Join Wellness with Susan as we interview Dr. Barry Sears. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Sears about managing auto-immune diseases through nutrition.
Managing Auto-immune Diseases Through Nutrition
Auto-immune diseases affect a large percentage of our population. In fact, almost everyone has or knows someone who has an auto-immune disease. Some of the common auto-immune diseases include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and Hashimoto’s.
How can we go about managing auto-immune diseases through nutrition?
There are many factors to consider when looking at root causes and treatments for any auto-immune disease. Your genes may predispose you to one of these diseases and those genes may be activated by environmental and lifestyle factors. In many cases, we have the ability to prevent, manage and even reverse auto-immune diseases.
Dr. Barry Sears weighed in on how we can use nutrition in managing auto-immune diseases.
Dr. Barry Sears
Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the dietary control of hormonal response. A turning point in his research occurred in 1982.
That year the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for discoveries of the role that specialized hormones known as eicosanoids play in the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, and cancer. Since eicosanoids are only generated from dietary fat, Dr. Sears reasoned that one could apply intravenous drug-delivery principles to nutrition in order to control these exceptionally powerful hormonal responses with laser-like precision. In essence, his approach treats food as if it were a drug.
The impact of Dr. Sears’ revolutionary work in the dietary control of hormonal response began with the publication of his landmark book, The Zone. Since its publication in June 1995, The Zone has sold more than 2,000,000 hardcover copies and became a #1 best-seller on the New York Times book list. Dr. Sears followed that book with several other Zone books. His book The Anti-Inflammation Zone, published in 2005, discusses how to combat silent inflammation in order to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and many other inflammatory conditions—and how to reverse these conditions if they are already present.
Our Interview with Dr. Sears on managing auto-immune diseases through nutrition:
In our interview, Dr. Sears answered questions about how we can manage auto-immune diseases through nutrition.
WWS: Many people have auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Hashimoto’s. What is an “auto-immune disease”?
BS: An auto-immune disease is when the body’s immune system begins to attack normal tissue. The cause is usually excess inflammation coupled with the inability of the body to resolve the existing inflammation. The result is chronic low-level inflammation. Although anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the inflammation, they also reduce the resolution of the existing inflammation. As a result, the patients keeps switching between different drugs with little long-term relief.
WWS: How is chronic inflammation related to auto-immune diseases?
BS: Chronic inflammation is the result of unresolved resolution of the inflammatory response. The best way to reduce chronic inflammation is by the diet coupled with high-dose fish oil to increase resolution of the existing inflammation. [See Dr. Sears’ blog post What is Cellular Inflammation?]
WWS: How can nutrition help to manage this inflammation and in turn help to manage an auto-immune disease?
BS: Both an anti-inflammatory diet and high-dose fish oil reduce the activity of the genetic “master switch” that keeps the inflammatory response constantly on. In addition, the high-dose fish oil provides the building blocks to make powerful pro-resolution hormones (known as resolvins) that bring the entire inflammatory process back to its normal equilibrium level.
WWS: What constitutes an anti-inflammatory diet?
BS: An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is calorie-restricted, but without hunger or fatigue. The restriction of calories reduces oxidative stress that drives inflammation. The lack of hunger or fatigue is due to the stabilization of blood sugar levels. To achieve the latter, you need to consume the right balance at every meal of low-fat protein to primarily non-starchy vegetables with some berries for dessert. The amount of protein you eat at each meal should be the size of the palm of your hand. The rest of the plate would consist of the non-starchy vegetables and little side of fruit. Finally, you add a dash (that is, a small amount) of monounsaturated fat like olive oil, slivered almonds, or guacamole. If you correctly do these, you will have no hunger or fatigue for the next five hours. By adding at least 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, you further deactivate the “master switch” of inflammation, as well as increase the production of the pro-resolution hormones (resolvins). The common name for this anti-inflammatory diet is the Zone Diet. [See Dr. Sears’ blog post Take the Pain out of your Arthritis]
As you can see, we can prevent, manage and at times reverse auto-immune diseases through nutrition. For more information on how to work with Susan to manage an auto-immune disease, click below to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session.
If you want to find out how Susan can partner with you to manage your auto-immune condition and help you reach your optimal health goals, click below to schedule a 15-minutes complimentary Discovery Session.