashimoto's.  I have however, made my own at home using some of these delicious, natural recipes!

A better alternative to commercialized pumpkin spiced drinks:

You have the option to choose your own ingredients!  Fair-trade organic coffee, organic pumpkin, non-gmo spices, etc.

  • Choose your milk! (cashew, almond, coconut, hemp)
  • Add your choice of coffee or espresso
  • Add pumpkin puree
  • Add pumpkin pie spice
  • Add cinnamon
  • Add vanilla
  • Add maple syrup or coconut sugar to taste for added sweetness

 

Here are some links to recipes that I really enjoy and think you will too!

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Make It Paleo 2

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

Dairy Free and Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Iced Pumpkin Thai Bubble Tea (With Dairy Free and Dye Free Directions)

 

 

 

*Main image source: http://www.pugetsound.edu/files/pages/pumpkinlatte-1.jpg

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