Tag Archives: Autoimmune disease

10 Years!

It was ten years ago today I started my path to reversing my autoimmune disease. And not one day do I take for granted. Having gone through years of pain, frustration and uncertainty, I do not want to face that again. Knowing how to treat my digestive tract, I will always remain cautious about what I eat and how I’m handling my health. I was given a second chance at my health and I want to do well with it. I hope you may find some encouragement that it can be reversed. With the right doctors, the right medication, the right supplements, the right diet and the right attitude, you can beat this too!

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease!!!

This article basically states what many of us in the functional medicine/nutrition/plant-based diet community have already known.  This is a big contributor to autoimmune disease.  If people would just eat a more plant-based diet, avoiding processed foods (ESPECIALLY wheat/gluten and sugar), they could not only possibly prevent or even reverse autoimmune issues, but also have more energy and even lose some weight.

Yes, salt is also a contributing factor, but wheat, gluten and sugar are much more the main causes from food than sugar.


March 8, 2013 | Filed under: Uncategorized | Posted by: 

This Giant Kelp is used to produce Carrageenan food additive
The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are.

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections.
Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level.

Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’

It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.

It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

‘Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.

‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin.

‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said.

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.”

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”

Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US.

He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

Why You Need to Clean Your Gut Now

I read this article this morning and was happy to learn that yet another person – a functional medicine doctor – was also able to reverse her autoimmune issues by treating the gut.

I’m happy to report that it has now been 2 1/2 years since I went through my treatment to reverse my autoimmune diseases and am still feeling normal!  Even my rheumatologist on my last visit told his doctor in training (shadowing him) that I somehow cured my Lupus.

Just remember, the key to this is getting a great gastroenterologist and a great functional medicine doctor (an M.D.) to help you reverse your autoimmune disease.  They will help you medically treat your intestinal tract and balance your immune system, and help you along with changing your diet to reduce the inflammation and let your system heal.


Autoimmunity and Nutrition Supplementation

Posted by Designs For Health Research & Education Blog
Posted on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

In our last installment I wrote about how our food choices impact our immune health and immune function. This week, I’d like to more specifically address various autoimmune conditions and the role supplementation plays in certain autoimmune disease states.

Incidences of a range of autoimmune-related conditions continue to rise in spite of more attention from both science and the media, as well as an increased awareness and education of healthcare professionals. What we do know is that nutritional interventions can have a profound effect on many autoimmune disorders, giving hope to millions of people.

For instance, peroxynitrite, a potent oxidant that is formed by the rapid combination of nitric oxide with superoxide, can be formed in an inflammatory response and can cause a variety of toxic effects, including lipid peroxidation and tyrosine nitration. It has beenimplicated in the pathogenesis of both encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.

Inosine and uric acid levelsInosine

Uric acid has been shown to be a peroxynitrite scavenger and in patients with multiple sclerosis. The nutrient inosine has been shown to raise serum uric acid levels, thereby decreasing inflammatory markersthe rate of disease progression and number of related lesions.

Curcumin, boswellia and IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another type of autoimmune condition, rates of which continue to spiral out of control. The polyphenol curcumin, the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found in the Indian spice turmeric, has been found to effectively modulate a multitude of inflammatory cytokines that have been associated with IBD while also decreasing the number of relapse.

Boswellia, another herb used in traditional Indian medicine system known as Ayurveda, has similar properties to curcumin and has also shown potential in a variety of inflammatory bowel conditions.

Fish Oils and Lupus

Fish Oil 3Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE is an autoimmune condition that can affect multiple systems most notably resulting in musculoskeletal and joint symptoms. SLE is also characterized by fever, skin lesions, joint pain, and anemia, and will often affect the kidneys, spleen, and various other organs. In patients suffering with the condition, a modest dose of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil taken daily for 24 weeks improved various markers of the disease including endothelial function.

Sjögren’s syndrome and green tea extract

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease featuring inflammation in the glands of the body that are responsible for producing tears and saliva. This leads to decreased water production for tears and thus leading to dry eyes. The disease also attacks the glands that produce saliva in the mouth including the salivary and parotid glands. The primary mechanism of destruction of the condition is infiltration of the salivary glands and lacrimal ducts by inappropriately high numbers of lymphocytes. Use of green teaextract reduced lymphocytic infiltration of the lacrimal glands while demonstrating protection of the salivary glands from TNF-alpha-induced cytotoxicity.

It is important to note that by modulating the various inflammatory cascades involved in the disease process, these compounds are affecting and balancing different aspects of the immune system, primarily Th-1 and Th-2 immunity, and thereby balancing the immune response.


Michael Fuhrman D.C.