Tag Archives: rheumatoid arthritis

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!

May is Lupus Awareness Month – I dare say Lupus CURE Awareness Month

This month is usually reserved in the autoimmune community to create awareness about lupus. The hope is to let people know it exists, how serious it is and to get people to help in the effort to cure lupus.

I’d like to say, there already is a possible cure – since I’ve done it myself! The cure seems to simple, but it’s true:

Get the intestinal tract balanced and eat a more plant-based diet.

Therefore I want to make people aware that the possibility of reversing lupus and other autoimmune conditions can and does exist.  It may not work in every case, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

May should be Lupus CURE Awareness Month!

IMPLORE YOU to read my blog.  I was diagnosed with SLE and RA (among other autoimmune issues) in 2003.  It was the lupus that was primarily active.  I was almost bedridden and was on many medications with a specialist for almost everything you could think of.  In great pain and agony.  I didn’t think  I’d make it to 30.

But thank God (yes, literally) that I had a pre-med background and education in DNA and was great at medical research.  I just couldn’t accept that my lupus was incurable.  I finally found information that eating a more “vegetarian” diet could help ease symptoms.  I started doing that in 2007.  It helped some, but not a lot.

But then I found the key that unlocked the big door blocking me from my cure – intestinal flora imbalance.  Once I learned I had SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and systemic yeast overgrowth (which caused leaky gut – and THAT is what really makes someone start becoming autoimmune), I could then get treated for those by my gastroenterologist and my functional medicine doctors (yes, both traditional M.D.’s).

After starting treatment, within the first week, my ANA went from 1:1280 to 1:320!!!  I was having no joint pain and didn’t need my meds.  I haven’t looked back since!  Haven’t had to go back on meds in the 2 1/2 years since then and am still feeling NORMAL.

There is hope.  I know you must feel terrible.  And the meds may help you function, but they make you feel terrible too.  And despite the meds, you’re STILL in pain.  I know, I was there.  All I’m asking is for you to find a great functional medicine doctor, get tested for things like systemic yeast overgrowth, SIBO, H. pylori and other BAD intestinal flora that shouldn’t be present.  Treat those infections, take the right probiotics and have the right diet (all of the specifics of this should be laid out by your functional medicine doctor) and you too may find the possibility of a life free from the bondage of autoimmune disease.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Spread the word – Make this Lupus CURE Awareness Month!

Sick from Your Stomach: Bacterial Changes May Trigger Diseases Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

This article is stating the entire basis for Functional Medicine.  That the immune system lies primarily in the intestinal tract.  When it becomes imbalanced due to diet, antibiotics and other reasons, the body can become autoimmune.  Treat the gut – cure the autoimmune issues.  It’s that simple.  This has been around for decades yet only recently is starting to gain some ground.  Hopefully this more recent research by the Mayo Clinic will help give more credibility to Functional Medicine and help many others learn what I have already so they too can reverse their autoimmune issues.

Sick from Your Stomach?  Bacterial Changes May Trigger Diseases Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

Monday, June 11, 2012

ROCHESTER, Minn. — The billions of bugs in our guts have a newfound role: regulating the immune system and related autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis , according to researchers at Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Larger-than-normal populations of specific gut bacteria may trigger the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and possibly fuel disease progression in people genetically predisposed to this crippling and confounding condition, say the researchers, who are participating in the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare .

The study is published in the April 2012 issue of PloS ONE.

“A lot of people suspected that gut flora played a role in rheumatoid arthritis, but no one had been able to prove it because they couldn’t say which came first — the bacteria or the genes,” says senior author Veena Taneja, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic immunologist. “Using genomic sequencing technologies, we have been able to show the gut microbiome may be used as a biomarker for predisposition.”

The roughly 10 trillion cells that make up the human body have neighbors: mostly bacteria that often help, training the immune system and aiding in digestion, for example. The bacteria in the intestines, in addition to a relatively small number of other microorganisms (the gut microbiome), outnumber human cells 10-to-1.

Researchers found that hormones and changes related to aging may further modulate the gut immune system and exacerbate inflammatory conditions in genetically susceptible individuals.

Nearly 1 percent of the world’s population has rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which the immune system attacks tissues, inflaming joints and sometimes leading to deadly complications such as heart disease. Other diseases with suspected gut bacterial ties include type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Researchers with the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare say that identifying new biomarkers in intestinal microbial populations and maintaining a balance in gut bacteria could help physicians stop rheumatoid arthritis before it starts.

“This study is an important advance in our understanding of the immune system disturbances associated with rheumatoid arthritis. While we do not yet know what the causes of this disease are, this study provides important insights into the immune system and its relationship to bacteria of the gut, and how these factors may affect people with genetic susceptibilities to disease,” says Eric Matteson, M.D., chairman of rheumatology at Mayo Clinic, who was not a study author.

Dr. Taneja and her team genetically engineered mice with the human gene HLA-DRB1*0401, a strong indicator of predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis. A set of control mice were engineered with a different variant of the DRB1 gene, known to promote resistance to rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers used these mice to compare their immune responses to different bacteria and the effect on rheumatoid arthritis.

“The gut is the largest immune organ in the body,” says co-author Bryan White, Ph.D., director of the University of Illinois’ Microbiome Program in the Division of Biomedical Sciences  and a member of the Institute for Genomic Biology . “Because it’s presented with multiple insults daily through the introduction of new bacteria, food sources and foreign antigens, the gut is continually teasing out what’s good and bad.”

The gut has several ways to do this, including the mucosal barrier that prevents organisms — even commensal or “good” bacteria — from crossing the lumen of the gut into the human body. However, when commensal bacteria breach this barrier, they can trigger autoimmune responses. The body recognizes them as out of place, and in some way this triggers the body to attack itself, he says.

These mice mimic human gender trends in rheumatoid arthritis, in that females were about three times as likely to generate autoimmune responses and contract the disease. Researchers believe these “humanized” mice could shed light on why women and other demographic groups are more vulnerable to autoimmune disorders and help guide development of new future therapies.

“The next step for us is to show if bugs in the gut can be manipulated to change the course of disease,” Dr. Taneja says.

The study was funded by the Mayo-Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare and a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Co-authors include Andres Gomez; Carl Yeoman, Ph.D.; and Margret Berg Miller, Ph.D., all of University of Illinois; David Luckey; Eric Marietta, Ph.D.; and Joseph Murray, M.D., all of Mayo Clinic.


Rheumie agrees I’ve reversed my autoimmune disease!

This deserves it’s own post.  I went for a rheumatology check-up yesterday and it was a GREAT appointment.  He asked me again to walk him through what I’ve done to get better.  I explained how we discovered my intestinal tract was imbalanced and I had intestinal infections.  I said we treated those infections and I had been changing to a more plant-based diet over the past 5 years, but very strict over the past 1 1/2 yrs.  I said that I think that the infections were what caused autoimmune issues in the first place, and that by treating them and changing my diet I basically fixed the problem.

He looked at my labs and stated that almost every single test is normal, I don’t have any swelling, and I haven’t needed any meds in almost 1 1/2 yrs.  He then went on saying how for decades doctors have thought autoimmune disease was caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  He made a comment that doctors are beginning to think that some of the diseases like ankylosing spondylitis are triggered by intestinal issues.

I reminded him that all my issues started initially with intestinal problems, then my other “autoimmune” symptoms began after.  He said that he agreed that it seems like the infections did create the autoimmune issues but now that that has been fixed, that the autoimmunity is gone.  What?!  Yep!!!  He said that I’m doing really great and he really doesn’t need to see me, but for me to come back in a year just to check and see how I’m doing still.

There you have it folks!  A regular M.D. that believes in traditional medicine, who is a rheumatologist agrees that I have reversed my autoimmune issues by rebalancing the gut (where most of your immune system resides) and changing to a more plant-based diet. 

AMAZING!!!  I am feeling great still.  I plan to keep on taking supplements to help keep everything healthy and to stay plant-strong.  But please let this be further evidence that you CAN possibly prevent or reverse autoimmune disease by having a plant-based diet and if needed, using functional medicine.