Ditch your NSAID meds

I am writing this post as we hurtle along I-680, the freeway bypass around San Francisco. We are on our way back home to Incline Village and it is simply amazing that the technology exists allowing me to do this. I’m using my laptop with Verizon Wireless National Broadband Service, which, although not as fast as my cable at home, still works plenty fast considering the circumstances. The other astounding thing about this experience is that I’m able to focus on what I’m doing with MD at the wheel in heavy traffic–it’s a real testament to my superhuman powers of concentration.

Today’s post is going to be a little bit soft on the science and long on the anecdotal, which is anathema to me, but since it’s my anecdote, I know it can be trusted. Plus, I have a bit of sort of soft science to back it up.

A few months ago I decided to quit taking Advil, my NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) of choice, because of all the reports of that class of drug causing heart disease. I’m not a big advocate of any kind of medication use that can otherwise be avoided, so it was a good excuse for me to ditch my almost daily use of Advil. Since I’ve been hurtling pell mell toward my dotage I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to have a few aches and pains after a round of golf. A couple of years ago I started taking an 800 mg ibuprofen (the generic for Advil), which is a prescription dose and is comparable to four of the 200 mg non-prescription Advil, before every round I played, or if I forgot, I would take one immediately after. It seemed to do the trick as far as the aches and pains were concerned.

Once all the reports came out, however, I decided to seek an alternative. I began fooling around with various doses of fish oil and krill oil and came up with a combo that works very well for me. I take two ProOmega caps made by Nordic Naturals along with two krill oil caps (all krill oil originates in one place–Neptune Technologies–so they are all the same. Mine comes from Thorne.) along with a 500 mg curumin capsule (curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory derived from turmeric). This combo I take the same way as I did the Advil: before if I remember; after if I forget. If anything it works better for me than the 800 mg ibuprofen without the potential for GI problems or heart attack. And not only does it not have the potential for causing these problems, it actually prevents these and many other disorders, so healthwise it’s really a win/win. I got such benefit from this regimen that I ran a medical search to see if anyone had tried it or anything resembling it on a research basis.

I found a recent paper in the neurosurgical journal Surgical Neurology entitled “Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain.”

The authors began their paper with an overview of the prevalence of and problems caused by NSAID usage.

More than 70 million NSAID prescriptions are written each year, and 30 billion over-the-counter NSAID tablets are sold annually. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of the adult population and approximately 14% of the elderly routinely use NSAIDs for pain control.

This multibillion dollar industry, however, does not come without risk. NSAID-associated dyspepsia occurs in up to 50% of users. Almost all patients who take the long-term nonselective NSAIDS [Advil, for example] will demonstrate subepithelial gastric hemorrhage, and 8% to 20% more will have ulceration. In addition, 3% of patients will develop serious gastrointestinal side effects, which results in more than 100,000 hospitalizations, an estimated 16,500 deaths, and an annual cost to treat the complications that exceeds 1.5 billion dollars annually. Indeed, NSAIDS are the most common cause of drug-related morbidity and mortality reported to the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world.

Recently it was found that the COX 2 inhibitors (Vioxx, Celebrex), designed to alleviate the gastric side effects of COX 1 NSAIDs, are not only associated with an increased incidence of MI and stroke but also have no significant improvement in the prevention of gastric ulcers.

As you can see, despite these drugs being available over the counter, they are not without the potential for serious side effects.

The authors of the study thought the same thing and decided, as I did myself, to look for a safer alternative. They decided to try fish oil and ended up using a Nordic Natural product that had a little different formulation than the one I used. They used ProEPA whereas I used ProOmega. I think they would have gotten a little better results had they used the ProOmega instead, but, hey, they’re neurosurgeons. What do they know about fish oil?

For the study the researchers selected 250 patients who had back pain that was due to degenerative arthritis and not reparable by surgery, all of whom were taking NSAIDS and about 75% of whom were on COX 2 inhibitors. These patients were instructed to start taking the fish oil (4 capsules per day) for 2 weeks then to reduce the dosage to 2 capsules per day. After the initial lead-in two weeks the patients were instructed to taper off their NSAIDs over the next one to two weeks. After one month the researchers sent a questionnaire to the patients inquiring as to the degree of subjective improvement they had experienced, any side effects they may have had, and to what extent they had been able to discontinue their NSAID dosage.

125 patients returned the questionnaire after about 75 days on the fish oil regimen. (This is what I mean about soft science: this is hardly a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.) 78% of the respondents were taking the 2 capsule dose, 22% were taking the 4 capsule dose. 59% reported to have discontinued their NSAIDs entirely. 60% reported that their overall pain had improved. 80% stated that they were satisfied with their improvement and 88% said they would continue to take the fish oil. There were no side effects reported other than two patients who reported loose stools.

All in all a pretty positive experience, I would say. I can’t help but wonder at what happened to the other 125 patients who didn’t respond. My guess is that they probably didn’t seriously adopt the fish oil regimen and therefore didn’t respond to the questionnaire, but that’s only a guess.

One thing I did (that I always do anyway) that probably made my regimen work even better is that I avoided omega-6 fats as much as possible. Omega-6 fats are those found primarily in vegetable oils and are themselves inflammatory and act in opposing fashion to the omega-3s. They are best avoided whether you decide to adopt this regime or not.

If you are taking NSAIDs for any reason, I urge you to give this regimen a try. Use my specific formula or fiddle around with your own. Whatever you do, let me know how it works out.

She’s still driving; I’m still posting; ain’t technology grand?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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46 thoughts on “Ditch your NSAID meds

  1. Hey, I live in the San Francisco area! (I actually get my mail in San Francisco and live nearby.)

    Anyway, this is interesting. I always carry Ibuprofen in my purse, both for menstrual cramps and headaches, the headaches being far too common these days. Had a raging headache this morning and three Ibuprofen managed to dull it and eventually make it go away.

    Would your regimen work for the headaches I get?

    I don’t know. Why don’t you give it a try and let us all know.

    MRE

  2. Sir et Madam…Respectfully please lets have your thoughts on fasting pleasum ?
    The good, the bads and the uglies.

    Many thanks

    Simon (Fellows)

    Hi Simon–

    I haven’t gotten my thoughts fully formed on fasting yet and don’t want to go off half cocked. When I have something meaningful to say that I can back up with real data I’ll post on it.

    Best–

    MRE

  3. Hi, Love your blog (and MD’s too). I started supplementing with fish oil (8 caps of Costco’s Kirkland brand – 4 in the morning and 4 after lunch) and noticed a marked decrease in aches and pains. In fact, I had suffered from a chronic lower back problem which manifested itself through stiffness and muscle spasms. Aside from about 5 – 10 minutes of stiffness right when I awake that problem has vanished. I like your idea of adding curcumin to the mix and will try it.

    Another benefit I noticed from the omega 3 supplementation is that my sleep is much more refreshing and I need less of it. I’ve seen some corroboration of this on Seth Roberts blog (blog.sethroberts.net – July 5 entry entitled brain food) where he reports that a number of people taking walnut and flax oil supplements have experienced the same phenomena. By the way, I have found his Shangri-La diet concept to be a good adjunct to the low carb/PPLP philosophy.

    Hi Paul–

    Thanks for the comment. There are a host of advantages to taking fish oil; pain relief is only one of them. I’m glad you’ve found a regimen that works for you.

    Best–

    MRE

  4. Hi! Great topic. I have recently been looking into fish oil/omega 3’s for another reason. Have you come across any good research that links omega3 supplementation with increased dopamine production?
    I know caffeine, cocaine, etc. will act on dopamine to provide stimulus, and am looking for something a bit less, uh, intense. I think my acute sleep apnea is my real problem, but thanks to PP, it is remarkably better. But I still need a ton of coffee to get me going, which I don’t like crashing from when it wears off. I’m trying to avoid the highs & lows in favor of an even, natural way to get me going. If it helps my aching back, so much the better.
    Any info/links would be much appreciated. Thanks!
    Rick

    Hi Rick–

    Haven’t you been reading about all the great things that happen when you drink coffee? Take a look at a few of my earlier blogs on the health benefits of America’s favorite drink.

    It appears from the medical literature that fish oil increases dopamine in children and in rats, so I suppose it’s safe to assume that it does so in adults, too, although I haven’t found any specific mention of it doing so.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  5. I used to take a lot of Alleve (naproxen sodium).
    I went to Europe first week of May, and because I knew that I would be walking a great deal, I took 1000 mg every morning to forestall backaches and leg pains– and it worked really well, I was able to walk all day without discomfort.
    …Then when I got back I quit cold turkey. What a mistake! Not only did I have throbbing back and leg pain, but I got stomach cramps and had the runs for three days. (No, I don’t think it was the food, since nothing happened while I was traveling.)It was such a bad experience that I have since avoided all painkillers, OTC,alternative, or perscription.
    After a couple of weeks, I found that I felt better all around without reaching for the Alleve for any reason, even the occasional headache.
    Yes, this means that when I found myself in pain, I simply put up with it.
    In the meantime, I started to take a 9-6-3 fish oil capsule and vitamin D. I’m sure you’ve read the health section article in the LA Times paper regarding D, and I decided that it couldn’t hurt to take it.
    The combination has really made a difference. I no longer ache when I get out of bed, and am no longer stiff when I get out of the car after my work commute. I was beginning to think that the back and leg pains were going to be a permanent part of my life!
    The next thing is to remove all cereals,rice and tubers from my diet, as I’ve noticed that when I don’t eat starches, my sinuses are clearer and so is my thinking. I’m going to very low carb to see if there’s further improvement in my aches and mental fatigue.

    Thanks for the info. I’m glad you’re doing so much better on the fish oil. I would have added the vitamin D to my own regimen as well, but I get so much sun anyway I didn’t figure I needed it.

    Best–

    MRE

  6. Why the Krill oil?

    Hi Laurel–

    I’ve had so many people ask this that I’m going to post on it in a day or so.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  7. I checked on the Nordic Naturals website and don’t see anything named ProEPA or ProOmega. Can you tell me the actual mg of EPA and DHA you are taking in your current supplements?

    Hi Nancy–

    Go to the ‘Doctors/Medical’ section of the Nordic Naturals website to see the specs for the above formulations.

    MRE

  8. thanks as always – I use fish oil and no nSAIDs and feel mahvelous too dahling.

    um – dotage, aches and pains after golf, and NSAIDs? Is that treating the symptom or getting to the cause…. what’s your joint mobility exercise program like? Ain’t it true that the only way our joints get washed with nutrients after puberty – including nutrients from fish oil – , is by moving them in all directions (not just golf directions, I am teasing)

    It is NOT true that joints have to creak and ache with age. They creak with over-repetitive, over- and under-use too.

    Hi Connie–

    If you could see my golf swing you would realize that I move in lots of directions other than golf directions.

    And you’re right; it’s definitely treating the symptoms. That’s why I derived the regimen I did: to get my inflammatory/anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, leukotrienes, etc. back in a more youthful balance so that the aches and pains would be more youthful, i.e., non-existent.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  9. Hi Mike, I must admit I am one of those who miss Vioxx – and as I only used it maybe twice a year for a few days to get me over crippling back spasms I figured I might have escaped the downsides experienced by regular users … but perhaps not!

    I do take fish oil and/or cod liver oil, partly for omega 3 balance (which would include the anti-inflammatory eicosanoid response) and partly for possible help with depression. I also avoid vegetable oils and try to minimise omega 6 intake generally. Perhaps I need to go further and adopt your regime including the curcumin supplement (rather than just adding tumeric to dishes), so I was wondering if you could explain the benefits of krill oil over and above normal fish oil?

    Hi Malcolm–

    I’ve had so many people write and ask about the benefits of krill oil vis a vis fish oil that I’m going to post on it soon.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  10. about krill oil – I’d like to diversify our omega-3 sources but my DH is sensitive to shrimp – does that mean krill is out for him?

    Hi Lisa–

    The short answer is that I don’t know. Most people are allergic to specific proteins not fats, and the way krill oil is processed it should contain few, if any, ‘shrimp’ proteins. I would try it very gingerly at first and see what happens, but only if DH doesn’t have extreme reactions to shrimp. I wouldn’t do something that might throw him into anaphylaxis. I haven’t heard of anyone who has had an extreme reaction to krill oil, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

    I’ll see what I can find out and get back to you.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  11. Hmmm. I wonder if this regimen would work for a dog suffering from spinal arthritis (spondylosis). The vet just put my 9 year old lab on Rimadyl, an NSAID that he expects will help her but I worry because of the possible side effects. I wonder if the fish oil would help her.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it helped. I don’t think it would hurt to give it a try. Let me know how it works.

    MRE

  12. Also anecdotically but not without sound science behind, I remember growing up with the constant burden of being hyperreactive to insect bites. Some people show a delay response to insect bites and some others show an immediate, exacerbated response, sometimes called ‘hyperreactivity type 1″. It was never pleasant as the bites would soon turn into swollen areas that would break and bleed… and being a kid, well, I tended to scratch making the ordeal even worse. The swelling would last for days.

    Anyway, after changing my eating habits towards your plan, and fine tuning my omega-3 intake (mostly through including cold-water fish several times a week plus fish oil supplementation), I noticed a dramatic change in the way I reacted to insect bites. Swedish Summer can be really tough in certain areas and I remember several occasions in which I actually saw the creatures biting me. I kind of prepared for the worse of my hyperreaction but I noticed that besides the normal progression after the bite (redness, a little swelling around the bite and the normal itching), it didn’t become as bad as it used to. In fact, the whole process from the first discomfort to ‘resolution’ of the reaction process lasted no more than a couple of days. The hypothesis would be a better balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which allows for an appropriate rather than an exacerbated immune response.

    I recently had the chance to sort of prove that hypothesis as I’ve been slacking in my omega-3 intake and around the 4th of July I became a target of a swarm of creatures that feasted on my arms and legs… If you remember Pop Eye’s forearms, well, that’s how mine looked like… Such changes are not random and what we eat does influence the way our immune system responds.

    Additionally, and also related to fish oil, I noticed that one of the first things I had under control after being more diligent in my omega-3 intake was a constant migraine. Again, slacking on my omega-3s has helped to bring them back…

    Besides your Protein Power book, more or less at the same time I found the book “The Omega-3 Connection” by Andrew Stoll. I found it very helpful and informative, even though his approach is mainly the treatment of bipolar syndrome with high doses of pharmaceutical grade fish oil (~8 gr per day if I remember correctly).

    I’m sure there is a lot of science behind the use oil and its effect not only in immunity-related but also in other conditions. I have quite a few references that I’ll be happy to share if interested.

    Hi Gabe–

    Thanks for your history on this–it’s really interesting.

    I, too, read Stoll’s book and have used his products for patients. His fish oil has a much higher ratio of EPA to DHA than normally found. According to Stoll and according to a number of other researchers I’ve heard speak the higher EPA product seems to work better for people with psychiatric problems than does the standard fish oil. In my experience, the higher DHA seems to work a little better for inflammatory problems.

    I would love seeing the references; send them along.

    Best–

    MRE

  13. Have you had any experience with seal oil?
    Is it Omega-3 oil, or something else?

    Hi Constance–

    Uh, no I haven’t had any experience with seal oil. Have you? If so, let me (and all of us) know about it. I would assume that it is heavily concentrated in omega-3 fats, but I don’t know for sure.

    Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  14. Very interesting. Three years ago, my arthritis was giving me pain so I decided to use Protein Power. I took fish oil and (on Gabe’s recommendation) GLA. 10 grams of Kirkland’s fish oil and one gram of Brag oil seems to be the most effective dose for me. The minor side effect-nose bleeds- is eliminated by one extra Vitamin K pill. (In addition to the Vitamin K in my multivitamin. I withdrew from this regimen at my eye surgeon’s request. I was in terrible pain for a week or so after the cataract surgery.

    Curcumin – I have recently started taking this, I am hoping that my blood test next month will show a goodsize reduction in homocysteine.

    Hi David–

    It’s been my experience that if one is on a low-carb diet the GLA is unnecessary and can even be counter productive. GLA converts on down the pathway to arachidonic acid, which then converts itself into some pretty nasty pro-inflammatory products. A number of years ago I read a bunch of blather about taking GLA and EPA, so I took a bunch to see what effect it had on some minor back pain that I was having. As the days wore on my back pain became worse and worse to the point that I was worried that I might have had some kind of loathsome cancer with mets to the spine (a common place for metastases to go). All of a sudden it dawned on me that the pain had intensified at about the same time I ratcheted up the GLA. I immediately went off and the back pain disappeared. I think that when one is on a high carb diet the GLA probably helps, but when on a low-carb diet keeping insulin levels low, the GLA converts to pro-inflammatory substances. I never touch the stuff now.

    Let me know how the circumin works for your homocysteine.

    Thanks for commenting.

    MRE

  15. Kinda off topic, but I have a question about my GTT that I had recently. My fasting glucose was 69, and two hours after the oral glucose was 89. Totally fine, although last week my fasting glucose was 88! Could that be because the high carb diet I had to eat for this test is driving my fasting blood sugar down? And isn’t that bad?

    The odd thing was the insulin I had them test for. There’s no fasting and 2 hour range given, just an “insulin total.” I’m not sure what that means but it’s 3 and listed as out of range. Normal range given in 6-27. I know your book says it should be under 10. Is a low reading cause for concern and what does “insulin total” mean? Total of what?

    I hate to bother you wish this, but you know a lot more about insulin and glucose than my doctor, who I couldn’t reach anyway.

    Hi Victoria–

    Your fasting blood sugar is never an exact number that repeats with every test; it pretty much should stay in a range, though, and the sugars you listed are fine. I wouldn’t worry about the difference between a 69 and an 88.

    Your insulin is fine; the lower the better. The only time you need to worry about an insulin being too low is in type I diabetes, which you know you don’t have because your blood sugar is normal. The less insulin you need to keep blood sugar in the normal range, the better.

    The most sensitive test for all this is the insulin challenge, which we described in the PP LifePlan. Check it out.

    Best–

    MRE

  16. Interesting information and interesting that you have given out what is essentially a useful golf tip knowing that I would read your article and take full advantage. You’re a generous old dotard so I’ll have to figure out some repayment — other than giving you additional strokes that you don’t need anyway. You may recall that I gave up the Advil-before-tee-time-routine some months ago because I became convinced that it worsened my hand tremor and pushed my twitchy putting stroke a notch or two up the Richter scale. Anecdotal, si, but I believe it to be true in my case for whatever reason. I went to plain ol’ aspirin after the round but since that’s a bleeder too I now look forward to trying the fish oil recipe. Like another of your fans, I’m a little anxious about the krill oil since I recently had an o.d. shrimp episode myself. I drove down to the gulf on Saturday and had shrimp for lunch, shrimp for dinner and then brought some back in a cooler for dinner the next afternoon whereupon I looked down to see that my ankles had disappeared and my feet were so puffed up they reminded me of a certain dotard that I know after he hits a monster tee ball. It was very hot that Texas afternoon and I had been swilling iced Sangria by the tumbler full so maybe it was a combo effect. (As long as I’m trolling for a free medical diagnosis I’ll also tell you that my blood pressure was far below my normal rate — 104/65 as compared to 125/80.) Whatever, I’m heading for the Nordic Naturals and will keep you posted on my aches and pains. Gracias.

    I’m here to serve.

    MRE

  17. I used to eat Ibuprofen for breakfast, until I started Low-carbing. I am now pleased to say that I have a bottle that’s at least two years old.

    Hi Karen–

    I’m glad the low-carbing is working for you. Thanks for writing.

    MRE

  18. I’ve been recently put on Naprosyn twice daily, and when I asked my doctor about potential problems, he just blew it off as nothing to worry about. Your entry has certainly peaked my interest! I’m already taking Nordic Naturals Omega-3 (three caps daily), and look forward to trying the rest of your regimen, and hopefully getting off Nsaids completely.

    Interesting note on the specs on Pro-Omega, though. It suggests diabetics discuss this with their doctor before taking it. I thought the omega oils were good for diabetes. Could you clear that up? Thanks, and I really enjoy your blog.

    mike

    Hi Mike–

    It used to be thought that omega-3s caused blood sugar regulation problems in diabetics. All of the new research shows just the opposite. I suppose the labeling is as it is for medico-legal reasons.

    Keep me posted on how the new regimen works.

    Best–

    MRE

  19. I’ll have to try your suggested supplements. I’ve been taking fish oil and turmeric supplements for awhile and haven’t found anywhere near the relief that I get from a NSAID.

    I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, very mildly fortunately, and I do get some pretty bad joint/tendon/muscle pain with it at times. I know how damaging NSAIDS can be, having read the account of one man with AS who has had to have most of his stomach removed due to them. But to date, nothing but nothing has worked as well as an NSAID. :(

    Hi Nancy–

    Sorry to hear of your problems. Give the krill oil a try. It takes a few weeks, but in digging around I’ve found that many people with rheumatoid arthritis have gotten significant relief with krill oil, so it should work for ankylosing spondylitis, too.

    Keep me posted.

    MRE

  20. Sir Hola i know this lass who has growths in her intestine.
    Trad med treatments aside would you still go with your gut rehab programme as outlined in PPL or would you change it slightly ?

    many thanks Sir,

    Sinc,

    Simon (Fellows)

    Hi Simon–

    I would make sure said lass is in the hands of a competent physician since “growths” in the intestines are nothing to be trifled with.

    Yes, the gut rehab program as outlined in the PPLP is a go. But she needs to be treated for her problem. The gut rehab regimed won’t get rid of polyps or other more sinister growths.

    Best–

    MRE

  21. Whoah.. you’re on krill oil too! I’ve had a lot of good words to say on krill oil as well as on cod liver oil and fish oil.
    We’re selling krill oil too. As well as Cox2Tame that indeed has.. turmeric as one of the ingredients. Helps me a lot when I have a case of instant itching (soy lecithin is a major culprit here).

    Funny you mention GLA: tried it a while and joint problems that troubled me since age 15 (am now 43) reappeared. Was eating higher-carb too at the time and reintroducing some grains. Back to no grains, ditched the GLA and presto! No aching. Not even a bit of DOMS after lifting.
    Bit of advice for you : try to find someone who does ART, a kind of painful massage therapy that works wonders. Doing rehab exercise wouldn’t hurt either.

  22. Sir many thanks yr time. Sara seems to be in the hands of a fella who is a vegan to start, has never heard of Nicholas Gonzalez MD and just shuttles her from pill to pill.
    As per Richard Burton once quipped…Actors are like Dr’s, one has a few that are wonderful and the rest are rubbish.
    Which i’ll think is a power law ..thats me BTW, not the Skakespearean from the Valleys.Now thats Wales not LA !

    Again thanks Sir

    My pleasure–

    MRE

  23. Dr Eades “It’s been my experience that if one is on a low-carb diet the GLA is unnecessary and can even be counter productive. GLA converts on down the pathway to arachidonic acid, which then converts itself into some pretty nasty pro-inflammatory products. A number of years ago I read a bunch of blather about taking GLA and EPA, so I took a bunch to see what effect it had on some minor back pain that I was having.”

    I took your advice and dropped GLA. As I remember, Gabriel didn’t advise oral application he advised topical application. But because I hurt everywhere I decided on a oral dose. Unfortunately, dropping GLA was followed by the return of the arthritis pain, much to my surprise. I had thought the effect was mostly the 10 grams of fish oil, not the one gel of GLA.

    I came up with a reference that summarized “This study revealed that a GLA and EPA supplement combination may be utilized to reduce the synthesis of proinflammatory AA metabolites, and importantly, not induce potentially harmful increases in serum AA levels.”

    I am hoping this reference is not the blather you mentioned, so I can thankfully forget my plan to drop GLA for one more cycle to firm up the GLA is bad for me hypothesis. (The return to normal took two weeks)

    the link is
    http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/130/8/1925

    Hi David–

    No, the article you referenced is not the blather I was talking about. I’m sorry that your back pain got worse. Were I you, I would certainly go back to the added GLA. But, I do have a question…have you been on a low-carb diet while all this was happening? A rigid low-carb diet, not an I’m-kind-of-watching-my-carbs variety? It does make a difference.

    Thanks for writing–

    MRE

  24. Dr. Eades,

    I take cod liver oil caps by Nature Made with Vitamins A& D.

    I take 2 a day. Is this the same as fish oil?
    My husband and I are starting your way of eating, and hope to have magnificant results! I would like to get him off a lot of his meds, too many for my liking. I have a low thryoid and take .012 mgs. of Synthroid. How can we join your low carb challenge? I could not bring it on my browser, Safari. Are you still running it?

    Thank you,

    Doris

    Hi Ms. De Jong–

    I’m not familiar with Nature Made, but I can tell you that cod liver oil capsules are fish oil.

    Unfortunately the company that was running the low-carb challenge in conjunction with our publisher was bought out by another company that decided not to continue the program, so it is no longer in existence. Sorry.

    I wish you the best in your weight loss efforts.

    MRE

  25. No more than 100 carbs a day, most days 60 plus. It took me from 1999 to reach this point. Before I started training I had to stay very close to 30-50 carbs a day. I am training 2 to 3 times a week using Slow Burn. I feel great. Usually when I cheat on diet I feel flushed, weak, and hungry, but that is not happening now.

    Soon, I will have my first A1ac reading. That will really tell how close to the diet I am. I will tell you that score along with the change in inflammation due to taking curcuminin.

    I am not sure dropping GLA caused the pain to return because with Slow Burn I am making huge quick gains in strength and maybe my bones/ligaments/arthritis are not keeping up. I am using more than half to 2/3rd of each machine’s stack. Which for a 67 year old guy happened very quickly. Before Slow Burn I never got close to half of any machine’s stack. I need to do another trial to make sure that dropping GLA is the cause.

    In the referenced GLA/Omega3 study, the 3 gram dose of omega 3’s was exactly the same as what I am taking. However my one a day capsule of GLA is 1/12 of the GLA in their study. Maybe a tiny amount of GLA to Omega3 is needed to get benefits on a low carb diet.

    Thanks for responding, it was good to hear my referenced study was not the one you decided to ignore. I have gone back to 240 mg/day of GLA and my back & knees feel better. For now I am not reaching for failure on the third rep. I will consolidate before increasing the weight. Caution because while it is fun getting strong fast, I am not sure if it is safe for a 67 year old.

    Cheers
    David

    Hi David–

    Congrats on your success!

    Be sure to let me know what your HgbA1c is when it comes back, Were you diabetic when you started all this?

    Thanks for the update.

    MRE

  26. Got the results on curcumin. I took one 900 mg/day capsule from LEF.org. (best value I found for the dose-plus promises of better bioavailability)

    Homocysteine dropped from 11.4 to 7.9. A 30% drop. The normal cutoff point moves around a lot for this test. Last year the cutoff was 11 something. Now for 59 plus males it is 15.3. And the lab is promising new cutoff values for September. But bottom line, I guess that I am near the median for 30-39 year olds. Pretty good I think.

    CRP dropped 60% from 3.27 to 1.32. So it seems that curcumin is effective. YMMV.

    My HgA1c is 5%. I was hoping for a lower number, but based on my glucose readings the 5% is reasonable. My fasting glucose is 106. I challenged my insulin with 44 grams of calories in ice cream. As I recall, blood glucose was back to normal in less than 2 hrs. However, 45 grams of whole grain bread took over 3 hours to get back to normal. The only time I got lower glucose readings than 106 was when my system overshot in response to carbs. Fasting glucose always tests around 106. Because 5% is less than half the way between 4.5 to 5.7, maybe that means I am doing better than half of the healthy population. That is not bad.

    I have never been diagnosed as diabetic because my fasting blood sugar has never been higher than 110. But because my normal blood sugar is not under 100, I suspect that I am a little bit insulin resistant.

    Thanks for your curiosity about my results. This bores friends and family to tears, so I never get a chance to talk about my hobby. I have 25 years of my medical tests in an access data base.

    Cheers
    David

    Hi David–

    Thanks for the update. The drop in CRP (C-reactive Protein) is pretty amazing. Is the addition of the curcumin the only difference between the two lab tests?

    If you want to find out if you’re actually insulin resistant or not, see if you can find a physician who does the insulin challenge test that we wrote about in the Protein Power LifePlan.

    Best–

    MRE

  27. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and Sjorgren’s Syndrome. I am gluten intolerant and have been off gluten and dairy of for 3 years. My AS is severe so I was tested for Klebsiella, but all the tests for stool and blood were negative. I take high EPA fish oil at 4 per day and other supplements. My acupuncturist suggested the Specific Carbohydrate diet. My questions are can/how can I make a difference with Omega 3’s—is a low carb diet similar to SC diet and have you heard of Celadrin making a difference?

    Thanks
    JP

    Hi JP–

    A Specific Carbohydrate diet can be a low-carbohydrate diet but doesn’t have to be. AS and Sjogren’s syndrome are both inflammatory diseases. Omega-3 fats help them in the same way they help all inflammatory problems–by changing the ratio of pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory products. You might want to consider adding some krill oil to your regimen because of its greater absorbability and extra anti-inflammatory properties.

    I have no experience with Celadrin, so I can’t really comment on its effectiveness or lack thereof.

    Best–

    MRE

  28. Yes, the CRP drop was surprising. I can’t think of any thing besides the curcumin that caused it. It is only one data point – so I have to give a YMMV warning.

    The only change in supplements was a minor one with my B vitamins. About 8 months ago, I was taking a tablet for most of the B vitamins. In an attempt to reduce the number of tablets I substituted Costco’s Kirkland B50 formula. It was the strongest B combination I could find. I soon decided to add a folate tablet, and am considering adding a biotin tablet and a B12 tablet.

    Everything else, as far as supplements go, was the stuff I have been taking for about 3 years. Diet is the same, maybe more protein. Exercise is more intense, using Slow Burn. The hormones released by Slow Burn are profoundly stronger than my prior exercise.

    I have gotten better at getting the “growth hormone” night time pulse. Very low carb intake during and after supper. I don’t “feel” the growth hormone pulse, but I awaken with a little tent. I am assuming the growth hormone pulse is a precursor to that event. If I am not very careful about my late carbs this event does not occur.

    It doesn’t seem to me that these changes explain the drop in CRP. I do remember thinking that CRP would probably change more than homocysteine, so maybe we have two data points. One data point being the change in homocysteine, and the other data point being the larger change in CRP.

    Yours in Protein Power,
    David

    Hi David–

    Thanks for the info. I have a question about your comment. You wrote “I don’t “feel” the growth hormone pulse, but I awaken with a little tent.” Is the ‘little tent’ a typo or is it some term I’m totally unaware of?

    Best–

    MRE

  29. Dear Dr. Eades,

    Had to come back here and let you know how well this fish oil/krill oil/curcumin regimen is working for my husband, who has osteoarthritis and suffers nasty flareups.

    He’s been trying this for about a month or so, and has said the magic words, “It seems to be working.”

    That is, in itself, a miracle. He’s tried just about every supplement on the market in an effort to reduce the arthritis flare ups and deal with the pain. He was also prescribed Naproxen 500mg twice daily.

    We’ve been married for two and a half years, and this is the *first* time I’ve ever heard him say, “It seems to be working” about any supplement he’s tried. Normally it’s, “No, I don’t notice much difference, I guess it doesn’t work” in regard to the various supplements tried (everything from borage oil to something called ASU).

    Within about two weeks of adding krill and curcumin (he was already taking fish oil), my husband was able to start skipping doses of the naproxen. It was only about a week ago that I noticed he was limping around a bit, and in quite a bit of pain…

    Turns out he ran out of his curcumin and krill oil, and had been having to take more of the Naproxen again. While he has been prescribed a regimen of naproxen 500mg twice daily, he prefers to only take it unless he really needs too (because of the known negative side effects).

    To make a long story short, I made sure we got some more krill and curcumin, and today my husband doesn’t need any naproxen.

    The krill oil isn’t all that expensive (compared to things like OsteoBi-Flex), and the curcumin is darned cheap.

    Anyway – thank you so much for sharing this information about the krill and curcumin. It really does work.

    For anyone else trying it – it’ll take a couple of weeks before you start noticing a major improvement, at which point you might be able to “ditch” your NSAIDS. And it’ll take about a week if you happen to run out of krill/curcumin to start noticing that the joints are hurting again.

    Hi Sara–

    Thanks for the inspiring story of your husband’s success. I’m sure his GI tract appreciates the break from the constant bombardment by naproxyn.

    You make a point worth repeating. With natural substances such as the krill oil/fish oil/circumin regimen it takes a while to see results. Natural substances have to build up in the tissues, a situation that doesn’t occur overnight.

    Best–

    MRE

  30. Heya MRE

    Last poster was most likely using the term ‘little tent’ as a euphenism for getting an erection or “morning wood”. Maybe your knew that and were just teasing? Heh.

    Anyways, very interesting about the curcumin reducing CRP. You take the curcumin and fish/krill oil alone? Or with or around a meal? Any problems with stomach upset? I wonder because I ocassionally took a supplement with curcumin and boswellin (boswellic acid) by itself to help with aches. Never made it a regular part of my regimen because I would sometimes burb up the stuff.

    Hi Rich–

    I shoulda figured out the ‘little tent.’ Thanks for the heads up.

    I take my fish oil/krill oil/circumin all at once and I’ve never had a problem. Of course, as my wife is quick to point out, I have a stomach of iron.

    Best–

    MRE

  31. Dr. Eades,

    I just started your krill oil (1000mg) and curcumin (500mg) regimen today. I’ve been taking fish oil for several months already, totalling 3g EPA and 2g DHA daily. This is the dose recommended to me by my rheumatologist for RA. I don’t know if it helps or not, to be honest.

    My question is by adding the krill oil am I now getting too much Omega 3? Should I cut back on the fish oil?

    Thanks so much for providing this means of communication. It’s tremendously helpful.

    Christy

    Hi Christy–

    The krill oil is a fairly small dose, but it’s potent because of its phospholipid structure. I wouldn’t think you would have a problem, but since you’re not my patient and I don’t have an exam, labwork, etc. to go on, I would recommend that you check with your doctor who put you on the fish oil.

    Best–

    MRE

  32. I began a journey of GI discovery last winter and it just keeps getting … more interesting. I am very intrigued by this article and plan to ask my doctor about fish oil as an ibuprofen replacement next time I see him. Thank you!

    Hi NM–

    Don’t forget the krill oil and the circumin.  Both are a part of the regimen I found so successful.

    Best–

    MRE

  33. I haven’t had the chance to read all the comments yet, but if it hasn’t been pointed out yet- not all krill oil is the same or comes from the same company.

    There’s at least one other company that “makes” krill oil..one place selling it is Vitacost.com. Notice there is no mention of phospholipids..and the amounts for the other things aren’t the same.

    Interesting website you have here 😉

    Hi Only Natural–

    Thanks for the heads up.  I’ll check this out next week and report back.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  34. Hey there MRE,

    I just wanted to thank you for the curcumin suggestion. I have been taking fish oil for years and then read something on cod liver oil so about 4 or 5 months ago I switched to it instead and I got some additional relief from the pain in my hip joints. I then read this article and started taking curcumin and within a week felt a great improvement from hip pain. Prior to this I would take NSAIDs in hope of getting relief but it never helped much. I was amazed at how much relief I have gotten from this. Also, my NSAID usage is almost completely non existent except for occasional headache.

    I keep trying to convince others (family/friends) but no go as yet. HA! Their loss.

    Thanks a million, and love your blog!!

    Hi Licia–

    I’m glad the circumin helped.   Since I’ve been on it daily along with krill oil and fish oil, I have not taken another NSAID.  It just took me a couple of weeks to get to that point, which is typical with natural products.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  35. Dr. Eades,
    Is the curcumin supp you take 500mg of 100% curcumin, or is it 500mg of curcuminoids (complex)? And would you recommend/not reccomend/be agnostic on the idea of messing with BioPerine as a booster/availability enhancer? Thanks.

    Hi Michael–

    The supplement I now take is 800 mg curcumin, which is actually about 750 mg of curcuminoids, along with 5 mg of BioPerine.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  36. Quick question. Is it best to take it all (the 2 capsules of ProOmega and 2 capsules of Krill oil) in the morning? Or split it up and take one of each AM and PM? (Still looking for the curcumin … but that would be taken in the AM, right?)

    DH suffers from psoriatic arthritis (when the psoriasis on his hands flare up, so does the arthritis in his knuckles). Of couse, he doesn’t eat low carb; can’t get him to give up his potatoes, bread, and cookies.

    He’s waiting for me to try this regimen first. If I have luck, he says he’ll try it too.

    THANKS for such great info!

    Hi Kathy–

    I don’t know that it makes a difference.  I take my regimen whenever I think of it.  Usually it’s early in the day, but if I forget, I take it at bedtime.  It doesn’t seem to make much difference to me.  Once you get blood levels where they need to be, a daily infusion just keeps them there, and it probably doesn’t matter much when it is as long as it is.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  37. I would like to buy from Thorne, but alas, I am not a healthcare practitioner. They require a “referral code.” Can you help me?

  38. Happy to see progress on your blog site! I have had similar success with omega-3’s for back pain, sans curcumin. But,
    I was led to something else that has astounded me by its effectiveness. It’s
    Borax, or really
    Boron. I didn’t believe it at first, but a friend was very persuasive and also had strong anecdotal evidence. Anyway, when
    I take 20-
    Mule
    Team
    Borax diluted to dose, my back pain disappeared in a few days, as did morning knee pain. It has been touted as an arthritis cure, but, for me, it just works. Have you any knowledge of it one way or another?

      • Interesting article. I’ve always known that boron, along with molybdenum, calcium and magnesium, is important for bone health. I wasn’t aware of the idea that boron, or boric acid, was preventative against arthritis. I would need to put some time in studying the various papers, especially the RCT that was allegedly removed from PubMed (which, frankly, I have a hard time believing since so much other controversial stuff is in PubMed). I’ll see if I can track it down.

        But, I’ve got to tell you, when I find articles such as the one you sent, my antennae always go up because I constantly keep Feynman’s wonderful talk about Cargo Cult Science (which I try to read at least once a month to keep myself on the straight and narrow) in the forefront of my mind. At first blush, it looks as if the main guy mentioned as the boron/boric acid researcher looked for everything he could find to bolster his theory instead of looking for everything he could find that might disprove it. That’s not how good science is done.