Eating papaya with protein rich meals gave me a significant improvement in health

Discussion in 'Diet and Improving Your Gut' started by dejurgen, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    What and how?
    • Eating papaya fruit at the start of each protein rich meal gave me a significant improvement in health. Papaya contains a strong enzyme called papain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papain.
    • I suspect it is papain's enzyme breaking down proteins that works thus I also adapted minor things to improve my digestion such as drinking a glass of water or ginger tea before each meal, drinking only a small glass of water after a meal and chew my food even better then before.
    • I started to eat small bits of ripe fruit at diner and supper. After good results two weeks later I ate papaya before breakfast too.
    • I only eat ripe skinned fruit. The total amount a day I consume is about 150 grams. With meals low in protein the amount is less then 50 grams a meal, with meals high in protein it's more.
    • Note that ripe fruits are not all yellow/orange in my experience: they're that soft that I consider them overripe. I think they're ripe when they are green with a touch of yellow.
    • I don't use any other parts of the plant such as leaves or seeds. They contain more enzyme but in unknown large quantities. I haven't experience with papain supplements either.
    • After three weeks I started to use a toothpaste that does not contain sodium laureth sulfate to help deal with the aphthous ulcer problem.
    My results:
    • After one week I felt a definite change in my body.
    • After two weeks I considered it a 50 % improvement in health, compared to where I started.
    • After more then six weeks I still keep improving slowly and sit at a 70% improvement in health.
    • 70% improvement in health does not mean I do 70% more a day! I estimate I could do 70% more if I kept exhaustion levels as before. I however learned that only leads to crashes and thus I split progress between doing more, building some margin and buffer and having better quality of life.
    • Now on average I do 20 to 30% more a day, stay better away from exhaustion and PEM, do sometimes 50% more then before and still recover well, have a quieter mind, can use my mind better and finally I feel better.
    • I'm now at about 20-25% of normal functionality I estimate.
    • My amount of acne is lower then long before my illness started. I haven't had aphthous ulcers in about two and a half weeks now either. That must have been years before my illness started.
    • Now my belly area feels better after a meal then it used to feel before. I long did think my stomach and gut were the only thing not affected in my ME. Probably it was just that other sources of pain and discomfort were far greater and therefore I made this wrong conclusion.
    • This simple tweak gave me more improvement in health then all previous diet and supplement changes combined. It also gave me more improvement then any medicine did, without the side effects.
    Warning, nothing is perfectly safe!
    • As WebMD says: "Papaya is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods." Some people do however use the plant in very different ways. I believe using it like a normal fruit is key to minimize risks.
    • Potential warnings, amongst others: when pregnancy and breast feeding, when taking meds to lower blood sugar or when having low blood sugar as papaya can lower it further and when having papain allergy related to latex allergy. It may also interact with warafin (Coumadin).
    • Always consult your doctor or nutritionist before trying out things found on the internet ;).
    • I do wash my hands after cutting papaya, as I don't want to touch my eyes with fingers dripped in an enzyme breaking down protein. Drinking a glass of water before meal and thus before eating papaya also increases protection of the throat from this enzyme.
    • For some people, eating vegetables and fruits in one meal is said to cause bloating.
    • Naturopaths use papaya to fight intestinal parasites. While having less parasites is mainly a good thing, parasites suppress also the immune system and therefore allergic reactions.
    • https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-488/papaya
    • https://www.drugs.com/npc/papaya.html
    How I came to use papaya:
    • I recently learned that I do not have very frequent cold sores, but aphthous ulcers aka canker sores https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphthous_ulcer. What causes them is not exactly known but biopsies show they are full of T-cells and patients also have circulating lymphocytes which react with heat shock protein.
    • I did not have 3-6 times ulcers a year as affected patients have on average but every other day when I was at the worst of my ME disease. They were bigger then average too.
    • The I found this link https://www.facebook.com/Autoimmunethecauseandthecure/posts/802052356554950:0 that related these to undigested and poorly digested protein entering the blood stream.
    • This lead me further to the concept of NETosis.
    • It all made sense for my disease: an auto-immune reaction without classic markers, an auto-immune reaction that is not targeted to a specific cell type but to "rogue" proteins that can reside near anywhere inside and outside cells, a immune system that's very busy fighting the problem, NETosis that is ideal for cleaning this mess up without permanent damage (if all goes well) and in my youth my mother and I had very high pancreas markers indicating there may have been something wrong with it (the pancreas produces key digestive enzymes). As well, the list that can trigger protein misfolding is near identical to the list of things that affect ME patients. En plus, when protein misfolding can't be kept under control it can trigger body wide inflammation and reduce metabolism.
    Why it may work (and why knowing this may be important):
    • This is only the second thing that gave me improvements out of the box, and the first that did so without any side-effects.
    • All other things that did improve me has cost me plenty of time, trial and effort to get them working well and reliable. Learning more about potential working mechanisms proved very valuable here.
    • Having better clues as to how it could work helps in finding what treatments may or may not fit a person and it helps to get reported results to the ME community to be more consistent.
    1. See "how I came to use papaya" above: due to a protein digestion problem problematic proteins enter the bloodstream. Papain breaks them down before they enter the bloodstream.
    2. Poor protein digestion causes strong gut inflammation affecting the hole body.
    3. Poor protein digestion causes gut bacteria imbalance or promotes bad gut bacteria.
    4. The three points above cause malnutrition.
    5. Better protein digestion allows the stomach and gut to do less work, leaving more energy for the rest of the body.
    6. Papain can break down immunogobulins and in this way modulates inflammation or auto-immunity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papain
    7. I could have a "classic" case of protein intolerance and papain is able to break the offending proteins down so good that they don't reach the gut. I therefore can eat them potentially without problems.
    I hope that exploring the above options can give better clues on questions such as: is it a particular protein that is the culprit? Should I eat less protein to reduce the problem or do I need to eat more to get sufficiently of it? If protein digestion is affected, would fat digestion be affected as well?...

    I hope people can take benefit of my experience (and do so carefully and safely) and I hope that others people's experiences can help shed more light on how this works best and for what groups of patients.

    Further work:
    • I'll first try and heal my gut on the current protocol plus I'll start using probiotics to help restore the gut microbiome.
    • Then I'll try and learn if a particular protein is the main culprit. I'll hope to do a partial elimination diet only where I reduce amounts consumed of a food class by about 80%. I do not wish to loose gut bacteria and needlessly become intolerant to a food. It's hard to estimate that risk. Because I'll plan to start this only after I tried to heal my gut, I'll hope to improve speed of testing in order to avoid further imbalancing my gut microbiome.
    • Somehow I'll try to learn if fat and or carbohydrate digestion is affected and if the stomach is working adequately.
    • I'll keep you posted and hope to learn from commenter's experiences.
     
    madie, Hip and Not dead yet! like this.
  2. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    That's really interesting. Thanks!

    I'll add one more warning... Papaya is one of the few fruits that can possibly be GMO, so try to find organic. It might be more cost effective to find frozen organic. For enzyme goodness... try to find frozen that hasn't been heated first. Probably it hasn't, but worth checking.
     
  3. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    This week I learned that Isoprinosine, the medication that served me well since years, is in fact the appraised Imunovir. No need to search for it any longer ;).

    The improvement this simple papaya trick gives me is clearly bigger then what Imunovir gives me at 2X 500mg a day. It's rare to find something helpful for this disease, let alone something that easy to use that tops one of our top medicines in efficacy and, for me, has no single side effect :happy:.

    I've got the feeling there's still quite a lot more in it for me. Drop on effects from reduced skin infection or slowly improving gut bacteria for example. Or just restart things that helped me well in the past that I put on hold since papaya works so well for me. Some of those are harsh on willpower and I could use the "holiday" by pausing the most demanding of those.

    So my improvement of eating papaya with protein rich meals together with halting several helpful routines still trumps Imunovir :happy::happy:!

    I learned a few other helpful things:
    * 150 gr of papaya gives 150% or recommended daily vitamin C intake http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/vitamin-c-in-papaya.php. As I supplement vitamin C just below the threshold of diarrhea for some time now, I reduced supplementation a bit.
    * Papain may also help to reduce bacteria in the stomach. While that reduces infection, it also counteracts probiotics. I'll plan to add them later to my routine so I'll intend to use them with a protein poor breakfast skipping the papaya.

    As for how many patients this may be helpful it is hard to guess. What's for sure is that many patients have poor digestion including low stomach acid. And adrenaline (fight or flee) (plus exhaustion likely) turns down digestion too. So that may well include protein digestion enzymes.

    Probiotics can help with protein digestion, but they kick in only late in the process: in the large bowel whereas papain starts it's action in the stomach. That probably makes a difference to me. I've tried probiotics before to no avail. I'll give it a new go in the near future. Maybe the constant inflow of problematic food components gave probiotics no chance to settle in.

    Many foods contain enzymes, but very few contain powerful researched enzymes capable of breaking down proteins. Besides papaya/papain I only know of pineapple/bromelain. I have no experience with the latter. After reading up on it I went straight for papaya as I believe it to be the better choice. For people where papaya is contraindicated it may be a viable alternative with its own set of interactions and warnings.
     
  4. Issie

    Issie Well-Known Member

    Yucca is also good to help with protein digestion.

    My doc told me to try to eat papaya every day. They are expensive here. I use enzymes to help break down biofilms and to thin my blood. I do think enzymes are a huge help.
     
    dejurgen likes this.
  5. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    Good point about the GMO's Not dead yet!. Over here in Europe they're not supposed to be sold unlabeled but there was debate whether recent trade agreements would allow them to sneak in. I'll see if I can find organic papaya. I still need to find a second source anyway to keep supply steady.

    Nice find Issie! Yucca is much less researched then papaya and pine apple, maybe there is less economic interest? Most research is in vitro, but there is some interesting in vivo research about it's anti viral properties. It has a protein that can inhibit herpes virus 1 and 2 and human cytomegalovirus multiplication at moderate doses and reduce them at high doses https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0166354292900273.

    I also learned to look at farming research for unpatentable medical plant properties. Farmers follow their wallet just as much as pharma but farmers gain from health improving cheap by the kilogram stuff.

    Yucca seemed to be successful in reducing a type of parasite in chickens so that indeed points to "in vivo" protein breakdown capacity of yucca extract. They combined yucca extract with glutamine supplement in https://experts.umn.edu/en/publicat...tract-and-glutamine-in-the-diet-of-chicks-had. That puts trying to add glutamine to my to do list. As I wish to observe single changes when other effects are settled I'll have experiments far into 2019 ;).
     
  6. Issie

    Issie Well-Known Member

    Another thing that is helping me is a low/no lectin diet.
    Issie
     
    protact_inc likes this.
  7. Hip

    Hip Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. Have you tried taking a papain supplement instead of papaya fruit, to see if you get the same benefits? I know papaya is a lovely tasting fruit when you get it fresh and ripe, but wondered if you have tried papain supplements.


    Unfortunately I can't find any info on how much papain is in each gram of papaya; this would help figure out what papain dose to take (given that you say you eat 50 grams of papaya fruit with each meal).



    Would you be able to quantify your improvement in health on the ME/CFS scale of mild, moderate and severe?

    Where were you on this scale to begin with, and where did you end up as a result of your papaya protocol? Were you able to move up 1 level on this scale (eg from moderate to mild), or was your improvement significant, but not quite large enough to move you up 1 level?
     
  8. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    1 point on that scale is really huge (I picked the top list on your post).

    There's only 2 points of difference between mostly bedbound and sick but working! At worst, nearly three years ago, I was definitely in the severe category with "chairbound" and chores totally impossible. I would have given 10 life years to move up 1 point. Not that they were much worth at the time anyway.

    Now I am in the middle of the moderate category.

    I'll feel better using the Karnofsky Scale. There I went from 50+ to 60- thanks to papaya together with pausing some more demanding helpful routines. Let say 7 points. That translates roughly to 0.35 points. The easiest 0.35 points ever!

    I read that the gut microbiome takes 6 months to a year to recover diversity after a single antibiotics cure. I guess mine took a bigger hit, so that's about a year of free gradual improvements I hope :):). And I slowly started taking up my arduous "interrupt sleep several times a night with circulation and breathing exercise routine". The weekly rate of improvement is up again.

    Over time that routine did me even more good then papaya, but it's ridiculously harsh at full implementation. I expect the total effect of papaya alone to net to 0.5 points on the first scale over one year time (0.35 now increasing to 0.5).
     
    Hip likes this.
  9. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    "Have you tried taking a papain supplement instead of papaya fruit, to see if you get the same benefits?"

    No I haven't (yet). I did not find numbers on papain per 100 gr either. Likely the only ones commercially interested are the makers of supplements?

    I read multiple times that papain content varies greatly with papaya ripeness, so I found a link with a picture of what color papaya I do use https://foodfacts.mercola.com/papaya.html, picture top right. Sometimes it's a bit more yellow if this ripeness isn't available. Papain content is less, not that I notice, and taste is less good IMO and it's too soft to handle small slices.

    How did I came to 3 times 50 gr a day? Basically I started at 2 times 50 gr a day. Reason?
    • I prefer the "start slowly and up when needed" strategy over the "in order to heal you first have to get worse" strategy. Never had a need for the latter so far, seems a sign of overdosing to me.
    • Following the "start slowly" strategy I figured I could keep a single fruit fresh in the fridge with some plastic foil on the cut side for a week. That lead to 100 gr a day with the size of fruit available :wacky:.
    So that basically was it. When it worked and was steady I just added breakfast as well. First shot wright, imagine that. That probably means there is some margin for aiming wright or optimizing.

    I believe fruit is more effective then the supplement for the same amount of papain. Papaya fruit for example contains also:
    • 150 gr contains 150% of daily vitamin C needs. I tend to believe that has better uptake then supplements.
    • It also has plenty of anti-oxidants that have exceptional good uptake: up to three times better then carrots or tomatoes for the same amount of anti-oxidant https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23931131. And those in carrots and tomatoes have probably better uptake then supplements IMO.
    I'll buy supplements someday just for times when eating the fruit is inconvenient. But for now I'm not willing to risk a setback by disbanding a winning routine.

    I'm probably not the best person to test the effectiveness of supplements now either: I suspect my gut microbiome and lining have restored to some extend already now. How to observe that?

    But I may have a workable idea for those who can't find the fresh fruit or are on a keto diet or... : papain is also used in commercial meat tenderizers. Some use the enzyme, some papaya itself.

    The amount that can tenderize a chopped non-tender steak or veggie food the size you eat then that amount should be about wright I guess? As papain works best at 80 centigrade, said test need to be performed at body temperature. And you can still eat the result of the experiment after cooking ;). Note that at least some of these meat tenderizers only contain herbs at first glance so that should be not-to-industrial.
     
    Hip likes this.
  10. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    @Hip: when taking supplements it may be important on reconsidering how and when to take them.

    If the enzymes for example are a powder to be taken with water before a meal I can imagine they could take the quick route to the bowel, missing the current meal. If digesting the proteins in the meal is the method of action, then flushing them down to the previous meal would let them act only late on the previous meal. If they were to clean up parasites or bowel overgrowth however that may be a better way as long as the enzymes stay long enough where they have to.

    Likewise for capsules or tablets, where they dissolve could be important. Different packaging could yield different results.

    @Issie: thanks for pointing out lectins. I was going to treat wheat, nightshades and legumes separately in my future "rotating exclusion" diet. Luckily "Research shows that by cooking, sprouting or fermenting foods that are high in lectins, you can easily reduce their lectin content to negligible amounts" so I'll start earlier with sprouting seeds then planned. Did anyone ever cooked sprouted legumes and can share experiences?
     
    Hip likes this.
  11. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    Update:

    I went a few weeks ago to the doctor for my yearly blood test (mainly for cholesterol testing, I take a low amount of statins). I mentionned the potential protein digestion problem to my doctor and the previous abnormally high pancreas tests. Those test were from the paper age, I suspect not all paperwork from then is inserted into the database. I also mentionned I read that sometimes chronic pancreas inflammation can go undetected for years as it sometimes no longer shows increased amylase markers. My dokter said it is no longer a standard test as it is too expensive and, as long as you are not an alcohol abuser, the test is often "unspecific" meaning the results rarely lead to a useful diagnosis with helpful treatment.

    Results:
    * Amylase at 153 where 100 U/L is max; so clearly too high
    * (Bad) cholesterol took the biggest dive ever not caused by statins. Doctor said to just continu statins at my minimal dose. I suspect I could get them borderline in range without, but I also suspect I could get them significantly lower next year so the topic will show up then again. I would like to drop them as statins are highly debated, but I won't worry about risk for hart attack this year ;-).
    * One other pancreas test (at least I think it is) is in range.

    => I probably have this increased amylase thing for my entire life. First time it was detected in my childhood, after my moms bloodwork showed values so high that the doctor called it impossible and redid the test. As the test did not lead to "anything useful" and insurance no longer covered it afterwards it hasen't been done ever since. It hasen't been done either by any of the specialists and "CFS expertise centers".
    => My mom has no ME/CFS, but has shown energy problems / endurance problems for large parts of her life. I guess this IS a significant thing in my disease.
    => As my doctor called my mothers values "impossible" back then I believe it is uncommon to see this problem in healthy people. I suspect numbers are a lot higher in people with ME. It's still hard to guess if that is a meaningful subgroup of ME patients however.

    Too high amylase markers can indicate, among others https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amylase:
    * (accute) pancreas inflammation, although some sources say it can sometimes be increased in chronic pancreas inflammation
    * Mesenteric ischemia: is a medical condition in which injury of the small intestine occurs due to not enough blood supply.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesenteric_ischemia
    "Finally, a shock phase can develop as fluids start to leak through the damaged colon lining. This can result in shock and metabolic acidosis with dehydration, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and confusion. Patients who progress to this phase are often critically ill and require intensive care."
    "Bood tests... ...Lactic acid elevated 91%"
    "Treatment... ...However, if bowel has become necrotic... ...If the ischemia has progressed to the point that the affected intestinal segments are gangrenous, a bowel resection of those segments is called for"

    Mesenteric ischemia is for the small bowel; the large bowel variant is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ischemic_colitis
    "Patients with mild to moderate ischemic colitis are usually treated with IV fluids, analgesia, and bowel rest"
    "Those with severe ischemia who develop complications such as sepsis, intestinal gangrene, or bowel perforation"

    Some of those ischemic conditions and their consequences sound familiar to me and ME/CFS. That septic state sure does. Potential dead or gangrenous or perforated bowel sections sure can cause plenty of undigested food particles (like undigested proteins in my case) and toxins to enter the blood stream.



    As I stated to my doctor that I desired to know if fat (and to a lesser degree carb) diggestion was affected he prescribed Creon 10000, a pancreas enzyme replacement product. As I luckily still improve slowly, a small increas in improvement speed is hard to observe. Still I think it does increase recovery speed somewhat. I take 1 a meal. It's action starts later than that of papaya; it has a stomach acid resilient capsule so the enzymes come only into action in the bowels where papaya does act immediately. Stool gets closer to constipation territory but does remain OK. I believe this indicates that fat diggestion wasn't that problematic to start with. I never suspected carb diggestion to be a real problem. So Creon may improve further by upping the protein diggestion rate IMO.

    Creon could be a potential alternative to people who can't use papaya for some reasons like being on a keto diet. It's method of action is however different (starts working only in the bowel for example). In some countries it is prescription free, in others it ain't. Please consult your doctor before taking any. As with papain, please report any experiences (possitive, neutral, negative) with Creon or likewise.
     
  12. protact_inc

    protact_inc New Member

    You may have heard of Dr. Steven Gundry's 'The Plant Paradox' book.

    He promotes a diet eliminating lectin containing foods like grains, legumes, Casein A1, and animal products from animals that ate grains...

    He mainly developed the protocol for cardiovascular benefits, but has recently published an abstract where his autoimmune patients achieved 94% complete remissions within 9 months.

    He tests for inflammation markers quarterly to ensure patient compliance.

    https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circ.137.suppl_1.p238 …
     
  13. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    @protact_inc: Thanks for the link. At first I had to look through the highly commercial aspect of the site the doctor has, but unlike many others he has actual substance. I don't agree on everything he says but he has some good and original points and explains them well. Probably I'll buy his book, but reading books is still challenging.

    His points "plants and seeds in particular are meant to attack animals with chemicals to deter them from eating them" and "humans are the only beings not noticing if a particular food is unhealthy for them" got me thinking.

    Maybe we didn't just lost our ability to notice if a particular food is unhealthy. Maybe we have actively evolved to suppress noticing the direct effects. If I look at his "good food"/"bad food" list https://gundrymd.com/plant-paradox-shopping-list/ then I see most stapple food and high yielding crops are on the "bad food" list.

    Evolutionairy it is likely beneficial to not actively avoid unhealthy-ish food if it is the only source that can be grown reliable in large enough quantities to feed a dense population. Good food may get you healthy till your 80 years old if you don't starve during childhood by building no fat reserves for winter or famine. Being healthy-ish to around 40 years old was sufficient to succesfully raise your ofspring.

    My body may be on the stronger side of suppressing direct food reactions will being on the stronger side of having intollerances... :-(. So I'll ditch the idea that I can sense if a food is good for me. I can ditch as well sensing if certain chemicals are bad for me; having no known allergies or intollerances until shortly may have been too good to be true.

    That said, my mother is intollerant to plenty of food and she has clear and fast reactions to it. I probably better start by asking her to rank foods according to effects, as I may have inherited many of here intollerances. Just starting an ellimination diet is too difficult wright now. If I scrap all the food she is intollerant to from dr. Gundry's "good food" list then it'll be very hard to fetch the few tollerated ingredients and prepair a balanced meal out of it. I can't load my parents with it as they do already so much, so I'll have to wait until other things further improve my health. Maybe I'd better ask my dad about chemical sensitivities too.
     
  14. dejurgen

    dejurgen Active Member

    After reading some comments and further thinking about it I start to believe that:
    • Poor digestion of proteins is only a part of the problem
    • Some sort of leaky gut getting partly diggested proteins in my blood stream is very likely
    • I more then likely have an immune reaction against these partly digested proteins
    • After reading that pepsin/the stomach can only partly digest protein: having any sort of leaky gut WILL get partly digested proteins in your blood stream and that is a really BAD thing
    • Papaya can break many proteins, maybe even aggresive ones such as lectines and gluten, completely down before they enter the bowels
    • Before entering the bowels may be key here
    • The pancreas replacement enzymes can only digest proteins faster once they are in the bowels. As such they provide some additional benifit by lowering the average amount of undigested protein in the bowels
    • When buying enzymes it may be important to buy some that can start working safely in the stomach. Therefore these MAY NOT have a stomach acid resistant capsule
    • That only works if the type of enzymes in such capsule are not rapidly broken down in the stomach
     
  15. protact_inc

    protact_inc New Member

  16. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Of course, the raw food diet is designed to address an enzyme deficiency condition. Fully raw food eating is for masochists though. You can seriously improve enzyme status just by having two salads a day. Learning how to sprout seeds for eating helps a lot too. That's really the key to making it work.
     
  17. protact_inc

    protact_inc New Member

    New to me in Dr. Gundry's book was that beans, seeds, even sprouted are still lectin sources to be avoided.

    The way to destroy the lectins - pressure cooking would seem a good way to destroy the enzymes.
     
  18. Hip

    Hip Well-Known Member

    I recently came across a page in a book stating that dietary lectins potently skew the immune system towards the Th2 mode, and thus away from the antiviral Th1 mode which is desirable in ME/CFS.

    Tracking down the references in that book, you arrive at this paper which found dietary lectins induce IL-4, a Th2 cytokine.


    So I guessing it is possible that dietary lectins might be a factor that hampers viral clearance in some people, perhaps particularly in those with leaky gut which might allow the lectins to enter the circulation.
     
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