View Full Version : beef and inflammation

Yael Grauer
12-07-2006, 06:00 PM
Not to fan the Barry Sears versus Weston Price Fdn flames, but I was trying to research whether red meat really contributes to inflammation, and what I found on the Price side was this:

What about the accusation that meat contributes to autoimmune diseases and asthma? This hypothesis is predicated on the fact that meat contains arachidonic acid, a fatty acid from which the supposedly pro-inflammatory Series Two prostaglandinsólocal tissue hormonesóare formed. This is one of the nuttiest notions to take hold in the scientific community for a long time. It was promulgated by Barry Sears, author of The Zone, and taken up with a vengeance by the anti-meat forces. These people know nothing about prostaglandins. Some of the prostaglandins that the body makes from arachidonic acid do indeed promote inflammationówhich is a very important protective response when you have injured yourself. But the same arachidonic acid also forms the basis of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins that the body uses, when appropriate, to reduce inflammation.19 And besides, the amount of arachidonic acid in beef is very lowóless than half a percent of total fat content. It is much lower than the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, the current darlings of the nutritional community, yet none of the voices promoting omega-3 fatty acids ever tell us that we can get them from beef.

On the other hand, a quick search on medherb showed that EPA and DHA competes with arachidonic acid for enzymes and provide precursors for anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, making me think arachidonic acid really is the bad guy....

Thoughts anyone? Less or more red meat to reduce inflammation? Looking for hard science! :o It looks like vitamins C+E are good and the bioflavonoids in berries (to stabilize the inflammatory cell membranes) plus turmeric, bromelain, etc.

Steve Liberati
12-07-2006, 06:15 PM
Good post Yael. I think eating a balanced diet with fruit, veggies, seafood, nuts/seeds (paleo!) ultimately makes up for meat's shortfall (inflammation inducing properties). Its really nature's gift to us. Everything balances itself out naturally. Just something I gathered from experience. Not much too contribute scientifically.

Yael Grauer
12-07-2006, 06:28 PM
Thanks, Steve. I'm just trying to figure out if I really need to cut back on red meat for a month like my chiropractor said or not. He is awesome in his area of expertise, but I figure nutrition isn't really his specialty, especially since he recommended Pedialyte.

It's just a month and I will gladly do it if I need to (not the hardest thing to give up for a month) but only if he's right.

Mike ODonnell
12-07-2006, 08:19 PM
Per "Inflammation Nation" and "The Inflammation Zone" they peg AA as the main issue in all inflammation. Not only through Omega 6 downcoversions, but also directly through dietary sources. Red Meat is high in it, Turkey was real high in it (of course the fattier the meat, the more AA concentration). Pork, Grain fed Egg Yolks, Corn and Soy were also targeted sources of high dietary AA. If it was "grass fed" meats I believe the levels of AA would be extremely low.

Omega 6s downconvert into AA, primarily with the D5D enzyme to get from DGLA to AA. The D5D enzyme is Activated by Insulin, and Blocked by Glucagon and EPA. So you can limit the amount of DGLA that does get converted into AA, as DGLA is actually of benefit to the body. So control insulin, release glucagon and get EPA (fish oil) to block the conversion of the inflammatory AA messengers.

Yael Grauer
12-07-2006, 08:21 PM
So are you saying you can eat grassfed beef without two high of AAs and the other stuff high in AAs is okay too if you get fish oil and keep your insulin in check? Is there a way to get DGLA without the high AA things?

I guess I'm also just asking what to do for a one-month period to decrease inflammation as opposed to what is the healthiest general long-term diet (which would of course include tons of red meat, lol.)

kevin mckay
12-07-2006, 08:56 PM
In addition to the anti inflammatory sources listed above I think cherries are a very good source.


Mike ODonnell
12-08-2006, 04:51 AM
There are no sources of DGLA directly (that I know of...or they are really rare), but you can get DGLA from GLA (GLA downconverts into DGLA directly) from evening primrose oil. Many Arthritis doctors recommend a combination of GLA and EPA for the full anti-inflammatory affect. I believe the ratio should be somewhere around 4:1 of EPA:GLA (you will see that mix in some EFA oil mixes like Udo's Choice). However....remember if you are not controlling insulin then that GLA will end up being AA and then you have the opposite affect you were looking for. (Dr Sears found that out with his control group).

Grass Fed is supposed to have lower (if any) level veg grains (Soy, corn, etc) so hence the animal can not absorb and convert to AA inside. I've never seen a study to show grain vs grass fed levels of AA in animal meats but that is supposed to be the way it works. Organic may not solve the problem because they may be just getting organic grains to eat. Since the AA stores mostly in the fatty portion of the meat, that's why most doctors say avoid red meat which is usually high in fat (so hence high in AA) and stick with lean cuts. Although if you look at things like "farmed" fish, they are fed grains...so a farmed salmon may have low levels of EPA/DHA and higher levels of AA. As I mentioned above Pork and Turkey were rated the highest levels.

Cortisol also lowers glucagon, therefore increasing inflammation.

So a pure anti-inflammation lifestyle would be (with the main goals of controlling insulin and AA conversions):
- Grass Fed Meats, Eggs (if you want to be safe you can go low fat and add in monounsaturated fats instead)
- Control Insulin - smaller meals every 3-4hrs, No sugar, proper Carb/Prot/Fat ratio
- Control Stress and Cortisol - Don't overtrain, Eat, Sleep, Be Merry
- Get EPA through Fish Oil (your level needed will depend on your level of present inflammation...some may need 1 tbsp, some 2...but start with 1)
- Could also add DGLA in the form of GLA
- Ginger and Tumeric have been linked to reducing Inflammation
- Get rid of all source of veg oils in your diet (if any...soy, corn, sunflower)
- Lose body fat (increased stored fat lead to increased inflammation messengers)
- and of course treat the gut (as I believe that is the source of most all illnesses) with High Fiber diet, Alkaline balance, remove irritants/allergens like milk and grains, probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc.

and now we can see why everyone needs anti-inflammatory NSADIS/COX inhibitors....Billion dollar industry there alone. Side note: I remember hearing that Fish Oil and NSAIDS should not be taken together, as they compete for the same enzymes and essentially will not be as effective....or need high Fish Oil doses if still taking NSAIDS.

Steve Shafley
12-08-2006, 05:34 AM
That's a kick ass post, Mike.

I did like Eade's anti-fiber post a while back on his blog too...thought provoking, it's worth a read if you haven't yet.

Another addition to your list would be intermittant fasting.

Steve Shafley
12-08-2006, 05:34 AM
I just read somewhere that Sears recommends 1/2 a baby aspirin with your fish oils.

kevin mckay
12-08-2006, 10:05 AM
Interesting, my Dr recommended I start taking an aspirin every night with dinner.

Steve Shafley
12-08-2006, 10:16 AM
Two physicians ago it was recommended I take either a baby aspirin ED or a regular aspririn EOD.

My last physician was upset he couldn't get me on Lipitor and a diuretic.

Yael Grauer
12-08-2006, 08:06 PM
I guess there's different prostaglandins for different forms of inflammation, like for example oxidized oils promote inflammation (even though they have EFA's), cold pressed ones are better but some are stabilized with hexane (yeck).

I read something written by a homeopath saying that D3 can be higher than what MD's say (which is 1000 unites maximum, based on a 1932 study with mice), too much D3 causes diarrhea so that's one way to tell what your dose is (1000 unites less than max)

Here's some sites with opposing viewpoints I was sent that I haven't had a chance to look at yet:


This because I was looking into safety of upping my dose of CLO.

Apparently fish oil is a better choice for EPA and DHA than CLO.

Yael Grauer
12-08-2006, 11:51 PM
One more thing (yes, I am up late with the lights on) is I'm pretty sure aspirin is a cox inhibitor which includes inhibiting cox 2 and 3 (which are inflammatory, but in a way that some argue is necessary for healing) and also inhibits cox 1, necessary for membrane repair and optimal immune function. I have lecture notes on this somewhere but that's just from memory. Not sure how small a dosage would be more beneficial than harmful, but I'm sure some of the whizzes on this board would. (That's your cue.)

Mike ODonnell
12-09-2006, 06:48 AM
The NSAIDS like Celebrex are Cox II inhibitors
Asprin however works broader as a Cox I and II inhibitor.

Cox II enzyme is more responsible for the "pain" of inflammation
Cox I enzyme has some beneficial properties such as maintaining the stomach lining (hence why people who take too many asprin have stomach related issues, ulcers, etc)

When the suggestion in the medical community came about for taking an asprin a day, I dont know. Probably fueled by some weak research sponsored by Tylenol to up sales. Doctors think it lessens the chance for heart disease by it's blood thining properties. Omega 3 fish oil does the same while actually fixing the cause of inflammation, not masking it's symptoms.

Either way I don't ever take asprin, if I have inflammation I need to know so I can take corrective actions to repair whatever is going wrong in my body. It's like cutting the wires to the check engine light in your car.....ignoring the first warning sign....sooner or later that can lead to more extensive damage.

Robb Wolf
12-09-2006, 07:43 AM
I guess I'm also just asking what to do for a one-month period to decrease inflammation as opposed to what is the healthiest general long-term diet (which would of course include tons of red meat, lol.)
Get some sleep!

Yael Grauer
12-11-2006, 10:07 AM
Get some sleep!

All this science and we're relegated to grandma medicine.

Yael Grauer
12-11-2006, 10:40 AM
The NSAIDS like Celebrex are Cox II inhibitors
Asprin however works broader as a Cox I and II inhibitor.

I just took a bunch of ibuprofen. So much for my principles

Mike ODonnell
12-11-2006, 11:30 AM
All this science and we're relegated to grandma medicine.

Wasn't it our Grandmothers who told us to take Cod Liver Oil??

Yael Grauer
12-11-2006, 11:36 AM
Wasn't it our Grandmothers who told us to take Cod Liver Oil??

And to eat more meat, in my Jewish family anyway. Grandma freaked out when I was vegetarian.

Scott Kustes
12-12-2006, 07:40 AM
Sounds like grandma was a smart lady. And she didn't even have to read Lights Out and The Paleo Diet to relearn everything the human race seems to have forgotten.