Dr. Laura: Can Fasting Heal Auto Immune Disease?

Fasting is known to initiate cellular clean-up, reduce inflammation, heal leaky gut and reset the immune system. What better formula could we ask for when it comes to autoimmune disease?

Can Fasting Really Help AutoImmune Suffering?

After a recent talk at Goodness Me! I did on the safety of fasting, I was left with more questions on how fasting could help those suffering with autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s, celiac, diabetes type I, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In the interim I have played with intermittent fasting over the past couple of months and my body says “thank you!” My digestion has not been this good for years and the persistent scalp psoriasis has all but disappeared. Even when I eat tomatoes, a common trigger for me. It seems anacdotal, however fellow colleagues in the the functional medicine industry like Mark Hyman, Amy Myers, and Courtney Sperlazza all agree.

What Kind of Fasting?

There are many kinds of fasting. We fast when we exclude a single food or types of foods from our diet. So the 30-day reset with no grains, sugar or dairy is a type of fast. This is a good start. The Ketogenic diet is a type of fast too. A Keto diet for a while may be helpful because it switches the body from a carb burning engine to a fat burning engine. But here I am talking about intermittent and more extended fasts to give complete
digestive rest
. When the body is not busy digesting and sorting out where to use or store the blood sugar, it can focus on cellular clean up and repair. Of course when you do eat, nutrient dense foods are a must because you are eating less overall and will need to pack the nutrients you need into less meals. If you are sensitive to foods, like tomatoes, dairy, wheat and sugar for me, that doesn’t mean I go back to eating them all the time. If at all. My excuse was I was in beautiful Italy and learning to make a succulent Bolognese sauce.

Can Anyone Fast?

No. Fasting isn’t for everyone. Not for children or pregnant mothers, those who are malnourished or those with anorexia or bulimia – that’s just playing with fire. Fasting also has to be monitored if you are on medications or have certain medical conditions. Medical complications include gout, cardiac arrhythmia, and postural hypotension.

How Long to Fast?

There is nothing written in stone about the perfect length of fast. And if you ever feel nauseous, dizzy or unwell you should eat. This isn’t about starvation. It’s about digestive rest. It’s about resetting insulin sensitivity and the immune system. Also, we know where the food is and have access to it if we need it. So it’s not starvation.

What Foods are Allowed?

As I mentioned above there are no real rules and there are many different  types and lengths of fasts. If you are on the thinner side and can’t stand to loose some weight, then you better consider bone broth fasts, where there are some nutrients and fat going in. If you have a little loving around that waist line, you likely can feed off that for a while and have coffee, tea and of course LOTS OF WATER.

For more information on whether fasting is right for you, and how to do it, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown ND. 519.826.7973.

 

Dr. Laura: 6 Causes of Hip Pain

Slow to move, can’t get up out of the chair, or have pain or stiffness in the hip when walking?  You may have one of these six hip concerns.

What causes pain in the hip?

  1. ™Bursitis
  2. Tendinitis
  3. ™Osteoarthritis
  4. ™Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  5. ™Ankylosing Spondylitis
  6. ™Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
athritisresearchuk.org

What can be done about hip pain?

Bursitis: Bursae are jelly-like sacs that provide cushion between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes bursae get irritated with repetitive activities that overwork the joint.  Inflamed bursae are very painful. Classic symptoms are pain when rising from a chair and pain down the front of the thigh. Homeopathy, acupuncture topical ligaments and anti-inflammatories may all be helpful.

Tendinitis may be in just one side of the body, or both. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Exercising too hard without a proper warm up, or overuse of the joint can lead to pain and immobility. It is important to have the concern addressed as soon as possible to prevent long term mobility issues from the scar tissue from build up. Tissue work, natural anti-inflammatories and acupuncture can be very helpful.

Osteoarthritis (OA) doesn’t have to be a right of passage of aging. There are things that can be done to slow the wear and tear on the joint and actually help restore the proper function of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. OA can happen on just one side of the body in one joint. Treatment is longer term and can involve diet and lifestyle adjustments and possibly some supplementation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body is attacking its own tissues. Classic symptoms are worse in morning on rising and better with movement. RA usually happens equally on both sides of the body.  One way it can be diagnosed is with blood work to see if there is a rise in the RF (Rheumatoid Factor). Anti-inflammatories will be helpful, but it is important to address the root cause of the autoimmune condition, and this often begins in the gastrointestinal tract. Naturopathic medicine is fantastic for getting to the root cause of an issue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is another autoimmune condition. Ankylosing means fusing and spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Symptoms include  a stiff, inflexible and painful spine and/ or hip area. In AS, ligaments and tendons as well as the bones are damaged. New bone is often formed in response which is thin and fragile and may grow together. Diagnostics include ANA blood factor and HLA_B27 genetic testing. Acupuncture and botanical medicines can be very helpful to reduce the immune system response in tissue, reduce inflammation and maintain strength and mobility.

Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE). The classic presentation is a triad of fever, joint pain, and facial butterfly type rash in a woman of childbearing age should prompt investigation into the diagnosis of SLE. Since SLE is an autoimmune disease affecting  many different tissues, something the symptoms can be body wide and unique for the individual, but one of the most common reasons at first is joint pain, including the hip. Diagnostics for SLE involve multiple factors; more information may be found here.  As many factors in SLE present, the naturopathic doctor can piece together the picture and begin the process based on clinical presentation and blood work. Many factors in natural medicine can reduce symptoms of SLE.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Friendly Fats

When we talked about fats in the 4380 Fitness Challenge nutrition night, one person asked me if she was eating too much fat. What she actually has found is that, for her, eating more fat actually helps with anxiety. This is a fantastic personal discovery! In the 6 daily diet tips I mention a goal of 6 tablespoons of healthy fat a day. This of course is a general guideline. I cannot tell you how much fat or carbs or protein is exactly right for you. Only you will be able to what is safe and healthy through individual professional guidance and even then, some trial and error.

Also, keep in mind your needs will change with age and season. We all need to eat for the season. When it is cold outside we need heartier, heavier meals. When it is hot and humid, we need light and refreshing sustenance to fuel us without weighing us down. Babes need higher fat as the brain is rapidly developing and different life situations demand different nutrients.

Time  for an Oil Change?

Did you know that the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat? Getting the right fats in your diet is the most crucial way to boost your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for optimal message conduction not only in the brain, but across every cellular membrane in the body. 

More of these

If you are sensitive to a food like dairy or nuts, then you need to look at the other alternatives of healthy fats on the list.

  • Fish oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados & their oil
  • Small amounts of real butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • Oils found in nuts in seeds
  • Fats found naturally in whole dairy
  • Fats found naturally in responsibly raised poultry & meat

Supplemental Fish oil (3rd party tested and cleansed of heavy metals):

  • Reduces cholesterol:
    • reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%
  • In those with coronary artery disease: Heart attacks reduced risk by 20% and sudden death by 30% (better than statins alone)
  • Improves symptoms of depression and increase length of remission
  • Reduces symptoms of psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Reduces inflammation and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s syndrome, and Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Helpful in weight loss
  • Reduces muscular soreness after exercise

Are saturated fats bad for you?

Yes and no. Too much of anything is not good for you. So, yes trim excess fat off your meat and avoid too much chicken skin, however, eating marbled meats and full fat dairy, coconut products and egg yolks will help  incorporate calcium into the bones, protect the liver from damage by alcohol and medications like acetaminophen, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular function, deliver fat soluble vitamins.

Less of these

  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanuts, and peanut oil
  • Safflower Oil

Not all fats are created equal.

Industry seed oils are those made from the seeds of corn, cotton, sunflower, safflower or a hybrid called canola. A small amount of these oils is not an issue, as we do need some omega 6 fats in our diet. Problem is with the North American tendency to eat fast food, restaurant food, processed and packaged foods, we tend to get way too many of these and not enough omega 3 fats. This tips the scale towards inflammation. Industry seed oils are easily oxidized and oxidized fats is a leading contributor to modern inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibromyalgia.

 

Never these

  • Transfats
  • Super heat vegetable oil (fried foods)
  • Rancid oils

Trans fats that are manufactured by hydrolyzing an natural fat tends to do all the wrong things to cholesterol. Trans fats raise LDL and triglycerides and lower HDL.  Not good.

Rancid oils, or fats that are past their shelf life will contribute to oxidative stress in your body. This means aging!

Anything eaten in excess can be converted and stored in the body as fat. That includes protein and carbohydrates. Did you know one of the main reasons for young people today being diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver is the excessive sugars in their diet?

Friendly Fat Facts

  1. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) must be taken in the diet as they can not synthesized by the body. It is often necessary to supplement. Fish oil that is third party tested and cleansed of heavy metals in either a gel cap or, more economically, liquid, is best.
  2. Fats are required to help us absorb fat soluble vitamins  (A, D, E & K)
  3. Healthy fats consumed earlier in the day (breakfast) will help curb afternoon cravings.
  4.  Naturally occurring saturated fats that marble meat or as a part of dairy have benefits when consumed in moderation

This means

  1. Breakfast: could include your dose of fish oil (EFA’s) and vitamin D, a handful of nuts, or simply a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cup of coffee.
  2.  Lunch & Supper: Salad or vegetables could be complimented with either 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1/4 avocado or  some omega-3 rich fish like sardines, salmon, herring. Even lamb or chicken – light or dark meat or strips of steak will help get the most out of all your nutrients.

From the research and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 Reference:
Kresser, Chris. 2014. The Paleo Cure. Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs — Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Fish Oil monograph accessed Dec 30, 2014. Full monograph available upon request.

 

Joint Pain? March 29th Seminar

Move past your pain! Complimentary seminar on Wednesday March 29th.  Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND shares some of the natural approaches to manage the inflammation that causes joint pain and what therapies may be considered to repair and reverse the damage.

Many different conditions can lead to joint pain:

  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • bursitis
  • gout
  • food sensitivities
  • strains and sprains

Joint Pain Educational Seminar:

Wednesday March 29th, 2017 2:30- 3:30pm 

Nature’s Signature Guelph (Seminar to be held at the Starbucks inside the Metro store at the corner of Edinburgh and Stone – 500 Edinburgh Rd. S. Guelph)

Call 519.822.8900 to Register. 

This seminar is intended for educational purposes only and does not provide individual medical advice.