Monthly Archives: November 2015
If I can show you 5 natural treatments that are proven to work for ear infections especially in kids, would you be interested? I’m willing to bet you would be and that’s what I want to share. Today, if I look at the incidence of visits to doctor’s offices for kids, one of the most common reasons that kids visit doctor’s offices is for ear infections. In fact, it is probably the most common infection seen in kids today. That’s significant!
What are the standard treatments for ear infections? The most common intervention is antibiotics. Antibiotics are not without their problems, especially when you look at a couple of the facts here:
- If we look at ear infections as a whole, within 24 hours, 60% of ear infections resolve on their own. That means they are self-limiting within 24 hours.
- After 72 hours, 80% of cases of ear infections are self-limiting. So 80% of ear infections, within 3 days, are self-limiting. That’s significant and simply says that there may not be as much need for antibiotics as is probably recommended.
The Most Common Treatment and the List of Problems it Creates
Nonetheless, these antibiotics are still being recommended so we have to take into consideration what are their effects. One of the most common side effects of antibiotics is that it destroys the natural bacterial make-up in the gastrointestinal tract. This has a significant bearing on our nutritional status, given that our B vitamins and our vitamin K are produced in significant portions by the probiotics in our gastrointestinal tract. Not only do they produce those, they also produce chemicals that help support our brain health. That’s extremely important especially when we’re talking about kids and their developing brain to make sure there is a good balance of activity in the brain. Antibiotics also inhibit the natural development of the immune response and over time weaken the immune system.
Probiotics – The Go-To of the 5 Natural Treatments for Ear Infections
To shift direction here, let’s talk about the first of the 5 natural treatments for ear infections. #1 at the top of the list is going to be probiotics. It seems logical, especially if someone has been on antibiotics. We actually want to utilize these probiotics to not just rebuild and repair the gastrointestinal tract but also to help modulate our overall immune function. Probiotics are extremely beneficial in terms of helping with upper respiratory infections. They are very good for ear infections as well. Probiotics should be a consideration. The lactobacillus and the bifidobacterium strains that are common have been well researched. This is a great primary intervention, especially given that most kids probably are not getting good administration or ingestion of probiotics routinely.
Additionally, they have important immune-modulating effects. When we talk about probiotics, if you’re having a cold or if you’re having a more chronic, infectious state, normally, individuals that don’t have a good balance of probiotics in their gut are more prone. Interestingly, this is one of the conundrums of utilizing antibiotics for an ear infection, especially in repeated courses. We may actually be setting up the predisposition for additional ear infections with the chronic use of antibiotics.
Use Sugar to Solve the Problem
The second of the 5 natural treatments is going to be xylitol. Xylitol is not commonly utilized for ear infections. Probably the most likely reason for that is it’s not really known by parents. If more parents knew about xylitol, they would most likely utilize xylitol with their kids. One of the things that xylitol does is it inhibits the adhesion of different streptococcus species. Just like when we talk about a strep throat, that’s a streptococcal species. Xylitol inhibits strep species from finding their way in and adhering into the eustachian tubes in the ears, into the sinus cavities, in the different sinus regions as well as in the mouth. Xylitol has been used as a treatment for dental caries / cavities for some time and it has really good evidence behind it.
The key with xylitol is making sure we have a good dose. A good dose is usually around 5g about 3 times a day in spread-out dosages. Xylitol comes from different sources. It can come from corn. It can come from hardwood trees such as the birch tree. My recommendation: avoid the corn; find a good birch wood or hardwood source for xylitol. Most kids aren’t going to have a problem with this. It has a nice sweet flavor to it, much like sugar. It is a sugar, but it’s just different from what we commonly know as table sugar. It doesn’t have the same negative impact. Yet, as a sugar, it inhibits the growth of these different streptococcal species.
Baby Humans are NOT Baby Cows
The third of our 5 natural treatments for ear infections is going to be remove dairy. There is a pretty clear stream of evidence that shows that if an infant consumes dairy especially within the first 3 months of life, probably better stated — within the first 6 months of life, that infant is going to have a higher likelihood of developing ear infections. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about dairy and it being listed in the FDA’s Top 8 Allergens. It’s right in there with wheat, soy, and corn. Dairy is going to be one of those risky foods, especially in the early stages of life where the immune system is a little more vulnerable and the gastrointestinal tract hasn’t developed competently yet. Definitely take dairy out. Keep dairy away from infants and it will help reduce their incidence of ear infections.
Mother Knows Best
Pretty logical along with the removal of dairy comes the fourth of the 5 natural treatments for ear infections. That’s going to be breastfeeding. It is no secret the benefits of breastfeeding are huge. We know just from a nurturing level, it enhances the bond both physically and hormonally between the mother and the baby. This alone creates less stress for the baby and secondarily promotes a healthier immune system. There are obviously important connections on that level. Also, what we know is that there are numerous compounds in breast milk. It’s not just the milk, the protein, and the nourishment. There are actually immune-modulating compounds in breast milk that are going to have a significant impact on the overall potential for development of ear infection. You also get anti-microbial effects so some of these compounds actually inhibit the growth of the bacteria. You’re going to have anti-inflammatory effects as well. Certainly, no matter what age you are, keeping inflammation down can always be of benefit.
It has actually been shown that if a mother can breastfeed for at least 3 months, then the number of ear infections or the likelihood of a child developing ear infections is dramatically decreased. Most of the evidence on this in part shows that if the time frame of 6 months or greater than 6 months can be reached, the benefits are that much higher. Certainly, we want mothers to try to reach those time frames, if possible.
The last of our 5 natural treatments for ear infections is going to be chiropractic. This seems a little bit different given that we’re looking at a manual therapy as compared to nutritional or bio-chemical interventions. There has been shown to be good benefit in this. Let me make just a couple of points on this. In some studies that we’re going back and looking at the benefits of chiropractic, it has been shown that
- 93% of those individuals who received chiropractic care experienced benefit or experienced complete resolution from ear infections; 93% — that’s a significant number and that’s a number you want to pay attention to.
- 75% of the total individuals saw complete resolution within 10 days or less — another significant number.
- 43% only took 1-2 treatments to achieve complete resolution. Those are not numbers that you want to snuff at; those are important numbers.
These are numbers that should have you thinking about seeking the help of a chiropractor next time your child has an ear infection.
Why am I telling you all this? At the end of the day, what I want you to know is that there are not just 5 natural treatments for ear infections — that’s important and I want you to know that. But I also want you to know that you as a parent for your kids, have options. You don’t have to just go the antibiotic route. There are other proven, scientifically valid options that you can intervene with. I didn’t just pull these out and these are not just things that I randomly use in my practice. These are things that have a very nice evidence base behind them. You can put confidence in these and utilize them with your children. Think about these 5 natural treatments for ear infections before looking at doing some other type of intervention, especially given that 80% of cases are self-limiting within 72 hours.
Xanax or probiotics — which would you prefer to take for anxiety? When I say anxiety, we’ve all had anxiety. We get in certain situations that are unfamiliar to us. We can get a little nervous, a little uneasy — that’s normal. But what about anxiety that’s present every day and that builds up in excess for situations that really shouldn’t cause you anxiety? This is not uncommon, especially when we all live in a more stressful world than we ever have in the past. Sometimes, anxiety becomes so significant that it actually manifests into full-blown panic disorders. Again, if I say to you, you have an option of a medication such as Xanax or probiotics, can we really get the same effect from a probiotic that we can from Xanax? I’m here to make the argument you may not get it as fast, but you may get more long-term —and here’s the important part— more consistent effects on controlling your anxiety with probiotics than you get with Xanax.
The Untold Xanax Story
What is Xanax? Xanax falls into a class of medications called benzodiazepines. The main effect of this group of medications is that they slow down brain activity. They slow down the effects of the central nervous system and make things work at a slower pace than what they would otherwise. Makes sense, especially when you think about anxiety. As the body being more ramped up with anxiety, we’re going to calm the body back down, so as to have the opposite effect. However, these medications are not without their side effects (scroll down the page link to see the numerous side effects). Let me go through a couple with you just so you have a better understanding. These medications can cause drowsiness. They can cause insomnia. Most of the time, we think about insomnia as being awake but paradoxically, it can have the opposite effect and can actually promote that. Again, drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and the brain not firing fast enough can be side effects of Xanax. We can also have the problems or side effects that we may associate with the use of alcohol. Alcohol is known to be a suppressant of the activity of the central nervous system. The types of effects that I’m talking about here are slurred speech and loss of balance. These are things that we tend to think about with over-utilization and also long-term utilization in Xanax users. These symptoms can also present in scenarios when someone is a little more sensitive to the medication or the dose is not accurately being utilized for that particular individual.
Xanax or Probiotics – You Have a Choice
I tell you all that to simply say that you have an option to it. That option is, believe it or not, probiotics. Probiotics — the simple, little bacteria that we harbor in our gastrointestinal tract are what we’re talking about here. The first thing you have to appreciate about these micro-organisms is that we have a very commensal, mutually beneficial, relationship with these organisms. There is some give-and-take here. We give them nourishment through the different foods that we consume. In turn, they give us different nutrients and chemicals that benefit our body. For example, they provide B vitamins for us. All of the B vitamins in certain percentages come from the probiotics. They provide vitamin K. They provide the fatty acid call conjugated linoleic acid. That fatty acid is anti-inflammatory and helps promote weight loss.
Probiotic Benefit that Mimics Xanax, And Is Dramatically Better Long-Term
Relative to our conversation, the most important thing that probiotics produce is GABA. GABA is the primary neuro-inhibitory transmitter. What I mean by that is it is the primary chemical that is going to calm the brain back down. Think about where we started our conversation. We began talking about anxiety. Anxiety is the state of over-activity in the brain, too much excitatory activity. We want to counter that by bringing it back down. The way that we find that balance is we bring the excitatory state down by bringing up the inhibitory activity through the action of GABA. Now, you can use a medication that does that but then again, it has side effects. Or, you can take probiotics and repopulate your gastrointestinal tract. These probiotics are going to inherently make GABA for you.
There is a very well-established connection now between our gastrointestinal tract and our brain. This is just one of the mechanisms by which our GI tract has direct influence on our brain. If we don’t have good colonies of probiotics, then we’re not getting good GABA production. Without good GABA production, our brains have the tendency to become more excitatory, or wound up. The more excitatory they lean, then the more likely we are to succumb to the effects of chronic stress. That leads us into anxiety, being a little more apprehensive about different scenarios that we may find ourselves in and even can getting to the point of having a full-blown panic attack, which nobody wants to have to deal with.
The Long Term Solution
Here’s what you have to think on this. May I need Xanax to help me get out of an emergency situation? Absolutely! It’s a medication. That’s what medications are designed for. If you have a crisis or acute scenario, use the medication. Listen, these medications are not meant to be long-term fixes. Your long-term fix comes back to the probiotics and the things that you do to support the health of these probiotics. The Paleo diet does a great job of nourishing the probiotics so that they can enhance GABA production. The food you take in, the foods you avoid in your diet, the amount of stress that you try to reduce overall — those are all directly going to influence your probiotics.
You have an option. If you’re trying to balance your brain chemistry, keep the anxiety and keep the panic disorders under control, short term — maybe you need the meds, maybe you don’t; long term — you have to think probiotics.
I want to start off with a question: do you actually suffer from stress? Haha, right? That’s a big joke these days. We all suffer from stress. Most of the time, we don’t really realize that we’re suffering from stress but it has a tremendous toll on our body. Many times, because we don’t pay attention to it, we don’t actually take into consideration the toll that stress is applying to our body. What I want to do is take the opportunity to talk about the Three T’s of Stress. The Three T’s of Stress are going to be trauma, toxins and thoughts. If you’re not accounting for those three stressors, then you’re not optimizing your health. Let me take each one individually here.
The Stressor that Accumulates with Age
The first T is trauma. We’ve all had some type of trauma as we go through our lives. Maybe we’ve been in some type of motor vehicle accident. Maybe you’re an athlete and you’ve had some type of sprain/strain injury or injured a joint or a muscle. If you’re athletic, the chances are, you’ve probably had some type of injury. Those things, over time, start to wear on our body. It takes a lot of energy to recover from those injuries. If those injuries aren’t taken care of properly, then one of the things that happens is we begin to create imbalances in our body. Those imbalances structurally change the way our body functions. That’s a significant stress that can put a lot of structural toll on our body if we don’t deal with those, even causing changes internally through increased inflammation. Inflammation affects all aspects of our health.
The Three T’s of Stress: You Can No Longer Run From These
The second of the three T’s of stress are toxins. Toxins are ubiquitous in our environment; they’re everywhere. If you think that you’re not being exposed to toxins, let me just clarify — you’re wrong. You are being exposed to toxins; there’s no way you can’t be. If you live in a metropolitan environment, you’re being exposed to the exhaust, to gases, to things that are found as normal, consistent pollutants in the air. If you’re not eating 100%-organic all the time, then you’re going to be exposed to different herbicides and pesticides. A great example of this is going to be Round Up. Round Up is applied to numerous crops, especially grains. This chemical, that herbicide that has pesticide-like effects, is actually absorbed into those foods. When that food is processed and refined, that Round Up is not taken out. So you end up ingesting some of that. That accumulates in your body over time. What does that do? That is going to be a fat-soluble or fat-like substance. That means it’s going to have an affinity for your fat tissue. It’s going to want to hang out in your fat tissue. Your body doesn’t want to get rid of that. As a result, it continues to promote proliferative negative effects, creates chronic inflammation and begins to deteriorate tissues in the body over time. Our bodies have to consistently work to get these toxins out. This is just another reason the Paleo Diet is not an option, but a MUST if you are serious about improving your health.
The Stressor that is Between Your Ears
We’ve got trauma; we’ve got toxins. Now, the third T is going to be thought. Guys, listen. If you don’t step into each day and step out of bed, hit the ground with a positive mindset, you’re doomed. You’re going to have more stress than the person who has a smile on their face and has taken off each day on the right footstep. So you’ve got to approach life with a positive attitude. Listen, we all have our stresses. We all have things that are not ideal that we all deal with from day to day. It’s all about how you re-center and how you refocus yourself to keep going forward. If you’re not continuing to move forward, then those stresses are going to weigh on you. Those thoughts are going to weigh on you.
The Three T’s of Stress are Real
That seems very conceptual but what you have to appreciate about this is that it doesn’t really matter if it’s a physical trauma, if it’s a toxin or if it’s a thought process. Those stresses and they way your body deals with those and manages those are no different. You’re going to secrete cortisol. You’re going to negatively suppress your gastrointestinal function. You’re going to start having negative effects on your gastrointestinal tract. As we start talking about long-term health, if we can’t control our hormones, if we can’t keep our inflammation down, if we can’t keep our gastrointestinal tract healthy, that’s a recipe for a chronic disease to manifest.
Hear what I am saying. When you’re looking at your health and you’re thinking how do I try to deal with the different stressors in my environment, in the world that I function in, guys, look at the top three. You’ve got to deal with the traumas that you encounter and that you’ve succumbed to over an entire life span. You’ve got to deal with the toxins that are never-ending, that continue to accumulate more and more. Lastly, you’ve got to deal with between your ears. If you’re not stepping into that day with positive thoughts, you’re off the right track. Manage, not conquer, just manage, the three T’s of stress and you will significantly improve your health.
There are two problems with eating the same foods every day you must know about. Most people don’t even really realize that they’re eating the same foods. Most people have to write their diet down to recognize that their diet is pretty monotonous. They’re eating the same foods over and over and over again. There are two problems with this.
Problems with Eating the Same Foods – Number One
The first of the two problems with eating the same foods over and over again is that different foods have different nutrients in them. If you limit the number of foods that you’re consuming in your diet, you’re limiting the number of beneficial nutrients that you’re going to be consuming. For example, if one food is more predominant in B vitamins per se versus another food that’s more predominant in some of your minerals, you’re going to be shortchanging the intake of some of those nutrients because you’re not diversifying into these other food categories that increase the uptake of the additional nutrients, for example, the minerals. That’s a big reason and it’s also one of the reasons that are common in the promotion of nutrient deficiencies. Also, it leads to one of the reasons that I do micro-nutrient testing in my practice. It is critical to uncover hidden nutrient deficiencies.
Problems with Eating the Same Foods – Number Two
The second of the two problems with eating the same foods over and over that can be detrimental to your health —and probably maybe even more significant and a little bit more important— is that your immune system becomes very alert to the consumption of foods that are consumed consistently over and over. Think about this much like bacteria. The more prevalent bacteria is, the more recognition your immune system gives to that bacteria and the more it tries to mount a defense against that. We don’t typically think about food as being like bacteria in any way and indeed, they’re not. But what you have to appreciate is that food, especially foods that go undigested (and contribute to what some people refer to as a leaky gut), opens the door for us not to break those foods down efficiently, get them down to a small enough size and assimilate them to the point that they’re recognized as food. If this food leaks into our system, as the term leaky gut implies, then our immune system begins to target that food and it develops a response against it. Again, think about this as the more consistent the immune system sees that food. Even if you have a leaky gut scenario, if you have a diversity of foods, you’re less prone to develop consistent food sensitivities to those foods.
Problems with Eating the Same Foods – The Symptoms
Additionally, consuming a monotonous diet and over-consuming the same foods consistently is going to set up immune reactions. The significance of setting up immune reactions is these may lead to such things as joint pain. They can lead to breakouts on the skin. They can lead to headaches. There are a number of symptoms that this can lead to but one of the big categories that we tend to associate with this is auto-immune diseases. A very common example of this would be autoimmune Hashimotos thyroiditis. Auto-immune diseases are on the rise in the United States and worldwide. This is just one of the many reasons, but it’s also a reason you can easily control.
Diversity is King for Avoiding the Problems with Eating the Same Foods Repetitively
To make this a little more profound and put the whole picture together, we also want to keep in mind that the more nutrient deficiencies you have, the more dysfunction you have in your immune system, and the more it sets you up for this leaky gut scenario. If you can consume a diverse diet, then you’re going to have better overall nutrient status. You’re also going to be less likely to stimulate your immune system.
I want to make sure that you join us in upcoming videos because I’m going to talk about how the diversity in our diet also affects the bacteria. As we’re talking about today, keep that diet diverse so you can have a greater nutrient balance in your body and you can also prevent any type of food sensitivity and hopefully, food allergy as well. No diet is more beneficial in helping you do this than the Paleo Diet. With the help of an easy to follow Paleo Diet cookbook resource, you will be on the road to a tasty and diverse diet in no time.
Today, I want to share with you how your cell phone may actually be making you fat. Believe it or not, that’s actually possible. What are we talking about here? This can be your cell phone. It can be your tablet. It can be the computer screen that you’re looking at every day. It can even, to some degree, be your television screen at home at night.
Is the Blue Light from Your Cell Phone Making You Fat?
Here’s what’s happening: those screens are actually projecting off blue light. Blue light is what we tend to think about as being from sunlight. When we think about daylight, daylight is that blue light range that we’re talking about. The reason that this is important is when we have exposure to blue light, blue light is actually stimulating the pineal gland in our brain to decrease the production of melatonin. It keeps melatonin production down. That is going to make us alive and alert during the day; it is going to keep us active. However, that is the exact opposite of what should be happening at night. During the night time, our melatonin production should be up; our blue light exposure should be down.
Think about this. We’ve all looked at that screen before; we see the light projecting off the screen, that luminescence off of the screen. That’s suppressing our melatonin production. Again, melatonin should be going up at night. The blue lights off of our electronic devices are going to promote fat gain and promote the development of body tissue fat stores as a result of the activity of not being able to put our body into a full state of rest. It’s very well-established now that the higher our cortisol level the more likelihood of fat gain — again, if our melatonin is not up, our cortisol is. These two are antagonistic of each other. We have to get melatonin up to get cortisol down. Cortisol should be low at night. If it is high, your melatonin is suppressed and you are going to have trouble managing your weight. You also have a higher likelihood of increased hunger as a result of bluelight exposure that which will contribute to fat gain as well. This has been verified in more than one study.
The Change in Cortisol is Causing Your Cell Phone to Make You Fat
What we know is that if your cortisol elevates into the night time hours, you are more prone to develop fat. You’re going to have a harder time losing weight. You’re going to have a higher likelihood of depositing fat stores around the body, especially in the abdominal region. So guys, think about this: when you’re sitting there and you’re winding down your night, it’s always better to grab a book and read that book that doesn’t have any projection off of the screen as opposed to looking at your phone, looking at your tablet, or looking at your computer in the hour before you go to bed.
Ways to Stop a Cell Phone Making You Fat
Now, there are a couple of tricks and ways that I’m going to share with you on ways you can get around this. There are a lot of programs that you can download. You can go into your app store and you can find blue light filters. A lot of them will have a red appearance to the screen and they will actually filter out the blue light. I still don’t recommend utilizing this for a significant amount of time before you go to bed. But if you have to work and you’ve got to do some work before bed time, the blue light filter is going to be one of your better options. However, read the book if you can.
We always want to get back to the basics. We don’t want to let the idea of Modernosis take us over. We don’t want to let these ideas or the things that we’ve begun to accept as just our normal lifestyle in our modern world impact our health and contribute to its decline. But, just as technology is working against us, we can also use that technology to protect us, too.
You have to get behind making these changes in your life. This cannot be something that you are going to do tomorrow. You need to do it today. Take the opportunity now to protect yourself against the electronic devices or cell phones that are making you fat.
One of the questions I get a lot of times from patients is “What’s actually in my multivitamin? What am I actually taking?” I think what we have to understand is what is the original intent for a supplement anyway. The original intent for a supplement is actually to replace what’s in your diet. When we look at this, we have to ask what are things we optimally find from our diet? Is what we find in that supplement actually doing that? Is it filling that role for us?
That brings me to what you commonly pick up over the counter. One of the things I always challenge my patients to do is to actually go down the aisle and pick up different multivitamins and look at it. See if these are things that you would on your own, if you knowingly had the option, put in your body. Because I bet at the end of the day, most of you would look at those supplements and go, “I’m not taking that. That’s not an ideal thing for me to be putting in my body.” Let me give you a couple of examples.
What Color is my Multivitamin?
One that I point to right away is the coloring agents. If you pick up a multivitamin and it has some type of coloring agent in it, just know that coloring agents are known toxins. They actually promote irritability to our nervous system. They have also been equally shown to be an immune system stimulant and to be promoting of auto-immune conditions. Absolutely you don’t want to see any type of color in your multivitamin.
Tablets, Capsules and Fillers in a Multivitamin
Another category that you’re going to find is fillers. Fillers are really put in there to take up space, to maximize the real estate in a capsule, if you will, and they don’t add any true nutritional value to the product itself. Many don’t recognize that there’s a difference between a capsule and a tablet. You have to put a lot of pressure and a lot of heat on the tablets to manufacture them. When that happens, when there is high heat, you damage some of these vitamins. Minerals, not so much; minerals can handle pressure and heat but vitamins can’t. So your B vitamins, your fat-soluble vitamins like your A, E, D or K — those nutrients are going to be damaged so we want to try to avoid tablets as much as possible. Not to mention that, overall, most people don’t really like the way a tablet feels going down in comparison to a capsule. Always choose a multivitamin in a capsule if you can.
Probably, the most important on this is bottom line, what ingredients are in there, the true ingredients, the active ingredients that you’re going to find? The first place that I recommend you look is the mineral section. If you look at a mineral, let’s say for example you’re looking at iron and that iron is shown as a ferrous oxide. Ferrous oxide is known to be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. It causes nausea or some GI irritation. It’s generally because of the ferrous oxide. The better form is going to be what is known as iron bis-glycinate. That’s just one example.
That typically holds true for magnesium as well. Magnesium oxide is often found in products, calcium carbonate — these things are very, very poorly absorbed and not things you want to take. Again, at the end of the day, if you’re not absorbing it, you’re not getting significant benefit from it. You want to make sure we’re getting good quality minerals in your multivitamin.
Avoiding Cheap forms of B12 and Folate in Your Multivitamin
I’ll give you two more examples. Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9. Folates are what we derive from our food. Again, if the things that we’re taking in supplemental form are not consistent with what we consume as our food, then have we really met what our objectives are? The answer to that is going to be no. We always want to choose a folate versus a folic acid. If it’s a folic acid, it’s a cheaper option.
B12 should not be from cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is a form of B12. It’s the one of the four that you don’t find in the body. We find our adenosylcobalamin, our methylcobalamin, our hydroxocobalamin, but not cyanocobalamin. By and large, if you’re looking for a good B12 option, it has to be in a methyl or adenosyl form.
Listen, guys, I know it’s a lot of information but it’s definitely something that I want you as a consumer to know so when you’re trying to make the selection for you and your family, you’ll get the most from your multivitamin. Make sure that these are things you’re looking for.
Let’s go over what are the best protein options for you to help reduce inflammation. If you’ve ever been to the health foods store and you’re going down the aisle, you obviously see that there are a lot of different protein options. You kind of leave there scratching your head on which is the best protein option, especially if you’re trying to figure out what the best protein option is to reduce inflammation. What I want to do is talk about some of the different proteins out there and talk about how they might be of benefit when it comes to reducing inflammation.
The Best Protein to Reduce Inflammation and Cause it
The first one that we’re going to start off with is going to be whey protein. Whey protein is a dairy-based protein. It’s one of the two proteins that you find in dairy. Interestingly enough, the whey protein concentrates are beneficial in terms of helping produce glutathione, which is a big antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in the body. Glutathione keeps inflammation under control. The higher the antioxidant status, the lower the inflammation is going to be. So whey protein is a good option. However, it’s not such a great option if you’re an individual who has concerns about dairy allergies or you have some type of dairy sensitivity.
The Second Best Protein Option to Reduce Inflammation
Another option that’s out in the marketplace that’s really good, and has some of the similar benefits of whey protein such as high branched-chain amino acid content to promote good muscle tissue development is beef protein. Most people, when they think about beef protein, scoff. “Oh my goodness, does that taste like a steak or a hamburger?” In short, the answer to that is no. It’s simply just going to have, for example, a chocolate or vanilla flavor. What is great about beef protein is that it’s going to have not just a high amount of branched-chain amino acids, it’s going to have higher nitrogen content. The higher nitrogen you have, the higher protein development, the higher muscle tissue development capacity you have and the regeneration capacity you have. Also, because most of these beef proteins don’t simply come from just the meat portion of beef, but also from the bone and cartilage, you’re also going to get the benefit in helping to regenerate some of the cartilaginous tissue in our body. That’s a great option as well and makes beef protein the second best option to reduce inflammation, and maybe number one if you are an athlete.
Right along that same thought process, there’s collagen protein. Collagen protein is just that — it’s just protein derived from collagen. This is great because it doesn’t have a very high allergen profile. You’re not going to show immune reactions to collagen per se. That’s not something you typically find in the standard American diet or in the diet of most individuals even if they’re eating a pretty good diet. We just don’t typically eat an excess amount of collagen so you’re not going to develop potential reactivity to it. That’s a good one, especially if you have joint pain or joint aches or looking to try to recover from joint injuries. Maybe you’re just out there and you got some wear and tear on your joints that you need to support. If so, collagen protein may be for you.
Plant Proteins to Reduce Inflammation
Now, I’ll start to move away from some of the animal-oriented proteins and get into some of the plant-oriented proteins. Probably the most common one in the marketplace now is going to be pea protein. I like pea protein for the fact that, as a plant protein, it’s going to have high amount of the branched-chain amino acids. Again, if you’re looking for good muscle tissue development, muscle tissue recovery, these branched-chain amino acids are important. Pea protein, ironically as a plant protein, can deliver on that especially if you’re eating North American non-GMO yellow peas. Those are a great source if you are interested in a pea protein. Therefore pea protein tops my list of plants sources for the best proteins to reduce inflammation.
Right along that same thought process, you’re going to find rice protein. It’s an option that some have moved away from but it makes a good protein option. It helps diversify the diet. One of the things that can be a little concerning with both of these is that rice protein can have a little bit of a gritty mouth feel, but it’s not bad. Most of the time, you don’t really notice it, especially if you throw it into a smoothie. In regards to pea protein, for some individuals, can be a little bit hard to digest. It’s not everybody that has this concern but it does pop up from time to time and is often easily corrected with digestive enzymes.
The other protein options out there that I recommend are hemp protein. Hemp protein is good. It’s going to have a high fiber content usually associated with it.
The last one and this is one of the ones that is far less common, but I do find good clinical use for, is going to be the pumpkin seed protein powder.
The Best Protein to Reduce Inflammation is NOT a Single Protein
If you’re looking at all of these proteins and again, we’re trying to answer the question “What is the best protein to reduce inflammation?”, while each one of these proteins might on its own be a great protein to reduce inflammation, the true answer behind that is going to be all of them. The more consistently you consume a protein, the more likely you are to react to that protein. The idea here when you’re choosing a protein supplement is not to choose and get latched into one particular product; the better idea would be to use multiple different proteins. For example, if you walk into my personal pantry, you’re going to see I don’t just have a whey protein. I don’t just have a beef protein or just a pea protein. I have a lot of proteins in there and I rotate through these based on what my demands are. At the end of the day, when I’m trying to keep my own inflammation low and I’m asking myself “What’s the best protein that I should choose for me today to reduce inflammation?”, it’s not the same protein that I chose yesterday.
So don’t get locked into a one-size-fits-all for the ideal protein. At the end of the day, guys, it’s really more about the combination of proteins, the variety in your diet, looking at diversity and how that diversity enhances your overall gut profile, reduces potential immune reaction and keeps your inflammation low.