Why a lower protein diet is important during TFCC healing
Since 2006, I have interviewed thousands of people with Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tears. There are two issues that repeat themselves again and again with TFCC injuries. The first is reported by patients who complain of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, recent stomach flu, and deficiencies in absorption like leaky gut syndrome. And the second comes from athletes who eat a high protein diet.
There is a significant group of patients (over 2000) who report no injury or fall to the wrist. They report waking up one day to a non-functional and painful wrist. How do we account for this phenomenon? Why is it that a young 20-year-old wakes up to a wrist that can only tolerate 20 lbs of weight-bearing? When I recognized this as more than just a random occurrence, I wanted to find out why this happens.
I sought the counsel of acupuncturists around the globe and they consistently reported that the ulna side of the wrist is related to the stomach and small intestines.
Based on the TFCC-Gut connection a small group of my patients agreed to test their stool and blood. In 18/20 cases had significant pathologies in their gut: parasites, bacterial infections, yeast overgrowth and more. I was surprised that the incidence of gut-related pathologies was so high. These are significant findings and as a result, I make sure to share the TFCC-Gut connection with my patients. Another interesting finding is that central TFCC tears have a greater correlation to the gut than peripheral tears.
Athletes following a high protein diet who have Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) injuries fascinate me. These patients are instructed to take in a normal protein intake based on body weight and activity level: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (0.36 grams per pound bodyweight per day). An average sedentary man requires 56 grams or 46 grams for women. We've learned that the type of protein that is consumed makes a big difference. Since protein requires the highest energy to digest, it's important that the protein that is eaten during the healing process is easily digested - thus the move from red meat and whey to a plant-based, chicken, and fish diet. Meat protein doesn't move through the gut as efficiently as plant protein. When I asked athlete patients to change their protein source and load, a dramatic change in their recovery time was noticed.
Wendy did a segment on Instagram discussing this topic - Here's the topic index for the talk.
Although I am not a nutritionist or physician specializing in gut microbes, I do recommend enrolling in The Gut Project. The Human Microbiome Project and other microbiome projects worldwide have laid an important foundation for understanding the trillions of microbes that inhabit each of our bodies. However, opportunities for the public to get involved in such research has been limited. Now, American Gut gives you an opportunity to join this research project and to compare the microbes in your gut to those in the guts of thousands of other people in the US and around the world. One of the rewards from your effort is a certificate which shows how your gut compares to others.
I also recommend Rupa Health for gut analysis. They offer a comprehensive gut test that is comprehensive and quite sophisticated. Few labs are able to do this: https://www.rupahealth.com/
If you have a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tear, it might be worth your time to think about your gut. It might be time to do a simple gut check-up and understand more about your personal gut health. If you do get a test, please send me your results. Perhaps, one day soon, we can understand if there truly is a correlation and perhaps, we can treat the gut to further help this injury heal. Please send me your comments and experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.