Why does my body hurt so much?

Many people come to me complaining of aches and pains. Sometimes they are in one particular place, sometimes they are all over. They may have been given a diagnosis like fibromyalgia, migraines, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.

Omega 3 and 6 fats should be balanced

“-itis” means inflammation. We need to be able to make inflammation to fight infection, but we do not want to be inflamed all the time. Why is inflammation so common nowadays? One reason is that people often eat too much omega 6 fat, and too little omega 3. Vegetable oil, margarine, spreads and foods made of them contain a lot of omega 6 fats. We need a little, but not too much.

Omega 3 fats from fish are consumed less than in the past. No longer do schools serve fish on most Fridays as they used to. Fish has become expensive. Fatty fish contains more omega 3 than white fish, and wild fish have more than farmed fish. If a fish doesn’t eat omega 3 in plants, it will not be able to make the valuable omega three fats called DHA and EPA, which reduce inflammation, reduce the tendency of blood to clot, and keep the brain healthy.

Vegetarians do not eat fish, and need to take a vegetarian source of omega three, like flax or hemp oil. They also need to consume enough vitamins and minerals to process the simpler vegetarian omega three, called ALA, into EPA and DHA. Coconut oil and butter are useful fats for cooking, as they have little omega 6 fat. They also tolerate heat, which runny oils do not.

Sulphate is an antihistamine

Histamine is a chemical the body makes to produce inflammation when it is needed. However, we can have too much of it. Our bodies make sulphate as a natural antihistamine. However, people with fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and some other conditions do not make much sulphate. They benefit from bathing in Epsom salts, which is magnesium sulphate. They also benefit from avoiding spinach, radish, and orange, which prevent the sulphate from doing its job efficiently.

Adding methyl groups to histamine

Another way of dealing with histamine is to add methyl groups to it. These methyl groups are in beetroot and in protein. Other nutrients important for this are magnesium, from nuts and green vegetables; zinc from meat, seeds, mushrooms and lentils; folate, from foliage, that is from green leaves; vitamin B12 which is only in animal food; vitamin B2, which is in eggs, meat, fish, lentils, nuts and avocado; and vitamin B6, which is in meat, fish, bananas and lentils.

Copper and zinc should be in balance

Copper helps process histamine, but we only need a small amount of it. If taking a lot of zinc, then take a little copper too, as they compete with each other. Take about 1mg of copper for 15mg of zinc.

Lectins cause inflammation

Inflammation is often caused by lectins, which are in the bran layer of grains, pulses, nuts, and seeds. Lectins bind to sugars that are in the body. Different lectins bind to different sugars. Wheat lectin binds to a sugar called n-acetyl glucosamine, which is found throughout the body, and so it can cause all sorts of problems including rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. This is the form of glucosamine to take - supplement companies call it NAG. People with such conditions often benefit from a palaeolithic or ketogenic diet, eating fat, meat, fish and leafy vegetables.

Those whose problems less severe may find they tolerate refined grains like white bread and white rice, and lentils without skins, like red ones. Bran and wholemeal bread are definitely to be avoided. Sourdough bread is better than ordinary factory bread, as the souring process has made the grain easier to tolerate. They may tolerate stringless beans, courgettes and mange tout peas as the seeds in these are immature, but need to avoid kidney beans, ordinary garden peas, broad beans, and marrow, pumpkin or butternut with the seeds in. They may tolerate white almonds rather than brown ones, macadamia nuts, and cashew nuts. Just remember however that, unlike other nuts, cashews need to be cooked. Just eat the flesh of the potato or carrot, not the skin.

Excessive vitamin A is harmful

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, but too much is toxic. Eating too much liver or cod liver oil can cause pain. Beta carotene, in dark green and colourful fruit and vegetables like mangoes, pumpkin, kale, and peppers, is converted to vitamin A in the body. Most people do this inefficiently, but some are just too good at it, and they can build up excessive amounts of vitamin A.

Only have a little fructose (fruit sugar)

Gut pain is often due to consuming too much fructose, in sugar, honey, “glucose syrup”, fruit juice or fruit. Only a limited amount of fructose is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. What is left in the gut feeds bacteria that produce gas from it, causing pressure in the gut.

Addressing the causes of pain

Of course, pain can be caused by injury and exercise, but in many people, excessive lectin intake - too much vitamin A, too little fish or too much vegetable oil, too much zinc compared with copper, or problems with adding methyl groups or sulphate - can cause pain. It is much safer to address these issues rather than taking painkillers.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 3NP
Written by Margaret Moss, MA UCTD DipION MBANT CBiol MRSB
Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 3NP

Margaret Moss.

Nutrition and Allergy Clinic
11, Mauldeth Close


Margaret is a nutritional therapist and chartered biologist with an international clinic. She has published many articles in medical journals and for the general public. She specialises in those people who have complex illnesses

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