Battle Inflammation, Fatigue with a Fork

Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions can be helped to a great degree by nutritional therapies. Fibromyalgia, an umbrella term for aches and pains in the muscles and joints, and chronic fatigue are often symptoms of the same syndrome, or batch of immune compromised symptoms. Arthritis is often related to these by the fact that degenerative diseases like arthritis, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia have their origins tied to dis-function of the gut.

With experts on the subject such as Dr. Majid Ali, ("The Canary and Chronic Fatigue", Life Span Press, 1995) and Dr. Jeffrey Bland, ("The 20-Day Rejuvenation Diet Program", Keats Publishing, 1997), the puzzle of chronic fatigue is in constant process of being solved. As each individual is biochemically different, there are different initiating sparks for the disorder from patient to patient. It is agreed on that diet and nutritional therapies to assist the digestive system are part of the program for improving the outcome.

Going to Battle with a Fork
A condition known as "leaky gut syndrome" is the beginning of the inflammatory process. First, the digestive system fails to thoroughly do its job: to digest foods, allowing nutrients into the system, and to excrete toxic waste. Undigested proteins remain in the large intestine to putrefy, eventually causing the body's immune system to respond. This initiates an inflammatory situation, and the walls of the intestine no longer can maintain a protective barrier to keep toxins and undigested foods from entering the system. Inflammation and pain in joints and muscles is often the result.

Foods to eliminate from the diet to improve the intestinal ecology include: sugar, dairy, and wheat. While dealing with an inflammatory condition, all gluten products, (wheat, barley, rye, and most oats) and nightshades, which include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant, should also be avoided. Animal proteins and fats can also be an excessive burden on the digestive tract. In many cases, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and asthma have reduced or disappeared for patients who stopped taking in these foods. ("Vegan Nutrition, Pure and Simple", Dr. Michael Klaper, M.D., Gentle World, Inc. 1987.)

Nutritional Therapies

Disbiosis, a condition of an imbalance in the ratio of healthy and harmful bacteria, occurs in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Overgrowth of yeast (candida) and parasites may result. To re-inoculate the system, probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus, are taken orally. These friendly bacteria help to keep the colonies of toxic bacteria under control.

In order to rebuild the lining of the digestive tract, supplementation of the amino acid, glutamine is needed, often in amounts of 15 to 20 grams a day. Glutamine is the major fuel for the intestinal lining, and these high amounts are needed for repair.

Additional anti-fungal herbs, such as oil of oregano, pau d'arco, and caprylic acid can be used to help fight yeast overgrowth. This is an intense protocol, which can involve many other herbs, and take 3 months to clear the body of the overgrowth, depending on the situation. Dr. William Crook's books on candida and yeast are good references for further information. You can look for Crook's book, "Candida and the Yeast Connection", or find information and self-tests for candida online.

Maintaining a healthy intestinal tract through a diet that is at least 90% plant based, and free of dairy, refined sugar and gluten foods is the first step in warding off inflammatory conditions. With supplements to help the body's systems function better, the condition can often be controlled or eliminated.


By Barbara Lee, L.N.C.

Barbara Lee, a Licensed Nutrition Counselor and the Assistant Vitamin Department Manager at Nature's Food Patch, offers nutritional consultations to address major health concerns and discuss a personalized program designed to improve medical and lifestyle outcomes. Barbara has 20 years of experience as a nutritional consultant. 727-593-8017 or Nature's Food Patch, 1225 Cleveland Street, Clearwater; 727-443-6703.

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