I wrote this book primarily to inform those suffering from chronic pain that dietary changes can put an end to their pain and give them a quality of life that they never thought possible. The dietary changes recommended in this book are the results of the observa- tions, thoughts and experiments of researchers and doctors who are not afraid to challenge certain dietary traditions: those that are considered healthy but which, in the long run, harm a signifi- cant number of people.
I became interested in how nutrition therapy could treat chronic inflammatory disease and its associated pain through the work of Dr. Jean Seignalet. Dr. Seignalet was a French clinician and medi- cal researcher, as well as a specialist in immunology, rheumatology, gastroenterology and nutrition therapy. After having worked as a researcher and having practiced medicine for about twenty years, Dr. Seignalet reoriented his research and medical practice towards nutrition therapy because conventional medicine was unable to efficiently and sustainably help patients affected by chronic inflammatory disease. He dedicated the last eighteen years of his medical-research career to developing a nutritional method that could fight chronic pain and control the progress of many inflammatory diseases. He used the knowledge he gained from researching nutrition therapy to treat more than 2,500 patients affected by chronic pain associated with diverse inflammatory dis- eases. Of the 115 inflammatory diseases that he treated with his diet, 91 responded positively in about 80 percent of the patients who followed the diet correctly. He also observed a remission of disease and, in general, a total disappearance of pain in a great majority of patients. In addition, in cases in which the affected tissues had not been permanently destroyed by inflammatory processes, patients who were successfully treated gradually regained lost functional- ities in the short or long term. Such results are ignored or denied by the vast majority of health professionals, who continue to believe that a change in diet cannot control an inflammatory disease and its associated chronic pain.
Despite my own definite skepticism and the negativity of some doctors, I found that by following Dr. Jean Seignalet’s basic princi- ples of nutrition, I was able to put an end to my severe, uncontrollable chronic pain from the osteoarthritis in my spine and the arthritis in my hands.
I had a number of reasons for trying the Seignalet diet:
1) Conventional medicine completely failed for me.
2) I was exasperated by unbearable chronic pain, from which I could find no respite.
3) The scientific arguments of Dr. Seignalet seemed plausible to me, given my own training and research experience in microbiology and immunology.
4) Dr. Seignalet’s surprising success, recorded over a period of eighteen years, involving about 2,500 patients affected by chronic inflammatory disease, seemed very real.
5) On a daily basis, I was consuming large quantities of the two food types considered cofactors in triggering chronic inflam- matory disease in those who have a genetic predisposition.
6) It seemed possible to quickly verify the effects of the diet, as the author confirmed that significant improvements usually began about three months after starting the diet.
7) Given the intensity of the pain I had in my hands, I had nothing to lose. Rather than take medication, I preferred to try a diet that presented no side effects.
8) Finally, as a researcher, I was curious, and that definitely played a role in my decision.
I must mention that my expectations were very modest. In the best- case scenario, I hoped for a reasonable reduction in the pain in my hands. I never thought it possible to recover the normal use of my hands, and I was not expecting any results concerning other health problems (which I’ll discuss later). The surprise came when I noticed, after just ten days of being on the diet, that the pain in my hands had completely disappeared. Even more surprising was the fact that just three months after I started the diet, one after the other, I was able to gradually bend the different joints in my hands, which I had previously been unable to do. This progress, accom- plished over a period of about sixteen months, was accompanied by the gradual disappearance of the sensitivity I used to feel when I applied pressure to my finger joints. I should emphasize that these results were obtained without any practical exercises to relax my finger joints. I generally became aware of the additional prog- ress made during my morning stretches, as I noticed I was now able to move a particular joint. I was also surprised, after being on the Seignalet diet for more than a year, by a noticeable improvement in my knee joints and in my spine. They had been affected by symptom- atic arthritis for three years and twenty years, respectively.
Because I had experienced such exceptional personal results as a result of following Dr. Seignalet’s diet, I would frequently talk about it whenever I had the opportunity. I discovered that Dr. Seignalet’s work was virtually unknown outside France. Up until 2010, I never met anyone, not even in the health sector, who knew about it. Yet his work mostly focused on arthritis, a disease that affects the majority of individuals at one point or another. In fact, arthritis encompasses hundreds of different conditions, of which the best known are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, lupus erythematosis, scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, just to name the most common (see www.arthitis.ca). Generally, the pathology of all these diseases involves chronic inflammation. Even arthrosis, often described as noninflammatory arthritis, also presents a non- negligible inflammatory process, according to recent studies.2 The causes of arthritis are unknown, and current conventional treat- ment methods cannot cure it. In fact, the medications used now focus mainly on reducing pain and slowing the disease’s progress, which they do with relatively modest success.
With all this in mind, I deemed it very important to make Dr. Seignalet’s work known in Quebec. I decided to describe my personal experience with arthritis in this work and to popularize Dr. Seignalet’s teachings, which are described in the last edition of his book, published in 2004, L’Alimentation ou la troisième médecine. This 600-page book is not readily accessible to the general public because of the level of language it uses: for those with no medical training, it’s very difficult to understand. Yet it is crucial to insist on the basic concepts of the Seignalet diet because a good under- standing of the scientific principles behind this diet can provide the motivation to follow it, especially as it’s a long-term diet that imposes major changes on normal and accepted eating habits.
Thus, I wrote this book to make Dr. Seignalet’s teachings avail- able to the general public. I carried out an exhaustive literature review of recent scientific material in order to keep abreast of all the new and recent theories on nutrition and also those related to chronic inflammatory diseases. My goal was to find out if other research projects could explain, complement, validate or invalidate the main elements of Dr. Seignalet’s theories. Based on this litera- ture review, I tried to include complementary information on controversial topics such as the consumption of soybeans, mineral water and probiotics, the presence of micronutrients in foods from industrial agriculture, and the intake of vitamins and mineral supple- ments, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, etc. This review (conducted using the PubMed, Medline and Google Scholar medical databases) made it possible for me to highlight and compare the similarities and differences between Dr. Seignalet’s theories and theories from nutrition-related fields on degenerative and chronic inflammatory diseases. Finally, my twenty-five years of experience in biomedical research, of which seventeen have been spent as a research professor and director of a microbiology and immunology laboratory at a university, greatly contributed to my decision to publish this work.
I hope that the information in this volume will help many people suffering from chronic inflammatory disease significantly improve their quality of life. I would also like to see health professionals who specialize in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and pain become aware that a targeted diet can fight these conditions.