Chronic pain breakthrough – What I learned from Alaska’s brown bears

bear cub

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We trust our remedies, especially the sort in pill form, to the extent they are backed by peer reviewed clinical studies. While not so many of us consider the Alaska griz our “peers,”—pause for good-humored joking around…—bears are really smart. In fact, they seem to know some things we’ve forgotten.

What’s this got to do with chronic pain? Read on

Friday I flew to Katmai NP to watch these powerful bruins. At Brooks falls, Rangers control the flow of people so these bears can go about their lives without concern for the contents of picnic baskets, too-friendly “feed-the-bears” folks, or that they’d get in trouble for raiding garbage pails.

A 26 year old bear is like a 73 year old human. Wow. Even in their 70’s, these Katmai beauties are fit, agile, alert, have an amazing memory and can fish far better than I can.

Being the curious person I am, a few things:

  • Right out of hibernation, bears eat mainly a plant-based diet but don’t gain weight.
  • With the salmon run brings a high protein-fat diet to replenish muscle, joints, organs, and provide energy—bears return to their healthy weight.
  • In August, the higher sugar in their diet of berries causes stores of fat to set—sugar and starchy roots signal fat accumulation.

In fact, these polyunsaturated fatty acid-loving, salmon-eating bears have better cardiovascular profiles and nervous system function than their land-locked cousins.

In people, a plant-based diet with healthy fats can reduce symptoms related to all forms of neuropathy and chronic pain.

“My health was effected by what I was eating. Now I feel like my energy level doesn’t rollercoaster; it is constant and so much better.”—PS

Here are some of the positive results:

  • Reduced numbness and tingling in hands, feet and legs
  • Lowered pain and burning sensations
  • Support and strengthening nerves and nerve linings
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Reduced inflammation and chronic pain

Eat like a grizzly bear—relieve chronic pain, numbness, burning, and tingling…

Brooks falls grizzly bear gets omega-3 fatty acids from salmon

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Salmon and all fish, eggs, red meat are high in a unique, absorbable, and bioavailable form of B12 called methylcobalamine. According to a clinical study in the Journal of Neurological Science, scientists found that key B vitamins have been shown to produce nerve regeneration. Methylcobalamin is essential—meaning it must be obtained from our the diet—and has been shown to protect cognitive function, combat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by reducing levels of a protein break-down product called homocysteine (that becomes elevated in people who don’t eat enough plants and is also linked with heart disease) and promotes healthy sleep patterns.

I used to have a constant yeast infection, and Lyme symptoms. I have my yeast problem almost completely gone. My digestive system is better. The Lyme symptoms disappeared. —JR

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the vitamin-B complex group and is also one of the most important and industrious nutrients in the human body; participating in everything from the formation of heme to carry oxygen in red blood cells to metabolizing foods into energy. This vitamin also helps to lower stress, decrease symptoms of PMS, treat depression, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of dental cavities. It also aids in the maintenance of nerve health and brain function. When we don’t get an adequate amount of B6 in our diets, we become, irritable, depressed, tired, weak and can get scale-like formations on the skin and mouth.

Chronic inflammation causes pain; polyunsaturated fatty acids are key to reducing inflammation, neuropathy and nerve pain.

Low-fat self-restraint is misguided.

high energy high fat diet

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For years, experts warned us to cut down on saturated fat—soon it was all fat—and then back to just the “bad fats” (think picnic baskets loaded with butter, cheese, bacon, red meat, and countless other tasty foods) because it clogs arteries and causes heart attacks.

But current research suggests all that the fat, in and of itself, may not be as bad for your heart as previously thought.

An exhaustive review, published in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition challenged the conventional wisdom on the dangers of saturated fat. Studies over the years have simply failed to consistently show a link between saturated fat and heart disease. By reviewing 21 studies that included nearly 350,000 people, the authors found “no significant evidence” that eating more saturated fat increases a person’s risk of heart disease or stroke.

A series of studies known as the Coronary Heart Project, AIM High and others, consistently show that while saturated fat does indeed raise LDL, the statins and/or niacin, while they will change cholesterol profiles, have failed time and again to produce fewer heart attacks.

And finally, a more recent study lead by Dr. Mozaffarian analyzed data from eight controlled clinical trials in which more than 13,000 people replaced saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat in their diets. This work shows definitively that people who replaced the calories from fat by eating more carbohydrates increased their cholesterol and the carbohydrates themselves directly contributed to heart disease. On the other hand, people who replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated omega-3 fats improved their heart health.

The right balance of polyunstaurated fats can help reduce and prevent chronic pain

Brooks falls grizzly bear catching red salmon

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Recently, the functional relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acids and pain has become a focus of investigation. By far, the standard American diet is far too high in the omega-6 variety, due to its prevalence in processed foods—and high omega-6 fatty acids (think cookies, crackers, chips, pastries, pizza and grain-fed everything) is part of what’s driving inflammation and chronic pain.

Although we need a variety of fats in our diet, people who consume too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 also have more pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, pre-menstrual and menstrual discomfort, inflammatory bowl disease, neuropathy, heart disease, and the list goes on.

There is also a link between high omega-6 fatty acids causing infertility and premature births by altering prostaglandins and eicosinoids involved in the complex interplay of pregnancy hormones.

Blood levels of omega-6 series polyunsaturated fatty acids are high in patients with chronic pain.

There are likely a good number of reasons but here are two:

  • Since the 1964 discovery that the omega-6 PUFA named arachidonic acid is converted into an inflammatory prostaglandin E2 we’ve gained understanding how PUFAs modulate both the sensation of pain and the healing and immune response. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to produce inflammatory prostaglandins and eicosinoids while the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and grass-fed meats produce anti-inflammatory componds. We need both for proper healing, but an imbalance of omega-6 PUFAs can result in heightened sensations of pain and keep pain going as chronic inflammation.
  • Sometimes referred to as “super antioxidants” PUFAs can combat free radicals which are a primary cause of nerve damage and also regenerate the other antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and E.

And if I wanted to really sound like an advertisement, I’d talk about the proprietary Grizzly food blend of natural herbs and roots with well documented medical literature showing their therapeutic value in reducing pain in general and nerve pain in particular. Actually this is true!

Bears don’t take synthetic vitamins and neither should we.

Brooks falls bearsa_34

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The truth is that human bodies are only able to absorb and utilize a small amount of synthetic vitamins available in supplements and fortified foods. For example, it turns out that no matter how much synthetic thiamin anyone takes, our blood plasma levels don’t increase significantly beyond the first 12 milligrams of the dose—and only then if we were mildly deficient.

The next problem caused by taking synthetic supplements purified down to something that is most definitely not how mother nature intended it, is these create imbalances in other ways—and that creates side effects. Trace minerals are a perfect example of this: Many people take zinc supplements thinking it will help their immune system. But zinc and copper need to be in a correct ratio. Taking zinc can alter this perfect balance and cause other problems down the road.

Ingredients backed by thousands of clinical studies.

I’d love to help you design a program that works to rebalance your health and solve any symptoms you’ve been experiencing, especially chronic pain and fatigue. We are all different. Although we can’t go wrong eating a plant-based, grass-fed meat diet free of processed food side effects and health issues, if you’ve lived that way for any length of time it is likely you need a faster answer than diet alone can produce. That’s where Nutrition Response Testing and Designed Clinical Nutrition come in. Get results fast: Find and Fix What’s Really Wrong.

Just a few excerpts from peer-reviewed clinical studies used to establish the effectiveness of eating like a bear:

“Ultra-high dose methyl-B12 promotes nerve regeneration.”

Watanabe T, Kaji R, Oka N, Bara W, Kimura J. Ultra-high dose methylcobalamin promotes nerve regeneration in experimental acrylamide neuropathy. J Neurol Sci.1994 Apr;122(2):140-3.

“Methylcobalamin slows down the progression of ALS”

Izumi Y, Kaji R. [Clinical trials of ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin in ALS].Brain Nerve. 2007 Oct; 59(10):1141-7.

“Treatment with R-Alpha Lipoic Acid over 3 weeks is safe and effective in reducing symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.”

Ziegler D, Gries FA. Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic peripheral and cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes. 1997 Sep;46 Suppl 2:S62-6.

“Diets or supplements high in n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been shown to influence the timing of [giving birth]… High n-6 diets have higher frequency of premature births.”

S E Kirkup, Z Cheng, M Elmes, D C Wathes and D R E Abayasekara Polyunsaturated fatty acids modulate prostaglandin synthesis by ovine amnion cells in vitro. Reproduction.2010 Dec;140(6):943-51. doi: 10.1530/REP-09-0575. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Bergstrom, Danielson, Klenberg, and Samuelsson (November 1964).“The Enzymatic Conversion of Essential fatty Acids into Prostaglandins”.The Journal of Biological Chemistry 239 (11): PC4006–PC4008.

Dr. Greg Sternquist

Restoring health for over 20 years, Dr. Sternquist is an activist for bringing health to healthcare. His mission is to provide safe, drug-free, natural treatment plans while educating on optimal health, nutrition and lifestyle. “Dr. Greg” received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the prestigious Palmer College after completing his Bachelor of Science at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. After specializing in the respected Gonstead chiropractic method for nearly two decades, Dr. Greg felt he needed a new set of tools when his own health began failing. A former competitive cyclist, avid outdoors enthusiast, and private pilot—something had to change! After healing himself, he completed over 2,000 hours of continuing education in nutrition including certification in the elite Applied Clinical Training program through Ulan Nutrition Systems to become Alaska's first advanced clinician in Nutrition Response Testing in 2008. Dr. Greg also specializes in the Gonstead method of Chiropractic care. Now in private practice for 26+ years and with over 2500 hours of nutritional therapy training and advanced Chiropractic continuing education, Dr. Greg Sternquist has become a renowned expert helping thousands of wonderful people get off the cycle of repeating chronic health problems and only temporary results to now enjoy more energy, become free of unwanted symptoms, and look and feel the way they want.

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