Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Part 2:

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Part 2: Foods That Affect the Inflammation Response

By G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN

As promised in part 1 of this article (Sept. 23 issue), this installment includes lists of foods that tend to up-regulate and down-regulate the degree of inflammatory response during the metabolic processes that follow ingestion. They are not inclusive. It is important to note that small amounts foods which up-regulate inflammatory reactions will not nullify the effect of a mainly anti-inflammatory meal.

An example would be a packet of sugar and pat of butter on a large bowl of oatmeal. On the other hand, foods that down-regulate inflammation may lose some or all of their benefit if they are prepared incorrectly, such as battered, deep-fried vegetables.

In part one, we identified the five major dietary causes that promote an imbalance favoring an excessive inflammatory response. Four of them - too much saturated fat (and the related partially hydrogenated family),1 too many refined carbohydrates (including sugars)1 and the dietary ratio imbalances of omega-6/omega-3 oils2 and sodium/potassium3 - are well-known. However, energy imbalances that cause body-fat accrual are often overlooked as a cause of systemic inflammation.

Foods Generally Considered Pro-Inflammatory

American cheese, bacon, bologna, bratwurst, brownies, (white) breads - including buns, rolls and bagels, butter, cake, candy, cereals,* cheese (American, cheddar, creamed, gouda, jack, mozzarella, provolone, Swiss) cookies, corn chips, corn syrup, crackers*, cream, croissants, corn chips, Danish, doughnuts, egg rolls, French fries, French toast, (deep) fried foods, fruit juices, granola,* hamburgers, hash browns, honey, hot dogs, ice cream, jam/jelly, margarine, molasses, muffins, noodles,* onion rings, pancakes, pastrami, pepperoni, pie, pickles, pita bread,* pizza, pasta,* popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, puddings, relish, ribs (beef or pork), rice (white), salami, sausage, sherbet, shortening, sodas/soft drinks, syrup, tortillas (flour), tortilla chips, waffles, whipped cream, whole dairy.
*Unless 100% whole grain and high fiber.

Foods Generally Considered Anti-Inflammatory

Acai, amaranth, anchovies, apples, apricots, arugula, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bananas, beans (green beans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, soy beans), bean sprouts, beets, berries (blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, goji berries gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries) bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola oil, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, dairy (nonfat), eggplant, endive, gooseberries, grapes, grapefruit, herring, honeydew, kale, lemons, lentils, mackerel, mango, mangosteen, millet, mushrooms, mustard greens, nectarines, noni, nuts - raw (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, peanuts, walnuts), oats, okra, olive oil, onions, oranges, papaya, parsnips, pears, peas, peaches, peppers (bell and hot), persimmons, pineapple, pomegranate, plums, poultry (no skin), prunes, pumpkin, quinoa, rhubarb, rutabaga, salmon, sardines, scallions, seeds (flax, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), spices (cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, ginger, green tea, parsley, pepper, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, turmeric), spinach, squash (butternut, crook neck, summer, winter, zucchini), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, trout, tuna (water-packed), turnips, water chestnuts, watermelon, wild game, yams.
It appears that simply eating too much, too often may be the most powerful factor in the promotion of an exaggerated inflammatory response.4 For example, 444 teenagers (249 boys and 195 girls) were studied for the purpose of evaluating how fitness can prevent cardiovascular disease.5 They were divided into four groups: normal body-weight and physically fit; normal weight/unfit; overweight and fit; and overweight/unfit. Testing revealed serum levels of C-reactive protein were not associated with fitness level. Rather, CRP corresponded to the subjects who were overweight:
  • Twenty-three percent of the normal-weight, fit teens had CRP elevations.
  • Twenty-four percent of the normal-weight, unfit teens had CRP elevations.
  • Fifty percent of the overweight, fit teens had CRP elevations.
  • Fifty-six percent of the overweight, unfit teens had CRP elevations.

Body weight had a much greater effect on systemic inflammation than the degree of fitness did. The dietary imbalances we discussed in part 1 yield a food pattern (fatty, starchy, sweet and salty) that promotes overeating by triggering neurochemical responses that hyperstimulate our appetites. We prefer to eat these foods together; therefore, they drive inflammation by both their individual biochemical properties and the overlooked effect of hunger amplification during consumption.

For example, consider how a plate of celery and carrot sticks affects your appetite compared to the same plate filled with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. When you start eating the celery and carrot sticks, after a few you've had enough. But with cookies (each of which has 10-20 times more calories than the celery/carrot sticks), the more you eat, the more you want until you're really full. And what do we get when we eat chocolate chip cookies? Refined starch, sugars and saturated fat.

Although there is not a significant amount of sodium in chocolate chip cookies, my analysis of five brands/recipes revealed sodium/potassium ratios from 7:1 to 3:1, with an average of 5:1. The recommended daily allowance for sodium and potassium (2,400 mg and 3,500 mg, respectively) works out to a 1:1.5 ratio.

Finally, chocolate chip cookies are not a significant source of polyunsaturated fats. However, the small amounts they do have yield a 10:1 omega-6/omega-3 ratio. That is not as bad as the 15:1 ratio the average American consumes, but is still high enough to promote inflammatory marker increases and symptoms in some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.6


  1. Esmaillzaded A, Azadbakht L. Home use of vegetable oils, markers of systemic inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction. AJCN, 2008;88(4):913-21.
  2. Zhao G, Etherton TD, Martin KR, et al. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid reduces inflammatory and lipid cardiovascular risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr, 2004;134:2991-97.
  3. Cook NR, Obarzanek E, Cutler JA, et al. Joint effects of sodium and potassium intake on subsequent cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med, 2009;169(1):32-40.
  4. Basu A, Devaraj S, Jialal I. Dietary factors that promote or retard inflammation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 2006;26:995-1001.
  5. Warnberg J, Ruizn JR, Sjostrom M, et al. Association of fitness and fatness to low-grade systemic inflammation in adolescents. The AVENA Study. Med Sci Sport Exerc, 2006;38(5):S8, A-613.
  6. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med, 2008;233:674


By Bruce West, D.C.

[In Health Alert, June 2006, Volume 23, Issue 6. To order, call 831-372-2103, weekdays. Or write Health Alert, 100 Wilson Road, #110, Monterey Ca 93940.]

Too many years ago medical experts determined that high doses of iodine were dangerous, despite a hundred-year history of extremely high doses (in today’s terms) of iodine prescribed by doctors for just about everything—with great results. As is often the case, the flawed results of this study became medical dogma. And today, more than 50 years later, organized medicine still follows that dogma when it comes to iodine therapy.

This is particularly sad for those who do not have access to alternative medical care and are suffering from problems with thyroid and goiter, female reproductive diseases, menopause, diabetes, obesity, liver disease, polycystic ovaries, breast disease, heart disease, and most especially arrhythmia problems.
Missing Link
Iodine supplementation may be the missing link in a good percentage of heart arrhythmia cases, especially atrial fibrillation. The body needs adequate stores of iodine for the heart to beat smoothly. After close to a year now of using Iodine Fulfillment Therapy, I can attest to this fact. Most of the stubborn cases of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation that we were unable to completely correct with our cardiac protocols have now been resolved with adequate supplies of iodine added to the protocol.

Even I was fooled for years—fooled away from using adequate doses of iodine. But thanks to bona fide experts like Dr. Abraham, I was able to see the decades-old medical iodine phobia for what it really was—a mistake. Carefully and slowly at first, I started having patients take sufficient doses of iodine. Much to my surprise, there were no problems, just many great results, especially with arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation.
Iodine Fulfillment
Iodine fulfillment means the entire body has adequate stores of iodine to function properly. Although iodine can be found in every organ and tissue in the body, some areas utilize more iodine than others. It is not only the thyroid gland that uses iodine but also the heart, breasts, ovaries, muscles, liver, and adrenal glands. We are also discovering that while it may take smaller doses to fulfill the thyroid’s needs, it often takes much larger doses to fulfill the rest of the body’s needs, including the needs of the heart.

These parts of the body are iodine sensitive—that is, if they are starving for iodine, they do not function properly. Since there are so many iodine-sensitive sites in the body, medical experts are finding that iodine therapy can be a “panacea” of sorts for all types of stubborn problems. Just as physicians noted 60 to 100 years ago, iodine therapy can help people with hypo- or hyperthyroid (with or without goiter), fibrocystic breasts, polycystic ovary syndrome, brain fog, constipation, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In addition, it may prove essential treatment if you suffer from heart disease, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation.

In the past, with just about every patient with heart problems, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation, I would always use a protocol from Standard Process that included Cataplex F. Cataplex F is a combination of liver extract, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine. But the typical dose of four to six Cataplex F tablets contains less than one milligram of iodine. While this dose was adequate for most people, some failed to respond, or only got partially better. Old-time physicians used to routinely prescribe up to 100 milligrams daily for all kinds of problems with excellent results. Now I know that they were on the right track.
How Much Iodine, and For How Long?
As I see people with stubborn arrhythmias getting better on 10, 20, 30, and even up to 50 mgs of iodine daily, I know that large doses are sometimes needed by the body. This is what Iodine Fulfillment Therapy is all about. Iodine fulfillment simply fulfills all of the body’s needs for iodine. For those deficient, this may require up to 50 mgs daily for three to four months.

If you have been unable to resolve your heart arrhythmia with one of my protocols, the simplest way to proceed with Iodine Fulfillment Therapy is to add Prolamine Iodine from Standard Process to your heart protocol. Begin with one Prolamine Iodine tablet daily. If there are no problems after a few days to a week, increase the dose to two daily. Continue this procedure, increasing the dose by one more daily until your heart begins to beat smoothly. At this point, you have reached iodine fulfillment. Stay at this dose for a full three months.

Since each Prolamine Iodine tablet contains 3 mgs of iodine, your body may require from 1 to 15 tablets daily for three months. Most people achieve results after 3 to 10 tablets daily. After three full months at your iodine fulfillment dose, begin to cut the dose back by one to two tablets daily each week. If you begin to feel your heart act up again, you have gone past your maintenance dose. Add back one more tablet daily. You will generally end up with a dose of one to four daily—and this dose should be maintained for 12 months. Thereafter, you will probably need even less.
Don’t Take Prolamine Iodine and Amiodarone
Amazingly, while medicine shuns iodine therapy, their most popular anti-fibrillation drug, Amiodarone, actually is iodine in a toxic, sustained-release form. This drug can produce a smooth heartbeat when the body has accumulated about 1,500 mgs of iodine—the exact amount of iodine retained by your body when iodine fulfillment is achieved by natural supplementation with Prolamine Iodine.

Unfortunately, Amiodarone is an extremely toxic form of iodine used by the medical profession. The side effects are often too great (and even life threatening) for most people to endure long enough to achieve a normal heartbeat. In addition, once you stop this drug, your original problem returns. Iodine therapy, on the other hand, fulfills the body’s needs safely, then maintains the smooth heartbeat with a low-maintenance dose.

Because Amiodarone is iodine, you cannot use iodine fulfillment therapy while you are taking this drug. Rather, your doctor needs to wean you off this drug first, so you can then begin natural iodine treatment. In other words, iodine fulfillment therapy is done in place of Amiodarone, not together with it. Amiodarone and iodine at the same time can be dangerous.

If you are on a heart protocol that has been only partially effective, or your arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation problem is stubborn, you will need to test iodine fulfillment therapy. However, you will maintain your original heart protocol with one change. Once iodine therapy has started (even at one Prolamine Iodine tablet daily), you will no longer need to take Cataplex F. Everything else in your protocol remains the same.
The Iodine Test
In the past we held that if it took less than 24 hours for tincture of iodine to disappear from the skin then there was a need for iodine supplementation. Today, I am not so sure this is a good indicator of iodine need. There are just too many variables involved in how quickly the tincture disappears from the skin.

However, tincture of iodine, available in drug stores everywhere for pennies, cannot hurt. Common sense dictates that if the iodine first disappears in a few hours, but stays in place for more than 24 hours after iodine fulfillment therapy, it is a good test. I will leave it up to you if you want to challenge this test.

As far as I’m concerned, I am finding more and more people deficient in iodine—even those I would not have thought would have this problem. At this stage, unless you know you are allergic to iodine (a very rare condition), it would be best to fulfill your body’s needs for iodine if you have any of the problems mentioned in this article.

Simply proceed with caution, slowly and carefully. For anyone setting out on a course of iodine fulfillment therapy, please send us a self-addressed envelope with two stamps and say IODINE. We will send you our full article so you will know exactly how to proceed. The best course of action is to proceed with iodine therapy safely, as there have been some problems reported in certain individuals. I recommend that you proceed only when you have our Iodine flyer in your hands.
Problems and Allergy to Iodine
Few problems have been reported when iodine therapy is accomplished slowly and safely—as outlined in my flyer. Sensitive individuals may experience skin irritation; watery eyes, nose, and saliva; nervousness or headache. Some highly sensitive individuals may also experience a racing heart or irritation of the esophagus. These are extremely rare (I’ve seen very few of these potential problems), and they are easily resolved by either immediately reducing the dose or quitting the iodine.

The greatest problem arises when an individual with a known allergy to iodine tries iodine therapy. This therapy cannot be used by these folks unless their allergy to iodine is resolved.

Resolving an allergy to iodine may be possible with an acupuncture technique called NAET. To find out if your allergy to iodine (or other substances, for that matter) can be resolved, check out the acupuncture site of an old friend of Health Alert, Dr. Devi Nambudripad, at

The second greatest problem can occur if you try iodine therapy while taking an iodine drug like Amiodarone. This will cause problems that can require medical attention. Do not attempt to take large doses of iodine when you are taking Amiodarone, Pacerone, or Cardarone. If you want to try iodine therapy, your doctor will first have to wean you from these drugs.

In conclusion, if you suffer from heart arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation, or any of the problems listed in this article, keep iodine therapy in mind. If you use iodine therapy, please feel free to send me your results. As I’ve said, I have been nothing but pleasantly surprised with results coming back better and better. And I can finally reach some of those really stubborn arrhythmia and fibrillation cases that just would not respond completely to my protocol containing only a milligram or two of iodine.

It is now beyond a doubt that adequate iodine is necessary for a smooth heartbeat. This ongoing research is truly wonderful news.