Monthly Archives: March 2016

Using Diet to Reduce Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

In recent years, you may have heard discussions or read articles about “inflammation” in the body and its connection to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis. “Inflammation” is a real issue for many of our patients, especially those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a condition we see quite frequently where the patient’s overactive immune system is attacking his or her joints, causing pain. Anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing medications can and are often used to treat such conditions. However, a patient’s diet can also play a part in reducing inflammation in the body.

A growing number of nutritional and medical experts suggest that a body’s autoimmunity problems are caused by tiny holes in the gut that allow particles of food, bacteria and other substances from inside the intestines to escape into the rest of the body. This is important because a “leaky gut”, and more specifically, an invasion of foreign substances into the body, can trigger the body to respond by producing inflammation – the same process used to fight any other bacterial infection. Over time, that chronic inflammation can cause tissue damage, resulting in an autoimmune disease such as the ones listed above.

Enter the Paleo autoimmune protocol (a stricter version of the more popular Paleo Diet). The Paleo autoimmune protocol seeks to seal the holes in the gut wall by eliminating the foods thought to cause them, namely:

Processed, fried and high fat foods (especially those that contain high amounts of salt, preservatives, additives, or sugar)
Breads & Grains (including whole and heritage grains)
Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers
Nuts and seeds
Certain spices such as curries, paprika and chili powder
Refined sugar

Those who follow this protocol typically eliminate the trigger foods mentioned above for […]

The PEP Program Shown to Help Reduce Occurrence of ACL Injuries

If you are a young female athlete, parent or coach of an athlete, you may be aware that adolescent girls have a 4 to 8 time higher risk of sustaining a non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than male athletes participating in the same sports. While reasons for this may vary, an article published in Contemporary Pediatrics suggests that this higher risk factor is related to a female athlete’s neuromuscular control of knee motion during athletic activities such as landing from a jump or quickly changing direction:

Current evidence suggests that the primary reason girls are at greater risk than boys for noncontact ACL injuries is that girls tend to have less neuromuscular control of knee motion during athletic maneuvers. In other words, girls tend to use their muscles differently than boys when landing from a jump or quickly changing direction. Biomechanical studies have identified 4 neuromuscular strategies that are more common in girls and that may lead to dynamic knee valgus, a position that places the ACL at a high risk of tearing.

(1) Girls tend to use their quadriceps muscles much more than their hamstrings. Kinetic and kinematic analyses have found that during a jump landing or quick change in direction, girls have reduced knee flexion, increased quadriceps activity, and decreased hamstring activity compared with boys. This “quadriceps dominant” strategy has been shown to increase both anterior tibial translation and strain on the ACL.30 Notably, ACL strain is significantly reduced when there is co-contraction of the hamstrings.4

(2) Girls tend to have 1 leg stronger than the other, whereas boys tend to have equal strength in both legs. Asymmetry in leg strength promotes asymmetric weight distribution between the feet upon landing, causing a shift of the […]

The Link Between Diet and Recovery from Orthopaedic Surgery

When we speak of “diets” in the United States, we generally do so in the context of losing weight or improving certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Most of us have heard or read that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, with moderate amounts of lean proteins and whole grains, is generally better for overall health than, say, a diet consisting of processed foods and sugar. Did you know though, that your diet, specifically what you eat before and after surgery, may help you recover faster, and experience a better overall outcome?

A 2014 article written by Dr. Levi Harrison, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon in Southern California, suggests that the Paleo Diet, consisting chiefly of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and excluding dairy, grain products and processed food, may aid patients in faster healing after surgery:

It has been astoundingly clear that the patients who follow the Paleo Diet suggestions, do better post-operatively than the conventional eating patients whose diets are filled with sugar, salt, and highly processed, refined foods that do not have substantial nutritional value and minimal EPA and DHA. After observing the correlation between the use of the Paleo Diet and efficient recovery times in operative patients, it has become clear that the Paleo Diet yields excellent postoperative healing benefits. More high-powered double-blind studies may provide further illumination of this apparent truth about the life-enhancing virtue of the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo Diet, which is superior in nutritional value to many restrictive standard diets, provides a patient with appropriate vitamin, mineral, Omega-3 and antioxidant profiles. This is critical for healing due to the post-operative decrease in gut motility, potential increases in leaky gut syndrome, insomnia (poor […]