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, December 30, 2009

2009: What I Learned Last Year

This year followers of this blog checked in more than 100,000 times to read my 150 articles on diet, inflammation and disease.  I learned a lot and I hope that my readers gained some insights into anti-inflammatory food choices that are helpful in pursuing enhanced health.  Here is a status report.

What We Eat Contributes More to Disease Risk than Genetics

I started this blog to try to understand how food, exercise, sun exposure, etc., contribute to health and disease, because I was shocked that recent, comprehensive studies demonstrated that genetic defects were only minor contributors.  I am trained as a molecular biologist and I search for explanations of disease in terms of the interactions of the proteins coded by the genes in our cells.  History of defective genes that code for defective proteins in sickle-cell anemia, Huntington’s disease or ALS, suggested that personal genetic defects might explain personal diseases.  Fortunately, it appears that in most cases genetic defects only matter when our actions produce chronic inflammation.  What we eat is far more important than our genetics in determining if we are going to suffer from allergies, autoimmune diseases, degenerative diseases, various forms of mental illness or cancer.  If we eat to avoid inflammation, in most cases it doesn’t matter how genetically defective we are.

Diet-Based Inflammation Is the Major Risk

Modern diets rich in starch/sugar/fructose and polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 oils), and deficient in saturated fats and omega-3 oils produce the chronic inflammation that forms the foundation of most diseases.  Vegetable oils, such as corn, soy or safflower oils are inflammatory and should be eliminated from our kitchens.  We should only use olive oil, butter or lard.  Saturated fats from meat, dairy and eggs are healthier than polyunsaturated vegetable oils.  There was never adequate scientific data to justify the shift from saturated fats to polyunsaturated vegetable oils.  That was a tragic, unscientific medical error that contributed significantly to deteriorating health in the developed/developing world.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle Is the Cure

It came as a surprise to me that simply eliminating inflammatory foods could prevent most diseases.  After diseases have developed, it is harder to reverse the process and return to health, but even in that case, diet is of paramount importance.

Back to Basics of a Healthy Diet (the Food Pyramid Is Wrong)

  •   Starch/sugar/fructose are inflammatory.  Low carbohydrate is the healthiest diet.
  •   Grains, even whole grains, and especially cereal are a big part of the problem and should be avoided.
  •   Fat and not carbohydrates, should be the major source of dietary calories/energy.
  •   Saturated fats are healthier than vegetable oils -- use olive oil and butter.
  •   Meats/fish (not fed on grains) are healthy.  A healthy vegetarian diet is difficult.
  •   Leafy vegetables are a good source of healthful antioxidants.
  •   Fruits and fructose are inflammatory and should be eaten sparingly.
  •   Healthy gut bacteria are important.  Eat fermented foods with live bacteria, e.g. yogurt.

Living with Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can lead to many problems that diet and supplements can help to remedy.  For example, vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in America, because chronic dietary inflammation appears to compromise the ability to make vitamin D in the skin with sunlight.  Most individuals eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fats, starch and high fructose corn syrup, are deficient in vitamin D and would benefit from a vitamin D3 supplement of at least 2,000 IU per day.  Vitamin D deficiency also contributes to inflammation.  Fish oil supplements can also help to reduce dietary inflammation and should always be taken with at least equal amounts of saturated fats in the same meal.

Resolve to Eat Your Way to Health

It is easy to avoid most diseases by avoiding dietary inflammation.  Since chronic dietary inflammation produces depression, lethargy, obesity and a lack of energy, a healthy anti-inflammatory diet will also lead to weight loss, increased energy and reduced symptoms of aging.  Most symptoms of aging and disease are actually poorly managed inflammation that exposes genetic defects.  Most people increase in inflammation with age, but proper diet can avoid this risk to health and prolong youthful activity.    The healthiest resolution for the new year is to stop eating blatantly inflammatory foods (starch and vegetable oils) and start eating more spicy meats, fish and leafy vegetables.


Anonymous said...

"Saturated fats are healthier than vegetable oils"

"Fruits ... are inflammatory"

Read your blog post and these are the items that caught my attention because they are so contrary to what we normally see. I found some of your other blog posts with similar information, but would appreciate it if you could point me to supporting materials.

Jake said...

Thanks for your great work in the past year. I have tried to do everything you told us to do with excellent results

Dennis said...

what about raw milk?

jean said...

Thanks, Dr Ayers, for all your work. I learned a lot, too. Especially about biofilms: they are the NEXT BIG THING in human health. I have used some of your suggestions regarding biofilm treatment and I am very happy with the results.
And I'm so glad to see another post. The naked mole rats were getting severely disgusting.
Have a great New Year. I'm looking forward to what you find out!

Jeff A. said...

I've been following your posts for quite a few months now in an effort to find something that might help my own inflammatory conditon (undiagnosed as of yet). My personal experience with respect to dietary management of inflammation has been to follow a hypoallergenic regime comprised almost solely of brown rice, beans, vegetables, tubers, occasional wild fish, and fruit. Although I long to incorporate dairy, eggs, grass-fed meats, and wheat back into my diet, they consistently produce inflammatory joint pain within 24 hours of consumption. I have tried using fish-oil to curb the inflammation, but the more fat I consume the greater the duration of the inflammatory response. Any thoughts as to why animal proteins and fats would produce an inflammatory response?

epistemocrat said...

Thanks, Dr. Ayers, for a great year in Cooling Inflammation investigation.



Dr. Art Ayers said...

The safety of saturated fats and the dangers of vegetable oils (all are high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats) are supported by the biomedical literature:
Ravnskov, U. 1998. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol. 51(6):443-60.
The problem with most fruits is that they are high in sucrose and fructose. The fructose in particular is very inflammatory. Fructose is used to induce metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes in laboratory animals. High fructose corn syrup is generally considered to be inflammatory and unhealthy.

Thanks for your comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that raw milk is great. I used to use raw milk when I taught a course in college microbiology, to illlustrate that numerous components in milk are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Raw milk is used to sterilize pruning shears in orchards between trees. I also saw raw milk used in Hindu firewalking ceremonies in Singapore at the end of the ashes to protect hot feet from infection. I also wrote an article on the protective properties of whey lactoferrin. I think that full fat milk is healthiest and I am beginning to worry about homogenization, so I guess that results in a general recommendation of raw milk.

Thanks for your comment.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that if you are suffering from food allergies, then the Anti-Inflammatory diet that I recommend at the top of my blog is a good starting point.

I would begin by eliminating grains, rice, starch and vegetable oils. That is probably the source of the inflammation that led to your allergies. The allergen avoidance diets usually just put you on high carbs and vegetable oils, which are the problem. The only reason they are used, is that they don't cause a flare up of the histamine responses of the allergies. Putting wheat in your diet is not a reasonable goal. You may have gluten intolerance as well.

You should be able to tolerate meat, fish and vegetables. When you take your fish oil, remember to eat it with saturated fats.

You can spread castor oil on your joints to ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Look up the vagus nerve stimulation exercises. They will also lower inflammation. Hot soaks are also a good idea.

NSAIDS may also be a problem, since they produce leaky gut and contribute to bacterial leakage from the gut into the blood circulation and deposits at sites of inflammation, such as your joints.

You are also probably deficient in vitamin D. Sun exposure is no guarantee of adequate vitamin D. I would recommend at least 5000 IU per day, with your symptoms. You should also be taking at least six fish oil capsules a day (with saturated fats!).

It sounds like your gut is a major source of your problems. You need to at least work on probiotics. My favorite is full fat Greek yogurt with live bacteria.

Of course trans fats, vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup should be strictly avoided.

Let me know how this works.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I am shocked that you didn't find the NMRs attractive. I guess they are focused on being well adapted rather than cuddly.

They are very useful for illustrating some fundamental physiology.

I hope that you liked my Santa and reindeer. We got them about twenty years ago at the Moravian Bookstore in Bethlehem, PA.

Thanks for your comments.

Unknown said...

Dear dr. Ayers,
Lately I stumbled on somebody (Brian Peskin)who has a - for me -new approach towards fish oil, maybe you've also heard about him, you may read his opinion about oils and cancer on his website( I would be very curious to know what your comment is on his opinion about these "parent oils".
He recommends for instance the supplements from: and in these supplements are oils like Safflower and Sunflower (cold pressed).On that website are some theories who contradict your theories. Or are they not?

notrace said...

I've read and enjoyed many of your posts but had not (until today) come across the directive to consume saturated fat along with fish oil. Why is the combination recommended?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The work that you reference is not connected to the biomedical literature and as far as I can see, is not supported by any research. It simply states that two short-chain fatty acids are the starting material for the production of longer fatty acids (EPA, DHA). This is the basis of the contention that EPA and DHA, the primary constituents of the long-chain omega-3 oils in fish oil, are not important.

In my opinion, this approach is unsupported and potentially dangerous. Moreover, the reliance on omega-6 oils, vegetable oils, is unhealthy because of the inflammatory consequences.

I didn't find it worth more than a quick scan, so if I missed something, please let me know.

JBG said...

"The problem with most fruits is that they are high in sucrose and fructose. The fructose in particular is very inflammatory. Fructose is used to induce metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes in laboratory animals. High fructose corn syrup is generally considered to be inflammatory and unhealthy."

Concentrated fructose is not the same as fructose "in context" in fruit. Does the evidence about the hazards of fructose extend to consumption of actual fruit?

I'm a newbie to the blog, which I find interesting but also challenging in a number of respects. I'm here to learn.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I added the saturated fats after reading about the lipid peroxidation consequences of high level omega-3 oils in a context of existing inflammation and reactive oxygen species (ROS). In other words, omega-3 fatty acids, e.g. EPA and DHA in fish oil, effectively lower overall inflammation. Unfortunately, omega-3 fatty acids are sensitive to oxidation and that is why they are not used in cooking. Adding omega-3s to an existing high level inflammation, e.g. fatty liver, can result in lipid peroxides that are also inflammatory. This bad situation can be avoided, if saturated fats are also present. Thus, eating your fish oil capsules with saturated fats should be safer. The extra fat will also help trigger bile production that is needed for fat absorption.

Thanks for the question.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I just throw in the sugar content of fruit to question the push for eating "fruits and vegetables." I think that most fruit juices and fruit are mostly empty carbs with the added problem of fructose. High fructose corn syrup is, in my opinion, very dangerous and unhealthy and will probably be connected to many health problems in developed countries. The sellers of HFCS try to say that fructose is safe because it is in healthy fruit and sucrose. I think that the healthfulness of fruits and sucrose should also be questioned.

Fruits also have some healthful phytochemicals, but I think that they should be used carefully. Fruits aren't a free ride.

Leafy vegetables also have benefits and risks, but I think the balance is in favor of the benefits. Variety is important to avoid some of the potentially toxic aspects of phytochemicals. Also, a healthy liver is important to detoxify the veggies. Natural does not mean safe, when it comes to veggies.

Thanks for the comments.

Unknown said...

Dr Ayers, I don't think I am qualified enough to prove who is right or wrong...Dr. Peskin has written quite a lot about his theory and I just assume it's worthwhile to read more of his articles and books. He explains that his statements are backed by science, so maybe you just read a bit more like and he was also recently interviewed by Jimmy Moore:
Meanwhile I will wait for your conclusions.....

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I have read the material that you provided about Mr. Peskin. As far as I can see, he has very little formal training and no peer reviewed publications. He has just published books on his unsubstantiated hypotheses. What he states is not connected to the rest of science. This guy is certainly not a health authority, but is rather a celebrity. He is just controversial, because his views are inconsistent with the biomedical literature.

I may disagree with common medical opinion, but at least my views are supported by the biomedical literature and are consistent with the rest of molecular biology.

Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers,
What type of saturated fats do you recommend to take along with my fish oil? handful of nuts, shredded coconut, pastured butter..etc? also how many grams of EPH/DHA do you recommend? I have herd up to 1g/10lbs of bodyweight?
Great blog! Look forward to 2010

Unknown said...

You and Dr Tourgeman, Nephrologist, are on the same page regarding sat fats and evolutionary
health care.
Neprhopal blogspot

To be blunt, other than green leafy vegetables, carbohydrates that are converted to sugar in the gut are like ingesting poison into one's system as is ingesting table sugar.
I refer readers to the great lecture by Dr Lustig of UCSF regarding sugar...both sucrose and fructose.

Neprhopal blogspot

Unknown said...

Sorry about the Dr Lustig youtube broken link. Cut and paste

water said...

Jeff A.,

Do you have problems with all grass fed meats? Even lamb? 2 other possible info resources for you - Plant Poisons and Rotten Stuff and glutenzap.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I don't have any problems with grass-fed meats. Meat and fish are healthy and are better for you than starchy grains that have the hazard of gluten. Corn-fed beef is better than grain, but grass-fed beef is better than corn-fed beef, because the grass has more omega-3 fatty acids than corn, which is rich in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Vegetable oils are inflammatory. Olive oil is OK.

Omega-3 oils from plants are short and need to be biochemically lengthened in your cells to become the anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA, which are found naturally in fish oil. That conversion is very inefficient and that is why it takes huge amounts of freshly ground flax seed to match a couple of capsules of fish oil.

I hope that makes my points more clear.

Thanks for your questions and comments.

steve said...

Dr. Ayers: If you are eating fish several times a week or more, ie sardines, wild salmon,etc. is there a need to supplement with fish oil?
Your view of saturated fat is interesting. My understanding is that it should be limited as it too is inflammatory in large amounts.
Regarding yogurt: Is 2% Fage ok? Easier on the digestive system vs. full fat. Also, ground flax acceptable to you as part of the diet?

Flax, Olive acceptable oils?

Thank you

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Here's to another year of molecular biochemical stuff. I'm like a sponge that never stops absorbing!

I'm trying to get my cousin to read my blog and yours as she works in the field of cancer research.

Cheers, Nige.

peter s said...

Dear Dr Ayers,

First off, thanks to you for sharing all this information, and to Nigel whose recent mention of your blog on Nephropal brought me over here.

I have two (I hope, short) questions:

1. re taking fish oils with saturated fat: might your point about avoiding exacerbation of liver problems also explain why Weston Price found CLO worked better when taken along with butter oil? In addition to any role that might be played by K2? Or is that a red herring?

2. re grass-fed meat: I assume this extends to any form of plant food that includes large quantities of chlorophyll? I just talked to my butcher in the market, and he informed that his cows eat grass in summer, and hay made from clover and alfalfa in the winter, so I bought a whole lot of his sausages on that basis:)

Thanks again for your blog, and I look forward to learning more from you throughout the coming year

Dr. B G said...

Dr. Ayers,

I cannot express how much I love your blog (and your NMRs and your radically non-conventional thoughts on... pharma NMRs!!*HAA*)! May you and your family be blessed with good fortune and many gifts!

My 5th grader is doing a science fair project on preservation of organic strawberries and prevention of mold comparing:
--water (control)
--yogurt water wash
--coconut milk wash
--vinegar wash
--olive oil and vinegar wash

Any wagers?? (no industrial fungicides) I am curious what the outcome will be...! She came up w/it with little urging from me (she declined the n=1 cognitive testing w/ and without fish oil for some odd reason). I don't know what concentrations she is using yet -- I am thinking 5-10% right now.


Daniel said...

What's wrong with starch?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Chuck O,
I don't worry much about the source of saturated fats eaten along with the fish oil. My impression is that it takes about 4 grams of fat to trigger bile release to enhance fish oil uptake. I usually just take a few fish oil capsules with eggs and bacon in the morning, or if all else fails, I take the capsules with a couple of table spoons of full fat yogurt or with a latte (just a little flavored syrup) using whole milk. I primarily use the fish oil to compensate for all of the hidden vegetable oil that slips into my diet when I eat a restaurants, etc. I have been gradually increasing my saturated fat, by not avoiding chicken skins, good beef, whole milk products. Julia Child was right about butter.

Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,
I believe that vitamin D3 is very important in reducing inflammation from my own experience.
I supplemented 6,000iu per day for 9 months up to November 2009.
I had blood tested for 25(OH)D levels @ 54.7 ng/ml.
I upped the dosage to 10,000iu and within 2 weeks, my painful shoulder has greatly improved. Sense of well being has also had a boost and more motivated.
I had been using castor oil to ease the problem previously with success.
I had more blood drawn at the end of December and await the results.
I will adjust my dosage to try to maintain around 80 ng/ml. I feel better physically now than I can remember.
I am starting on Doug McGuff's strength training program this week. I hope this will help me build strength and lean muscle.
I feel I'm getting to where I want to be. Your blog has helped me so much along the way.
When I can walk on my hands, I'll be up (or should that be down?) there with you!

Unknown said...

Hi Art,

I've heard it said that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation. I've lost weight and feel great using Fast-5. Do you have any comments?

I'm new to your blog but I'll be back often as I find it very interesting.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Nephropal is a special place for those crazies who study kidneys. Of course they happen to come to the same conclusions as the rest of us who are trying to actually make sense of diet and disease. Unfortunately that is not a medical approach, but it is healthy.

Thank for your comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that fasting is natural and healthy. I think that inflammatory diets make one anxious about the next meal. A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can make a fast an enjoyable experience. I also think that fast can have a beneficial impact on gut flora/biofilms. An example may be on low starch starvation of Klebsiella, which in turn lowers the hydrogen to Helicobacter in the stomach and stimulates Tregs to enhance tolerance. Tolerance is the opposite of allergies and autoimmunity.

Thanks for your comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that your experiences with vitD are rather common. It is difficult to get over the hump to beneficial levels of vitD. I think that also reflects an inability to produce vitD in the skin as a result of residual chronic inflammation. When that level is passed, then the sense of well being is one of the symptoms and the serum level rises.

Thanks for your comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Peter S.,
I agree with your comments. I don't think that the chlorophyll is as important as the lipid composition in eating leafy vegetables vs. seeds. Omega-3 composition of animal feeds has changed dramatically and omega-6-rich corn and soybeans have replaced grass and forage. Our meat today is very different.

Thanks for your comments.

Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers I like to share with you Dr. Peskins answer to our conversation here on your blog: (I send him my questions and your answers):
"George, thank you for writing. I can see why you may have questions, as even the most "lettered" people have trouble accepting the science. But the physiological science is sound.

First of all you need to understand that everything I have written is based upon proven, and irrefutible physiological science. For those who truly take the time to read and understand it, there are no further questions. The information I share through my publications and books are NOT my opinions, but SCIENCE. This is vastly different from the majority of information on the market.

Dr. Ayers wrote to you: "In my opinion, this approach is unsupported and potentially dangerous. Moreover, the reliance on omega-6 oils, vegetable oils, is unhealthy because of the inflammatory consequences."

My Reply: HIS OPINION (i.e. GUESS) IS SCIENTIFICALLY WRONG. PGE1 from omega-6 is the body's most powerful anti-inflammatory and PGI2, prostacyclin is the body's most potent natural "blood thinner" keeping platelets apart and non-thrombotic.

Dr. Ayers wrote to you: "I have read the material that you provided about Mr. Peskin. As far as I can see, he has very little formal training and no peer reviewed publications.

My Reply: Again, he is completely incorrect. I have 2 peer-reviewed publications, --- a seminal paper in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, which was very difficult -- again, MDs/biochemists not familiar with physiology.

Regarding background: many fields advance from people outside their field making great advancements because they are not "tied to their pet theories."

Dr. Ayers places a personal and unprofessional attack: "He has just published books on his unsubstantiated hypotheses. What he states is not connected to the rest of science. This guy is certainly not a health authority, but is rather a celebrity. He is just controversial, because his views are inconsistent with the biomedical literature."

My reply: On the contrary....they are conservative biochemistry/physiology, and I co-chaired the cardiology session recently. Physicians worldwide are making use of my results with superb success...they come to me because the "traditional protocols such as fish oil" don't work in their clinical practices.

Please read from front to back "The Hidden Story of Cancer" and you will not have another word on my work. It will ALL make perfect sense and you will see how everything is backed up by irrefutable science, not opinion.

Regarding "Dr. Ayer's" comments, I will say this:

There is no need to waste everyone's time with personal attacks, either accusing, or defending. The physiologic science speaks for itself -- it is not open to discussion... You (one) may not like or understand enough physics to understand the origins of gravity; however, you will fall to your death off the 10th story of a building, regardless of your comprehension. All one needs do is READ my published works and it will all be understood"

The science I share is not my own; it is state-of-the-art physiology and biochemistry proven and reproven over decades to be solid and the basis for all of the education that every medical doctor takes in med school. Unfortunately most medical practicioners are so wound up in "treating the disease" that they have no time to understand the cause. This is extremely unfortunate for those who rely upon doctors for good health.

Thanks for your time, and enjoy the science not opinion! Best of luck with your health."

Again for the layman like me this is very confusing what to eat now...

Ed Terry said...

Methinks Dr. Peskin protests too much. I spent time on his website and he doesn't reference any peer-reviewed studies supporting his assertions. If there are studies backing his claims, it seems that he has chosen not to include those on his site.

As a rule-of-thumb, undocumented assertions are always suspicious.

His reaction to your comments also seem over the top.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I reread the documents that you suggested and still find Dr. Peskin's comments and ideas to be arguments based on claims of authority and quotes out of context. Despite outrageous claims to the contrary, Dr. Peskin is not an authority in the field of lipid physiology, because he is not a researcher in that field. [Check PubMed, he has a single opinion article in a non-peer reviewed journal.]

I don't claim that my views are correct based on my stature in medicine, but rather on the coherence with the concepts of cell/molecular biology and biochemistry. My arguments are my attempt to make medicine and the study of human diseases consistent with the rest of science. I relish the discovery of flaws in my logic, because that brings progress. Note that Dr. Brekin claims that his perspective cannot be disproved. That is only true outside of science.

The PEO, parent essential oil, idea is weak and not supported by clinical observations. Some of the basics, that commercial omega-6-rich vegetable oils are damaging and that a higher omega 3 to 6 ratio, e.g. 1 to 6, versus the typical 1 to 20, is healthier, I agree with. He also agrees that short chain PUFA are inefficiently converted to their long chain forms.

There is no reason to believe that omega-3 fish oil supplements are being used in large enough amounts by the general public to have any effects on health. Diets have largely been unchanged and remain dominated by commercial vegetable oil. If Dr. Peskin's efforts result in a substantial decrease in vegetable oil use, I will applaud his efforts. He also supports a low carbohydrate diet and I second that perspective.

All I can say is that Dr. Peskin's arguments have not been persuasive and in this area, I side with the medical community. Ask what he is selling.

Zazu, I also question why you persist in this bantering. If this is a matter of belief and not logic, just pick one. Otherwise, develop your own worldview and integrate what is consistent.

Unknown said...

Thanks for answering Dr. Ayers...
and yeah, I just want to know what´s right for me and it´s hard if two well respected persons, like yourself and dr Peskin, who agree in many ways, suddenly disagree on such a fundamental point, i mean I was supplementing with fish oil....and also, I thought you would like to know what his answer was....

Unknown said...

"My impression is that it takes about 4 grams of fat to trigger bile release to enhance fish oil uptake."

My fish oil supplement and my flax oil supplement each contain 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving. I take 2 servings of each supplement at a time. That's a total of 6 grams of saturated fat. Do I still need an additional source of saturated fat? If so, wouldn't olive oil be a better choice than whole milk or eggs?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The fish oil will supply long chain omega-3 fatty acids, but the flax oil is not going to contribute much if you are trying to reduce inflammation. Flax has short chain omega-3's that are converted very inefficiently (less than 10%) into the long chain forms that are found in fish oil.

Olive oil and butter are good for cooking. Vegetable oil is unhealthy. Since I am recommending a low carb diet, that implies that most of the calories in the diet will be coming from fats and that means that saturated fats need not be avoided. Saturated fats are safer than polyunsaturated fats. That is hard to believe, because medical advice says the opposite, but the biomedical literature clearly supports saturated fats over omega-6 polyunsaturated fats common in vegetable oils.

Use olive oil if you prefer, but it is easier for me to take fish oil capsules with a spoonful of high fat yogurt.

Thanks for the comments.

Cristian said...

More good news for us (expecially if you live in France or Italy, dairy paradises)
Effects of dairy compared with soy on oxidative and inflammatory stress in overweight and obese subjects

An increase in dairy food intake produces significant and substantial suppression of the oxidative and inflammatory stress associated with overweight and obesity.

Anonymous said...

i saw that, christian. I'm jealous of Italians because they had raw grass fed milk vending machines when I was there. The establishment in the US refuses to believe there is a difference between boiled and fresh milk, despite the myriad anecdotes and the fact animals fed boiled milk will die or be malformed. Even in the paleo-community, Loren Cordain says all dairy is the devil. Very strange.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

As one might expect from the premier importance of milk to the survival of infants, human milk is replete with extraordinary supporters of healthful development:
growth factors, pre and probiotics, iron chelators, antibodies, anti-microbial lipids/peptides, etc.
It also contains lymphocytes and other immune cells that effectively transport a functioning, passive immune system to the newborn. Mother's milk maintains a specific anti-inflammatory gut flora, whereas synthetic substitutes, i.e. formula, supports an adult inflammatory flora.

Using cow's milk for adult humans is a very different situation, but the modification of milk to enhance storage and other marketing aspects, may have profound impact on the healthful properties of milk. The full impact of pasteurization and homogenization, as well as removal of fats, has not been thoroughly studied. I suspect that the modification of fat/protein micelles by homogenization may alter gut presentation.

Another unexplored aspect of milk consumption is the production of antimicrobial peptides by stomach enzymes acting on milk proteins, e.g. lactoferricin, vs. the destruction of antimicrobial peptides (heparin binding domains) in the intestines.

Thanks for your contributions.

Taylor said...

I have a question about inflammation that's been bugging me for the longest time. Its simply that inflammation is not just a response to infection but also to injury. Could it really be the case that this inflammatory response to physical injury such as a sprained ankle, plays no role in facilitating or expediting healing? I mean the way that inflammation is talked about its as if unless there is an infection you are always better off without it and any intervention to reduce it is beneficial as long as it doesn't leave one vulnerable to infection. Is this really the case? What about DOMS from lifting weights? Does this hinder the athtletes progress? Its been driving me nuts because it doesn't seem like we'd have such consistent and frankly dramatic inflammatory response to injury if it didn't benefit us. Thanks.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I agree with your thinking.
Inflammation is merely descriptive of one manifestation of a cellular process that results in the turning on, transcription, of a group of genes that produce the signs of inflammation, e.g. redness, swelling, heating, pain. Those are genes controlled by the transcription factor NFkB. Look at this name. It stands for nuclear factor kappa B. That is, it was identified to control, as a transcription (nuclear) factor, the development of the heavy (kappa) chain of immunoglobulins in B cells.

Thus, the same "inflammatory" cellular processes are part of development in numerous tissues, cyclically in mammary or uterine tissue, in response to stress in muscle, and as a fundamental requirement for cancer.

It is interesting that hot and cold showers are used to treat delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and this same stimulation of skin thermal receptors (also triggered by capsiacin, castor oil and menthol) also treats inflammation due to infection, sunburn or insect stings.

Inflammation of cells near pain receptors produces the sensation of pain. Aspirin can be used to minimize DOMS, because aspirin inhibits NFkB as well as COX-2 (controlled by NFkB) used to produce inflammatory prostaglandins that enhance vasodilation.

Exercise physiology is very complex and well beyond my area of expertise, but it is fascinating.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Another positive for Vitamin D supplementation?
Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men

dim said...

Thank you Dr Ayers for sharing your opinions and beliefs. A fascinating and exciting post. I was detected with MS 2 years ago and have reached basically the same conclusions as yours regarding the benefits of a strict anti-inflammatory diet. Following sound advices from enlightened people like you, Dr. Jean Seignalet, L. Cordain & Dr. M. Eades among others, I have adhered quickly after my diagnosis to an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. And today I am symptoms free.

I just had two questions and I would be of course really interested to get your opinion on this, if you have some time to answer:

a) For breakfast, I am used to eat grounded flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds that I mixed with the fresh juice of one orange. To that I add one grapefruit and one kiwi cut in pieces. These are the only fruits I eat during the day.
--> Would you recommend no to continue with this type of breakfast, regarding (1) the carbohydrate content in the form of sugars in the fruits (the CHO in the seeds are mainly dietary fibers) and (2) the poor ratio omega3/omega6 of the seeds (except for the flaxseed) ? Or the benefits of getting fats (saturated & unsaturated), dietary fibers, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals included in the seeds and fruits counterbalance the above mentioned problems?

b) Regarding the oils you consider in your AID, wouldn't you recommend including macadamia nut oil also? First macadamia nut oil presents the best ratio omega3/omega6 (from 1:6 to even... 1:3 for some varieties), is rich in antioxidants and can be heated to 425F without oxidizing, whereas olive oil begins to oxidize above 300F. Therefore I would rather use olive oil only cold (in salads for example) and macadamia nut oil for cooking needs. Would you agree?

Your blog is just incredibly interesting and sharing you knowledge is a fantastic gift you make to many of us. Thank you so much.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I agree with all of your approaches and conclusions. I think that your breakfast has the problems that you indicate. I don't think that seeds are generally worth their down sides and especially not for routine use as most of a meal. I think that it is important to start the day with as minimal carbs as possible, because that is the easiest time to trigger insulin production. Try eggs and bacon. That is a protein and saturated fat alternative (perhaps the opposite extreme from seeds and fruit) that is closer to the AID.

I agree with olive oil (good) vs. macadamia oil (better). I put in olive oil, because it is more readily available, cheaper and mainstream. It is a big step for most people to throw out their dangerous vegetable oils and fall back on olive oil. Then they can explore macadamia oil and coconut oil, as well as various forms of clarified butter.

I am so glad that a change in diet brought you health.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

dim said...

Thank you Dr Ayers for your recommendations. Great blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Art Ayers
I have read some of your posts. I liked most of your stuff which mesh together with the literature as I know it and what has been written by others, like David Berg, and my own experimentation.
However, as far as to Vit D issue are concerned, Trevor Marshall is going in the right direction.
yoav hart

qualia said...

Dr. Ayers,

I just watched the following two videos from Prof. Peskin:

"What's wrong with Fish Oil" (2 parts):

"BoulderFest 2008 Presentation" (5 parts):

I must say, having also been a (rather blind) follower of the "Omega-3 and Fish Oil is good; Omega-6 is bad" approach - after watching Perkin's explanations to this topic, and also after I experienced some negative side effects from taking fish oil (eczema in the face) and *positve* effects from taking Pekan nuts (which are mainly Omega-6) on skin quality and physical performance, i now tend to believe Perkin is right with regards to to parental EFAs (especially O-6) and fish oil. Please watch above videos and tell us what you think about it. How can O-6 be bad for you if most body tissues naturally contain O-6 way in excess of O-3 in the first place? In the case of skin up to 1000:1!

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I would agree with Mr. Peskin that the biomed literature concerning omega-3 oils is compromised by poor quality. Most studies/experiments fail to control the omega-6 background of the subjects, and as one would expect, the response to omega-3 oils is different depending on the level of saturated fats in the diet and pre-existing inflammation. Based on the confounding problems in the papers that Peskin reviews, I do not trust their conclusions either. Under the conditions of most of those papers, omega-3 oils might be expected to contribute to existing inflammation.

Unfortunately, none of the work that Peskin reviews says anything about the use of fish oil to reduce inflammation other than indicating that care should be taken to reduce simultaneous ingestion of omega-6-rich vegetable oils and increase dietary saturated fats. The studies could also be read to suggest that carbs should also be reduced.

Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for health. Omega-6 fatty acids at the level of modern diets supplemented with vegetable oils are inflammatory. I see nothing in the Peskin videos that contradict these statements.

I consider your reactions to be among the paradoxical reactions associated with abnormal gut flora. Please see my article on that subject. Most people have the opposite reactions to what you observe.

By the way, it is a stretch to refer to Mr. Peskin as Professor Peskin, because according to his bio, he has only been an adjunct asst. prof. He has no degrees in the biological sciences. I agree that this should have no impact on the veracity of his arguments, but it is a bit of a misrepresentation.

Thank you for your questions.

Jasmine said...

Hi Dr Ayers,

I would like to know if you have any thoughts about my situation.

I have had ten surgeries to "patch" a rectovaginal fistula from Crohn's disease over the last five years. No surgery has been successful, even the last which was a skin graft placed in the septum, (it didn't fully fuse to the adjacent tissue in the septum, leaving two fistulas along the surgical lines). However, it seems the Crohn's has been quiescent for years, and the previous failures, variously, are more mechanical, i.e, sutures ripped. The doctors are stumped by the "failure to heal" of the plastic surgery, especially as blood tests show no major deficiencies (except Vit D is a bit low) and CRP of 1<.

I'd love to know if you have any idea why the necessary healing response is abnormal, beyond the idea of there must be invisible localised inflammation. There appeared to be a fair degree of healing before failure.

P.s.My diet has contained a lot of whole fruits. I also have a temporary illeostomy, and have had many courses of antibiotics, so gut flora is highly disturbed, and this can't be remedied until the fistula heals, and the illeostomy reversed.

resveratrol supplement said...

I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!