How to Heal Yourself

Hello All,

I have written in the past about taking control of our disease and properly understanding where it comes from and how to cure it. Technically speaking, because many of us are positive for the antibodies, there is no cure for us at present, because antibody production continue for life. However, there are ways to drive the disease into dormancy. How do you do that? You take away the trigger. You do not allow the antigens to circulate that spark antibody production. So for those of us who have autoimmunity, we need to be clear about how we need to live our lives to avoid autoimmune flares.

The problem is that many of us unwittingly continue behaviors and practices to our detriment. And although there are various working theories about the etiology of autoimmunity, I feel the one with the best support at present is INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY, otherwise knows as leaky gut.

Intestinal permeability explains why autoimmune diseases seem to come in groups; and many of us have multiple conditions. The reason why is because they all have the same source. And because we continue to eat and live the way we do, our intestinal permeability continues and we develop more autoimmune conditions and have flares.

What follows is one of the best explanations of autoimmunity I have read in a long while. It is from a user named "SCRN2007" over at Hashimoto's forum on Jackkruse.com.

Abbreviations found in the post are as follows:

AI = Autoimmunity

SAD = Standard American Diet

Here ya go:

[It is my understanding that the forbidden foods for AI are forbidden because, in anyone who has a comprimised gut (e.g., anyone who has eaten the SAD for very long), especially those who have an autoimmune genotype (a.k.a., HLA genotype), a receptor called the human epidermal growth factor receptor can be triggered by the AI foods. Theoretically if your gut is leaking like a sieve, then any food can get through into your bloodstream; however, the AI foods seem to be able to perform a special trick in getting through your gut wall that other foods cannot. The AI foods seem to be able to go right through intact gut cells via the human epidermal growth factor receptor. Think of the human epidermal growth factor receptor as a door with a lock that a lot of different keys fit into. The foods that must be avoided by those with AI are the foods that can spring the "lock" on the human epidermal growth factor receptor. The problem is, once the lock is sprung, the food molecules go straight into the bloodstream as a large, undigested, molecules that were never meant to see your bloodstream in that form. These molecules are perceived by the immune system as foreign invaders (this is where the food molecules become "antigens") and they get attacked by an arm of the immune system that makes antibodies. It is during this process that autoimmunity can first start. If the body starts producing antibodies to enough food molecules, then, sooner or later, it is going to produce antibodies to one that has a structure very similar to this or that cell somewhere in your body, because there are only so many configurations that exist (this is where the term "molecular mimicry" comes in--the food molecules can look a lot like parts of your cells). The antibodies attack the cells in your body that look similar to the food molecules. This is how your thyroid or your pancreas get attacked in AI. Also, from that point on, every time you eat one of the AI foods, the body declares a new war on the food molecules that come into the bloodstream, and those cells in your body that look a lot like them get attacked all over again. Here is a link to a piece that helped me understand all of this better: meandmydiabetes.com/2011/..... .

My understanding is that the Enterolabs test tells you to which of the most commonly allergenic foods your body has already mounted a defense (i.e., produced antibodies). However, that doesn't mean that if you have an AI disorder that you should feel free to eat dairy or another AI food just because Enterolabs tells you you have not yet made antibodies to it. It is my understanding, from what I have read from Jack, and other sources, that in a person with AI, or even a person who has a family history of AI (indicating the possible presence of an AI/HLA genotype), that all of the AI foods can wreak havoc at some point as long as you keep on eating them. As others have stated, it starts with gluten, but once gluten has comprimised the gut and ramped up the immune system, the AI progresses on to other foods. Therefore, it seems that the safest way to stay well the longest is by avoiding the AI foods forever. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then I guess that is where the Enterolabs test would come in handy to tell you to which foods, of some commonly allergenic foods, you are currently making antibodies. Being that the Enterolabs test is testing stool, I believe that you would not have to go through the trouble (and possible organ damage) of reintroducing a food and then getting blood tests, since, as someone else noted, the antibodies persist in stool longer than they do in blood. If you have antibodies to the food via the stool test, then you know your body is reacting to it on an immune level. At that point, you wouldn't really want to mess around with reintroducing it just to see if it is damaging your thyroid or not. If you are producing antibodies to the food, then it will destroy some part of your body sooner or later, in all likelihood, whether it be your thyroid or what have you.]

12 Replies

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  • Thankyou for posting this article which is very interesting. I started seeing a medical herbalist 2 years ago when my anticardiolipin antibodies in my blood tests for APS were steadily rising, and my food sensitivities and reactions to certain foods were getting worse. Her treatment was aimed at remedying this ‘leaky gut problem’. The tincture she prescribed included several herbs including berberis and she also recommended meadowsweet tea and slippery elm powder to improve the integrity of the gut. After taking the treatments for 6 months my next blood test showed a reduction in antibodies and also the next one 6 months later. I am always careful about what I eat now and always try and avoid foods containing citric acid, monosodium glutamate, sulphites and glucose syrup. But when I am at my worst I react against healthy foods like fresh fruit. My rheumatology consultant does my blood tests every 6 months and last time there was a slight increase in antibodies again. Even when my blood tests showed near negative antibodies, the other flag for APS, ‘weak lupus anticoagulant’ was still present and my consultant said that it will always remain. A few weeks ago I started reacting to foods I had been eating regularly like blueberries and have gone back to my herbalist for medicine (tincture) for another 3 months . I think if I had the discipline to follow a strict diet, eating only fresh food with no preservatives or artificial additives all the time it would definitely be beneficial. It becomes complicated when you need to eat out or visiting, but people diagnosed with celiac disease have to do this and manage to cope with this to stay well.

  • HI there, useful, all the different debates we have on here. I have cut gluten totally out of my diet, I had been putting it off, and had a good go, but occasionally slipping up, usually by accident or when ill already. However very strict now, and not finding it hard, Also a heavy duty probiotic, end result, i am using less allergy pills and despite eating loads, I am losing weight in combination with my natural thryoid treatments. My diet had been good and still is.. however it was the bogey man of 'gluten' which I needed to deal with! Mary F x

  • I to have cut my gluten down to bare minimal, loved reading your articles, Thank you..it makes sense that what we put into our bodies is often the result of our bodies x

  • You know Rhian, it really hurts to see so many continue to suffer. I read about how so many people experience such a wide range of symptoms. The doctors think we're crazy. Heck, our families think we're crazy. Then we play "whack-a-mole" with drugs and symptoms. And never get down to the cause and the cure.

    I heard a great analogy the other day. Imagine you lived in town, and there was a mystery sniper going around shooting people (this actually happened in Washington, DC). But instead of moving heaven and earth to find the killer, the authorities just decided to make "better body armor" and to pour money into research on how to heal gunshot wounds faster.

    That is where we are today with a lot of medicine.

    Drugs have a role in getting a person healthy. But the underlying causes has to be addressed.

    Diet and lifestyle may not be a silver bullet, but it is an absolute MUST on the way to health. And once you realize that food, and stress and toxins and lack of sleep are driving your immune system into deeper chaos, you can begin to take the steps to turn things around.

    It is not easy. In fact, you have to swim against the current on many issues. But for those of us who are so far down the road of illness, I don't see much choice.

    I read a lot of the Paleo diet websites and listen to a ton of podcasts. I also follow an Epi-Paleo diet (suggested by Dr. Jack Kruse) that really aims to give a person the best chance from a dietary perspective to beat these crazy illnesses. I eat a ton of shellfish and cold water fish. I eat healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, ghee. I chew on a lot of leaves and I avoid anything that might set off my immune system.

    I'll tell you how it goes.

  • Over on the Gluten Free Gorillas Forum this Blog was written on this subject. I cant post a link or those that are not members there wont be able to read it. I suggest you join if you want to read it and all the comments.

    The battle our body has with gluten is weakened by zonulin

    Posted by Lynxcat VOLUNTEER 6 days ago

    Every time we eat gluten our body enters into another battle in the war it faces and our guts begin to leak and yet another part of our being is attacked. It is a never ending war and our bodies are a landscape that is being bombed, demolished and obliterated with every tiny morcel of gluten that passes through our mouths.

    For those who would like to know more about what happens when a coeliac ingests any gluten then the following explains this in an easy lay-man's way that is both comprehensive and interesting.

    A little note first - wheat is the worst of all gluten offenders as wheat gluten contains a gliadin which is so harmful and toxic that it damages the intestine walls even in healthy people - so what chance do coeliacs stand if they should eat some?

    Exerpt to explain how we are attacked:

    "Gliadin sneaks past the intestinal barrier

    If it’s not enough that gliadin causes gut inflammation, gliadin also finds a way to get past our defenses and slip behind enemy lines. Remember that the gut is lined with cells designed to let the good guys in and keep the bad guys out. In Celiac Disease, a major breakdown happens in this defense system when gliadin starts tricking its way through the wall.

    Think of your gut lining like a mesh wall, with special doors to walk through if you have the secret code. The good nutrients and other smaller particles can slip right through the mesh in the wall without a problem. But larger undigested proteins like gliadin (and other bad guys) can’t get through the wall at all.

    The doors along the mesh wall are called Tight Junctions, and they’re the gateway between the gut cells (enterocytes). Tight Junctions are controlled by an intricate process of signals keeping the protective balance intact and anything passing through these doors is said to be passing between the cells (paracellular). Researchers have identified a protein called zonulin in humans. Zonulin is one of those delicate signals that control the opening and closing of the tight junctions and it’s largely responsible for preventing paracellular absorption of antigens[4].

    How do gliadin and zonulin interact?

    As it turns out, gliadin is programmed with a secret code that causes zonulin levels to increase in people with the genetic pre-disposition to Celiac Disease[5]. As zonulin levels go up, the Tight Junctions protecting the integrity of the small intestinal barrier begin to function abnormally, opening up wider… loosening the protective barrier of the gut wall. Now the gut lining starts to allow large particles into the body that aren’t supposed to be there.

    And gliadin can sneak its way right through…

    When someone with Celiac Disease eats gluten, gliadin not only triggers gut inflammation, but it has a secret code that stimulates zonulin to open up the gut wall, allowing it to sneak through the doors and start infiltrating the body. At this point, gliadin can start to accumulate underneath the gut wall, assembling its forces behind enemy lines.

    Gliadin causes leaky gut

    Remember that the immune system has already been battling gliadin outside the gut wall with an initial inflammatory process. Now gliadin is accumulating underneath the gut wall, causing the enterocytes to release IL-15, triggering worsening inflammation inside the gut wall.

    I like to think of the release of IL-15 like calling in the immune system Special Forces… sending Intraepithelial Lymphocytes (IEL’s) to the scene. These powerful IEL’s begin to damage the enterocyte cells through a more severe degree of inflammation and the war continues to get bloodier[6].

    But that’s not all…

    The IEL’s can’t match the accumulation of gliadin behind enemy lines and the inflammatory process continues to get worse. The immune system sends elite soldiers with even bigger guns called “inflammatory mediators” such as TNF and IFN that contribute to more enterocyte damage[7].

    The more severely those cells are damaged, the worse the intestinal permeability gets… and soon you’re left with full-blown leaky gut syndrome[8].

    Now gliadin (and everything else), can freely pass through the gut wall and do as it pleases…

    Leaky gut causes autoimmunity ..."

    For those who find this information interesting but they would like to know more then please see the attached link from which the above piece of information has been found:

    scdlifestyle.com/2012/02/ho...

  • I am so glad this topic came up. This is of great interest to me. I have been gluten free since 1/12 and have been taking steps to cure my "leaky gut". I was told about leaky gut by a health care professional who I continue to see. Thanks!

  • I totally agree with your whack a mole comment kid and also your excellent body armour analogy.

    I have been banging on about food combining for ages and I know it has really helped me (when I follow it)

    Also the benefit from vegan diets even if only followed for 5 days out of five when I stick to these two diets I definitely have less pain.

    Regarding gluten Prof. Hughes is seeing more patients who have coeliac disease along with APS so what you have said seems to be consistent with what is common amongst us.

    Thanks for everyone's input

  • Nice read. I had IBS out of the blue - for about 8 months. Thought great - another symptom of APS ( cause everyday there's something new popping up! ). I was seeing a doctor of chinese medicine at the time. She put me on some chinese herbs from SEVEN FORRESTS (brand name- can buy on line) under the name PEONY. 3 tablets 3 times a day. After a couple of weeks - gone!! That was 4 yrs ago - no more IBS!!!! I am also going to start taking BUTTERBUR. It is suppose to help the antibody response.

    debi in Fl w APS

  • PS.....My roots are from Italy..just wondering if higher in people from that area?? Also when I was 12 I was STUNG by a queen bumble bee - the big round black & yellow kind. I had a huge reaction and was very sick. After that I was - all of a sudden - allergic to any insect bites - had hayfever AND was allergic to my cat. Anyone have anything like this happen???

    debi in Fl w APS

  • pss.... VENTING..... pls try to eat as much ORGANIC as you can! Do a search on the corn, soy, rice, wheat, grain....see how they are kept. See how they are sprayed with pesticides to kill the mold that is growing, kill the mice/rats running thru it, the bugs, mealy worms. So not only are these grown with pesticides - but sprayed afterwards while in storage while waiting to be turned into cereal or bread or some yummy food. And don't get me started on the meat!!!! Pls eat ORGANIC!!!

    debi STILL in FL w APS

  • I have been GF for 8 years now. As soon as I eliminated gluten--as in THAT DAY my energy level spiked. Blood tests run 4 weeks after I went GF showed I was NOT anemic for the first time since I was 4 years old.

    My strong hunch as to whence my AI issues derive are gluten, and a cople of serious and bizarre childhood illnesses. I grew up in a coal mining in West Virginia. Our drinking water was cloudy white-- not clear. White. Other children from my town developed leukemia and a rare blood disease called toxoplasmosis.

    Once we were hunting Easter eggs in the local church yard. One of the older kids had "hidden" an egg in plain sight, but in the part of the garden drenched in sewage from a broken line that remained broken for years.

    Well, I was the kind of kid who wanted to win at things, so I laid a large branch down and tried to walk on the branch like a tightrope to fetch that last egg. The branch rolled. I fell, and that scratched mosquito bite on my arm came into contact with the sewage.

    I went home , washed and put bleach on my arm for good measure. But within a week I had boils -first one was at the site of that bite --which came to look like mini volcanoes with black crusty tops ( that would be be necrotic tissue.). I was sick for weeks. Everything I touched was burned. So I read magazines so none of my precious books would be destroyed.

    I recovered, but it was within a year that I had my first of what became 7 cases of " mono," (lupus?)

    Something sure upset my immune system.

    Gina

  • Hello, I just wanted to chime in and check to see if anyone has any good information on dealing with triggers (especially Leaky Gut Syndrome). I am trying to track down all possible triggers (in my wife's case) lately and starting to come to a few different conclusions. Narrowing that to one specifically will be hard I'm sure. I am totally on board with you about taking away the trigger to drive it into dormancy though. I hope to find a lot of information so that I may help my wife and as many others as possible. Thanks for all the info in this post! Take care.

    -BH

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