Pancreas, Signs of Poor Function, and Treatments
Source: Patient information: Chronic Pancreatitis
Symptoms of Poor Pancreatic Function
of poor pancreatic function (pancreatic insufficiency) do not occur until about
90% of pancreatic function has been lost. The pancreas normally
contributes to the digestion of different types of food, the absorption of food
breakdown products from the digestive tract, and the metabolism of blood
glucose (blood sugar).
Symptoms of poor pancreatic function may include
symptoms associated with fat malabsorption;
significant fat malabsorption results in steatorrhea, (the presence of excess fat in the stools,
usually caused by a disease of the pancreas or intestine, and characterized by
chronic diarrhea and weight loss), resulting in loose, greasy, foul-smelling
stools that are difficult to flush.
Symptoms of poor pancreatic function may
also include glucose intolerance (high blood glucose after consuming sugar and
carbohydrates) and diabetes. If pancreatic function is severely affected, a
person may also experience symptoms of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies,
including weight loss.
Carbs Are The Primary Cause of High Triglycerides
Note: Extremely high triglycerides may result in side effects like pancreatitis.
are the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body. [That doesn't mean your body makes triglycerides from dietary fats or fatty foods.] When you eat a
meal, any unused calories are converted to triglycerides and stored in your fat
cells (some triglycerides are also present in your blood stream). Later, they
will be released to meet the energy needs of your body.
likely heard of triglycerides before, as there has been intense research over
the past 40 years that confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides,
known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an
increased risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, many experts still
believe that the way to treat this problem is with a low-fat diet. What is often overlooked with low-fat diets is that
people tend to replace the fat with simple carbohydrates, and these are the
primary cause of high triglycerides.
are few absolutes in medicine, but I have yet to see someone with high
triglycerides fail to respond to a comprehensive restriction of grain and sugar
carbohydrates. I suspect there might be some cases out there, but I haven't
is an excellent review of carbohydrate-induced high triglycerides, which
thoroughly covers the history and science of my clinical observation, in the
February 2000 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
fact, I wish I would have cited this reference in my letter to the Canadian
Medical Journal, published earlier this year, which challenged their review
article claiming low-fat diets are the solution to, rather than the cause
of, high triglycerides.
condition may not present any symptoms until heart disease develops, so the
best way to know if your triglyceride levels are within range is with a blood
test. Extremely high
triglycerides may result in side effects like pancreatitis,
an enlarged liver and spleen, and xanthomas, or fatty
deposits in the skin.
your triglyceride levels are elevated, it likely represents a severe
abnormality of insulin balance in your body, and it is very important to lower
them [sugars and carbs] since, again, high triglycerides are an incredibly potent risk factor for
you are being armed with the information you need to get things under
control--triglyceride elevation is one of the most easy and straightforward
problems to correct by dramatically reducing, or eliminating, grains and sugars
in your diet.
This includes bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, bagels,
cereals, crackers and sweets like cookies, candies and fruit juice. You can
read more about the role of sugars in elevated triglycerides in this review in
the October 2003 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
this type of dietary change may sound overwhelming to start, you will soon break
your addiction to grains and sugar and your desire for them will decrease,
along with your triglyceride levels. Plus, you will likely have more energy
than you've had in years. My book, The No-Grain Diet, can help you on your way
to a grain-, sugar-free lifestyle.
with the diet there are two other factors that will protect your cardiovascular
health: regularly taking a high-quality fish oil [or cod liver oil in the Winter] that is chock full of
beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and getting plenty of
exercise. Bee's Note: You must also take vitamin A along with fish oil - see Cod Liver Oil Products/Brands with Nutrient Levels for more details about taking omega 3, vitamin A and vitamin D.
choosing your fish oil it is important to find a brand that is independently
tested by a lab and found to conform to purity guidelines. This will ensure
that the oil is free of mercury and other toxins. One such brand, which I have
found to be of superior quality when I compared it to many other brands, is
Carlson's fish and cod liver oil, and I now offer this exceptional fish oil/cod
liver oil to you in my "Recommended Products" section. You can also
look for it in your local health food store.
is the time of year when people living in cooler climates will want to switch
from fish oil to cod liver oil. The main difference between cod liver oil and
fish oil is that cod liver oil is high in vitamin D. In warm weather months,
the more intense sunshine allows your body to produce high and usually
sufficient levels of vitamin D without any supplementation necessary.
in cool weather when intense sun exposure is limited, your body will need more
vitamin D, and so I recommend cod liver oil versus fish oil in cool weather
months or climates.
generally recommend that you take cod liver oil from autumn to early spring,
and fish oil from late spring through the end of summer. However, those who
live in more tropical environments with regular exposure to more intense sun
will most likely be fine taking fish oil year round, as your vitamin D intake
from the sun will be sufficient. [Note: When taking fish oil, supplementation with vitamin A is also required.]
Daily Aspirin Use Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
who take aspirin regularly may be at an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, a
particularly deadly form of cancer. Researchers found that taking two or more
aspirins a week for 20 years or more increased the women's risk of pancreatic
cancer by 58 percent, and women who took 14 tablets or more per week had an 86
percent greater risk. Millions of women take aspirin daily in order to protect
against heart disease and to treat aches and pains.
in the study who took between six and 13 aspirins a week had a 41 percent
higher risk than women who did not use any, compared with an 11 percent greater
risk among women who took one to three aspirins a week.
pancreatic cancer affects only 31,000 Americans a year, most patients die
within three years. The cause behind pancreatic cancer remains unknown, however a previous study found that taking aspirin regularly may cause an
inflammation of the pancreas known as pancreatitis,
which sometimes leads to pancreatic cancer.
Aspartame, What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
last component of aspartame is methanol, better known as wood alcohol, a
"deadly poison," claims Dr. Roberts. The Environmental Protection
Agency recommends less than eight milligrams per day of methanol. A typical liter of an aspartame diet soda contains approximately 55
Complications of methanol poisoning include blindness, brain
swelling, pancreatitis, numbness, shooting pains, cardiac
changes, and death (28, 42-45). According to Aspartame Consumer Safety Network,
when ingested, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde, "known to cause
cancer, accumulating slowly without detection in the body" (The Deadly
Hydrochloric Acid Improves Pancreatic Function
Having enough hydrochloric acid (HCl) is critical for good digestion. If the chyme (mixture of food,
water and HCl) emptying from the stomach into the small intestines doesn't contain enough stomach acid,
the pancreas does not get stimulated enough to produce digestive enzymes and bicarbonate of soda in the small intestines. (Bicarbonate of soda is required in order to neutralize HCl for continued digestion in the intestines.) See How to Take Hydrochloric Acid Supplements.
Therefore, it is very important for the proper functioning of the pancreas to increase HCl in the stomach by taking betaine hydrochloric acid supplements and to also improve digestion in other ways - see Stomach Acid Problems for details on how digestion works, and how to improve it with foods, herbs and spices.