Throughout the centuries, one of the most pressing goals for medical researchers has been to find more effective ways to diminish pain. As medicine enters the twenty-first century, we are still seeking a perfect pain reliever with no side effects. After all, end-stage cancer patients are still given morphine, a narcotic drug that was used during the Civil War, to dull their excruciating pain. And experts on pain are sizing up the benefits of marijuana for their patients. Somehow, we haven’t been able to develop a pain reliever that’s truly effective and doesn’t cause a drug-induced high.
Pain is often the hallmark of disease. Chronic pain, itself, is not a defined medical condition but, rather, a symptom in the body that something has gone awry. Pain usually stems from inflammation of the body’s tissues. Although there is no blood test for pain, the patient is acutely aware of its existence.
A wide number of painful conditions caused by chronic inflammation can be helped and alleviated once you are in the Anti-Inflammation Zone.
Sometimes physicians can’t make a definitive medical diagnosis to explain the underlying cause of chronic pain. They may shrug their shoulders or use a term like fibromyalgia, a diagnosis made to describe intense, diffuse pain of unknown origin. Regardless of whether a definitive cause of chronic pain can be found, every patient knows that the pain is very, very real.
The most powerful pain relievers, however, are corticosteroids. They have an immediate effect, but they knock out all eicosanoids—“good” and “bad”—indiscriminately. This can lead to severe side effects, such as immune depression, cognitive impairment, and diabetes.
The first published journal article on the benefits of high-dose fish oil as a treatment for arthritis appeared in 1775. The oil used in that study was a very crude form of cod liver oil. (Remember that I said people used to let the oil from cod’s liver ooze out into the streets?) Patients who could stomach the horrific-tasting oil (estimated to be a daily dose of 7 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) enjoyed spectacular relief of pain. But the taste of the oil was so putrid that they soon abandoned the fish oil.
Some two hundred years later, fish oil finally returned to the arthritis scene. In the 1980’s, positive research findings ushered in claims that fish oil was a “new” miracle cure for arthritis. Since fish oil was now more refined and could be consumed in soft gelatin capsules, the taste was not so bad. Early studies used only about 3.6 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids so, although the results were positive, they were not spectacular. Also, this fish oil was health-food grade, so higher doses wouldn’t have been tolerable. Because such a low dose of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was used, it isn’t too surprising that the benefits were not dramatic.
On the basis of my experience using Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil for patients with severe pain (such as fibromyalgia and gout), I’m confident that Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil, especially when coupled with improved insulin control, will have a significant role to play in the treatment of chronic pain, including arthritis.
Arthritis isn’t the only inflammatory condition that can be relieved by Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil. Autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system begins attacking the body as if it were a foreign invader, can also be alleviated with Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil.
Multiple sclerosis is one autoimmune disorder that can be positively affected by Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil. Lupus, a life threatening autoimmune disorder that causes kidney failure, has also been shown to be positively affected by high-dose fish oil. In animal studies using rats that were bred to develop lupus, significant increases in their life spans are observed, if their standard diet is supplemented by high-dose fish oil. However, injections of “good” eicosanoids (like PGEi)—which fish oil is known to boost—have a spectacular effect on the life spans of the same types of inbred animals. In fact, at the end of the thirteen months (a very long life for a rat), all the control rats had died, whereas all the rats injected with “good” eicosanoids were still living, even though the injections of the “good” eicosanoids started well after lupus had been established in the animals.
IgA nephropathy is another inflammatory condition that attacks the kidneys. This disease, which is a major cause of kidney failure, has been found to be alleviated with Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil. Long-term studies with fish oil indicate a dramatic reduction in the development of kidney failure in these patients compared with those taking a placebo. Here Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil is acting not only as a modulator of eicosanoids but, also, probably as an inhibitor of the release of various inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF.
As you can see, Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil has a remarkable ability to decrease a broad spectrum of inflammatory mediators, resulting in a reduction in pain associated with seemingly hopeless chronic conditions.
Reduce Inflammation, Look Younger
No one wants to look older than his or her age. But if your skin is full of premature sags and wrinkles, you can’t avoid it. Although you may not think of your skin as an organ, it’s actually the largest organ in your body, and one of the most critical. Your skin has an extremely critical role to play, as it has to provide a barrier against a very hostile external environment that includes bacteria, fungi, and perpetual oxidation caused by the sun. Furthermore, unlike other organs, your skin is constantly renewing itself to maintain that protective barrier. With new layers of skin cells forming all the time, your skin is even more sensitive than your other organs to changes in eicosanoid levels.
Your skin’s appearance gives you a window into the internal state of your body. Let’s face it: You know when you look good and, usually, it’s when you’re feeling strong and healthy. When your skin has a rosy glow, this means you’ve got blood circulation within the skin and, probably, through the rest of your body. On the other hand, you often know you’re getting sick when you see pallor to your skin, indicative of poor blood flow. You can bet that the rest of your body is not too far behind.
One unmistakable sign of aging is the formation of wrinkles. Scientifically speaking, wrinkles are caused by the cross-linking of collagen fibers in the skin, and this cross-linking can be accelerated by constant exposure to the sun. The most effective way to reduce wrinkle formation (other than staying completely out of the sun) is to reduce arachidonic acid levels in the skin, thus, decreasing the potential for the production of pro-inflammatory “bad” eicosanoids.
An even more powerful approach to preventing wrinkles is to increase the levels of “good” eicosanoids in your body, because of their powerful anti-inflammatory actions. These “good” eicosanoids will do far more to reduce the inflammatory processes that lead to wrinkles than all the fruit acids and vitamin E creams you can possibly rub on your skin. This is because “good” eicosanoids are both very powerful vasodilators (which increase blood flow) and very powerful anti-inflammatory agents. With improved blood flow and decreased inflammation, your skin will look years younger.
Skin diseases, especially conditions that cause dry, scaly skin like eczema and psoriasis, often result from excessive levels of “bad” eicosanoids. While neither eczema nor psoriasis is life-threatening, both conditions are cause for concern, because they indicate that a significant inflammatory process is already taking place in the skin. Research shows that both of these conditions stem from the overproduction of “bad” eicosanoids called leukotrienes. Reducing arachidonic acid levels by using high-dose fish oil chokes off the production of leukotrienes while, simultaneously, increasing the levels of “good” eicosanoids. Dermatologists usually prescribe corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation, but these drugs also unfortunately knock out “good” eicosanoids, and that leads to a thinning of the skin. Various studies have indicated that Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil, without the use of corticosteroids, can contribute to some improvement in psoriasis. Other inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, also respond well to the high-dose fish oil.
Another key to improving your skin’s appearance is to increase your production of the key structural proteins of the skin—collagen and elastin—as you age. These structural proteins give your skin its firmness and elasticity. As the production of collagen and elastin decreases with aging, your skin starts to droop and sag. In order to keep collagen and elastin at increased levels, you need to increase blood flow to your skin, since that stimulates the enzymes that produce these structural proteins. Using techniques such as laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and chemical peels, plastic surgeons can not only remove cross-linked proteins from the top layer of skin but, also, stimulate the blood flow to your skin. This increased blood flow enhances the new production of both collagen and elastin but, unfortunately, with significant increase in inflammation and pain in the process.
Just as my dietary program stimulates blood flow in your heart and brain, it can also stimulate blood flow to your skin, which will increase the production of collagen and elastin to give aging skin new body and elasticity without a need for laser resurfacing and other tools of the plastic surgeon. At the same time, it will reduce the likelihood of wrinkles by reducing inflammation in the skin because of the increased production of anti-inflammatory “good” eicosanoids.
Since beautiful skin ultimately begins with what you eat, high-dose Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil, coupled with improved insulin control, will have a significant role to play in the treatment of inflammatory conditions and may represent the best cosmetic product you can use.
Dr. Barry Sears, leading authority on the dietary control of hormonal response, author of the New York Times #1 best seller, The Zone, is a former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For more information about The Zone program call 1-800-404-8171 or visit www.drsearszonefast.com