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Sugar and Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Pain after ingesting sugar-rich foods make many suspect yeast problems. But is it that simple?

In brief, sugar (in all its forms) does two things which could account for the pain people frequently experience after ingesting it:

Here is the evidence:

  1. Bernstein, J., et al, Depression of lymphocyte transformation following oral glucose ingestion, Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 30:613, 1977

  2. Sanchez, A., et al, Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis, Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 26:180, 1973.

These studies show that in adults, cell mediated immunity is significantly depressed after sugar ingestion (75 grams). A 100g portion of sugar can significantly reduce the capacity of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. Maximum immune suppression occurs one to two hours after ingestion and remains suppressed for up to five hours after feeding. Although the studies concentrate on phagocytosis, it is not hard to see how any suppression of parts of the immune system could affect inflammatory responses going on, even if there are no fungi or bacteria.

To prove that sugar consumption causes a burst of uric acid production:

Reiser S et al. Blood lipids, lipoproteins, apoproteins, and uric acid in men fed diets containing fructose or high-amylose cornstarch. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1989;49:832-39

...which contains the following paragraph on uric acid, inter alia:

"Uric acid -- The feeding of sucrose, at levels approximating that currently consumed in this country, as compared with starch has been shown to increase fasting uric acid levels in hyperinsulinemic subjects and in patients with NIDDM. The fructose moiety of sucrose appears to be specifically responsible for these increases. These results are consistent with the findings in the present study in which fructose as compared with starch feeding produced both a chronic (fasting level) and acute (response levels) increase in uric acid levels. The increase in uric acid caused by fructose-containing carbohydrates is not only a risk factor associated with heart disease but also appears to be associated with short-term and adaptive changes in metabolism consistent with decreased hepatic levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which could potentially affect the myriad of metabolic processes dependent on ATP."

More evidence:

Some effects, in man, of varying the load of glucose, sucrose, fructose, or sorbitol and various metabolites in blood I. Macdonald, M.D., D.Sc., Anne Keyser, and Deborah Pacy, B.Sc. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 31: 1305- 1311, 1978.

ABSTRACT: Tolerance tests using glucose, sucrose, fructose, or sorbitol each at 4 dose levels, were carried out in nine healthy young men and during the 90 min after ingestion the plasma serum concentrations of glucose, insulin, fructose, triglyceride, glycerol, uric acid, lactate, and pyruvate were estimated. It was confirmed that serum glucose levels are unaffected by the amount of glucose given. Little fructose seems to be converted to glucose judging by the serum fructose levels following sucrose and fructose, and by the small insulin response to oral fructose. The insulin response to a sucrose meal is half of that after an equivalent amount of glucose. The fall in serum triglyceride seen after carbohydrate meals is not related to insulin. Only glucose is not associated with a rise in serum uric acid, lactate, and pyruvate concentrations after ingestion.

Quotes from study:

"Uric Acid -- There was a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid at each level of fructose intake, but it did not appear to be dose related. At three dose levels of sucrose there was a significant mean increase in uric acid whereas after glucose and sorbitol no significant change occurred .... The increase in uric acid levels after sucrose and fructose ingestion and the absence of such an increase after glucose ingestion supports the view that fructose causes depletion of hepatic adenine nucleotides and the purine component of these appears as uric acid and in fact there is a significant correlation between the increase in serum fructose and uric acid concentrations."

{FYI: each 1g fructose/kg bodyweight gave a 0.6mg/100ml increase in uric acid}

New information! A 2003 study showed that in diabetics "most patients who managed to have good (blood sugar) control hardly had any reduction in nerve (function)." This implies that sugar directly affects nerves, so that a spike in blood sugar may cause problems in an area already affected by a myoneuropathy.