Acute Pancreatitis

by (836) Updated April 25, 2013 at 3:21 AM Created May 19, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Does anyone suffer from acute pancreatitis attacks and have you been able to stop them?

Background info: Early 20's, been on Paleo diet for about 7 years, do not really drink, no evidence of gallstones on my lab tests (biliburin was not elevated, liver values normal).

Case history: I had my first acute pancreatitis attack about 1 month ago and was hospitalized. I had extremely high lipase levels (in the thousands). This was the same night as I was intermittent fasting then ate at a Korean BBQ buffet in the evening. I woke up to the pain in the wee hours of the morning.

I had two much milder attacks this week, where I decided not to go to the hospital (I'm abroad and don't have insurance so there wasn't much point). Both times I awoke early in the morning with pain. Both times I had a large meal that evening of Paleo foods, mostly grilled beef.

I haven't been able to find much info out there about pancreatitis that is not caused from alcohol or gallstones. I've become a bit depressed, because I figure if I keep getting this and I'm in my 20's now, I'll have chronic health problems as I age, maybe develop Type I diabetes, and may die fairly young.

The recommended diet is high carb on some of the websites, but I haven't seen them cite any valid information as to why high carb would be best. Both carb and fat ingestion cause the pancreas to release pancreatic enzymes.

Any help is appreciated.

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5 Replies

48 · May 19, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Part of your pancreas' job is digestion (the exocrine part), not just insulin production and endocrine function. High fat and/or protein meals are more difficult to digest and you may find you have other symptoms such as steatorrhea (pale, sticky stools), deficiency of fat soluble nutrients (D,E,A), bad breath (from maldigestion of proteins/carbs). The exocrine pancreatic function can be affected by a number of factors - alcohol, high cal diet, high carb diet, increased sympathetic nervous system activity, insulin resistance, gallstones, tobacco, these can impact the sphincter of oddi (that lets the pancreatic juices into your intestine). Dysfunction is also increased with ageing, illness etc. And cordain is linking legumes, cereals and protease-inhibitors to this.

Zinc deficiency is implicated in pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. It would also be worth looking at good quality digestive enzyme supplementation, with every meal. Try to give your digestion a break between meals too, no snacking!

Assume you're in the US so find a well qualified naturopathic doctor.

823 · May 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Do you take marijuana? No need to answer, just consider it. My parents' friends' daughter blew her pancreas out by smoking weed. It messes with blood sugar (creating the munchies?) and her pancreas couldn't take it.

10 · April 25, 2013 at 3:21 AM

I suffer from recurrent acute pancreatitis with 1 to 3 attacks a year over the last decade. I have been told that I have a lesion in my pancreas called an inductral papillary mucinosis neo-plasmina, which basically secretes mucin (a thick fluid). Surgery is an option but not an attractive one given risk of death and possible outcomes.

I am most vulnerable to an attack when I have eaten little and drunk little, and then have a large meal especially with a lot of protein. I am least likely to have an attack and even if I do the attack will be minor when I have eaten small meals regularly. No doctor has told me why it is but in my opinion - which is pretty mechanical - is that by eating regular small meals I keep a flow on enzymes flushing the main pancreatic duct but if I don't eat the mucin builds up in the duct and with a large meal the built up mucin is pushed into and plugs the duct opening by the flow of enzymes.

15380 · May 19, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Thank you for your question. I really do not know what to say because I am not a doctor or a researcher who would have definite answers. Also, Paleo is not the same for everyone, but we do have things we all agree upon.

I do sympathize with you and I would like to give you only one piece of advice that really helped me: listen to your body.

Could Paleo be the cause of your current condition? I can imagine how many people will think of killing me for even asking this question, since I have just questioned the sacred belief. The worst of it, my answer will be - maybe. It could be.

I really do not know how much meat/vegetables/fruit you have consumed over the past 7 years but, just for experiment, could you go vegetable heavy with one starchy vegetable for every meal? I assure you it won't make your condition any worse if you go lightly on meat and heavy on vegetables. I can tell you are in intermittent fasting. Maybe this is something to reconsider?

I am telling you something that I believe in (and that's what I am currently doing and it seems to be working for me).

Don't panic. You will get through it.

1768 · July 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

This makes sense in an evolutionary context. First, you need to know that red meat is highly insulinogenic- more so than carbohydrates.

Now, why would a HG kill a cow? If you said because he has a family to feed, then you'd be correct. IN this case, he'd only get a small share.

Now, why would a HG kill a squirrel, a small antelope, or a bird? Because he's hunting for himself or a small crowd.

This is my best guess as to why it's safer to consume poultry and fish. There is disincentive to kill a cow daily for yourself because you'd be wasting a lot of meat, attracting other predators, and also potential be wasting an opportunity for a longer term food source- milk.

Get it? Perhaps it would be wise for our meat loving pales to consume less large ruminants in light of evolutionary economics.

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