Author Topic: Healing and the Paleo Diet- from The Paleo Diet Update e-mail  (Read 8629 times)


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Healing and the Paleo Diet- from The Paleo Diet Update e-mail
« on: August 21, 2009, 08:30:32 PM »
This is of great interest to me as a Massage Therapist/Bodyworker and Trainer. And of course as an active participant in sports with high probabilities of injury. :D
Healing and the Paleo Diet            by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and Maelán Fontes
    Although we are not aware of any direct experimental evidence showing how the Paleo Diet influences healing, it seems reasonable that the diet may reduce healing time for acute injuries, similar to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) strain described below. The MCL is one of the four major ligaments of the knee, and is on the medial part of the knee joint in humans.

          "Dear Dr. Cordain,

          I have some questions regarding our son Andrew. He is the 15-year-old, competitive swimmer...Turns out that he has an MCL strain with his right knee. He saw an orthopedist this week. He won't be competing for the rest of this summer, and won't be doing much breaststroke for a while.

          I was told this week that it takes 6 months for the cell tissue to completely heal with a ligament strain. It just dawned on me today that his Paleo Diet might make a difference in the recovery of his MCL.

          I haven't read anything with regard to this yet. But, is his diet going to help the knee to heal back to 100%? He also begins physical therapy next week. His team has a 6-week break after July that will be a huge benefit. Have you known of these types of ligament injuries to completely heal?

          On numerous occasions, Andrew has told people that he feels better physically, and thinks more clearly on his Paleo Diet...And, his acne is a thing of the past!! He is a real Paleo supporter. Thank you for any recommendations you have for Andrew."

      Hi Teresa,

      Ligamentous tissue, because it is poorly vascularized, takes much longer than soft tissue to heal1. However, there are a number of elements of the Paleo Diet that may promote rapid tissue healing:

          o It has been demonstrated that protein deficient patients recover more slowly than a control group2. This makes the Paleo Diet, because it is a high protein diet, a perfect intervention in this MCL injury and similar injuries. In such cases, it is desirable to have a diet in which protein reaches 1.2 grams/kg/day2.

          o Increased branch-chain amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine) from the high animal protein diet will also speed up healing time3.

          o More rapid resolution of the acute inflammatory stage of tissue injury will occur because of increased consumption of long-chain fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and AA)4, 5.

          o Increased trace nutrient density (such as zinc, iron and phytochemicals)6 further promotes healing and tissue regeneration.

      In addition to the diet, there are also supplements that could help in wound healing.

          o Vitamin C is an important cofactor in synthesis of collagen and proteoglycans, and other components of bone, skin, capillary walls, and other connective tissues2. It is important for hydroxylation of proline and lysine residues in procollagen2. Vitamin C is also an important supplement in immunomodulation and antioxidation2, 6-8.

            Oxidative stress delays wound healing so wounds increase the necessity of vitamin C due to the increased reactive oxygen species generated2. Vitamin C is also able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.

            It is recommended that you not exceed 2 grams a day since some adverse health effects have been demonstrated, such as hemolysis (red blood cell destruction), especially in glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients7. The recommended dosage is 1-2 grams per day2.

          o Glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid synthesis, which is an important substance in extra cellular matrix composition2. Glucosamine may increase insulin resistance and glucose levels so it should not be taken by diabetic patients. Otherwise, it is safe at a dose of 500 mg 3 times per day7.

          o Omega-3 fats will reduce inflammation and help promote the healing process4, 5, 9.

          o Glutamine has been demonstrated to decrease the number of days in the hospital for wound patients2. It supports the immune system in the initial phase of inflammation, and serves as an energy source for fibroblasts and protein synthesis2, 6, 10. The recommended dosage is 0.2 grams/kg/day2.

          o Arginine is another important amino acid in tissue regeneration. Some of its actions include stimulation of cell migration (for wound recovery), and it is a precursor for proline during collagen synthesis2, 6.

          o Zinc is essential in DNA synthesis, protein synthesis and cell division2, 6, 11. All of these are important factors in wound healing. Zinc content is high in the Paleo Diet. A recommended dosage to promote healing is 15-30 mg per day2.

          o Other nutrients that could be beneficial for wound healing are garlic7 (with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), pineapple (because bromelain accelerates wound healing and decreases inflammation2, 7), and grape-derived phytochemicals (such as proanthocyanidin7) that exert anti-inflammatory effects and support healing of elastin and collagen7.

      We expect both athletes and surgery patients to recover more quickly on the Paleo Diet than they otherwise would eating a conventional modern diet.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 08:35:21 PM by Wlfdg »