Tag Archives: autoimmune disease

Link

Getting a Hold of Auto-Immunity

Controlling Auto-Immunity

The Time For Change is Here

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a large number of diverse souls.  Due to my profession and personal interests, many of these conversations have been about health, namely that of the other party.

I will  usually hear a laundry list of complaints and presumed reasons for these issues.  Many times the individual will even verbally acknowledge the importance and impact that lifestyle changes could play in their life.

However, for whatever reason, the disconnect between talk and action remains and the path towards sickness and breakdown continues.  Knowledge without action is useless, and in this case, detrimental to your health.  Rather than going off and making this a psychoanalytical piece on why people don’t help themselves, let’s keep it positive and focus on how to get moving in the right direction.

First thing that needs to be done is to keep it real with yourself.  Take a good look in the mirror and decide what you really want.

Do you really want better health?

I would imagine so.  We all do.

Are you willing to WORK for it?

I mean really work. Not for show. Really work on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  This requires a discipline that keeps you in line and on track when no one else is looking. These are the times that the real changes occur.

What’s your goal?

Is it to kick the meds, normalize your levels, get rid of pain, drop some weight, do all you can to elongate this one shot at life?  Be clear on your goal as this will serve as your motivation to start and stick with it, especially early on in the process.

And be clear, this is a process. A marathon and not a sprint.  Living like no one else now so later on you can live; no, thrive like no one else.  Although drastic results are experienced by some early on, this is no quick fix. The “quick fix” mentality has got us in this mess to begin with by way of pill-popping per symptom and never really investigating or attempting to remedy why the symptom emerged in the first place.

Once you have your goal, investigate the means to achieving it.  What needs to be done and in what fashion in order not only achieve but sustain the achievement?

When it comes to healthcare, 90% of the time we are talking about lifestyle changes. Breaking the routine or the accustomed norms. This is where the “keeping it real” with yourself part comes into play.

Is your goal and the means by which to achieve that goal worth more to you than coming out of your comfort zone and breaking the habit?

Is it worth investing the time to plan and prep meals for the week ahead?

Will you follow through and set the alarm earlier or skip that 60 minutes of TV time in order to get that workout in?

Keep it real now. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Although objectively speaking they do, ultimately this comes down to subjective perspective.

If you find that you are tired of the current state of affairs in your own life and you’ve decided enough is enough, the next step is to formulate a realistic, practical plan.  I find this to be another major stumbling block for people.  A sense of overwhelm sets in along with analyzation paralyzation.

The trick here is to get with your trusted healthcare provider and come up with a plan together.  Never be afraid to start small, as any change, any momentum in the right direction is better than sitting idle.  While sustained sweeping changes across the board would be ideal, studies show longer lasting changes occur more often as a product of smaller changes, cultivation over time.

A perfect example of this is my own personal anatomy of a “cheat meal.” This is that meal that diverges from the norm, an indulgence if you will. (In order to have a cheat meal you need to be sticking to clean eating for 80% of your meals or better.)

Through years of cultivation, the cheat meals have evolved from pizza and ice cream to a meal with gluten free rice, or a smoothie with organic peanut butter and heavy fruit. The latest “cheat” dessert has become a bowl of chia seeds with nuts, fruit, peanut butter and chocolate almond milk.

I say all this not to induce hunger, but to illustrate where you can wind up if you simply get started.  Make a change here and a change there. Implement another one as you learn more.  Once you get that ball rolling down the hill, it can be a powerful thing.

The other initial hurdle is that it is never a good time. Well, when it comes to core lifestyle changes there really never is an ideal time.

Again, they idea is to simply bite the bullet and get rolling.  In most cases it doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Just do it.  Constantly talking the talk, while constantly finding excuses will leave you wondering where the time went and how on Earth things got so bad.

Believe in the power of lifestyle changes.  Resolution of every issue does not have to be another drug.  Every issue should not be blamed on genetics, making us all helpless victims.  Embrace the empowerment behind epigenetics and realize that lifestyle choices play a significant role as to whether or not certain genetic traits are expressed.  We’re talking about everything here from hair loss to cancer and auto immune diseases.

One shot.

One body.

That’s all we get.

The time is now to respect this opportunity and treat your body right.  Pick somewhere and get started today.  If you would like assistance on this journey, call us at anytime.  As we continue our own journey, we would love to be a part of yours.

Hampered by Habitual Heartburn?

Heartburn. Indigestion.  Acid reflux.  These are annoyances that plague millions of Americans.  The prevalence of this condition is so frequent that the sales of OTC (over the counter) antacids is in the billions.  I even saw Larry the Cable Guy pitching some Prilosec on a commercial, urging that we don’t let heartburn get in the way.

Dr. Cable Guy has it partially right. You shouldn’t allow heartburn to get in your way.  However the answer is not to mindlessly pop a side effect laden pill in order to silence your body’s cry for help. Especially not on a regular basis, as even the manufacturers warn to caution long term use.

So what to do? Well, with this situation as with all, the optimal solution is to search for the cause of the dysfunction.

What’s the problem?

A burning sensation somewhere along your upper digestive tract. What’s the cause? Well, if you’re like many pill popping Americans, you may believe the issue is too much stomach acid. Drugs like the aforementioned Prilosec work by inhibiting the production of stomach acid, when in fact too little acid may actually be the issue.   Moreover, the issue may have nothing to do with acid volume at all, but rather nervous system dysfunction leading to discordination of the sphincters designed to prevent the back wash of potent stomach acid.

To our first point, a condition called hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) can actually be the counterintuitive root of acid reflux.  We need our stomachs to secrete hydrochloric acid in order to protect us from harmful invaders hitching a ride with our food, and as a mandatory early digestive aid.  Without it, proper digestion cannot occur leaving one susceptible to nutrient and mineral deficiencies, as well as gut irritation, inflammation, infection and permeability.  And if you’ve read any other posts on this site or are up on the current research, you’re aware this can set the stage for a host of issues including autoimmune diseases.

When food is not hit with a proper dose of hydrochloric it begins to go rancid and putrefy in our gastrointestinal tract. The body, in all of its infinite wisdom, tries to refuse this ball of rotting nastiness and directs it towards the nearest exit. Unfortunately due the early juncture that this takes place along the digestive process, this ends up being your esophagus, where it irritates the delicate tissue and causes your classic heartburn.

Now if you chose to go the OTC route you will most likely experience some temporary relief, as it blocks the acid that is normally back washed into your esophagus. Unfortunately all you did was shove a dirty old sock in your body’s mouth as it attempts to inform you that something isn’t right.  So what happens? Well, next feeding the symptoms return and you learn to pop another pill as it now becomes your standard appetizer or dessert.

Not to pick on Prilosec, but since Larry gives’er the nod let’s hear some of those potential side effects that increase the longer you rely on them in order to enjoy that funnel cake with Mr. Cable Guy.  Those listed as common include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and flatulence. More serious possibilities include fun things like pancreatitis, hepatic (liver) impairment, gastritis, nephritis (kidneys), and blood disorders.

Most importantly you need to keep in mind that you’re inhibiting the function of the entire digestive process.  While this may give you the short lived gratification of enjoying a taste, you are setting yourself up to be nutrient deficient and plagued by the laundry list of possible issues that can occur from that leaky, inflamed gut. So what can you do to break the cycle?

Well, first find a practitioner that is willing to go beyond the knee jerk reaction of prescribing something to decrease the stomach acid.  (In many cases supplementing with HCl (hydrochloric acid) actually brings relief.)

You’ll want to undergo a thorough consultation, exam, and perhaps some blood work in order to discover whether the causative factor is something like your thyroid gland, adrenal glands, or based in the brain.  You’ll have to be willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to diet in order to heal the gut and identify any possible food intolerances that may be causing constant internal stress and leading to esophageal sphincter dysfunction.

If you suffer from chronic heartburn or another condition that you’re tired of being on meds for;

If you’re tired of feeling like you’re running in circles;

If you’re interested in a natural and holistic approach described in the paragraph above;

if you believe the body is a complex matrix of interconnected systems and not isolated compartments;

if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired; then please give us a call (321) 848-0987.  It would be our pleasure to collaborate with you in your journey towards optimal health.

Why Gluten Free???

It seems that one of the trendiest topics being thrown around the health food arena today is a gluten free diet. However, unlike other diet fads, the reason to eliminate gluten from your diet is backed by a sound scientific explanation and significant positive changes have been seen when the gluten is kicked to the curb. This should be reassuring news to anyone who has heard the negative spin on gluten, but wondered whether or not it is just another excuse for food manufactures and restaurants to up-charge that gluten-free item.

What is Gluten Anyway?

Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, rye oats, millet and barely. Gluten, or wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), is a type of protein called a lectin. (Keep in mind as you read that ALL grains [whole grains, corn, rice, etc.] contain these lectins, so all can wreak the same havoc I am about to describe.) Due to the structure of these lectins, they are not able to be broken down during the digestive process as other more friendly foods would. That leaves large protein structures intact and imbedded in your intestinal lining. Eventually, they make their way through your intestinal lining and this is where the problems begin.

Now that these lectins have entered the blood stream, they have access to your entire body. I’m talking everywhere from your reproductive organs, to your pancreas, to your brain. Once this unfamiliar protein structure is detected by the immune system, anti-bodies are created in order to get rid of the inappropriate foreign invader as it would a bacteria or virus. To understand what happens next, it needs to be understood that everything in your body is made up of a sequence of amino acids strung together to form a protein. Unfortunately these lectins have a remarkably similar amino acid sequence as many of the tissues in your body. So, now as your immune system works properly to destroy the unwanted foreign structure, it also begins to attack your own tissues due to something referred to as micro or molecular mimicry, and thus you have the start of an autoimmune disease. The situation is even further amplified due to the fact that when the large, awkward lectin (in this case WGA) makes its way through the intestinal lining, it also damaged it. This is what is commonly referred to as your “leaky gut.” The cascade continues, and now other proteins pass through the intestinal wall before being adequately broken down by the intestinal digestive enzymes. Immune responses are now generated to otherwise harmless foods. Food allergies and the start of other autoimmune diseases now have the green light to commence.

But Wait, There’s More?

Grains must be looked at as living things. They are a simple people with their objective being to survive long enough to reproduce. To do this, they must receive nourishment and have some sort of defense mechanism. Grains contain these things called phytates (or anti-nutrients) which tightly bind to minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium in order to nourish the grain and enable germination. All good for the grain, but not so good if that sucker is making a home inside of you. The phytate property of the grain enables it to powerfully bind the above listed essential minerals. This leaves you deficient and the door wide open for osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, reduced immune function and wound healing, and fatigue and heart problems, respectively. For survival, the lectin also comes equipped with protease inhibitors, meaning it actually inhibits some of the enzymes from breaking it down. This means that all food being digested is now subject to your digestive tracts reduction in breakdown capability. Translation: less absorption of the nutrients you need to survive.

Many people suffer from and are diagnosed with celiac disease. This is an autoimmune disease, able to be directly correlated with gluten as the cause. Many people suffer from various conditions and symptoms to which the medical community remains baffled as far as a cause. Often times, people feel completely fine or have minor issues and therefore dismiss their diet as having any effect on their health. Even if there are no external signs and symptoms present, some potentially hazardous, internal destruction could still be taking place. Gluten sensitivity is a lesser version of an outright allergy and is much more common. Conditions such as RA, MS, fibromyalgia, insomnia, depression, Parkinson’s, autism, and hypothyroidism (to name a few) have all benefited from cutting gluten (and other grains) out of the diet.

Do You Have an Issue With Gluten?

Well, if any of the above conditions or mechanisms of internal destruction described above doesn’t sound that pleasant to you, it may be worthwhile to find out. A simple way to do this is to eliminate the grains from your diet for 30-60 days. I know this may seem crazy, especially since another devious characteristic of gluten is that it comes fully loaded with molecules that fit into opiate receptors in your brain. Translation: It is actually addictive. But a simple period of trial and error may actually result in some of those seemingly minor issues disappearing. Upon completion of the gluten free period, you may even notice an instant headache or stomach issue when you attempt to reintroduce the beloved grains. This is your body politely asking you to knock it off before it gets worse. You now have evidence of an otherwise undetectable food sensitivity, and are empowered to make a change before things potentially get worse. Seems like this would be a better solution than taking side-effect carrying medications, or worse, winding up with some debilitating disease in the golden years, all because those cookies were calling your name.

A great read providing further explanation behind the mechanisms and possible destruction that can occur, along with meal plans and recipes to attempt a gluten-free lifestyle is: The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet, by Rob Wolf. Much of the above information was referenced from there.

Other References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884708
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1737870/
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/