Multiple Sclerosis and the Paleo Diet

Not Dr Terry Wahls

From a recent scientific article:

Preliminary studies suggest that a modified Paleolithic diet may benefit symptoms of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). However, this diet restricts the consumption of eggs, dairy, and gluten-containing grains, which may increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, we evaluated the nutritional safety of this diet among people with progressive MS. Three nonconsecutive 24-h dietary recalls were collected from (n = 19) progressive MS participants in the final months of a diet intervention study and analyzed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) software. Food group intake was calculated, and intake of micronutrients was evaluated and compared to individual recommendations using Nutrient Adequacy Ratios (NARs). Blood was drawn at baseline and the end of the study to evaluate biomarker changes. Mean intake of fruits and vegetables exceeded nine servings/day and most participants excluded food groups. The intake of all micronutrients from food were above 100% NAR except for vitamin D (29.6 ± 34.6%), choline (73.2 ± 27.2%), and calcium (60.3 ± 22.8%), and one participant (1/19) exceeded the Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for zinc, one (1/19) for vitamin A, and 37% (7/19) exceeded the chronic disease risk reduction (CDRR) for sodium. When intake from supplements was included in the analysis, several individuals exceeded ULs for magnesium (5/19), zinc (2/19), sodium (7/19), and vitamins A (2/19), D (9/19), C (1/19), B6 (3/19), and niacin (10/19). Serum values of vitamins D, B12, K1, K2, and folate significantly increased compared to respective baseline values, while homocysteine and magnesium values were significantly lower at 12 months. Calcium and vitamin A serum levels did not change. This modified Paleolithic diet is associated with minimal nutritional risks. However, excessive intake from supplements may be of concern

Source: Eating Pattern and Nutritional Risks Among People With Multiple Sclerosis Following a Modified Paleolithic Diet – PubMed

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How Did Paleolithic Man Trim His Nails?

He had no modern shoe, gloves, or paring knives.

From Science ABC:

Before humans developed blades or social expectations of hygiene, how did we handle the inexorably growing nails at the ends of our fingers?

The answer to this question is quite simple… the fingernails probably took care of themselves. Fingernails are largely made up of keratin, a hardened protein that is also found in the skin and hair. While keratin is hardy and durable, it is far from unbreakable, as any woman with a chipped nail will attest. Similarly, when you clip your nails with any of the clippers explained above, there is some resistance, but they are relatively easy to snip off.

Now, think back 100,000 years, when early humans behaved as hunter-gatherers, engaging in physically demanding activities to survive. Over the course of their normal days, they may have been digging tubers out of the ground, sharpening a rudimentary spear, carrying temporary shelters or trying to start a fire. With all of this manual labor, it is believed that the fingernails would have naturally been worn down and chipped away. The daily demands of survival would have kept the fingernails from growing to unruly or unmanageable lengths. As mentioned above, we see this passive maintenance in other species as well, such as dogs that are often walked on pavement, which gradually wears down their nails, thus requiring fewer nail trimmings at the vet.If the fingernails of these early humans did break or chip, they likely solved the problem as we do today—giving them a nibble and maybe tugging off the occasional irritating hangnail. Again, we see this same behavior in other species who lick at, soften, and bite their nails when they grow too long.

The tribal elites probably didn’t to as much physical labor as the proletarians. so I imaging they and others could have used flat rocks as nail files.

The linked article covers nail trimming over the last 10,000 years, too.

Source: How did ancient people cut their nails before the nail clipper was invented?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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For Type 2 Diabetes, Gastric Bypass May Improve Cardiac and Renal Outcomes

Steve Parker MD, bariatric surgery, gastric bypass

Band Gastric Bypass Surgery

From a recent Diabetes Care article:

Our data suggest robust benefits for renal outcomes, heart failure, and CV [cardiovascular] mortality after GBP [gastric bypass] in individuals with obesity and T2DM. These results suggest that marked weight loss yields important benefits, particularly on the cardiorenal axis (including slowing progression to end-stage renal disease), whatever the baseline renal function status.

Source: Renal and Cardiovascular Outcomes After Weight Loss From Gastric Bypass Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes: Cardiorenal Risk Reductions Exceed Atherosclerotic Benefits | Diabetes Care

Because of the risk of surgery, I’d make sure first that diet modification was seriously tried and failed.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Proposal: A Second Paleolithic Diet Score

Not too many folks eat rabbit these days

Offhand, I don’t recall the first paleo diet score proposed several years ago.

From June 2020 in Nutrition Research Reviews:

In a PubMed searched up to December 2019, 14 different PaleoDiet definitions were found. We observed some common components of the PaleoDiet among these definitions although we also found high heterogeneity in the list of specific foods that should be encouraged or banned within the PaleoDiet. Most studies suggest that the PaleoDiet may have beneficial effects in the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes, overweight/obesity, cardiovascular diseases and hyperlipidemias) but the level of evidence is still weak because of the limited number of studies with large sample size, hard outcomes instead of surrogate outcomes and long-term follow-up. Finally, we propose a new PaleoDiet score composed of 11 food items, based on a high consumption of fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish, eggs and meats; and a minimum content of dairy products, grains and cereals, and legumes and practical absence of processed (or ultra-processed) foods or culinary ingredients.

Source: Scoping Review of Paleolithic Dietary Patterns: A Definition Proposal – PubMed

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs Linked to Dementia

I have nothing against Prilosec in particular. It can be very helpful.

We have two major classes of drugs that reduce acid production by the stomach. The first was H2 blockers, the granddaddy being Tagamet (cimetidine). Tagamet was the first PPI on the market in the U.S., probably 25-30 years ago. Several H2 blockers are are available without a prescription. The second and later class of acid-reducing drugs is the PPI. These are more potent than H2 blockers. Because of H2 blockers and PPIs, and the discovery that H. pylori causes many ulcers, we have many fewer patients requiring surgery for upper GI ulcers. Surgery like vagotomy and pyloroplasty. Once the ulcer heals, most folks don’t need to take a PPI for the rest of their lives.

There are reasons our stomachs produce acid. One is that the acid helps kill pathogens in our food before they make us sick. Another is to start the digestion of proteins we eat. You can imagine that drastically reducing stomach acid production has some potential adverse effects.

Bix at Fanatic Cook turned me on to the possibility that chronic use of  PPIs might cause cognitive decline, up to and including dementia. In the U.S., PPIs are available over-the-counter and many physicians prescribe and recommend them to patients in order to reduce stomach acid. The most common reason for chronic usage must be gastroesophageal reflux disease (aka GERD), which is severe or frequently recurrent heartburn. Common PPI names are Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec, omeprazole, and pantoprazole.

A German population study a few years ago linked PPI usage with higher risk of dementia.

A total of 73,679 participants 75 years of age or older and free of dementia at baseline were analyzed. The patients receiving regular PPI medication (n = 2950; mean [SD] age, 83.8 [5.4] years; 77.9% female) had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication (n = 70,729; mean [SD] age, 83.0 [5.6] years; 73.6% female) (hazard ratio, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.36-1.52]; P < .001).

The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia. This finding is supported by recent pharmacoepidemiological analyses on primary data and is in line with mouse models in which the use of PPIs increased the levels of β-amyloid in the brains of mice. Randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed to examine this connection in more detail.

Source: Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of Dementia: A Pharmacoepidemiological Claims Data Analysis – PubMed

Check out Bix’s article to read that:

  • PPIs interfere with production of acetylcholine, a major chemical than nerve cells use to communicate with each other
  • Healthy young folks who took a PPI for 10 days performed worse on tests of memory

I don’t know about Germany, but there’s evidence that the incidence of dementia has been decreasing lately in the U.S. I’m guessing that the use of PPIs has been increasing over the last couple decades. So this doesn’t fit with the PPI-dementia theory.

If you have GERD, a low-carb diet may well control it, allowing you to avoid the side effects of PPIs, not to mention the cost.

Oh, darn. I may not be getting my check from Big Pharma this month.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk With Olive Oil

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, balsamic vinaigrette,

I like this and use it. The lower left corner says “with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.” In order, the listed ingredients are water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil, sugar…. 2 tbsp has 3 grams of carb. Which oil would you guess predominates? BTW, balsamic has the most carbs of all the vinegars. Ideally, make your own vinaigrette with EVOO and NO soybean oil. 

A new analysis of the Nurses Health Study confirms the headline above. Olive oil, of course, is a primary component of the healthy Mediterranean diet. From the American College of Cardiology:

Higher olive oil intake was associated with a lower risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] and total CVD [cardiovascular disease] in two large prospective cohorts of US men and women. The substitution of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat with olive oil could lead to lower risk of CHD.

***

This study of well-educated health professionals is the first in the United States to show the relative value of higher intake of olive oil for preventing CHD and CVD. It was conducted in the era that margarine was primarily trans fatty acids and would not apply to the present soft and liquid margarines. The benefit attributed to olive oil is not simply the substitution for saturated fatty acid. The modest benefit of olive oil in the United States occurred at relatively low olive oil intake (average 12 g/day). In contrast, the Mediterranean diet generally has over 25 g/day. In European studies, a healthy cohort had a 7% reduction in CHD risk for each 10 g/d increase in olive oil; extra virgin olive oil reduced cerebrovascular events by 31% in a high-risk group, and regular olive oil was associated with a 44% lower risk of CHD after about 7.8 years in Italian women survivors of an MI. Amongst the benefits of olive oil include positive effects on inflammation, endothelial function, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes.

Source: Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk – American College of Cardiology

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Evidence for cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170,000 years ago

“Grok luv rhizome!”

From a recent article in Science:

Plant carbohydrates were undoubtedly consumed in antiquity, yet starchy geophytes were seldom preserved archaeologically. We report evidence for geophyte exploitation by early humans from at least 170,000 years ago. Charred rhizomes from Border Cave, South Africa, were identified to the genus Hypoxis L. by comparing the morphology and anatomy of ancient and modern rhizomes. Hypoxis angustifolia Lam., the likely taxon, proliferates in relatively well-watered areas of sub-Saharan Africa and in Yemen, Arabia. In those areas and possibly farther north during moist periods, Hypoxis rhizomes would have provided reliable and familiar carbohydrate sources for mobile groups.

Source: Cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170 thousand years ago. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Why Does Body Size Vary Geographically?

Paleo diet proponents may be interested in the article below. I new that Norwegians tended to be very tall, but didn’t know that folks from the Netherlands and Balkan countries were taller.

I don’t know much about deer and elk hunting, but my impression is that colder climates tend to produce to larger animals.

Much larger than Coue’s deer we have in hot Arizona

Abstract:

Humans show marked variation in body size around the world, both within and among populations. At present, the tallest people in the world are from the Netherlands and the Balkan countries, while the shortest populations are central African Pygmies. There are genetic, genetic plasticity, developmental, and environmental bases for size variation in Homo sapiens from the recent past and the present. Early populations of Homo species also have shown considerable size variation. Populations from the present and the past are also marked by sexual dimorphism, which, itself, shows group variation. There is abundant evidence for the effects of limited food and disease on human growth and resultant adult body size. This environmental influence has been reflected in “secular trends” (over a span of years) in growth and adult size from socioeconomic prosperity or poverty (availability of resources). Selective and evolutionary advantages of small or large body size also have been documented. Heritability for human height is relatively great with current genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identifying hundreds of genes leading to causes of growth and adult size variation. There are also endocrinological pathways limiting growth. An example is the reduced tissue sensitivity to human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in Philippine and African hunter-gatherer populations. In several short-statured hunter-gatherer populations (Asian, African, and South American), it has been hypothesized that short life expectancy has selected for early maturity and truncated growth to enhance fertility. Some island populations of humans and other mammals are thought to have been selected for small size because of limited resources, especially protein. The high-protein content of milk as a staple food may contribute to tall stature in East African pastoral peoples. These and other evolutionary questions linked to life history, male competition, reproduction, and mobility are explored in this paper.

Source: Evolutionary Strategies for Body Size. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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A Modest Proposal to Revive the U.S. Economy #COVID19 #Coronavirus

 

Will we allow coronavirus to destroy the fabric of American life?

I propose a four-point plan to prevent a prolonged economic recession or depression in the U.S. caused by unjustified fear and panic about coronavirus:

  1. Young and middle-aged healthy adults go back to work now.
  2. Young and middle-aged healthy adults and children return to usual social interactions and school, using 6-foot distancing and face masks if desired.
  3. Extreme social distancing for those at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 for the next 2–3 months, then re-evaluate the situation. The goal is NO EXPOSURE  to those who may transmit the virus to them. Protect the medically frail who are over 60, particularly if over 70 or 80.
  4. Continued isolation of COVID-19 cases until they’re no longer infectious.

My presuppositions:

  • A large majority of the COVID-19 deaths and serious illness will be in the elderly (over 60-65) and/or those with risk factors for serious illness, as we’ve seen in Italy, China, and South Korea.
  • Those under 60-65 will have less severe illness and be much less likely to require hospitalization.
  • The pandemic in the U.S. is not going to be as bad as predictions you may have heard or read (e.g., 500,000 to 2.2 million deaths), in part due to actions already taken: isolation of cases, self-quarantine or mandated quarantine, social distancing, education on infection prevention, etc).
  • The recent $2 trillion relief package passed by Congress is unlikely to be very effective, particularly after the bureaucrats, politicians, major banks, and Big Business take their usual lions share. There won’t be much left for little guys like you and me.
  • “Relief packages” passed by politicians are not the answer. Government is more of a problem than a solution.
  • GM and Ford, et al, can’t make 50,000 ventilators in 3–4 weeks. By the time they’re ready, they won’t be needed.
  • The situation is quite fluid and helpful medical information arrives daily. So we need to stay light on our feet and ready to incorporate it.
  • The role of quarantine isn’t clear even now. We need more information. If a nurse treats a COVID-19 patient at the hospital, should she be on quarantine for two weeks or can she keep working? At what point do folks without symptoms start shedding virus that can infect others?
  • We’re seeing a power grab by federal and state governments that is unjustified and unprecedented in our lifetimes. For instance, a Florida pastor was arrested for holding a church service in violation of social distancing. Doesn’t the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution give us the right to peaceably assemble and freely exercise our religion? Once grabbed, government does not readily relinquish power. For more on this issue, read Peter Grant’s April 1 blog post.
  • Behavior of those living in COVID-19 hot spots like New Orleans or New York city may need to be different from those living elsewhere.
  • Extreme social distancing of those at risk or serious illness from COVID-19 may well require them to withdraw from the workforce for several months (or longer), but that’s much less harmful than what is essentially “house arrest” of 80–90% of the population.
  • Our list of conditions that increase serious risk from COVID-19 may well change over time as we learn more.
  • Increased testing to identify those infected with coronavirus will help us devise better containment measures. Containment will also be easier when we can identify—via antibody testing—those who have already been infected and are cured and (hopefully) immune to the current strain of the virus.

The problem with state-mandated or encouraged social distancing is that it’s strangling our economy.

Physicians, virologists, and epidemiologists who are advising our politicians are typically focused on medical aspects of the coronavirus epidemic. Economics is on the back burner, naturally, since that’s not their area of expertise. But the economy matters!

Post-viral apocalypse? Raccoon City?

In the U.S. in February 2020, 165 million people were in the labor force. For the week ended March 21, 2020, the U.S. set a record for unemployment benefits applications: 3.3 million. The very next week, a new record was set: 6.6 million. Economists are predicting a drop in 2nd quarter Gross Domestic Product of at least 20%.

In good times, most folk don’t apprehend the web of connections among various parts of the economy. They will soon find out.

From LexisNexis:

Unemployment has been linked with a number of psychological disorders, particularly anxiety, depression, and substance abuse; dangerous behaviors including suicide and violence toward family members or others also correlate with unemployment. These associations hold true not only in surveys of those already unemployed but also in studies that follow one or several individuals with no psychological difficulties into a period of unemployment. Such findings have been reported from many industrialized nations and, with some minor variations, apply to workers of both sexes and all ages.

Research regarding the consequences of unemployment may be confounded by a commensurate loss of income in subjects being studied. However, some studies try to account for this phenomenon of drop in socioeconomic status. Although an alert health care system may provide some needed assistance, resolution of the problem lies outside the field of medicine.

For example regarding suicide, among the unemployed aged 26 to 64 suicide was two-and-a-half times more likely than those who had jobs. Worldwide, one in five suicides is linked to unemployment. In 2017, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., with over 47,000 victims. At the time of this posting, the U.S. has reported 5,137 deaths from COVID-19.

Bankruptcies and unemployment will lead to an epidemic of despair.

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“Honey, we’ll be able to see the grandkids in few months. It’s just too dangerous right now.”

Additionally, the stock markets in the U.S—S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average—are already down by 20–30%, depending on the day you check. I wouldn’t be surprised if it drops another 20% or more from here. Imagine how that affects folks approaching retirement, or in it already, who are depending on their 401k’s to live.

Laid-off workers without a paycheck can’t pay their mortgages or car payments or other loans. In most jurisdictions, unemployment benefits are woefully inadequate: in Arizona it’s $240/week. This is a set-up for massive loan defaults. One silver lining: If you have cash, it may soon be buyer’s market for homes and new or used cars.

Panicking is rarely good. Let’s stop.

Expect more from me on Extreme Social Distancing in a future post.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: A few other sources that question the mainstream media’s and government narratives…

PPS: The history of the Coronavirus Pandemic will be written in the the next few years. I have no doubt it will look different than what we’re seeing now.

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If You’re Too Weak to Re-Rack Your Weights…