Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Inconvenient Truths

I am writing this shouting summary of bottom lines in response to recent good news and bad news. The good news is that Michael Pollan is speaking in Boise, near my home town. The bad news is the recent press coverage of the JUPITER study on statins.

Michael Pollan is one of my heros. He speaks simply and clearly about the role of national agriculture policy in promotion of hazardous foods that lead to profits in the healthcare industry, but death and disease for the US population. Pollan also provides wise advice to solve our problems.

A new statin, Crestor, was shown in the JUPITER study to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, e.g. heart attacks, stroke, death, in a study population with normal LDL and elevated C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation. The press supported the drug maker’s interpretation that the statin provided benefit by lowering LDL in a population with chronic inflammation. What is missing is the clarification that lowering LDL is unimportant in reducing cardiovascular risk. Lowering inflammation lowers cardiovascular risk and there are more appropriate ways of lowering inflammation than using very expensive drugs. It is much cheaper, healthier and effective to switch to an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle!

After reading thousands of articles in the biomedical research literature, here are a few of my obvious bottom lines. Diet affects your health and the most fragile stages of development and most fragile organs, are the most sensitive to abuse. Therefore, damaging diets are most harmful to fetuses, newborns, brains, the cardiovascular system and reproductive systems.

  • Formula promotes inflammatory bacteria in newborn guts resulting in lower intelligence, disrupted immunity, infections, allergies, obesity, degenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases. Breastfeeding is the only anti-inflammatory answer for infants.
  • The US diet (hyperglycemic starch/sugar, high omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, HFCS, low vegetable anti-oxidants, low vitamin D/sun exposure, low vitamin C, grain-fed meat instead of fish) is inflammatory.
  • The Mediterranean Diet (small portions of starch, low omega-6 oils, no HFCS, high vegetable anti-oxidants, routine sun exposure, adequate vitamin C, fish and grass-fed meat) is anti-inflammatory.
  • Inflammatory diets lead to infertility (female and male), problems during pregnancy (e.g. preeclampsia is an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency) and prematurity/low birth weight.
  • Mental illnesses of many different types benefit from anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Diet-based brain inflammation may be a major predisposing factor.
  • All of the prevailing drug therapies for cardiovascular disease benefit from anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Most of the drugs that reduce cardiovascular events rely on anti-inflammatory activities. Inflammation is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease, not elevated blood lipids/cholesterol.
  • Vegetable oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower) are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and are dangerously inflammatory. These polyunsaturated oils are less healthy than saturated fats. Olive oil is the most healthy.
  • Reasonable routine exposure to the sun could eliminate inflammatory vitamin D deficiencies.
  • Obesity is inflammatory, but diet-based inflammation may also be a major contributor to obesity.
  • Genetic predisposition to specific diseases is triggered by diet-based chronic inflammation.
  • Diseases and disabilities associated with aging are symptoms of mismanaged chronic inflammation typically resulting from decreasing muscle mass and increasing fat.
  • Sensible diet and lifestyles could dramatically improve quality of life and reduce healthcare expenditures in the US.

Prescription: eliminate vegetable oils, eliminate HFCS, eliminate trans fats, use olive oil, reduce starch, eat vegetables, eat more fish and less meat, get daily sun, use fish oil supplements, get frequent muscle-building exercise, and stay lean.


Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers, I just stumbled across your blog today and everything you are saying is validating what I've been doing as my own personal experiment. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in September of 2015. At that time, I was 350 pounds with high cholesterol, slightly elevated BP, and osteo arthritis, but otherwise decent health. I began treatment in October of that year, but also heavily researched anti-inflammatory diets and drastically changed my eating. I adopted a Whole Foods/Paleo diet (fruits, vegetables, grass fed meats or wild fish, and no sugar, dairy, processed foods, or grains of any kinds). 18 months later, I have lost over 170 pounds, I'm training for a half marathon, and feel amazing. I've had two good MRI scans and I feel the best I've felt my entire life. During childhood and early adulthood, I ate heavily processed food, vegetable oils, omega-6 meats, grains, and processed sugars. I was also exposed to second-hand smoke for the majority of my childhood and ate dairy even though I was allergic to it. I believe all of these combined created a state of chronic inflammation in my body which led to my Multiple Sclerosis. I've been able to reverse the symptoms I had initially (loss of peripheral vision in one eye, dizziness, numbness in right side of body, mental fog, fatique) and I've had good follow up visits with my neurologist. Thanks so much for this information and your research. We need more people like you!

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