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Acute Pancreatitis

by (836)
Updated 34 minutes ago
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.

E4f858a9178422502c42b9719690e52c
603 · July 16, 2012 at 5:20 PM

This is a muddled just so story and not related to pancreatitis.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef
1772 · July 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

insulin helps transport enzymes.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · July 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Pancreatic attacks have nothing to do with insulin, it's all about lipases ending up not in the digestive system.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46
1523 · June 04, 2012 at 5:57 PM

i think this had something to do with why my pancreas is compromised, i could never get my blood sugar back up after smoking weed, no matter how much i ate, and would totally binge even after sobering up...vicious cycle

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM

This link did not provide any evidence that these people suffered from pancreatitis due to their marijuana use. They were probably also eating pickles, but I doubt the pickles caused their pancreatitis. The case subjects are my age and suffered from pancreatitis that wasn't from alcohol or gallstones--just like me yet I don't smoke marijuana. 10-20% of cases are lumped into the category of "idiopathic"--meaning they don't actually know the cause.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM

As to whether I should "try to give my digestion a break between meals"--every time I've had an acute pancreatitis attack it was after a day of intermittent fasting and a large meal. I have been doing intermittent fasting on and off for the past two years and will stop now.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:07 AM

As to weather I should "try to give my digestion a break between meals"--every time I've had an acute pancreatitis attack it was after a day of intermittent fasting and a large meal. I have been doing intermittent fasting on and off for the past two years and will stop now.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

No, I do not use marijuana.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I'm aware that the pancreas has exocrine functions, you could probably see that from the fact that I listed my lipase levels in the original question. One of the questions I had was why is a high carbohydrate diet recommended. You have said here that "high fat and/or high protein meals are more difficult to digest"--please provide some type of reason without just reasserting that idea. My pancreas will release lipase when eating fat and amylase when eating carbs--both food sources will cause my pancreas to release digestive enzymes. Where is the evidence that releasing amylase is easier on me?

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836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

I think I had an X-ray. I informed them I couldn't afford any other imaging tests once the pain was under control, so I didn't get an ultrasound. I hope it is gallstones rather than idiopathic, then I would at least know how to solve the problem.

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502 · May 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM

@Matt and @VB: http://www.joplink.net/prev/200709/11.html Convenient scapegoat? Maybe...maybe not.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 19, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Never heard of this before. I'd be surprised if this was really the case. Sounds like a convenient scapegoat to me.

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15400 · May 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

No wonder I always thought it was a bad habit! Thanks for sharing!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb
1213 · May 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Besides the bilirubin and hepatic enzyme panel, did you have any imaging studies? Ultrasound or ERCP? Not a doc, but it's possible it might still be a gallstone issue.

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5 Answers

535812fe985a8e0c5f051346b9b49768
4
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.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:07 AM

As to weather I should "try to give my digestion a break between meals"--every time I've had an acute pancreatitis attack it was after a day of intermittent fasting and a large meal. I have been doing intermittent fasting on and off for the past two years and will stop now.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I'm aware that the pancreas has exocrine functions, you could probably see that from the fact that I listed my lipase levels in the original question. One of the questions I had was why is a high carbohydrate diet recommended. You have said here that "high fat and/or high protein meals are more difficult to digest"--please provide some type of reason without just reasserting that idea. My pancreas will release lipase when eating fat and amylase when eating carbs--both food sources will cause my pancreas to release digestive enzymes. Where is the evidence that releasing amylase is easier on me?

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM

As to whether I should "try to give my digestion a break between meals"--every time I've had an acute pancreatitis attack it was after a day of intermittent fasting and a large meal. I have been doing intermittent fasting on and off for the past two years and will stop now.

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
3
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.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

No wonder I always thought it was a bad habit! Thanks for sharing!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · May 19, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Never heard of this before. I'd be surprised if this was really the case. Sounds like a convenient scapegoat to me.

45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f
502 · May 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM

@Matt and @VB: http://www.joplink.net/prev/200709/11.html Convenient scapegoat? Maybe...maybe not.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

No, I do not use marijuana.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f
836 · May 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM

This link did not provide any evidence that these people suffered from pancreatitis due to their marijuana use. They were probably also eating pickles, but I doubt the pickles caused their pancreatitis. The case subjects are my age and suffered from pancreatitis that wasn't from alcohol or gallstones--just like me yet I don't smoke marijuana. 10-20% of cases are lumped into the category of "idiopathic"--meaning they don't actually know the cause.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46
1523 · June 04, 2012 at 5:57 PM

i think this had something to do with why my pancreas is compromised, i could never get my blood sugar back up after smoking weed, no matter how much i ate, and would totally binge even after sobering up...vicious cycle

Ebc41ddb3684553b798835ad4682779d
1
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.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
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15400 · 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.

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1772 · 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.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef
1772 · July 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

insulin helps transport enzymes.

E4f858a9178422502c42b9719690e52c
603 · July 16, 2012 at 5:20 PM

This is a muddled just so story and not related to pancreatitis.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · July 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Pancreatic attacks have nothing to do with insulin, it's all about lipases ending up not in the digestive system.

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