1 tbsp ghee
1 cup of white mushrooms, cleaned and cut into pieces
garlic clove, chopped into pieces or 1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion 1 lb. grassfed organic beef, browned and set aside
2 cups beef broth
½ cup dairy free sour cream
gluten-free pasta, cooked according to directions (I like the gluten-free brown rice pasta from Tinkyada or lentil pasta or chick pea pasta)
salt and pepper, to taste
1–2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt ghee and add mushrooms, garlic, and onion, sauté until soft. Add the browned beef and combine. Pour in broth and sour cream. Mix gently. Add cooked gluten-free noodles, turn heat to low, and mix everything together. Add salt, pepper, and parsley as desired.
10 frozen chicken tenders (instead of large chicken breasts, I like the smaller tenders)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp coconut aminos
salt, as needed squeeze of juice from ½ lime 8
ounces water chestnuts
Place tenders in Crock-Pot along with everything but water chestnuts. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or until chicken is tender and no longer pink inside. Cut chicken into chunks and add water chestnuts. Serve in bowls over rice noodles.
Bokma, Cindy. The Low-Oxalate Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook: 75 Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Yeast-Free, Low-Sugar Recipes to Help You Stress Less and Feel Better (p. 69). Skyhorse. Kindle Edition.
Powerful Phytochemical Rich Foods that Fight Cancer
Cancer is recognized worldwide to be a major health problem in the modern world. Cancer is a systemic disease with various causes, some of which include a poor diet, toxin exposure, nutrient deficiencies and to some extent genetics. The management of cancer can be invasive and complex, and involves conventional approaches such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Despite these modern advances, cancer continues to account for fourteen million new cases and roughly eight million deaths each year (Kotecha, Takami, & Espinoza, 2016). As a result, alternative methods may be needed to improve the effectiveness of the treatments and quality of life of patients.
The good news is that certain foods are cancer fighting and can both prevent and also help in the treatment of cancer therapy! That is because foods contain phytochemicals. I like to think of them as fight-chemicals, or chemicals that help you fight disease. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals that play important roles in health (Murphy, Barraj, Spungen, Herman, & Randolph, 2014). For example, beta-carotene (think carrots) and lycopene (think tomatoes) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Others such as lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the effects of oxidative damage that is associated with age related macular degeneration. And ellagic acid found in raspberries may reduce oxidative damage to DNA (Murphy et al., 2014).
Over production of free radicals and inflammation are some of the contributing factors to the development of cancer. Naturally occurring phytochemicals have been found to have a wide range of cellular effects that may be chemo-protective in the early stages of cancer. Antioxidant phytochemicals can be found in many foods and medicinal plants, and they play an important role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer (Zhang et al., 2015). They can also enhance the immune system, improve elimination of cancerous cells and impact your body’s repair mechanisms aimed at suppressing tumors and inhibiting cellular growth (Kotecha et al., 2016).
Foods that prevent cancer
1. Turmeric (Curcumin)-Turmeric contains curcumin which is a polyphenol that gives turmeric its golden color and distinct aroma. Curcumin’s effects against cancer have only emerged in the last few decades (Park, Amin, Chen, & Shin, 2013). Curcumin is classified as an anti-proliferative, antioxidant and carcinogen blocking agent (Park et al., 2013). In an attempt to increase its bioavailability, several curcumin formulations have been developed such as powder, tablets, capsules, liposomal encapsulation, emulsions, and nanoparticles (Shanmugam et al., 2015). Curcumin is an excellent synergist and works well in combination with other compounds such as quercetin, bioperine, piperine, lactoferrin, and soy isoflavones (Shanmugam et al., 2015). Adding turmeric and black pepper to your onions would be a great anti-cancer synergistic side dish.
2. Blueberries-consist of anthocyanins (ACNs), a water -soluble flavonoid and a member of the flavonoid family. Anthocyanins offer rich, robust, deep, dark, and beautiful colors like blues, purples, and reds in many fruits, flowers and leaves (Fang, 2014). Anthocyanins are known for their antioxidant protection. They are also known for their anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. This is accomplished by increasing scavenger hunting capabilities in cells which subsequently stimulates the Phase II detoxification system. In vitro animal studies demonstrated a reduction in oxidative stress as measured in urine (urinary 8- OHdG levels), indicating that berries may also reduce free radical-induced DNA damage in animals (Wang &Stoner, 2008).
3. Tomatoes-Tomatoes are high in a phytochemical called lycopene, which is actually a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their beautiful red color. Lycopene is one of the strongest antioxidant in nature and has both free radical scavenging properties as well as the ability to provide balance within the cell’s internal defense system (Gajowik & Dobrzynska, 2014). Epidemiological studies have shown that high intake of lycopene-containing vegetables is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer, including cancer of the digestive tract, prostate and cervix. Interestingly, a combination of vitamin E, selenium and lycopene has been shown to dramatically inhibit prostate cancer development and the increase disease free survival (Scarpa & Ninfali, 2015). A meal with tomatoes, brazil nuts and avocados may be a great way to prevent prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to inhibit cell proliferation and is able to induce programmed cell death of cancer cells (Kotecha et al., 2016). Tip: dietary fats can enhance lycopene absorption and metabolism. Go ahead and add some olive oil to your tomato sauce to enhance the cancer-fighting properties of lycopene.
4. Sweet potatoes- Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which gives them their nice orange color. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) making beta-carotene a precursor to vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient. Beta-carotene, like lycopene, exhibits anti-oxidant properties that can protect the body from free radicals, a primary cause of aging, degeneration and cancer. Beta-carotene has also been identified in the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells in neuroblastoma (Scarpa & Ninfali, 2015). The only caveat is taking beta-carotene if you are a smoker. Studies indicate that smokers can actually have an increased risk of cancer if supplemented with beta-carotene. (Virtamo et al., 2014). These findings indicate that if you smoke heavily you should consult with your health care provider before supplementing with beta-carotene.
Foods that can treat cancer
1. Aloe Vera– Aloe Vera is an amazing mixture of more than 200 constituents, including polysaccharides, enzymes, glycoproteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Aloe Vera contains polysaccharides that has been associated with immune modulation (Foster, Hunter, & Samman, 2011). These polysaccharides have been shown to act as a bridge between foreign proteins and immune cells (macrophages) in the human body, facilitating the destruction of the foreigner by the macrophage. One polysaccharide in particular is called acemannan, which can interject itself into all cell membranes which can improve the metabolism of the cell. Also, acemannan is known to have antiviral and antitumor activities through activation of immune responses. Acemannan induces your macrophages to secrete three anti-cancer compounds: interferon, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukins. Other immune functions of acemannan include: reducing inflammation, improve macrophage function, enhance antibody release, increase T-cell production, and improve nutrient absorption through the GI-tract.
2. Green tea catechins-Green tea is a flavanol polyphenol that is really a fancy word for antioxidant compounds in the food. Of all the antioxidant compounds found in green tea, the major constituents are the polyphenols, including phenolic acids and catechins (Du et al., 2012). ECGC is the major catechin in green tea that is known for its robust antioxidant activity. In fact, effects of green tea on chemoprevention have been attributed to its antioxidant potential. They can act on inflammatory processes by altering the recruitment of inflammatory cells from the circulation (Tangney & Rasmussen, 2013). Polyphenols in green tea can improve oxidative stress markers. Green tea’s ECGC is thought to exert their anti-oxidant power by preventing specific DNA damage by free radicals and preventing tumor formation (Kotecha et al., 2016) Green tea polyphenols have been shown to directly inhibit tumor cell growth by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) through multiple pathways linked in cancer development.
Hippocrates once said, “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”. One of the best ways to prevent cancer is through the diet. Check out my recipes to find some cancer fighting recipes that you can enjoy!
Du, G. J., Zhang, Z., Wen, X. D., Yu, C., Calway, T., Yuan, C. S., & Wang, C. Z. (2012). Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol in green tea. Nutrients, 4(11), 1679-1691. doi:10.3390/nu4111679
Foster, M., Hunter, D., & Samman, S. (2011). Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. In nd, I. F. F. Benzie, & S. Wachtel-Galor (Eds.), Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis
Gajowik, A., & Dobrzynska, M. M. (2014). Lycopene – antioxidant with radioprotective and anticancer properties. A review. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig, 65(4), 263-271.
Kotecha, R., Takami, A., & Espinoza, J. L. (2016). Dietary phytochemicals and cancer chemoprevention: a review of the clinical evidence. Oncotarget, 7(32), 52517-52529. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.9593
Murphy, M. M., Barraj, L. M., Spungen, J. H., Herman, D. R., & Randolph, R. K. (2014). Global assessment of select phytonutrient intakes by level of fruit and vegetable consumption. Br J Nutr, 112(6), 1004-1018. doi:10.1017/s0007114514001937
Park, W., Amin, A. R., Chen, Z. G., & Shin, D. M. (2013). New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 6(5), 387-400. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.capr-12-0410
Scarpa, E. S., & Ninfali, P. (2015). Phytochemicals as Innovative Therapeutic Tools against Cancer Stem Cells. Int J Mol Sci, 16(7), 15727-15742. doi:10.3390/ijms160715727
Shanmugam, M. K., Rane, G., Kanchi, M. M., Arfuso, F., Chinnathambi, A., Zayed, M. E., . . . Sethi, G. (2015). The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment. Molecules, 20(2), 2728-2769. doi:10.3390/molecules20022728
Tangney, C. C., & Rasmussen, H. E. (2013). Polyphenols, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep, 15(5), 324. doi:10.1007/s11883-013-0324-x
Virtamo, J., Taylor, P. R., Kontto, J., Mannisto, S., Utriainen, M., Weinstein, S. J., . . . Albanes, D. (2014). Effects of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplementation on cancer incidence and mortality: 18-year postintervention follow-up of the Alpha-tocopherol, Beta-carotene Cancer Prevention Study. Int J Cancer, 135(1), 178-185. doi:10.1002/ijc.28641
Zhang, Y. J., Gan, R. Y., Li, S., Zhou, Y., Li, A. N., Xu, D. P., & Li, H. B. (2015). Antioxidant Phytochemicals for the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases. Molecules, 20(12), 21138-21156. doi:10.3390/molecules201219753
I recently stumbled upon Maitake mushrooms as I have been searching for methods to increase my own immune system. For thousands of years mushrooms have been highly respected in Asia for their health promoting properties. Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is called the “King of Mushrooms” and it known for its immune enhancing compounds with significant anticancer effects. Modern research on maitake began in the early late 1970s in Japan under the direction of Dr. Hiroaki Nanba. He was researching the immune enhancing properties of mushrooms when he came to the conclusion that maitake extracts demonstrated more pronounced antitumor activity in animal tests than other mushroom extracts. In 1984, Dr. Nanba identified a fraction of maitake that possessed a significant ability to stimulate macrophages. Throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Dr. Nanba and other Japanese researchers continued to study maitake, trying to improve upon the antitumor and immune potentiating activity of maitake. The result of their work was the development and patent of MaitakeGold.
How does Maitake work?
Maitake polysaccharides contain a unique beta-1,6 1,3 glucan structure. Beta-glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides with distinctive beta 1,3 linked and beta 1,6 linked glucose polymers that are expressed by fungi, plants including cereals, grains, mushrooms, and some bacteria (Lin et al., 2010). “Beta-glucans are not expressed on mammalian cells and are recognized as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) by several types of pattern recognition receptors” (Lin et al., 2010). For leukocytes, the primary receptor for beta-glucan is the C-type receptor dectin-1, which can trigger phagocytosis, production of cytokines and chemokines, and activation of effector cell functions according to the cell type and specific properties of the beta-glucan compound.
Maitake exerts profound effects on immune function through mechanisms via the beta-glucan components. An extract of these helpful glucans was patented and is known as the maitake D-fraction, which has been shown to have anti-tumor activity while enhancing cytotoxic activity of macrophages and elevated production of IL-1. Unlike many other mushroom extracts that have to be injected intravenously, Maitake D-fraction has a strong ability to inhibit tumor growth when given orally as well (Superfoods, n.d.). Beta-glucans, like those in maitake, can also protect against myelotoxic injury (bone marrow suppression) following radiation and chemotherapy (Lin et al., 2010).
Maitake can increase the ability of the macrophages to engulf and destroy cancer cells, microbes, and other foreign cells, the binding stimulates the production of important signaling proteins of the immune system such as interleukin-1 interleukin-2, and lymphokines. These immune activators stimulate defenses by activating immune cells.
The beta-glucan components can bind to receptors on outer membranes of macrophages and other white blood cells such as natural killer (NK) cells and cytoxic T-cells, which can attack tumors directly. “Just like a key in a lock, the binding of the maitake components literally flips white blood cells on and triggers a chain reaction leading to increased immune activity”(Murray, 2014). Maitake also stimulates the production of white blood cells within the bone marrow. Reduced bone marrow production means lowered white cell counts and an increased risk of infection and cancer. This beneficial effect of the beta-glucan can be helpful for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center conducted a study in patients suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) – a bone marrow disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS patients received oral maitake extract at 3 mg per kg body weight twice daily for 12 weeks. Results indicated that maitake increased the function of neutrophil and monocyte white blood cells. The researchers also demonstrated that white blood cell response to E. coli bacteria is reduced in MDS patients but could be restored after 12 weeks of Maitake treatment. They also demonstrated that the ability of monocyte and neutrophils to destroy and digest infecting organisms. The proposed mechanism includes the ability of maitake treatment to stimulate the maturation of these immune cells in the bone marrow, leading to the release of more functionally competent cells.
Dosing of Maitake
Typically, the daily dosage range of maitake extract based upon body weight has been 0.5mg to 1.0 mg for every kg of body weight per day. That translates to a dosage of approximately 68mg per day for 150lb person. (This study used a dosage of 3 mg/kg to show an immediate clinical effect.) For best results take 20 minutes before meals or on an empty stomach.
Here are a few products that utilize Maitake. Glycolife is owned by my friend and FDN colleague whom I trust his quality very much.
Buy Maitake here, use coupon ICHealer for discount
Lin, H., de Stanchina, E., Zhou, X. K., Hong, F., Seidman, A., Fornier, M., . . . Cunningham-Rundles, S. (2010). Maitake beta-glucan promotes recovery of leukocytes and myeloid cell function in peripheral blood from paclitaxel hematotoxicity. Cancer Immunol Immunother, 59(6), 885-897. doi:10.1007/s00262-009-0815-3
Murray, M. (2014). Maitake Extract Produces Beneficial Effects on the Immune System in Patients with Bone Marrow Failure. Retrieved (2018, July 9) from http://doctormurray.com/maitake-extract-produces-beneficial-effects-on-the-immune-system-in-patients-with-bone-marrow-failure/
Superfoods. (n.d.) Maitake Benefits and Cancer Research. Retrieved (2018, July 9) from http://www.superfoods-scientific-research.com/superfoods/maitake-benefits.html
Milk protein (Casein)
Milk protein hypersensitivity is thought to affect well over 40% of the population. Milk protein intolerance causes a delayed response, where it can take up to 3 days to cause symptoms. These delayed reactions to milk proteins are often tested for by measuring milk-specific IgG antibodies in blood.
Milk hypersensitivity is an IgG-mediated response (often called type III hypersensitivity reactions), and is different than an allergy which is IgE-mediated. Milk hypersensitivity in early childhood is mostly an IgE-mediated response to casein, causing immediate reactions (Anthoni, Savilahti, Rautelin, & Kolho, 2009). However, IgE reactions are often rare in adulthood. Instead, a hypersensitivity in adulthood is usually Ig-G mediated.
Many symptoms resemble irritable bowel (IBS), such as bloating, constipation, migraines, headaches, runny nose, sinusitis, fatigue, skin rashes, eczema and low mood.
Egg Protein (ovalbumin)
An egg hypersensitivity typically is associated with the egg white (albumen). This differs from an egg allergy in which involves the entire egg and is characterized by immediate allergic symptoms associated with histamine (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, eczema). Egg allergies are also more common among children.
An egg hypersensitivity is characterized by gastrointestinal symptoms such as excessive gas, nausea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping. Additionally, an egg hypersensitivity can reveal itself in other symptoms such as headaches, skin problems, difficulty breathing, heart burn, joint pain, irritability and nervousness. Symptoms usually come on gradually and can be dose-dependent, and is often not life threatening.
The immune response to proteins such as egg and dairy
In normal conditions, consumed proteins, including food allergens, are completely degraded in the digestive tract to oligopeptide fragments (Gocki & Bartuzi, 2016). However, 15% of protein is often found to be incompletely digested, including a proportion of food antigens. Food antigens that were not destroyed by digestive processes (such as enzymes, bile salts, gastric pH) penetrate the intestinal epithelium of the digestive tract and reach the body’s internal environment (Gocki & Bartuzi, 2016). There are four main steps involved in the immune reaction (Gocki & Bartuzi, 2016):
- Capture of antigens by Peyer’s patch M cells, which is the microfold cell. Here there are dendritic cells, macrophages, T cells and B cells.
- Capture of antigens from the digestive tract by dendritic cell processes localized by enterocytes.
- This is where it is processed to present in an MHC molecule. The dentritic cell phagocytoses the antigen and presents a peptide of the food to CD4 T cells. CD4 binds to CD28 which evokes a TH1 response. The TH1 cell produces interferon gamma, which then initiates B cell to make IgG.
- Interferon gamma will also cause CD8 T cells specific for the food to activate macrophages to produce reactive oxygen species (contributing to oxidative stress and gut inflammation). This can contribute to production of IL-1, IL-6 and even more TNF-a (Zwickey, 2018).
- Capture of antigens by enterocytes. Food antigens can also travel between enterocytes where they can damage the integrity of the cells.
- Food antigens encounter cells of the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue)
- Here, food allergens will be treated by GALT either as “innocuous antigens and induce tolerance, or as pathogens and then cause either defense reactions or excessive defensive reactions, that is hypersensitivity” (Gocki & Bartuzi, 2016).
It is also important to note that TH1 also makes TNF-alpha, which is a cytokine associated with breaking down tight junctions and leaky gut. This is also contributing to many of the symptoms associated with a hypersensitivity reaction, such as GI disturbances.
Interestingly, there is a genetic component to food hypersensitivities, making some individuals more susceptible to the loss of oral tolerance; either oral tolerance is not established or it is degraded. In fact, within the first year after birth, approximately 2.5% of infants have a cow’s milk hypersensitivity, and 80% go on to outgrow it by the time they reach five years of age. On the other hand, approximately 60% of milk allergies are mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) rather than by immunoglobulin G (IgG)—as is seen with hypersensitivity reactions (Sampson, 2003).
Anthoni, S., Savilahti, E., Rautelin, H., & Kolho, K. L. (2009). Milk protein IgG and IgA: the association with milk-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in adults. World J Gastroenterol, 15(39), 4915-4918.
Food Intolerances. (2014, May 6). Milk Allergy or Intolerance? Retrieved 2018, May 11 from https://www.yorktest.com/milk-allergy-or-milk-intolerance/
Gocki, J., & Bartuzi, Z. (2016). Role of immunoglobulin G antibodies in diagnosis of food allergy. Postepy Dermatol Alergol, 33(4), 253-256. doi:10.5114/ada.2016.61600
Sampson, H. A. (2003). 9. Food allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 111(2), S540-S547. doi:10.1067/mai.2003.134
Zwickey, Heather. (n.d). Immune Response to Food. [presentation] Retrieved (2018, May 11) from https://learn.muih.edu/courses/6679/modules
I don’t recommend high consumptions of coconut oil and saturated fats such as often found in ketogenic diet and here is why. Both gram positive and gram negative bacteria are present in large quantities in the intestine. Gram negative bacteria, such as E. coli, might be one of the major sources for circulating endotoxin. “It has been estimated that a single cell of Escherichia coli contains approximately 106 Lipid A or endotoxin molecules and a typical human intestinal tract could harbor approximately one gram of endotoxin” (Mani, Hollis, & Gabler, 2013) The endotoxin is the gram negative bacterial outer cell wall also known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Even in small quantities, LPS has the potential to elicit and inflammatory response systemically. Endotoxins are thought to enter circulation through leaky intestinal epithelium in the context of leaky gut.
In recent years accumulating research has investigated the link between dietary fat and endogenous endotoxin in relation to metabolic inflammation. Current evidence suggests that dietary fat can increase circulating endotoxin concentrations. The resulting postprandial endotoxemia leads to low-grade systemic inflammation which has been implicated in the development of several metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease (Mani et al., 2013). It has been theorized that different types of dietary oils can differentially alter intestinal endotoxin transport. According to a few studies I read, oils rich in DHA and EPA (fish oil, cod liver oil, algae oil) can attenuate LPS transport, while oils higher in saturated fats (coconut oil, palm oil, animal fats) can increase transport.
Interestingly, canola oil and sunflower oil, although containing a high unsaturated fatty acid content, augmented plasma endoxemia by 50-75%. A majority of these studies show that consuming high saturated fat diet for a longer period results in higher gram negative bacterial populations and high fiber diets results in gram positive bacterial populations. “Furthermore, even though the mechanism is not clear, high intake of fat has been shown to cause internalization of tight junction proteins and increase in the paracellular permeability to macro molecules including endotoxin” (Mani et al., 2013). Better to increase your consumption of polyunsaturated fats such as fish oil and monounsaturated fats such olive oil. This is another reason why I do not recommend long term ketogenic diets, particularly due to the high saturated fat intake.
Mani, V., Hollis, J. H., & Gabler, N. K. (2013). Dietary oil composition differentially modulates intestinal endotoxin transport and postprandial endotoxemia. Nutr Metab (Lond), 10(1), 6. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-10-6
Mani, V. (2012) Understanding intestinal lipopolysaccharide permeability and associated inflammation. Retreived (2018, July 18) from https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/12788/
I probably eat a stir fry 2-3x per week. They are filling, full of fiber, nutrients and this one is low oxalate and allergy free! Great food for gut, immune system and bladder health.
1 head of cauliflower
2 bok choy
1 red pepper
1 small onion
bunch of mushrooms
1 head of cabbage
1–2 tbsp of olive oil, ghee, or avocado oil
garlic powder (start with 1 tsp)
salt and white pepper
In a large skillet, add all the vegetables, turn heat to medium, and sauté in oil. This should take about ten to fifteen minutes; frequently stir the veggies around so everything cooks evenly. The zucchini will probably start to soften first. Add in your garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remember the white pepper is potent! If you have a rotisserie chicken on hand, add some pieces toward the end of the stir-frying of the vegetables so it heats up a little. Shake in a little of the coconut aminos if you want, or let everyone add their own, which is my preference. I like it, but my husband prefers regular soy sauce, so I also have that on hand for him. Serve it up on a bowl, over white rice or gluten-free pasta if you want. A nice big bowl of low-oxalate fruit would go well with this!
I often recommend quercetin to my clients that I educate on supplements that are beneficial for modulating inflammation. During my research on the benefits of quercetin, I found some interesting literature that seems promising in the therapy of bladder conditions. UTI’s are one of the most common bacterial infections of the bladder and account for almost 95% of all the visits to physicians for UTI’s (Wang et al., 2012). Patients with acute cystitis always have symptoms of dysuria and increased frequency and urgency of urination. As I have already experienced, this can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. The incidence of acute cystitis is high, and the course of acute cystitis is urgent. If acute cystitis cannot be treated promptly, it will be transformed into chronic cystitis. “It can also be transformed into cystitis glandularis, and finally into bladder cancer. It can also induce nephritis. Therefore, timely treatment of acute cystitis is necessary” (Wang et al., 2012).
Currently, acute cystitis is commonly treated by systemic application of antibiotics and anti-inflammation agents. However, only a small amount of systemically administered drugs can reach the bladder. In recent years, the anti-inflammatory effect of querctin (QU) has been well recognized, demonstrating promising clinical application. Recently, it was found that QU can be used to prevent interstitial cystitis (Wang et al., 2012). There are many quercetin containing supplements available in the market, and some of them specifically aimed to treat the bladder. One of them, Cystoprotek, contains QU and rutin with the aims of reducing bladder wall inflammation (Theoharides, Kempuraj, Vakali, & Sant, 2008). Unfortunately it was recently pulled off the market. An older product, Cysta-Q, was shown to provide symptomatic improvements in patients with IC (Katske et al., 2001). Personally, neither of these supplements did anything significant for my IC symptoms at the time I was taking them. This could be due to the inability of the active ingredients to reach the bladder.
Another product that seems promising is Perque Repair Guard. The antioxidant value is of 12 servings of fruits and vegetables. It has 1g of quercetin per tablet. And other healing ingredients such as pomegranate juice powder, OPC, magnesium, chlorophyll, turmeric, and vegetable fiber.
Interestingly, some clinicians are exploring intravesical administration. This means directly instilling the drug solution into the bladder through a urethral catheter, ensuring maximum delivery of active ingredients to the bladder (Wang et al., 2012). According to Wang et. al, the bladder is an idea organ for regional therapy because it urethra provides easy access of the therapeutic agent to the bladder (Wang et al., 2012). In addition, intravesical drug administration has other potential benefits such as avoiding the first-pass metabolism, increasing drug utilization and reducing system toxicity and side effects (Wang et al., 2012). The study conducted by Wang et. al involved encapsulating nanoparticles of water soluble QU into micelles to ensure proper absorption. The results of this study found that intravesical application of the micelles did not induce any toxicity to the bladder. Even better, intravesical administration of QU micelles efficiently reduced the inflammation of the bladder with E. coli-induced acute cystitis. Results indicated that the quercetin micelle treatment can efficiently reduce the edema and inflammatory cell infiltration of the bladder in an E. coli-induced acute cystitis model (Wang et al., 2012). The data from this study proved the hypothesis that QU had potential application in acute cystitis therapy. I am looking forward to seeing future studies in the application, as there are millions of men, women, and even children suffering from this very debilitating condition!
Katske, F., Shoskes, D. A., Sender, M., Poliakin, R., Gagliano, K., & Rajfer, J. (2001). Treatment of interstitial cystitis with a quercetin supplement. Tech Urol, 7(1), 44-46.
Theoharides, T. C., Kempuraj, D., Vakali, S., & Sant, G. R. (2008). Treatment of refractory interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome with CystoProtek–an oral multi-agent natural supplement. Can J Urol, 15(6), 4410-4414.
Wang, B. L., Gao, X., Men, K., Qiu, J., Yang, B., Gou, M. L., . . . Wei, Y. Q. (2012). Treating acute cystitis with biodegradable micelle-encapsulated quercetin. Int J Nanomedicine, 7, 2239-2247. doi:10.2147/ijn.s29416
Water fasting for reversing Interstitial Cystitis (IC) symptoms? Say it isn’t so! As one study suggests: “In rodents, intermittent or periodic fasting protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.”
Can it help overcome the pain associated with IC and is it right for you? Fasting seems to be the latest health trend, with intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, and water fasts are becoming quickly popular in the wellness arena. Water fasts have been used for centuries and have been done in a number of different ways and for varying lengths of time, usually five to 40 days.
What is a water fast?
In a true water fast, you are limited to drinking only water and no food for the duration of the fast. Interestingly, modern science has found a variety of verifiable positive effects of fasting that has on human health. However, there are some downsides to fasting as well, so it is important to review both the positive and negative to determine if fasting is right for you.
Benefits of Water Fasting for IC
- Autophagy. My number one favorite benefit is the process of autophagy. The term ‘autophagy’, derived from the Greek meaning ‘eating of self’, was first coined by Christian de Duve over 40 years ago (Glick, Barth, & Macleod, 2010). Autophagy is your body’s normal, natural process for recycling unnecessary or dysfunctional components. The body reprograms itself, clearing out old cells or damaged cells and replacing them with new ones (Cheng et al., 2014). This means that fasting can encourage your body’s natural healing mechanisms to actively destroy and recycle damaged tissues, which may have a positive effect on several serious conditions. This can often lead to improved immunity and reduction in autoimmune symptoms. The idea is the body gets rid of damaged autoimmune cells and replaces them with healthy new ones. This could come handy since IC is characterized by recurrent inflammation and destruction of bladder tissue without obvious cause, that some speculate could be a broken immune system response.
- Improved digestive health. Research suggests that fasting can improve digestive health, allowing good bacteria to flourish, resulting in an overall improvement in metabolism, weight, and many other cardiometabolic conditions. Fasting is also a great break for your gut, which is often helpful if you have food intolerances and allergies. The elimination of food antigens can also reduce inflammation that is often associated with chronic pain and immune dysfunction. This is because water fasting can upregulate a T cell response, called T-regulatory cells, that are involved in oral tolerance of food. In fact, eating foods that your body is intolerant to can make your immune system work too hard and make your more susceptible to infections. Therefore, giving your gut a break can actually enhance immunity and reduce inflammation, a crucial symptom of IC. (Make sure you follow up the fast with a healthy diet and probiotics)
- Improved markers of metabolic syndrome. Water fasting can improve aspects of metabolic syndrome: abdominal fat, inflammation and blood pressure are reduced. Insulin sensitivity is increased, and the functional capacities of the nervous, neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems are improved (Longo & Panda, 2016). Fasting results in a lowering of the hormones insulin and leptin levels and an elevation of adiponectin and ghrelin levels. By increasing insulin and leptin sensitivity, you can suppress inflammation and stimulate autophagy. Fasting can reverse all the major abnormalities of metabolic syndrome such as reduced body fat, blood pressure and glucose metabolism (Longo & Mattson, 2014).
- Slowed aging. There are biomarkers that are associated with reduced aging when you water fast. These include changes in the levels of signals in your body, such as IGF-1, IGFBP1, glucose, and insulin. Fasting for 3 or more days causes a 30% or more decrease in circulating insulin and glucose, as well as rapid decline in the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), the major growth factor in mammals. Together with insulin, reducing growth factor is associated with decreased aging and cancer (Longo & Mattson, 2014). It could also slow down the aging of your immune system so that you are less susceptible to infections.
- Reduction in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a condition where too much oxygen can wreak havoc in your cells. It’s complicated, but the bottom line is that oxidative stress is an indication that you are out of balance on a cellular level. This condition can cause excessive fatigue, brain fog, muscle and joint pain, wrinkles, gray hair, poor eyesight, headaches and sensitivity to noise, and a decreased immune system. And a decreased immune system makes you more at risk of getting even more infections.
Risks of Water Fasting
- Dehydration. Although it sounds strange, a water fast could make you dehydrated. This is because roughly 20 to 30% of your daily water intake comes from the foods you eat. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, nausea, headaches, constipation, low blood pressure and low productivity. To avoid dehydration, you will need to drink a lot more water than you are used to drinking.
- Loss of electrolytes. During a water fast, you may lose electrolytes, which are needed for your heart to function. This can lead to abnormal heartbeats and can potentially be dangerous in susceptible individuals. Drink electrolyte water to prevent this from occurring if you decide to water fast.
- Low blood sugar. Some people have reactive hypoglycemia and may find it difficult to fast. This is because they are not efficient at using fat for energy, and may struggle to transition to ketosis. What is ketosis? Ketosis is actually a normal metabolic process in your body that occurs when your body does not have enough glucose (sugar) for energy, so it burns up stored fat for energy instead (McIntosh, 2017). Ketones are produced as a by-product of this process, which can be measured on home test strips or finger prick tests. Once you can achieve ketosis, the fast gets much easier. It is recommended that you initially do a shorter fast, or experiment with a period of intermittent fasting before trying to do a prolonged water only fast.
- Orthstatic hypotension. This occurs when you get dizzy when you stand up suddenly. It is common when water fasting, but it can also be dangerous. The dizziness and risk of fainting could lead to an accident.
- Sudden death. Although it is rare, there is a chance of sudden death during a water fast. Granted these people did have pre-existing heart conditions, but it is still worth mentioning, particularly in the context of a prolonged water fast over 72 hours.
- Extreme hunger. Face it, hunger is uncomfortable. Although most hunger subsides after 3 days, the first few days can be unbearable, especially if you are surrounded by food. It is best to stay away from any sources of temptation during your fast so that makes it less intolerable.
IC & My Fasting Experience
What provoked me to do a water fast? I had persistent symptoms of urinary inflammation and pain, typical IC. Pain during urination, pain during intercourse and overall heightened sensitivity (mostly in my urethra). I also had digestive issues, gas, severe bloating, maldigestion and was prone to frequent UTIs.
I have experimented with both a 4.5 and a 7.5-day water fast. I did two 4.5 day fasts and one 7.5 days fast. Hands down, I will never do a fast longer than 4 days again! The 4 days were the most therapeutic for my body. It reduced my inflammation substantially and got me out of IC pain. It was also relatively easy to return back to eating normal foods again.
The first time I fasted was the hardest transitioning to ketosis (this is when your body switches from burning calories to burning fat cells instead and you do not feel that hungry anymore). It took me 3 days to achieve ketosis and I even passed out on day 3 due to orthstatic hypotension. I was very weak the entire fast and was very glad to break it.
The 7.5 day fast for me was not as eventful. I was better prepared to go into the fast and was able to achieve ketosis much quicker and had fewer problems overall. However, this one stressed my adrenals and my gut and it took me a long time to get it back to normal. I had indigestion for 8 days, diarrhea, knee and joint pain and even got a UTI after the fast! Luckily, I was able to resolve it rather quickly, but it taught me a lesson: prolonged water fasting is not for everyone.
Overall, I think the second fast was harder on my body because I have done several fasts in the past few months prior and it may have been too soon for me. There is a period of refeeding that is very important in the context of fasting, it is very important for stem cell proliferation of the immune cells. Therefore, it is possible I did not give my body enough time to rebuild new cells after the fast, and perhaps my immune system suffered as a result (Longo, 2018)
A word of advice: If you decide to fast, hire a health coach or nutritionist to help prepare you for your fast. You need have been following a comprehensive elimination diet full of good quality foods for a period of time before you fast to mitigate any negative side effects that could occur during or after the fast. You will also want them to run preliminary blood work on you to make sure you are healthy enough to fast. This will also help them guide you as to the duration of a fast that would be suitable for you.
- Cheng, C. W., Adams, G. B., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B. S., . . . Longo, V. D. (2014). Prolonged fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic-stem-cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression. Cell Stem Cell, 14(6), 810-823. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014
- Glick, D., Barth, S., & Macleod, K. F. (2010). Autophagy: cellular and molecular mechanisms. J Pathol, 221(1), 3-12. doi:10.1002/path.2697
- Longo, V. (2018). Dr. Valter Longo on Resetting Autoimmunity and Rejuvinating Systems with Prolonged Fasting and the FMD. Retrieved (2018, July 19) from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evGFWRXEzz8&t=3361s
- Longo, V. D., & Mattson, M. P. (2014). Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metab, 19(2), 181-192. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2013.12.008
- Longo, V. D., & Panda, S. (2016). Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan. Cell Metab, 23(6), 1048-1059. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
- Mandal, A. (n.d.) What is Autophagy? Retrieved (2018, July 5) from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Autophagy.aspx
- 1 lb. grass-fed organic London broil
- 1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 1/2c red or white onion, chopped
- 1/4c EVOO
- 1/8c Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning (optional)
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red onion, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl.
- Place London boil in a Ziplock bag or baking dish and marinate for 6 to 24 hours. Marinating it longer will help tenderize the lean meat, since it can be on the tougher side.
- Preheat grill to high heat
- Grill London broil on high for 4-5 minutes one side. Flip and reduce heat to medium/high, and grill the other side.
Enjoy with a side of sliced avocados and grilled asparagus.
Nutrient contribution to Phase 1 detox:
Grass fed Beef
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Branch chain amino acids
- Iron (cofactor for SOD and catalase)
- Amino acids (Contains 9 essential amino acids and 5 conditionally essential)
- B vitamins especially inositol
- Medium chain triglyceride
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B6
- Flavonoids (quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, isohamnetin)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Manganese (cofactor catalase)
- Monounsaturated fat
- Phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol)
- Flavonoids (epicatechin and epigallocatechin 3-0-gallate)
- Carotenoids (Lutein and Zeaxanthin)
- Omega-3 (ALA)
- Monounsaturated fat