Nutrition for Controlling Pain

Listening time: 6:34


Jonathan: To me, that makes complete sense, absolutely. And your use of nutrition for controlling pain or helping pain?

Peter: Yes, well some foods are proinflammatory, as you probably are aware. The oldest example is omega-6 versus omega-3, whereas the omega-3 oils and fats tend to up levels of Arachidonic Acid and its derivatives, and these are proinflammatory.

Whereas the omega-3 group tends to balance that, does the opposite, and there’s a heavy bias towards omega-6 in the modern diet.

This is another factor when you’re looking at the marine-based diet, where you get more want a 1:2 ratio omega-3 to omega-6, or maybe even 1:1, if you’re lucky.

There are other things which would influence joint pain. Some people have different bowel flora to others, for instance. One example is Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a very nasty inflammatory condition, as you know.

That responds to diet, and I think it’s klebsiella species in the gut thrive on starches, and there seems to be some sort of antibody cross-reaction between joint tissue, synovial tissue and klebsiella.

So if there’s lot of that around, your antibody switches on to try and cope with klebsiella invasion from the gut, and as a byproduct you get inflammation in the spine.

Jonathan: That is absolutely fascinating. I’ve actually never heard of that.

Peter: I could give you references, but I haven’t got one on the top of my head. I think there’s a guy called Professor Ebringer.

Jonathan: That is really fascinating. So every patient you see, how do you approach? Do you go through everything or do you just do what you feel is necessary?

Peter: I think that presenting a problem has to be the starting point. So if it’s simply obesity, then I try to reeducate people into moving away from junk food, high starch, high-sugar diets, towards slightly more natural, higher protein, natural vegetables.

It’s a wide, broad-based diet, so you get more variety in the diet *** (10:18) tendency to go towards the higher protein and the higher vegetable content in the diet.

If it’s something like irritable bowel syndrome, you’re looking at either things that cause maybe a syncratic reaction or things that will ferment in the gut.

So an obvious example would be lactose and dairy products, that gets through to the colon and it starts to fizz. People have lost their ability to digest lactose, they’re lactase deficient.

The lactose passes through to the large bowel unchanged, and then it ferments, creates gas and people get pain.

But there’s so many other things that will do the same. Some people don’t tolerate apples, some people don’t tolerate onions. Baked beans is an obvious example as well, all these fermentable foods.

Jonathan: Are there any stories that you have, people that have done wonderfully well that just stand out in your mind?

Peter: I would say not in recent practice. I’m sure there are one or two. I’m just trying to think back.

Somebody was diagnosed about two years ago with Type II Diabetes, and basically this gentleman was on a pretty junky diet. I think it’s just nature of habit.

He didn’t know what was good food and what wasn’t, just basically believed that cereals were good to eat at breakfast with juice and lots of pasta and rice and stuff like that was good for you.

That seems to have been accepted wisdom over the last 20, 30 years.

So I just gave him some advice about his diet, and all his blood tests came back to normal, without any pharmacological intervention.

Jonathan: Which is the best type of medicine of all.

Peter: Yes. The problem is, having retired only very recently, I haven’t built up a private practice of any size, and so some of the people I’ve advised about have actually just been friends who wanted help.

In fact, I can remember another guy. This is a friend that I spoke to. He was just getting a bit thick around the middle and getting a bit upset about it, because his joints were starting to hurt.

He asked me what he could do about it, and I just scribbled down some advice on a sheet of paper, just a few do’s and don’ts about what to eat and what not to eat.

He took it away and followed the advice. Within six weeks, he’d lost *** (12:54), and he was feeling much better. That was about three years ago, I think, and he’s kept the weight off. He’s still well and singing our praises.

So having just retired recently, up until September, I was only getting 10 minutes at a time to speak to patients about this and that was extremely difficult to get a message across in that time.

I just gave very, very brief do’s and don’ts. Avoid the sugar, avoid starches and almost as simple as that. Also, looking at alcohol is part of the equation in lots of people as well.

Since then, I haven’t actually sort of got into a regular pattern seeing private patients, because I’m just taking time out until probably the next couple of months. My wife and I will be starting our business in earnest.

Jonathan: That’s really exciting. I think that’s lovely.

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