Halloween has been and gone, the weather is getting colder and Christmas is on its way. I don’t know about you, but it’s about this time of year that I get out the sofa duvet (yes, I have one) and spend the evenings snuggled up in front of the telly with mugs of hot chocolate. It’s certainly important to keep warm and not let the cold make your symptoms worse. However, on the subject of aggravated symptoms, I wonder if you’ve heard about this…
A hidden poison
In the late 1960’s a Japanese scientist, Yoshiyuki Takasaki, invented a sweetener. It was cheap, easily produced, and considerably sweeter than sugar. It became an instant hit with manufacturers the world over and is now found in almost every ready-made product you can think of from cakes to bread to pizza to beans to… well, the list really is endless. The most common use is in fizzy drinks, which is where many of the problems have started.
You might be forgiven for thinking it’s an artificial sweetener like aspartame, phenylalanine, sucralose or sorbitol. But it is none of these. It’s High Fructose Corn Syrup.
And it’s not good.
You have probably heard of fructose. It’s the sugar in most fruits and root vegetables. Eaten as part of a balanced diet it won’t do much harm. There is plenty of information on what makes for a balanced diet (I even read some of it once) so I won’t bore you with that.
But many of the processed foods available to us contain much more fructose than we are meant to deal with, and this is causing all sorts of problems for humans of all ages. I’m not going to get into the complicated chemistry of what your body gets up to when you’re not looking, but very simply, when fructose is metabolised by the liver it creates, among other things, lipid (i.e. fat) cells and uric acid.
As a result children are becoming obese when they shouldn’t, and adults are getting arthritic diseases long before they should. Every year more and more discoveries are being made about the detrimental effects of fructose.
So what has this got to do with fibromyalgia? Two things: The first is this – given that we almost all suffer with joint pain then it might be worth knowing that some of this could be exacerbated by the amount of concentrated fructose hidden in the things we eat. Something it is fairly easy to watch out for.
The second is a recent discovery about the effects of fructose in the brain and how this might be affecting fibromyalgia sufferers in particular.
According to an article in the Journal of Pain Research, researchers believe that a lot of the chronic pain we experience with Fibromyalgia is down to a protein called Fractalkine. This protein may also be responsible for the neuro (brain-related) inflammation which can result in a hypersensitivity to pain, sensory stimuli, sleep problems, cognitive problems, etc. If you want to read these articles, take a look at Link 1, below. My thanks go to Karen for passing this on to me.
If they are right, then controlling this protein could make a huge difference to Fibro sufferers worldwide. Many studies are taking place and research is ongoing, so watch this space.
But what about our little friend fructose? What’s that got to do with all this? Well, another study found that high-carbohydrate diets, particularly those with a lot of fructose in them, caused an increase in this Fractalkine protein and therefore an increase in neuro-inflammation and pain. You can find more about it by following Link 2 below.
So maybe take a look for all the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in your foods and try to eliminate it. It’s a small thing but it may help. By the way, HFCS also gets called natural corn syrup, isolated fructose, maize (a native word for corn) syrup, glucose/fructose syrup and tapioca syrup (not from corn, but also fructose). The food manufacturers are sneaky, so watch out.
If you want to know more about the hazards of fructose and sugars in general check out Dr Robert Lustig on YouTube. Also, Professor John Yudkin’s book “Pure, white and deadly” is excellent.
The Future Clinic Launch Party
Don’t forget that Dr Gary Lee is holding a launch party for
The Future Clinic. The event will be at the Quay Arts centre on the 7th
of November, and it starts at 6:15. If you haven’t got your name down for it
then please do so quickly because numbers are extremely limited now. You can
contact Gary directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out more.
Our next meeting will be on the 13th of November. Please bring your deposits for the Christmas meal if you haven’t already paid. This will also be your last opportunity to purchase any books from the library so don’t miss out.
We will be holding the Christmas Raffle this meeting so please bring plenty of money! The tickets will be £1 each and I would like to ask you to buy at least two tickets. We need this money to help us meet costs and every penny helps. We have some excellent prizes so it will be money well spent!
The more the merrier, as they say, so come along and let’s make the most of the last meeting of the year!
December and January
There will not be a meeting in December as this will be when we go out for our Christmas Meal. Instead we will be meeting again on the 8th of January. We often have an American Supper on the first meeting of the year, so if you have any ideas or suggestions for this event please come along to the November meeting and let us know what you think.
Finally, an appeal…
Until recently we used to enjoy really good attendances every month. Understandably, it has dropped a little over the last few months – people always have ‘something better to do’ during summer. After all, we’re on an island surrounded by beaches. But now we are settling into the ‘indoors’ time of year this is a good time to come back to the group if you have been away for a while. I’ve said before that, small as we may be, we are still a community, and a community thrives when its members come together. So why not find the time to drop by every month, have a cuppa, munch a biscuit and be with friends. Because you will always find us here.
Until the 13th, look after yourself and keep warm!