February 27, 2012
Can diet be a tool in our pain management arsenal? According to McGill professor and researcher, Dr. Yoram Shir the answer is yes. The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP) was honored to host Dr. Shir on February 9, 2012 and hear about his fascinating research on the association of pain and diet. Dr. Shir, director of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill University Health Centre, related that moving his lab from Israel to the United States created an unexpected opportunity to study the effect of different standard diets on pain in animal models (lab rats). The combination of type of protein as well as type of fat suggested an influence on pain in the animals studied.
Exploring the observation of a correlation between diet and pain, Dr. Shir began testing various combinations of protein and fat. Interestingly, a diet high in soy protein and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to inhibit pain, while a diet rich in canola oil appeared to increase the pain response. Small pilot studies with human subjects, those suffering from neuropathic pain, have been promising, but larger studies will be needed to further generalize the findings.
The Pain Research, Education and Policy program thanks Dr. Shir for sharing with us his exciting research in diet and pain.