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 .

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cure Acne, Back Pain, Tendonitis, Depression

Remedies Include Vicks Vaporub, Castor Oil and Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Simple anti-inflammatory treatments cure some of the most common health complaints. The big question is why people tolerate the problems rather than applying the readily available remedies.

It seems to me that one reason people don’t simply live anti-inflammatory lives and avoid health problems is that attacking the underlying inflammation by approaches that would have prevented the health problem in the first place, is inadequate for fixing the problem after it becomes established.

Health problems based on inflammation may have many different sources of inflammation. Many dietary deficiencies, for example, contribute to inflammation, so what we eat or don’t eat is a major health risk. Other common contributors to inflammation are dental cavities/infections and inadequate exercise.

Common Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation: Acne, Back Pain, Tendonitis, Depression

I have started to ask casual acquaintances if they have any aches or pains, because eliminating dietary sources of inflammation will be evident in relief of these problems. Common complaints are sore joints and tendons related to repeated use. An example is my barber who complained of pain in all of the tendons used to raise his arms to cut hair. Another friend just had her second child and suffered from shooting pains in the tendons of the arm she used to cradle the youngest when she used the other arm on some task.

Simple Anti-Inflammatory Diet Adjustments Get Quick Results

In many cases, a simple change in diet can lower chronic inflammation enough to provide relief from symptoms. Vitamin D deficiency is probably an underlying source of inflammation of most people in the US. So a simple supplement of 2000-5000 IU per day will have noticeable, anti-inflammatory impact on most people.

I recommended vitamin D and fish oil supplements to a friend suffering from chronic back pain. The back pain persisted, but his acne resolved. He stopped taking the supplements, but after physical therapy relieved the back pain, he returned to the supplements as an acne treatment. Now he has long term relief from all of his pains.

Elimination of Dietary Inflammation May Not Resolve Inflammation Based Health Problems

Health problems that start from aggrevated inflammation, may not be eliminated with resolution of the initial cause. My friend’s back ache, for example, didn’t respond to just elimination of deficiencies in his diet. It seemed that the back problems were self-sustaining. After he did exercises to remove the physical aggravation of his back, lack of dietary inflammation prevented the return of the back ache.

Complex Inflammatory Webs

A student of mine suffers from celiac. This is a complex autoimmune disorder of the intestines that is triggered by wheat gluten and is self-perpetuating. Of interest in this context is that celiacs frequently also have back problems. This indicates that the inflammation of the disease is systemic and impacts other tissues. Clearly, reducing dietary inflammation can go only so far in relieving this complex web of reinforcing sources of inflammation.

Simple Anti-inflammatory Interventions

My friend with tendonitis from holding her child got immediate relief from topical application of castor oil and dietary supplements eliminated the problem. Castor oil and capsaicin react with skin heat-sensing neurons to initiate an anti-inflammatory response in adjacent tissue. In a similar way, menthol acts on cold-sensing neurons and relieves pain by reducing inflammation. Vicks Vaporub is a common commercial source of menthol (other sources are blue Listerine mouthwash and Noxema lotion), which give faster relief than longer lasting castor oil for many connective tissue/joint aches. Exercise is another source of relief for inflammation-based aches and pains.

Health: Combinations of Interventions and an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, disrupt the molecular signals that produce inflammation and result in relief from inflammation and pain. The common ailments discussed here respond to anti-inflammatory drugs. Depression was mentioned to point out the psychological dimensions of inflammation. Reproduction/birth is controlled at many points by the processes that we call inflammation and the most inflammatory stage is birth. It is not surprising that disruption of the normally rapid resolution of inflammation following birth leads to postpartum depression. It is surprising that postpartum depression can be relieved by anti-inflammatory drugs.

Fighting Inflammation-Based Diseases

Complex diseases such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, vascular/heart diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancers, etc. are all based on chronic inflammation, but they are also self-reinforcing inflammatory diseases. Cures will require elimination of sources of chronic inflammation, e.g. diet, plus disruption of the disease-supporting inflammation, e.g. food/gut flora-stimulation of inflammation of the bowel.

Fundamental to the cure of all diseases is a supporting anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.


mongander said...

I am 70 and usually walk/run 3 1/2 miles 3 or 4 times a week. For the past couple of months my upper legs and lower back have been too sore and stiff to do my exercise. When I described my symptoms to a doctor friend, he suggested that I might benefit from more vitamin D. Last night I took 200,000iu D3. This morning my leg pain was gone and this afternoon I was back to my usual workout.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The dose of D3 that you list seems excessive. I have seen 10,000 given to pregnant women in a study, so that seems safe, but more than that per day?

I no longer believe most of what is said about aging and diseases that are expected in people with advancing years. I wouldn't expect any age-related symptoms to be normal until at least 80. A health body rejuvenates itself-- it doesn't wear out. It was quite appropriate for you to adjust your anti-inflammatory supplements when you had classic symptoms of inflammation.

If you run into similar aches and pains and want quick relief, try Vicks (if you don't mind the menthol smell) or castor oil. Just apply near the area that is sore and wait for the pain to go away.

Thank for your comment.

mongander said...

Thanks Dr Ayers, I'll try Vicks or castor oil. Edgar Cayce was a big advocate of castor oil.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I have only minimal knowledge of the healing history of castor oil. Until recently the mode of action of ricinoleic acid, the unusual relative of oleic acid, was unknown and that meant that it was not prominently mentioned in the molecular or medical literature that I have read for the last 40 years. It also cannot be patented, but it is used in several pain relieving ointment and is listed as an inactive ingredient.

It is interesting that ricinoleic acid curls up on the heat receptor surface protein, similarly to red pepper capsaicin. Since the receptor is in the surface layer of skin, ricinoleic acid doesn't have far to penetrate. I don't think that rubbing or heating are important. Nerve feedback from the heat sensors results in anti-inflammatory responses in surrounding tissue. It isn't very accurate, so applying to the wrist, will help a burned finger.

The website that you indicate also implicates Peyer's patches of the intestines. I have also come to the same conclusion from a very different angle. This also relates to probiotics.

Thanks for your comments.

Bill said...

I am very much in agreement with your views on inflammation. I drink 3 or 4 mugs of green tea and at least half a teaspoon of turmeric in my paleo inspired diet, with ground black pepper and red chillies every day.
You have probably read David Servan-Schreiber and his Anti-Cancer book. Anti-inflammation is his basic principle too.
Keep up the good work. It's very much appreciated.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

You can see that the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle that I have outlined in my blog is consistent with the paleo diet. It is hard to get range-fed meat and that can be a problem, since corn-fed contributes lots of omega-6 fatty acids. I think that low carbs and increased vitamin D3 are the biggest needs for most people in the west. Anti-oxidants would be next.

My only criticism of David Servan-Schreiber is that his diet seems to be outdated, in that it avoids red meat/saturated fats and has too much whole grains.

Enjoy eating.

Bill said...

I agree with your views on Servan-Schreiber.
I am sure that he will change his views in time. He seems to be open minded with no hidden agenda.

I mainly rely on omega3 rich eggs and seafood for my protein, with game such as rabbit or venison when I can buy. I recommend mussels as an inexpensive eco-friendly source of good protein. I normally buy the offal from grass fed beef as a relatively low cost option.


Angela said...


I have been following the advice you gave me 5 weeks ago and here are my results so far:

I used to bruise VERY easily and as a result I was covered up by bruises from doing self myofascial release everyday. People would ask me if I was being beaten up by boyfriend LOL.The bruising is completely GONE.

Sleep problems are gone.

PMS is better, specially mood changes.

Non specific mood disorder akin to depression is gone. Improved concentration and overall attitude despite no objective changes in life. I relate this to vitamin D because I have been pseudo depressed since my late teens and the times where I felt better I was getting LOTS of sun (2 hours of full body exposure at 2-4 pm -just wearing bikini and no sunscreen). I got energy to MOVE and Do things. I am inline skating again after two years and am thinking about getting back to martial arts in a couple of months (as strenght and mobility improve).

Skin hasn't cleared up yet, but I don't know why i think it might be more of a gluten related thing.

Weight going down despite no serious effort for reducing caloric intake. This is my next step.

Inflammation in gums is way better.

And I am greatly enjoying the neo-paleo diet (I call it neo-paleoo because I still take dairy and occasionally cheat with gluten free ice cream and dark chocolate).

Will start on glucosamine soon.

I hope my skin will clear in the next months, and will report :)

Thank you very much for everything,


Dr. Art Ayers said...

Congratulations, you have made great progress. It seems clear that inflammation was a the root of many of your problems. The allergies that you started with are hard to get rid of, since you still have a large population of lymphocytes, your immunological memory, that will continue to cause problems until they are gradually displaced or are silenced by tolerance. Tolerance seems to be rooted in the gut.

So your next agenda seems to be developing a healthy gut, and since your gut is heavily influenced by your gut flora, that means probiotics. I think that glucosamine works by influencing the communication between your gut and its flora.

But now you have the energy to enjoy developing your health! Good luck and thanks for your progress report.

Cristian said...

dr. Ayers, what do you think about Ray Peat article on fish oils?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that the article has a lot of valid points. Fish oils are unstable. At the same time, they are vital components of body structures. There is also an immense literature on the long term health benefits of eating fish oils and the dangers of omega-6 oils. Most of these polyunsaturated oils are readily oxidized.

I don't buy into the risks of the fish oil industry influencing the biomedical literature. The dollar amounts are miniscule compared to the pharmaceutical industry.

I think that our goal is to put our food back together, to reverse the processing that has led to all of our inflammation problems. There will be imbalances during this process, but in the long haul it will get better.

For now, we have to realize that typical vegetable oils are unsafe, olive oil is better, fish oil is good and saturated fats are not as bad as the nutritionists claim. That's a start in the right direction.

Thanks for the comment.

Cristian said...

first of all, thank you so much for your answer! then ... I hope my english is understandable, since I'm italian :-)

Still another article from Ray Peat that I think he's is the same bandwagon with you about aspirin-inflammation-cancer:

In the end, I REALLY reccomend you this blog:

He's a vet that talk about human diet and draw similar conclusion to yours, even if he's coming from a different area of science (veterinary).

mongander said...

I rarely have joint pain but this morning I woke up with a sore knee. I slathered on some castor oil and it soon felt better. By noon the pain was completely gone.

Dr. Art Ayers said...


It keeps me writing, if even one person can gain some relief through my observations.

Enjoy your return to pain-free health. People in their 70s should expect to have the same activities as they did in their 40s or 30s.

Cristian said...

I can testify that castor oil work like a charm!
Three days ago I was suffering from sciatica pain on the left side, and rubbing my left buttock with castor oil the pain disappeared almost in real time. It's a kind of magic :-)
Keep on blogging dr. Ayers!

Nick said...


I'm trying to understand inflammation better and appreciate your critical thinking and advice on the subject. I found out I was prediabetic and had reactive hypoglycemia about six months ago and began research to figure out what to do about it. After reading it became obvious that I needed to begin a LC diet. I try to stay under 75gms a day. I also decided to stop eating grains because they are so high carb and seem to be associated with so much poor health.

I was amazed to see that the swelling in my feet and ankles receded and that my allergies became so mild that I was able to go off allergy meds.

I believe inflammation is still an issue, though controlling blood sugar has to a big factor. I avoid veg oils as much as possible and supplement with fish oil caps, cod liver oil, butter oil and vitamin D. I had horrible acne until I was 30 (accutane was introduced and I tried it with much success) and my skin has never been quite normal, until the past few months. It is like it is someone else's face when I touch my skin. My features have changed also -- face is not swollen and once again, it is very odd to have smaller features.

I'm feeling a little stuck and wonder if you recommend more patience or removing other items from diet. I drink about 8oz of raw milk in my coffee each day, and eat a lot of cheese and yogurt. I also eat a fair amount of almonds. I drink about 15 oz of wine almost each day. These seem like the obvious places to start, but I must admit, I'm still struggling with the idea of giving up more foods at the moment!

By the way, my hsCRP was 2.6.

My doc had me start 1/2 grain of nature throid for low thyroid function, and I'm wondering if that might be making me feel tired and achy, perhaps.

Hope this is not too darn long and rambling...

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Thanks for your long comment. I am sure that others will also benefit from your experiences.

Your results are kind of common for people eating modern Western diets and suffering from a wide spectrum of diet-induced inflammation-based problems.

High blood sugar is inflammatory and leads to obesity and immunological changes that are also inflammatory. Your simple dietary changes have lowered your inflammation and ameliorated many of your symptoms.

Now you are left with your immunological history. No one has a good solution to reversing allergic sensitivity. You have an abundance of lymphocytes that respond to environmental antigens. It is hard to get rid of them. The alternative is to silence them by inducing tolerance. Experimental approaches use intestinal parasitic worms, helminth therapy. It works for allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis, etc. Another approach uses cytokines bound to antibodies (IL-2/Ab).

Tolerance comes back to the gut as the repository for most of the bodies immune cells. Tolerance radiates from the intestines and this is why probiotics are important. The bodies immunological status is regulated by the interaction between gut bacteria and immune cells displayed in the tissues of the intestines.

Many of your ongoing symptoms, including the thyroid, are typical for celiac, gluten sensitivity. If I were you, I would start caring for my gut flora with prebiotics and probiotics. That also means avoiding antibiotics. You may also have some absorption issues leading to vitamin deficiencies that make you more vulnerable to oxidative stress, e.g. B12, in addition to higher requirements for vitamins D and C. If you sunburn easily, you may not make adequate amounts of vitamin D through sun exposure -- your skin system has been compromised by inflammation.

Most people who suffer from chronic inflammation and the resulting allergies, start to focus on elimination of allergens and remove foods from their diet. You can see from this discussion that the allergies are only symptoms. You have to avoid some foods for now, but you need to focus on foods that are good for you. The starches were never healthy. Avoiding high blood sugar the way that competent diabetics do, by matching low carb intake with exercise, is smart and healthy for everyone.

We have been forced to focus on increasing omega-3 oils and avoiding omega-6-rich vegetable oils, because the medical industry has become so unhealthy. Saturated fats were not the problem, when the industry promoted polyunsaturated oils. Abundant hyperglycemic carbs (high profit corn products and other starches) were and are the problem. Meats, even red meats, are more healthy than cereal, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. That is shocking, but true.

Good luck. You have taken huge strides toward health.

Nick said...


Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I can't say I understand some of what you are relating to me, but it seems that I need to make sure I am getting enough Vitamin C (I don't), and begin prebiotics and probiotics. Is there a recommended place to start or provider that you would recommend?

For years I was taking a multi-vitamin and glucosimine, but I stopped. I didn't feel a difference when I stopped the glucosimine and recent research seems to show that a multi-vitamin doesn't do much.

By the way, I do strength training but find that I must be active in some way almost daily to have my muscles feel better. Cold weather is particularly problematic. I'm curious what your definition of exercise is with regard to reducing inflammation?

Thanks again for your great work.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Sorry about getting into long explanations. I have been a professor for too many years and try to squeeze everything into a couple of sentences.

I take 1 gram of vitamin C, 2000 IU of vitamin D per day. You might try even more vitamin D. A typical multiple vitamin will probably not be much help. You may have specific B vitamin deficiencies if you have celiac.

I still wonder if you should be checked for celiac (gluten sensitivity), since you benefited from reducing wheat and have some thyroid issues. Food allergies are common with celiac.

You might also see if increasing your fish oil capsules (6-8/day) is helpful over a period of a week. If it helps, then you still have other sources of inflammation.

Yogurt with live bacteria is a good place to start for probiotics. The milk should be helpful too. Most people seem to benefit from a variety of vegetables with minimal cooking. A variety of meat and fish with plenty of olive oil should be helpful. (I am trying to describe a Mediterranean diet to an Italian -- weird.) The science behind probiotics is just beginning, so I am only able to guess.

Good luck,

Nick said...


I was able to get some exercise in last night after a bit of a layoff and found out what I already have experienced many times - that I felt much better immediately afterwards and throughout today. I've always over exercised a bit, so I need to see if just walking 3 miles will make a difference.

Anna, one of your readers, recommended a lab for gluten testing, and I agree with you, perhaps I need to put a name on whatever it is that seems to be causing so much inflammation by getting tested.

My ankles and wrists seem to go back and forth with inflammation and I haven't figured out what makes it happen. Sometimes it only lasts for a few hours, and I notice it seems to happen when it is hot or if I walk for a long time. So, it seems that is not really inflammation, but maybe water retention.

Prebiotics were helpful for me. I used to eat a Dannon Activa everyday but stopped when I saw that it contained high frutose corn syrup.

Thank you, Art.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

As a probiotic, I like to just dump some unsweetened yogurt with live bacteria into a blender with some fresh fruit and make a simple smooth drink. I use a hand blender and it is even faster and with less to clean up.

I don't think that the joint swelling is fluid retention. I bet it would respond to menthol (Vicks VapoRub) or castor oil, i.e. inflammation. This could also be a flare up of autoimmunity related to celiac.

See my article on vitamin B12. You could easily have anemia.

Thanks for reading my articles.

Nick said...

Hi Art,

I picked up Vicks, caster oil and a multi-vitamin today and hope there is some relief from them. I came away with the impression that it is hard to supplement B12. Is that correct?

Last night I had dinner at a friend's house and came home with quite a bit of swelling in my ankles and wrists. Clearly something at the table did not work for me.

Today I played golf and really struggled to finish, as my whole body ached. I find that lately my body aches are just as prevalent as they were before I started a more paleo + dairy diet. I can't make sense of why golf becomes so painful. I'm about to check your reference to anemia to see if that might be causing me to feel so lousy. I have upped my D intake to 5000IU. I have not tried taking even more fish oil, but I plan to.

It seems that I have regressed and I can't figure out why. I am hoping the high intensity strength training I am doing is not contributint to the pain, but it has been harder and harder to recover from my workouts, as well.

You mentioned "Now you are left with your immunological history."

Does this mean, in part, that it just takes time for the body to heal after a lifetime of inflammation (I am 54, by the way)?

Thanks again.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

B12 can be a problem if you start to develop food allergies, because you can also produce allergies to the protein that is needed to take up B12. The result is pernicious anemia and won't respond to oral B12 -- injections or special formulations are required.

History of immune responses: I meant that if you have had lots of immune reactions to foods or other allergens or autoantigens, then it takes time for these responses to die out. New reactions make it take longer. The other approach is to build back in tolerance, but a healthy gut and gut flora is required. That is where probiotics comes in.

You might get you vitamin D and B12 checked, along with anything else your doc thinks makes sense.

Give the Vicks and Castor Oil a try.
Good luck.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I just asked a friend of mine who has had a lifetime experience with celiac, if your symptoms are consistent with celiac. She says that they kind of match. The swelling seems like food allergies, which commonly develop in celiacs. The fatigue could easily be malnutrition due to celiac gut changes. She said that you would do best to shift to a gluten-free diet, but that gets slow results. Also you need to be eating gluten to make testing for celiac easy.

I also read a paper about lactose intolerance. Researchers just fed some genetically lactose intolerant subjects a two week diet of probiotics (capsules loaded with lactose hydrolyzing Bifidobacteria and yogurt with live bacteria [no HFCS]). After two weeks, feeding lactose produced no symptoms.


Anonymous said...


Nice to see a fellow Allentown-ite. I attended Allentown College of St. Francise, close to Cedar Crest.

although I am very athletic, I have had a predisposition to tendonitis since I was ten when I developed "pulled groin tendons" playing football. In college I suffered wrist and shoulder tendonitis during baseball season (eventually ruptured a quad tendon and severely strained rotator cuff). I experienced achilles tendonitis playing soccer in college and eventually ruptured my left achilles as an adult. Now at 50, knee, tennis and mid calf tendonitis is not unusual.

Is there such a thing as genetic predisposition? How can I overcome this? Thanks. Chicago Bob

Dr. Art Ayers said...


I think that it is fairly easy to reverse tendonitis.

The problem is chronic inflammation and the sources of inflammation are typically:
1. Low vitamin D. If you are highly inflamed, you probably can't produce enough vitamin D even from prolonged sun exposure. I would take 5,000 IU of D3 per day for two weeks, get my D3 level checked and continue with D3 supplements as appropriate. I would expect that your supplement level required to keep up your blood D3 to optimal levels will decrease as you get your inflammation under control.

2. High omega-6 to -3 level. I would expect that you are eating vegetable oils high in omega-6, e.g. corn, safflower, soy, etc. Essentially all vegetable oils except olive oil will produce inflammation. Throw all of your vegetable oils away and replace with light olive oil for cooking (still not perfect) and a peppery extra virgin olive oil for sprinkling on everything. Start supplementing with fish oil (DHA,EPA) capsules at six per day. If you still have aches and pains, add two more capsules/d and test for a week. Keep adding until the pains are gone or you get to 12/d. This should show you that the tendonitis is diet based.

3. Shift to a low carb, higher protein/fat diet. Don't worry about saturated fats. They are not the problem. Low carbs will also help your lipid blood work improve. Shoot for less than 50 grams of carbs per meal. Eliminate cereal, bread and most starches until you have your inflammation under control.

4. That's enough to remove most of your problems with tendonitis. Read the rest of my blogs to get other tips, e.g. apply (rubbing doesn't matter) some castor oil to relieve pain temporarily.

Good luck and tell me how it works.

Anna said...

I've got some feedback and questions now that I've tried a couple of your remedies. I had mixed results.

I've had two areas of discomfort lately in areas that flare up periodically - in my neck and on my right elbow.

I was diagnosed with osteoathritis in my neck a few years ago (via x-ray), but it had bothered me on and off for 20+ years (since college), probably due to bad heavy bag carrying habits over the years. I had some PT a few years ago for the neck pain along with awareness of and improvement in my daily habits, resulting in a decrease in the frequency and severity of my neck problems. It can take weeks or months to tone down the inflammation and pain and regain flexibility if I slip in my habits. It could be we need a new mattress; my husband complained our 10 yo mattress set was bothering his back, so we flipped his side around to my side - within a few weeks my neck started hurting. I also had been lax about carrying my purse with both "backpack-style" straps.

I'm also experiencing my third bout of lateral elbow tendonitis (tennis elbow) in 2 years. The first incident was due to overuse from raking and sweeping cleaning and only was resolved months later when I finally saw my doctor and took a cortisone shot in the elbow. The chronic pain recurred again last year when my elbow was simply bumped on the lateral bony prominence by a heavy s/s water bottle and it took several months of babying the elbow to heal on its own. This time the lateral elbow pain pain began with a new computer and desk setup. I suspect the new computer's mouse design and the seat/desk ergonomics. I usually use a laptop with trackpad so I;ve gone back to that. Using the new computer less, changing to a different mouse, adjusting the desk setup that initially caused the problem hasn't helped. My experience has been that once the lateral elbow tendonitis starts, the injury sustains itself for a long time no matter what I do. There may be scar tissue in the tendon now. It probably needs a proper assessment instead of self-care and waiting.

First I tried the menthol rubs (Tiger Balm and/or Vick's VapoRub on both the neck and upper shoulders as well as on the elbow/arm. The stickiness and odor were um, intense, but hey, my sinuses loved it! My neck improved a little bit, but there was no improvement in the lateral elbow pain.

Then I switched to the capsaicin. I bought a no-touch applicator that uses a fast-drying clear odorless liquid. I had to protect the back of my neck and elbow from sun exposure as it increased the burning sensation, yet those areas often felt sunburnt and looked quite red even without any sun exposure. So I traded the odor of the menthol for an odorless, but sunburnt appearance and sensation. The label said to apply 3-4 x day but I only applied it 1-2 x day to keep the burning sensation to a minimum. Hot water also created an increased burning sensation.

Within a week of using the capsaicin lotion, my neck no longer hurt at all and I had more flexibility. I stopped the capsaicin at least two weeks ago and the neck pain hasn't returned.

But there was no reduction in pain in my elbow tendonitis. I suspect that injury might need a different approach, so I stopped the capsaicin. I plan to talk to my doctor about trying some PT for it. I've tried icing the elbow, but I have a hard time keeping cold on it long enough (I can't find any cold packs that stay in place during activity, and I don't take well to sitting around holding a cold pack in place.

Do you have any other remedies for the resistant tendonitis in the elbow? As you know, I already have a diet very much like your anti-inflammation diet. As a result I haven't had a flare-up in my arthritic index finger knuckle or in my foot bunion joint since I completely gave up wheat/gluten last year. The bunion in particular used to be nearly chronically inflamed for several years, even when my wheat intake was low and sporadic.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Thanks for your progress report.

I would say that you still have some source of chronic inflammation. I would start to increase my fish oil capsules until the tendonitis reduced.

The other thing to try is castor oil. Menthol and capsaicin seem to act more quickly, but castor oil is more persistent. I would apply it liberally and broadly, to include the areas above and below the elbow. I would expect relief within an hour.

Have you tried any of the vagus nerve exercises? These may be very effective, but take more time.

It sounds like you are getting most of your inflammation under control. Let me know how these approaches work.

Anna said...

Thanks for your suggestions, Art. I did buy a small bottle of castor oil (after visiting several drug stores that no longer carry "old fashioned stuff like that" (the pharmacy clerks words, not mine). But the oil smelled a bit off when I opened it, like oil-base paint, so I was reluctant to use it.

I'll try to locate a fresh bottle and give that a try. Do you have a favorite source for castor oil?

Do you have any thoughts on whether a shot of cortisol in the inflamed joint is effective enough for the long run, or does it just give short term relief and not address the underlying issues? How about PT? I don't want this to become any more chronic than it already is.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I don't think that there is much in castor oil to go bad. If I were you, I would slop on the stuff that you have and feel the pain fade away. The temporary relief of inflammation in the tendons may be all that is needed to get them to heal properly.

Just do it. You can be a purist later if it works and you have to use it more frequently.

How much fish oil do you take (with fat-rich meals) each day?
Let me know how it works. Soon.

Anna said...

Ok, I'll try the castor oil on my elbow and get back to you with any progress.

I don't take fish oil very regularly, though I do take 1 or 2 krill oil capsules if I'm around when my husband is taking them (he takes krill oil most days).

I take Sonne's Norwegian CLO or Greens fermented skate oil capsules some days.

mongander said...

I got quick relief for tennis elbow by wearing an elbow compression wrap that I bought at WalMart. Have also experienced relief from Dr Art's castor oil remedy. My favorite preventative for joint pain is fish oil and curcumin.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayres,

I am so eager for help. 12 years ago, I herniated a disc lifting my dogs, and I rarely have gotten the chronic pain under control. There was low back pain at first, but now I'm not sure the pain is even related to the herniation, as it's kind of changed to be more hip pain that radiates down the legs (both inner and outer thighs have become incredibly involved... burning, aching all the time). My pain is always a 5, and then a couple of times a month, goes up to an 8 or a 9...

I've had an MRI showing, yes, the herniation... but the fact that for maybe one week at a time, the pain lessens (after weeks of 3x a week physical therapy to treat "lower cross syndrome," makes me think that maybe he herniation isn't causing the pain.

Also, I have an all over body itching reaction, anytime the temps drop below 40 degrees outside.

6 years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's (auto-immune) thyroiditis (hypothyroidism) for which I now take Cytomel and Synthroid.

I am ready to do anything or give up anything (dietarily-speaking) to end this chronic pain. i have tried exercising, not exercising, stretching, not stretching, lifting weights, not lifting weights.

I had my inflammation levels checked once, after I'd read that there was a blood test to check for that, and they said my level was high, but they couldn't tell me why.

Oh, and 8 years ago, while seeking treatment for infertility, I was told I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which was causing me to be "pre-diabetic." (i am 5'6, and 140 pounds, 38 years old, with twin 6 year olds and a 4 year old, conceived naturally!).

Admittedly, I eat horribly and don't take vitamins, but I am so motivated to change. I love sugar and grew up eating almost nothing but refined sugar and caffeine.

Please help me diagnose the cause of all these things!!! I am truly a wreck and need to be healthier so I am not always grumpy and unable to play with my kids or husband. I used to be an aerobics instructor, a runner and was very active.

Thank you,


Dr. Art Ayers said...

It seems fairly obvious, as you indicated, that diet is your major problem. All of your symptoms are due to high diet-based chronic inflammation.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is typically caused by either celiac (gluten intolerance) or a viral infection. Since a common symptom of celiac is lower back problems, I would guess that you have the Hashimoto autoimmune disease based on your original celiac autoinflammation. This can lead to additional autoimmune diseases as long as you aggrevate the situation with an inflammatory diet. Grains are a severe problem for you.

At the top of this blog is a link to the basics of an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. It is a simple low carb diet in which the major source of calories is from saturated fats. I would also recommend getting into a low carb diet for the whole family by starting with the Drs. Eades Cure diet. I have several articles on using that approach. It makes the transition to a healthy diet easier.

I suspect that you are also vitD deficient and use inflammatory omega-6 vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower). After you stop using vegetable oils and shift to butter and olive oil, you should be able to eliminate most of your symptoms by adding more fish oil capsules.

If you shift to the recommended diet, you should see dramatic results in a couple of weeks.

There are many articles on this site that address all of your problems.

Let me know how you progress.

Tanya said...

Frances...In addition to Dr Ayers recommendations, I would find an ortho surgeon in your area that knows what femoralacetabular impingement is/treats it. Your symptoms seem to suggest FAI to me (I had surgery to correct mine). There is a yahoo group, and lots of articles on the web to help you find someone near you.

Anonymous said...


Elbow pain can be referred pain from shoulder/rotator cuff issues. Exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff and serratus anterior can help

Anna said...


Thanks very much for your suggestion. Actually, your response reminded me I meant to post back about the progress with my elbow. I am now pain free.

I tried the recommended topical remedies, but I think since it was the third time I've had tendonitis in this elbow in two years, they just weren't enough to provide deep healing and long-lasting relief. The pain level wasn't particularly high, but it was constinual and often interfered with my sleep and ability to fully use my right arm for lifting activities.

I eventually went to my primary care physician in mid-October. I bluntly told him I didn't want a cortisone shot this time, as that was essentially a band-aid to reduce pain from inflammation, but wouldn't heal the injury. I requested physical therapy and he agreed to submit it to my HMO insurance (I've learned I need to be polite but direct and assertive when it comes to my HMO healthcare). Of course, he sent a sample of a new topical mediation home with me, too. I accepted it just so I could look it up (no intention of using it); it was Voltaren Gel for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain, which has the same potential side effects of oral NSAIDs. It's as if he thought I would be happier if I left with some sort of Rx. Sigh. I didn't use it; even if it did reduce pain, that would not be a good thing to start before the PT started.

The insurance approval was granted for treatment with a PT who specializes in shoulder/arms/hands (and it was less than 2 miles from my house, which was fantastic). I started treatment in early Nov. with twice a week sessions that lasted about an hour (including hot packs to start and cold packs at the end), and finished in Jan. 7 after 12 sessions. It was at least 4-6 visits before I saw improvement (I also did exercises and stretches @ home) and it wasn't until right before the 12th visit that my elbow felt like it was 100% again. But 100% it remains today, though I am now careful to stop and stretch from the hand on up whenever I am doing activities that contribute to developing tendonitis.

At the beginning of treatment my grip and right arm strength was significantly weaker (my dominant arm) compared to my left. I think what did the most good was the deep tissue pressure "slide" from my wrist to my elbow as I slowly flexed my wrist (a hurt-so-good sort of thing, that even caused bruises at times). The PT thought there probably was scar tissue from the previous injuries that needed breaking up. I was taught a variety of exercises and stretches for my hands, arms, shoulders, etc. as part of the therapy as well as to continue to do to prevent recurrence of the tendonitis. Increased awareness of my posture and shoulder/arm position at the computer and in the kitchen (repetitive motions) is important, too.

I also noticed that even though the arthritis in my neck wasn't being treated, as my arm improved, my neck discomfort in the morning was improving.

I'm really pleased with the way the PT worked out.

The PT treatment does take a lot longer and costs both me and the HMO much more than a cortisone shot or an Rx for a pain reliever, but I feel my arm is much improved and will remain in better condition for the future. Between learning about preventive stretching and exercises (as well as when to use hot and cold packs) in the PT sessions, with the anti-inflammatory topicals recommended on this blog, I think I am armed with a better chance of avoiding another tendonitis relapse.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Thanks so much for the update. It shows how to eliminate some forms of pain and tendonitis. You have some sensible comments on quick relief and final solutions for pain. A healthy body should be able to adjust to physical stress, but constant inappropriate physical activity can result in chronic pain.

There are some simple, effective interventions for physical accidents or excesses that damage tissue. The castor oil/menthol/ hot/cold provide some quick fixes. Of course steroid pain killers are quite effective and come with lots of side effects. These short-term solutions can be quite satisfactory, if there is a return to a normal range of motion. I cured bursitis in my knees, by taking painkillers for an abscessed tooth, which permitted me to return to a normal walking stride.

You also point out that using proper motions and strengthening supporting muscles will avoid persistent damage. A healthy, non-inflammatory body should be able to heal. It does not wear out. Only inflamed bodies show the wear and tear of age.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hello there!

Im trying to get on a anti-inflammatory diet to cure my acne. For the last couple of days ive been eating low-carb, no grain, no sugar. Do you think i could benefit from taking fish-oil caspules with dha and epa too, if so how much is ok? could i also benefit from taking vitamin d supplements. if so how much would be beneficial? i think vitamin d could be great because the acne always gets better efter a while in the sun..

also im taking antibiotics right now, do you think its better to stop the antibiotics and take some pro-biotic yoghurt or something instead..or dont stop it at all and take everything. the antibiotics isnt making a big difference right now so i dont know.


Dr. Art Ayers said...

Acne is a typical symptom of diet-based chronic inflammation. Antibiotic use will disrupt your gut flora substantially and cripple your immune system.

All of the dietary adjustments will make you healthier, but use of antibiotics will lead to continued problems. At some point, you will need to get off the antibiotics and heal your gut and immune system.

To heal your gut flora: probiotics, pectin, inulin
To lower inflammation: vitD (check serum vit.D over 70 ng/ml), low carb, high sat. fat, fish oil, exercise

You can expect an assortment of problems when you stop the antibiotics.

Good luck. Let me know how it works.

mongander said...

Back in the mid-50s, when I was about 15, my mom sent me to a big city dermatologist for my acne. The doc put me on a diet avoiding all fried foods, iodine, sweets, and chocolate. His nurse applied dry-ice to my face which caused the skin to peel. I was given large doses of vitamin A. After a couple of treatments the acne was largely gone. Docs didn't know much about vitamin D in those days.

lightcan said...

Dear Dr. Art,

I see there is another question about acne so I throw in mine too.
You often mention acne as a symptom of chronic inflammation and recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help get rid of it. I've been suffering from bad acne around/under my mouth on and off for the last 10 years (I'm now 42) and although I've been on a low-carb diet, similar to your recommendations, since August 2008 my acne hasn't gone. I'm thinking that there might be other issues that need investigating like PCOS or thyroid. Would dairy in the form of cheese cause an increase in insulin responsible for the proliferation of epithelial cells? (EGF) Or is it the hormone content of milk?
Besides Cordain's work, that you might know, there is a link to a download to a research paper here.

Thank you.

mongander said...

Now that you mention dairy, I remember that my dermatologist had me stop eating dairy also. Something worked, or it could have been coincidental to a hormonal change I was going through.

Vladimir Heiskanen (Valtsu) said...

Hmm... Dr. Ayers, I found an very interesting discussion about acne. It's here:

I hope you can check that first post and comment it or something...

That guy says he cures his acne by staying 12 hours a day outdoors or by using very light indoor lamps. According to him, acne is an autoimmune disorder, which should be controlled by zinc-superoxide-dismutase, of which we are deficient, if we don't get enough both zinc, and also melatonin from the nocturnal burst from pineal gland, which is often impaired because we stay too much indoors at day (not suppressing the daily pineal melatonin), and many of us sleep in too bright conditions.

Sorry for bad english, and for linking to such a long article.

Vladimir Heiskanen (Valtsu) said...

Let me correct my language: "very light indoor lamps" -> very bright lamps indoors, I mean...

He also says that he has carb malabsorbtion only when he's not outdoors so maybe brigtness and melatonin have something in common with gut. But yes... If that interests, the whole thing can be read from that quite a long thread (though most of the most "important" things are in the first post).

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Sorry I missed your earlier blog.

The thread that you site is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. I think that acne is not a single disease, but rather a diverse group with different causes and similar symptoms. As a result, cures for individuals may not apply generally, but in one group at least, fastidious day/night cycles may have profound effects.

Involvement of superoxide dismutase makes sense, because of the high carb dietary triggers for some with acne. High glucose levels can trigger superoxide production that could contribute to inflammation, but superoxide dismutase would minimize this effect.

I would think that levels of diet-based chronic inflammation would dominate other groups of people with acne and could be cured with an anti-inflammatory diet. Vitamin D deficiency may be important in others and direct sun exposure would help only if chronic inflammation is fixed first.

I don't understand the whole carb malabsorption and tryptophan angle and question that. I think those effects are attributable to gut flora, otherwise that would be a great way to reduce calorie consumption.

Thanks for the input.

Vladimir Heiskanen (Valtsu) said...

And thanks for the answer!

Unknown said...

Dr, Ayers,
I am one who also for years had no idea my acne issues were diet related.. of course, dermatologists that I had seen just gave me nothing but useless creams and antibiotics. By accident after low carb dieting which was anti inflammatory did my skin finally clear up completely, and I had finally made the connection.

I wasn't sure where to ask this.. but a few years back (early 20s) not only when skin was an issue, but I noticed my hair graying especially starting at the temples and a few on top. I simply chalked this up to my genetics (dad went all white very young) but after low carb/anti inflammatory eating, not only did my skin clear completely, but all my hair was back to its normal color. It was ALOT less dry and frizzy... I was able to find a couple of posts on random forums through google with people noticing this as well but I'm not sure if it was inflammation exactly. It definitely was diet related but was wondering if you know the exact mechanism..thanks!

Tanya said...

My hair has gone very grey and fuzzy since last summer, after my second surgery. I was hoping it would improve over time (I too have seen my gray come and go with diet/stress in the past) but I don't think I am well enough yet for that. I also lost about half my thickness at the same time (no chunks, just general thinning).

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I find it fascinating that so many normal body functions are tied into diet, gut flora, normal gut function/gut associated immune system, etc. It doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to include normal hair follicle function as a consequence or resolution of acne. Inflammation of the follicles is at the basis of facial skin diseases and perhaps can be generalized to other epithelial tissues that secrete and provide a residence for stem cells.

Thanks for your observations.

fay said...

Dr Art, what do you think of making the body more alkaline in order to fight inflammation?

I have started using Eko-water which claims to have a ph of 9.2 i think.
I wonder if this will help.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The pH of the water that you drink and the food that you eat has no impact on your body pH, otherwise it would kill you. Your body pH is controlled by the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in your blood. All of your cells are pH controlled along with the blood, so the infinitesimal reduction of the hydrogen ions/protons/hydronium ions in alkalinized water has no impact on body pH.

Essentially all drinking waters from the tap or from pricey bottles have exactly the same impact on health. The pH impact is even less than the dissolved minerals.

Thanks for the questions.

Monica said...

I think my two year old son is about to be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. For the past two months he has had swelling in his knees as well as them being hot to the touch and unexplained fevers. He is unable to walk without pain medication. He has a history of chronic ear infections resolved by removing milk from his diet. We also had him allergy tested and it came back with many different food allergies, including wheat, milk, eggs, and nuts. I think this is a leaky gut issue and so we have switched to a low carb diet. The diet recommended is called GAPS. I was wondering if you are familiar with it. It is basically an elimination diet and is very difficult to do especially for a two year old. Do you think this specific diet is necessary or would we get the same results from following your low carb high protein suggestions? He showed improvement the first few days when he pretty much refused to eat the GAP diet. I was thinking maybe it was a few specific foods causing this swelling reaction, but now we are on a diet of chicken, beef, bananas and zuchini. While his knees are no longer hot the swelling doesn't seem to be going down. Maybe it was the fasting that allowed his gut to heal enough to where he could walk? Maybe hes allergic to one of the foods we are feeding him? We have cut out all vegetable oils and he is taking fermented cod liver oil gummies, as well as a 3 strain probiotic. I would really appreciate any insight you can give me as I really enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

To Monica,

I had severe rheumatoid arthritis, eliminated trigger foods for complete remission, and then discovered this blog and cured myself in less than 4 weeks following Dr. Ayers' advice.

Beef/dairy was a BIG problem for me because the intestinal flora/bacteria necessary to digest them depended on other bacteria being present before it could establish itself in my gut. I'd unwittingly eliminated the foods that supplied that flora. That's why elimination diets don't really work even if a delicate balance is achieved that seems to keep you in remission. As Dr. Ayers advises, introducing a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables, especially strong plants like fresh herbs and peppers, restores the intestinal flora necessary for a strong immune system.

Also, besides being high carb, bananas are starchy so they convert to even more sugar in your system. Fructose in general, but fruit juice in particular, is bad for anyone so I only indulge in a few berries in season, especially when hiking for the strong flora wild plants provide.

Good luck to you and your son.


Monica said...

Thanks so much for the encouragement! I have a few questions if you don't mind. How did you find your trigger foods? He has such a restrictive diet now there must be something we are feeding him that is triggering it? His knees are no longer hot, but the swelling is not going down.
With the raw vegetables do you lightly rinse to get the dirt off then eat with the peeling like carrots. What vegetables should I use because everyone tells me to keep the nightshades out. Where do I buy the vegetables if I don't have a garden I know that store over sterilizes. There will be a farmers market for a few more weeks here, but after that...

Sorry for all the questions, but it is so difficult to try to do this without support. Thank you for answering my comment, it is really nice to hear from someone that has been down my path and came out better.


Anonymous said...

Monica (PART 1),

It took me 3 years to test known trigger foods, all of which caused flareups for me. Dr. Ayers' method is MUCH faster and healthier. I completely understand the desire for immediate relief, but I built up food tolerances in 2-4 weeks with normal bowel movements in 10 weeks. Dr. Ayers recommends using Vicks Vaporub as the ideal solution to joint inflammation, as well as other lotions containing menthol like Noxema. I never needed this because I was in remission, but I have a high pain threshold and never took prescription drugs or over the counter drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen (which are very bad for your liver/intestines).

I think you are better off trusting Dr. Ayers and opting for health in the form of a strong immune system versus remission (via food elimination) and a weak immune system still vulnerable to many other diseases. As Dr. Ayers has said, "just do it" - it's surprising quick!

My elimination diet arrived at nearly the same anti-inflammatory diet Dr. Ayers advocates so just follow his anti-inflammatory guidelines including NO sugar, starch, grains, refined/processed foods, vegetable oils except olive oil and coconut oil. Nightshade vegetables: tomatoes are a fruit (sugar), potatoes are a starch (convert quickly to sugar), peppers [and spices/herbs] are actually VERY beneficial, eggplant (don't like/eat them) and tobacco.

When building up my food tolerances, Dr. Ayers' advice that this needs to be done in a particular order because some flora depends on other flora being present before it can establish itself in your gut seemed daunting to me, but it's really VERY simple. If you experience a problem with a particular food, don't eat it for a week or two while still introducing a wide variety of other foods, concentrating on non-starchy vegetables, especially strong plants like herbs and peppers/spices, and then reintroduce the "problem" foods at a later date. I had NO flareups eating beef/cow dairy by the fourth week. The ONLY other food that caused more than a little gas or bloating (which disappears within a day or two as the flora builds up) was black pepper which was soon resolved by eating mild fresh peppers. I even built up a liking for foods I previously didn't like so flora must dictate our preferences.

Anonymous said...

Monica (PART 2)

For me, beef/dairy assimilation was the most difficult and seemed to respond to small amounts of mild seasonal fruit being added FIRST (with small amounts of tomato being the most beneficial). Moderation is prudent with fruit to control glucose levels which are inflammatory.

Dr. Ayers says that genetics, toxins and the quality of the food you eat are less important than the fact that you follow his guidelines because a strong immune system is your best defense against weak genes, toxins and disease. I do try to find grass fed/finished beef and free range chicken as well as organic vegetables, but I eat lesser quality foods if those aren't available.

This really is about a MIND change more than anything. Culturally, we've been trained to avoid foods that don't feel/taste good, but now I work on building up my tolerance to those foods instead although it's important to "enjoy your food" to quote Dr. Ayers again.

My own journey led me to believe that all disease begins in the gut with the name of the disease merely indicating our unique genetic weaknesses. Dr. Ayers taught me that the gut can be healed for which I am eternally grateful to him!

If I can help others, I'm more than happy to do so.


james said...

i have always heard since i was young that it was not good to take too much vit a or vit d. i have recurrent inflammatory conditions and am beginning the anti-inflam diet but am hesitant to take large doses of vitamins especially vit d. now i have become aware of the research being done by a group in austrailia that suggests that vit d deficiency is caused by the inability of the body to use it and supplementation will exacerbate rather than help things. ihere is a quote from their research:
"The ‘vitamin D’ that doctors measure is 25-Hydroxyvitamin-D (25-D) – the inactive metabolite form. But this doesn’t mean the body is deficient in vitamin D – it means the body is no longer regulating it correctly. Because the VDR isn’t functioning correctly, it can’t degrade the 1,25-D to 25-D even when levels are high; so the level of 1,25D becomes ever higher, affecting the body’s other receptors. So the body tries to block metabolism at the pathway, by downregulating the level of 25-Hydroxyvitamin-D. This is why people with autoimmune diseases show a ‘deficiency’ of the ‘vitamin’. (

Should I Stop Taking Vitamin D Supplements?
The Marshall Protocol researchers certainly think so; but their research is not yet accepted by the medical establishment as the preferred treatment. The Marshall Protocol team believe that all forms of supplemental Vitamin D is converted into more and more 1,25-D, causing increasing receptor problems. Plus the vitamin D that we eat, and the 25-D that is hydroxylated from that both act to displace the active metabolite from the VDR." I would be very much interested in your comments on their research Dr. Art! thank you and i will watch for your reply

Monica said...

Mary ,
Thanks again for your information and advice and thanks Dr Ayers for this website. We tried the vicks last night and my son was able to sleep for 13 hours and he seems to be doing better today! I'm still trying to understand the concepts that Dr Ayers is teaching. I have only been looking into the natural realm of medicine for a couple weeks and some of the concepts are still over my head! I assumed that I would need to have all food that was bothering him eliminated before I could start on healing. This is great news that I don't need to because that is a difficult task! So basically after reading most of Dr Ayers website I need to add more and a wide variety of raw uncooked vegetables into our diet, as well as sticking to cooked meats with plenty of spices and herbs and an apple a day. No carbs or starches and let my child play with lots of other kids to replenish the gut bacteria. This in about a month will be able to build up his gut enough for his arthritis symptoms to start fading? I think it is all coming together now, please forgive me for rehashing it all I am just trying to keep all the information straight in my brain! I have very little experience with this sort of stuff so things are slowly clicking together.
One last question do the vegetables need to be raw and unpeeled in order to get the beneficial bacteria or can they be cooked in any form? Also does it matter how the meat is cooked? I don't want to damage any of the benefits we might be getting from it.
Thanks Again

Anonymous said...


That is great news about the Vicks!

Personally, I would not eat an apple a day because of the fructose which is inflammatory - maybe an apple a day for the entire family though! I know it's easy to mix old theory with new in the beginning. When I felt I was off track with the new thinking, I went back to Dr. Ayers' recommendations and read the guidelines again carefully. Often I would find I had neglected to do something like supplement with vitamin C or eat spices which might make enough difference to slow my progress. In the end, absorb the theories presented in this blog, and use your head about how to implement them. You'll do just fine. And if you lose your way, you can always begin again - no harm done.

I don't know of any particular way that's recommended for cooking meat. I personally stay away from charcoal broiled as it's supposed to be carcenogenic. Just be sure to choose fatty cuts of meat and encourage your son to eat his fat. I hated fat as a kid, but now I think it's the BEST part! As he develops the flora, I bet he'll grow to love it too. I especially like fish skin because the fat under the skin is the tastiest part of the fish - and fish is really important for it's vitamin D.

I make bone broth from raw lamb bones I get from my butcher - beef would work too. I add roughly chopped "dirty" carrots, celery and onions in addition to some salt and seasonings and discard the bones and veggies at the end. It is a delicious nutritious warm drink in place of coffee and tea (which are OK to drink but I don't). The bone broth makes quick soups if you chop up leftovers and add them to the heated broth.

A commenter on another blog makes a quick breakfast drink with cream, raw egg and nutmeg for a quick eggnog - delicious!

I think it was Anna on this blog that was talking about Chorizo sausage which has lots of chili peppers in it. My gut flora absolutely jumps for joy over that!

I try to eat as many raw uncooked vegetables as possible for maximum nutrition, but they don't have to be raw. I have at least one cooked vegetable with the evening meal, as well as an undressed salad using romaine lettuce as the base because it's the most nutritious variety. I don't peel my vegetables, but I do wash them. I'm not phobic about germs which increases my chances of adding local flora/bacteria. I have a cat (and a husband) which exposes me to even more flora. I don't have lots of room for a garden, but I do have quite a few herbs in my flower beds so I frequently browse my herb garden and snack on the raw unwashed herbs for strong local flora.

Hope this helps - keep up the good work!


Anna said...

For those of you who have garden space or borders for ornamental gardening (flowers & such) but perhaps not enough space that you'd like to devote to strictly vegetable gardening, consider incorporating edible landscaping with your ornamentals (without dangerous pesticides, of course). Many of my neighbors marvels at the attractive red, hot, pink, and orange stemmed chard plants in my front garden. Edible landscaping can be attractive. Chard also makes a nice inclusion in a container garden. Leaf lettuce varieties can also lend a nice look to borders.

Sweet potatoes (or are they garnet yams?) have nice dark leaves with small white flowers - they make a very nice ground cover and are super easy to grow and harvest.

Japanese eggplant can also look very nice interspersed with ornamental annuals and perennials, as can various peppers.

There are numerous books and articles on the growing interest in edible landscaping as well as permaculture. Check your library.

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tanya said...

Article (part ad) about how diet affects acne etc. and about making your own topical treatment with beneficial flora:

MonaVie said...

Interesting. Most of the time we get pain from muscles that is mostly stressed. I have not tried using castor oil could relieve the pain.

Josh McDonald said...

I am a basketball player (23 years old) and I have had knee tendinitis on and off for about 5 years, I have always eaten "healthy" from what I learned and believed until I learned about fat and carbs in the diet.

It has only been under a week and I already feel better in my knees I played 2 games today, 2 hour training yesterday and training in the week, I used to go home a ice to stop inflammation, I did but I didn't feel the post game pain. I attribute this to recently improving my leg strength and the addition of fat in my diet, I avoided it for my whole life now I feel it might already be having an effect!

I came home today and checked tendinitis and fat diet and came across this. I hope I get rid of this completely.

Valda Redfern said...

I don't get much in the way of aches and pains, but I do react badly to nettle stings - nettle rash, of course, lasting for several days after contact with the plants. Remembering this article, I tried Vicks - and it works!

Anonymous said...

Hi, not so sure how the blog/comment system works, but here goes!

We have a 2 yr old girl with cerebral palsy. Ischemic - encephalopothy derived (massively inflammatory event). Naso-gastically fed. From early life she had food intollerances, breast milk included. Chronic vomiting, apparent gut inflammation - parents veiw of a baby, not medically diagnosed. Major formula diet until in despiration we! homogenised down NG tube. Gave MAJOR improvement - vomiting immediately stopped, and increase in development. Have been trying to follow a basically paleo diet (we didn't know of such a thing til recently - it was trial and error!) but inflammation in background waiting to pounce!

Second major advancement found in Urtica diocia (nettle) tea - like turning cerebral palsy down to a 3 from a 10. Lots of symptoms suppressed. Active is probably caffeic malic acid (CMA) seems it suppresses AA inflammatory cascade. Only present in young nettles - seems to decrease near flowering. Currently trying to find a year round supply. tried other foodstuff inflammation suppressants - tumeric, ginger but nothing like as good as nettle tea! (?)

So have a therapy but no real handle on why inflammation is persisting. Now, thro this blog, maybe its a gut flora/parasite/pathogen issue? Will be trying to tweek the diet too. Aware of inflammation issues with ourselves so will be more stringent on our own paleo diets!

Any insights?

Will try and get an identity so I'm not some anonymous!! :-)


adrian said...

Im a 25 year old female and I still have ongoing problems with pimples and other stuff on my face after major dietary changes. I was on the pill from about 14-23. I have been slowly transitioning to a paleo diet since about May of last year, and in November 2011 I finally cut out dairy. Also no chocolate or nuts. I still get caffeine from tea and decaf or tiny cups of coffee.

I was eating a ton of fruit (because I still have a pretty good sweet tooth) and other sweet veggies like beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, but over the past week I decided to go even lower carb and have been eating plenty greens coconut oil and grass fed butter, and meats of course.

I tried keeping a food diary but it seems like almost everything caused a flare. It sorta started to clear this past week with me cutting out fruits, but then I had half of a small avocado yesterday which I've been suspecting I'm sensitive to and I can see the white bumps under my cheeks forming again.

I also take calcium, magnesium (more mag than calc) vitamin C, yeast flakes for the B vitamins, and sometimes cod liver oil and I just bought Vit D. Im just at a loss for what to do, my lifestyle is becoming so restrictive and I'm in total fear of getting more and more acne. I'm sure some of its related to my gut because my bowel movements are not always great. Any further suggestions would be amazing.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that all sensitivity to food is linked to the community of bacteria in the gut. If you have developed a dysfunctional gut flora, which usually results from use of antibiotics or prolonged eating of an extreme diet, then the remaining gut bacteria will produce some unusual chemicals in response to particular foods. The result is an abnormal immune response/inflammation in the lining of the gut and a series of responses throughout the body.

To fix your gut flora, you need both proper food, and dozens of species of new bacteria. It is like a forest that is burned to clear it for a commercial plantation (wiping out gut flora with antibiotics). Adding more fertilizer will not cause the original complex forest to return. A source of seeds and plants representing the original biodiversity is needed to reproduce a functional forest. In the same way, repairing a damaged gut flora requires access to samples of the dozens, if not hundreds, of missing species of bacteria. Those needed bacteria are clinging to raw vegetables from local gardens, but are removed by excessive cleaning and sanitizing.

It is much worse to overclean than underclean. Most food poisoning results from treatment with antibiotics or some other disruption of the immune system, and not from unusual virulence of pathogens.

Johnlyn said...

My story ~

I started having acne issues when I was in my 30's as well as food sensitivities. When I went on the birth control pill, my acne cleared up. It was awful when I'd go off of it.

I started changing my diet to primal/paleo foods about a year or two ago. At the same time I changed my diet I added coconut oil, vitamin D and fish oil pills.

The acne on my cheeks/forehead cleared up, but it started causing problems (awful, horrible, embarrassing problems) on my neck. Then I noticed on the front of my neck pencil eraser sized bumps. Not acne, but lumps of some sort.

After I read your blog post:

I stopped taking all supplements. My acne went away. Jan. 2012 I started taking 1/4 t. coconut oil. I would get horrendous headaches, but I read that is a sign of die off. I'm now able to take considerable more without having any side effects. I'm also taking a lot of supplements without any issues.

I've now added fermented veggies to my diet ~ wish I would have done this before!

FYI - My diet before primal was wheat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks with a little meat thrown in (always with "healthy" canola oil). Oh and a lot of sugar too!

Dr. Ayers, thank you so much for taking your time to write on your blog. I think I've read every single post and comment. I was so excited to see a new post in my feed reader today!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,

I am new to the blog, but was wondering if you might be able to provide any information or advice regarding cissus quadrangularis for tendonitis.

I have been battling peroneal tendonitis for about three months. I tried PT to no avail.

I have started using castor oil at night and I take a daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D/calcium, and glucosamine/chondritin/MSM complex.

I also try to drink 24oz of green vegetable juice five days a week.

I have read that cissus quandrangularis helps rebuild ligaments/tendons and thought that it might help any ligament/tendon damage I may have sustained in my ankles. (Before all of this I did ballet pretty seriously).

Thanks in advance for any thoughts,

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Thanks Dr. Ayers,

In another of your posts, you mention those with rosacea, actually do not respond to rubs such as menthol, or castor oil. Rubs never did help me much. My rosacea, and my chronic pain have reduced by a high fat, low carb diet, with moderate protein. Some years before that I went gluten free, which also helped. I do not burn as quickly now after eating more fat, so I feel my inflammation is down. I have light skin, and am working more on sun exposure. I have read your posts on fat causing insulin resistance, and that is actually a protection to keep more glucose from going in to cause inflammation. Can you comment more on that, as someone I know is concerned who has diabetes. Thanks.

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Luc said...

Hi Dr. Ayers

I don't know where to start telling you how great your blog is. All that precious knowledge has helped me and my family improve our health. That being said, I'm still struggling with some tennis elbow tendonitis in both arms. During the first years I tried acupuncture, without results. After starting to suffer from gerd/heartburn symptoms, I started to eliminate some foods from my diet and I found the problem was wheat.

I eat cultured veggies once a in while, drink kefir everyday but since I work part time as a wood spoon carver, I never really recover from the tendonitis pain.

Now it seems that I need to had supplements to my diet, fish oil and vit. D and I'll see after that.

I know you believe that the body can fix any disease if given the right conditions (which most people don't), so can I plan on recovering from this with the right diet and stopping the inflammation cycle?

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I rarely have joint pain but this morning I woke up with a sore knee. I slathered on some castor oil and it soon felt better. By noon the pain was completely gone.
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