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Pain and systemic inflammation after eating meat - fish - protein


Senior Member
Since a year or so i feel pain in my joints and muscles approx. an hour after consuming meat, but also fish - even salmon. I also notice a sharp increase in systemic inflammation.

I'm allergic (IgE) and intolerant to most foods, my IBD (crohn's, now in "remission") doesn't help either.
Only meat and fish has tested IgE-negative.

So, what might be causing the pain and systemic inflammation?
I made a list of what the cause might be, if anyone has some insights then please let me know.

- Purines. Fix: Eating a low purine diet.
- High methionine / low glycine ratio. I eat mostly lean meats high in methionine, but i do notice the pain and inflammation is less when the meat is fatty or contains some ligaments rich in glycine.
I read that high methionine / low glycine may increase homocysteine, which results in an inflammatory response. Fix: Add glycine-rich foods, support methylation w. folate and B12, probably also with cofactors B6 and riboflavin.
- Type 4 allergy response (t-helper cells/lymphocytes). I do not know much about this and i'm unsure if this is the case as the pain and inflammation start within an hour after eating meat.
- High omega 6 / arachidonic acid. However, salmon contains low AA and higher amounts of EPA/DHA but it still causes pain and inflammation.
- Liver / bile ducts or pancreas problem. Might the liver not be processing the proteins correctly? Or perhaps the pancreas is not churning out proteases at the correct moment? The thing is that digestive enzymes like creon cause the EXACT same pain and inflammation.
- "toughness" of the meat physically irritating the gut lining. causing a systemic response to the local injury? Maybe too far fetched.

The whole situation has me puzzled and frustrated because meats were my only safe foods for a long time.
Any comment is appreciated!


Senior Member
Sorry you're experiencing this, it sounds like a nightmare. The only vaguely comparable experience I've had is that processed meats such as bacon make my inflammatory arthritis worse, but you're not talking about that sort of meat.

I'd follow your instinct about the higher fat meats, there could well be something in that. Maybe someone a bit more knowledgeable might be able to help...I hope so!


Senior Member
For a few years, I had to avoid meats because they worsened my overall ME symptoms. Eventually, I discovered that I could tolerate some meat: <200 g of beef, <30 g of pork, and no poultry. Then I stumbled across a list of foods containing carnitine and saw the same progression (beef had lots, pork ~ 1/6 of beef, chicken had nearly none). I tried some carnitine, and taking some with a meal, I could even eat half a chicken without worsening symptoms. After some months, I no longer needed the supplemental carnitine. Carnitine is critical for transporting fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane, and I think the problem was with one fatty acid (palmitic), though I still have no hypothesis for why extra palmitic acid outside the mitochondria would be an issue, or whether increased immune system activation was involved.

I wouldn't put insufficient carnitine as the most likely cause of your reaction, but it's at least a possibility. If you tolerate beef more than pork or chicken, then you might want to try carnitine.


Senior Member

I have a couple of ideas.

The first is that there are two issues with creon (which I also take)
It is an extract from a pig's pancreas and the protease in a healthy person's (or pig's) pancrease is in an inactive form and is only activated when it comes into contact with another protease which is found in both the duodenum and the small intestine.

Which is a problem if you are not producing that protease.

The second problem is the proteases and amylases in creon break molecules in the middle. To absorb carbohydrates they have to be broken down to glucose and fructose. To absorb protein the proteins need to broken into individual aminoacids or very short peptides. The enzymes that do this are found no in the pancrease but tethered to the small intestine's wall.

The sign of not being able to break carbohydrates or proteins into absorbable pieces is malabsorbtion diarrhoea, which (in my experience at least) is a kind of slurry.

I deal with my digestion by taking Betaine HCL with pepsin, creon and a plant based enzyme tablet and some ox bile.
As I am only eating fat and meat at the moment I am using Houston Labs AFP peptidase, which seems ok so far. I have had success with Klaire Labs' Sibb Zymes and Biocore's Optimum Complete. But biocore's enzymes contain rice bran so I would not really recommend it..

The second is that I also have issues with inflammation when I have too much protein (even when it is in the form of an amino acid formula). In my case it is my lymph system that becomes inflamed. I found that my tolerance for protein increased when I started taking Jarrow ubiquinol, menaquinone 4 and went keto late last year.

Of course having the extra protein would knock me out of keto, so I maintained it (sometimes) by taking lots of MCT or allowed my protein intake to rollercoaster up ad down as I dipped in and out of Keto.

Anyway the BHOB produced by the MCT is known to be antiinflammatory. I find vitamin K and this brand of ubiquinol to also be anti inflammatory.

At the moment I am doing something like PKD and have dropped the ubiquinol and MCT, but with the menaqquinone 4 (which I just started taking again) I am managing more protein than I used to. I used to be at 60- 90g per day most of the time, I am now at about 100-120.

Oh and like @Wishful I take carnitine (2 - 2.5g ALCAR split in 2 or 3 dosed over the day) I find that it reduces muscle pain.


Senior Member
Possible low HCl or pepsin - or low pancreatic enzymes such as protease as another suggested.


Senior Member
Thank you for your comments and suggestions :) I will post a reply soon.

So, any new developments?

I also can't ingest meat. I don't even care anymore what is the direct cause (had some antibodies but it's all fuzzy - the doctor says that many people also have these antibodies yet they don't exhibit symptoms like joint inflammation etc.).
The direct cause may be for example an allergy to neu5gc in meat. Or maybe to toxins in meats (not only pesticides but also AGEs which may directly increase your inflammation).

If you're still on a meat-free diet you have to think about supplementing different things (like carnitine above, but it is one of many things that needs to be taken).