When an international group of pro medicos tells us our ability to reproduce is being affected by toxins, it’s probably worth taking notice.
A new report by a group of international medicos published this week says just that. Who? The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), that’s who!
They are talking about exposure to toxic chemicals in food, water and air being linked to millions of deaths, and costing billions of dollars every year.
Among the poor health outcomes linked to pesticides, air pollutants, plastics and other chemicals, according to the report, are miscarriage and stillbirths, an increase in cancer, attention problems and hyperactivity.
“Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction,”
can we believe this report? We see so many. Well, the report was written by a team of physicians and scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, including from the World Health Organization. It was published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics ahead of a global conference on women’s health issues next week in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern,”
~Gian Carlo Di Renzo, a physician and lead author of the FIGO opinion.
So is it getting better? Nope. We just move the dirty industries into thirdworld countries where the enviro controls are lax.
Our new international trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TPP), lacks much-needed protections against toxic chemicals. It doesn’t make it better.
The report also cited several examples of the range of the problem.
- Seven million people worldwide die each year because of exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
- Healthcare and other costs from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in Europe are estimated at a minimum of 157 billion euros a year.
- The cost of childhood diseases related to environmental toxins and pollutants in air, food, water, soil and in homes and neighborhoods in the United States was calculated at $76.6 billion in 2008.
OK. More nasty news… But if we aren’t personally healthy how can we take action to change the world? It may seem selfish to clean up your own life by removing chem-laden ‘frankenfoods, toxic cleaning products, excess detergents, and.. gosh, I could write a book on it, couldn’t I? But it does seem to me that I am not selfish if I ‘take care of business’ personally and then give service to the world by example and by action.
My Quick Home list.
Clean up your food.
- Clean up your water.
- Clean up your personal products.
- Clean up your home cleaner products.
- Reduce your detergent use.
- Properly dispose of old pharma.
- Weed instead of spray.
- Invest in clean technology!
Then talk about it.
INFLAMMATION: IT’S A “HOT” TOPIC.
It seems connected to avirtually every known chronic disease — from diabetes to obesity, heart disease to cancer, autism to dementia… even depression.
Inflammatory diseases such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disease are also increasing at dramatic rates. Doctors are trained to shut off inflammation with aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Motrin, steroids, and increasingly powerful immune suppressing medication with the usual associated side effects.
Doctors are really not trained to find and treat the underlying causes of inflammation in chronic disease. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, an inflammatory diet, and stress are the real causes of these inflammatory conditions, but that’s a big ‘ask’ for a 15 minute standard consultation.
Let’s look at one ‘niche’ of inflammation. Autoimmune diseases now affect 24 million people. They include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. And yet.. these are often addressed using powerful immune suppressing medication and not by addressing the cause. A bit like taking a lot of aspirin while you are standing on a tack. The treatment isn’t more aspirin or a strong immune suppressant. It’s removing the tack.
Inflammation Causes Disease
To cool off inflammation in the body, first we must find the source. Functional medicine, the emerging 21st century paradigm of systems medicine, teaches us to treat the cause, not only the symptoms, to ask the question WHY are you sick, not only WHAT disease do you have.
Autoimmunity: What it is and How it Occurs
We are facing an epidemic of allergic (60 million people), asthmatic (30 million people), and autoimmune disorders (24 million people). As we already said, autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis,celiac disease, thyroid disease, and the many other hard-to-classify syndromes in the 21st century.
These are all autoimmune conditions, and at their root they are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues. Your immune system is your defense against invaders. It’s your internal army and has to clearly distinguish friend from foe — to know you from others. Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and your own tissues get caught in friendly cross-fire.
Your body is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response — and somehow it redirects its hostile attack on your joints, your brain, your thyroid, your gut, your skin, or sometimes your whole body.
This immune confusion results from what is referred to as molecular mimicry. Conventional approaches don’t have a method for finding the insult causing the problem. Functional medicine provides a map to find out which molecule the cells are mimicking.
Where Do Autoimmune Disorders Happen?
Interestingly, autoimmune disorders occur almost exclusively in developed countries. People in poor nations without modern amenities like running water, flush toilets, washing machines, and sterile backyards just don’t get these diseases.
If you were a farm kid with lots of animals, you are also less likely to have any of these inflammatory disorders. Playing in the dirt, getting dirty, and being exposed to bugs and infections trains your immune system to recognize what is foreign and what is “you.”
In this country, autoimmune diseases, when taken all together, are a huge health burden. They are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by eight years. The annual health care cost for autoimmune diseases is $120 billion a year representing nearly twice the economic health care burden of cancer (about $ 70 billion a year). (i)
Unfortunately, many of the conventional treatments available can make you feel worse. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, steroids, immune suppressants like methotrexate, and the new TNF-alpha blockers like Enbrel or Remicade can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, psychosis, osteoporosis, muscle loss, and diabetes, not to mention overwhelming infection and cancer.
When used selectively these drugs can help people get their lives back. But they are really not a long-term solution. They shouldn’t be the end of treatment, just a bridge to cool off inflammation while we treat the root cause of the disease.
9 Steps to Overcoming Autoimmune Disease
- Check for hidden infections — yeast, viruses, bacteria, Lyme, etc. — with the help of a doctor, and treat them.
- Check for hidden food allergens with IgG food testing or just try The UltraSimple Diet, which is designed to eliminate most food allergens.
- Get tested for celiac disease, which is a blood test that any doctor can do.
- Get checked for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
- Fix your gut. For details, see my blog on irritable bowel syndrome.
- Use nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally.
- Exercise steadily regularly — it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Practice deep relaxation like yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or massage. Stress worsens the immune response.
- Look at your inflammation habits in your food and water. Alkalize and get a regular supply of infused hydrogen water.
The answers may be right in front of you.
Treat the underlying causes of your illness and you will begin to experience vibrant health once more.
(i) Nakazawa, D. (2008). The Autoimmune Epidemic. Simon & Schuster. New York.
(ii) Siegel, C.A., Marden, S.M., Persing, S.M., et al. (2009). Risk of lymphoma associated with combination anti-tumor necrosis factor and immunomodulator therapy for the treatment of Crohn’s disease: a meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 7(8): 874-81.
This is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice or professional services. If you feel that you have a medical problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim
If your immune system falters and begins to identify some of your own tissues as being harmful or unnecessary, it will work to attack and eliminate these tissues through an inflammatory response that can cause pain and discomfort in many forms – this is how autoimmune illness develops.
Your genetics determine the specific tissue or groups of tissues (organs) that your immune system decides to attack.
But just because you have a genetic predisposition for an autoimmune illness does not mean that you are guaranteed to experience it sometime during your life, or that you cannot recover from it.
Genetic predispositions are largely triggered, maintained, and kept under control by environmental factors, namely, your diet, lifestyle, and how much stress you experience.
Ultimately, the development of autoimmune illness requires that your immune system begins to identify some of your own cells as being harmful, and that control mechanisms that are in place to prevent such “glitches” no longer do what they are supposed to in preventing such occurrences.
Several theories that attempt to explain why and how these glitches occur. Rather than get into biochemical jargon that will not do much, if anything, to help you get better, we can explain these glitches in the following way:
Over time, as your cells suffer lack of rest, lack of optimal nourishment, accumulation of waste products, and direct insult by excessive amounts of free radicals and toxins, your cells gradually become less efficient at eliminating waste products and exogenous toxins (toxins that are produced outside of your body).
Eventually, waste products and toxins may incorporate themselves into your cell membranes, and if this happens, your immune system may identify such cells as being old and damaged. At that point, your immune system will work to attack and eliminate such cells from your body.
How does your immune system go about attacking and eliminating such cells? By producing antibodies, attaching said antibodies to the cell membranes of cells that have been identified as old and damaged, and then sending other components of your immune system to destroy these antibody-tagged cells. Your immune system destroys such cells using a process of inflammation, which is why autoimmune illness is often accompanied by discomfort.
If your genetic predisposition is such that the majority of cells that are tagged to be destroyed are clustered around your thyroid gland, your health challenges may be attributed to a diagnosis of Graves’ disease. If your abnormal-looking cells are in the fatty, insulating sheath (myelin) that surrounds your nervous system, you may exhibit symptoms of multiple sclerosis. If your genetically weak tissues are those that line your joints, destruction of old and damaged cells in and around your joints may be diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.
Ultimately, the underlying inflammatory process that accompanies autoimmune disease is the same for all of the following names that we have created for different groups of symptoms:
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) involves inflammation in the brain that typically occurs a few days or weeks after a vaccination or a viral infection.
Addison’s disease involves dysfunction of the outer portion of the adrenal gland.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the spine and pelvic joints.
Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) is a condition that affects the blood-clotting process, causing blood clots to form in veins and/or arteries.
Aplastic anemia is a condition whereby the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. It is often caused by an autoimmune attack on the bone marrow.
Autoimmune hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver.
Celiac disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the first third or half of the small intestine, and is caused by exposure to a type of dietary protein called gluten, found in abundance in grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rye.
Crohn’s disease involves chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 is characterized by low or non-existent production of insulin by the pancreas.
Goodpasture’s syndrome involves destruction of kidney tissue and bleeding in the lungs.
Graves’ disease is a form of hyperthyroidism.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) involves inflammation of the peripheral nervous system, and is also called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis, acute idiopathic polyneuritis and Landry’s ascending paralysis.
Hashimoto’s disease is a form of hypothyroidism.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is characterized by a low platelet count, resulting in easy bleeding.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune condition that can involve inflammation in the following areas: skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.
Multiple sclerosis involves nerve dysfunction due to demyelination of the central nervous system.
Myasthenia gravis involves intermittent weakness and fatigue due to a problem with communication at the junction of nerves and muscles.
Optic neuritis involves inflammation of the nerves that supply your eyes which can cause partial or complete loss of vision.
Pemphigus is characterized by the formation of blisters and raw sores on mucous membranes and skin.
Pernicious Anemia is a form of anemia (inadequate red blood supply/function) that is caused by a problem with absorbing vitamin B12, which is needed to form healthy red blood cells.
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by joint pain and inflammation.
Sjögren’s syndrome involves destruction of glands that produce saliva and tears.
Takayasu’s arteritis is characterized by inflammation that narrows the lumen of arteries.
Temporal arteritis is characterized by inflammation in medium to large-sized arteries, mostly commonly in the head. It is sometimes called giant cell arteritis, and can lead to significant vision loss.
Warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia is characterized by destruction of red blood cells by IgM antibodies.
Wegener’s granulomatosis involves inflammation of blood vessels, typically affecting the kidneys and lungs.
Diagnoses that are not universally accepted as being autoimmune in nature, but for all practical purposes belong in the same category of health conditions, include:
Alopecia is characterized by hair loss. Loss of random patches is called alopecia areata, while full body loss of hair is called alopecia universalis.
Endometriosis is characterized by endometrial tissue (tissue found in the uterus) being deposited outside of the uterus, causing pain and sometimes infertility.
Interstitial cystitis is a urinary bladder disease that is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: intense, intermittent pelvic pain, frequent urination, a sense of urgency to urinate, pain with urination, and pain with sexual intercourse.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is characterized by patches of rapidly-dividing cells that produce itchy, scaly, and inflamed lesions.
Sarcoidosis is characterized by granuloma formation in the lungs and sometimes throughout the body.
Schizophrenia is characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, often leading to social and occupational dysfunction.
Scleroderma is characterized by excessive deposits of collagen throughout the body.
Ulcerative colitis is characterized by inflammation in the bowel, typically in the distal section of the large bowel and rectum.
Vitiligo is characterized by gradual loss of pigmentation in patches across the face and/or body.
All of these conditions may be caused, in part, by cells in the problematic regions becoming old, damaged, and congested enough to be tagged by your immune system as being ready for destruction and removal.
But there is another major mechanism by which all autoimmune illnesses can develop and worsen. Whenever any unnecessary, harmful, or unidentifiable substances enter your bloodstream, they get noticed by your immune system. In an effort to preserve your health, your immune system produces antibodies that seek out and attach themselves to these unwanted substances; these substances are generally referred to as antigens.
Once your antibodies attach themselves to antigens, antigen-antibody complexes are formed. Your immune system will work to eliminate these antigen-antibody complexes from your body so that the foreign antigens cannot harm your cells. But if enough of these complexes are formed, your immune system may not be able to eliminate them as quickly as they are formed. This can lead to some of these complexes getting deposited into different tissues, where they can cause inflammation and damage. Typically, the sites at which these complexes get deposited are determined by your genetic predisposition.
Causes of Antigen-Antibody Complex
Formation and Ensuing Inflammation
Perhaps the most common cause of excessive formation of antigen-antibody complexes is having an unhealthy digestive tract.
From your mouth to your anus, your digestive tract is one long tube that is meant to extract nutrients out of your food and allow these nutrients to slip through into your bloodstream so that they can nourish your cells. While your digestive tract is designed for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, it is also designed to protect your blood and inner cells against undesirable substances that can become antigens that lead to antigen-antibody complex formation in your blood.
If you abuse your digestive tract long enough with poor dietary and lifestyle choices, it can begin to lose its ability to prevent harmful substances from entering your blood. The lining of your digestive tract can begin to break down, and the population of microorganisms that line your digestive tract can shift from being predominately health-promoting and protective bacteria to largely microorganisms that can break down your digestive tract lining, such as yeast, bad bacteria, and even parasites.
This state – where your digestive tract lining loses its ability to keep harmful substances out of your blood – is often called “leaky gut syndrome.”
Leaky gut syndrome can cause incompletely digested food to enter your bloodstream. And the most problematic incompletely digested food group in autoimmune illness is protein.
Your body expects to receive amino acids – the smaller constituents of protein – into its blood supply, not bigger molecules of protein (several amino acids linked to one another). So when incompletely digested protein enters your blood supply through an unhealthy digestive tract lining, your immune system identifies these molecules as being foreign and potentially harmful. Your immune system will quickly move to create antibodies that can attach onto chains of incompletely digested protein, forming antigen-antibody complexes. And you know what happens next. While your immune system will do its best to eliminate these complexes from your body, if enough of them form because you continue to have a dysfunctional digestive tract and you continue to eat large amounts of protein, some of these complexes will get caught up in various tissues in your body, leading to inflammation and pain.
Incompletely digested protein is not the sole group of substances that can contribute to autoimmune illness in this fashion. Any substances that your body cannot use for nourishment can potentially trigger the production of antigen-antibody complexes and ensuing inflammation. This is why it is important to be aware of common household and environmental toxins, and to do your best to decrease your exposure to them.
For example, great care should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure to conventional cosmetic products. Lipstick, lip balm, and other products that are typically used around large pores have a relatively easy pathway to your blood supply. It is a well established fact that women suffer from autoimmune illness at a significantly higher rate than men; I have come to believe that this is, in part, due to the widespread use of cosmetics among women – this is a connection that has not been established in the medical literature, it is a personal hypothesis based on my own clinical experiences.
At this point, I hope that it is clear that autoimmune illness, no matter which specific one you are concerned about, is not a local problem in your body; it is a systemic problem that has multiple causes and should be addressed as such.
Put another way, if you want to maximize your chances of experiencing a full recovery and being free of autoimmune illness for the long-term, you must take care of every aspect of your health on a daily basis.
Ian: We have a lovely lady client. Merilyn has RA and has used our products for many years, claiming some relief.. but it’s a nasty ailment and often gets worse rather than better. We are VERY hopeful of feedback from people with inflammation-related disease with our hydrogen products. That’s not a claim: it’s a hope!
We’ve been going on for years about phthalates, the chemical mixed in with vinyl to make it soft and pliable. We noted previously what it was doing to men; now a new study finds that they are not too terrific for women either.
(From Treehugger’s Michael Graham Richard (@Michael_GR)
Phthalates strike again
We’ve been covering the impact of phthalates for years . They are chemicals that can be found in many soft, bendy plastics that are used in all kinds of household products (shower curtains, PVC flooring, etc, and they also end up in some processed food). Part of the problem is that phthalates additives are not well bound to plastics, so they are continuously released into the air or food or liquid. That’s why bendy, soft plastic tends to age badly and harden, becoming more brittle over time.
As if these chemicals weren’t worrying enough already for other reasons, a new study shows that phthalates might be having an impact on the libido of women by disrupting hormone signalling (they are already known to affect sexual function in men through other hormonal interactions). To figure this out, researchers tested the urine of 360 pregnant women in their 20s and 30s to determine what concentration of phthalates was present in their bodies, and then asked them about their sex drive.
The result? The women with the highest level of phthalates were 2.5x more likely to have low libido than those with the smallest concentration. This was considered statistically significant, and hopefully with more research we can determine exactly what is going on. In the meantime:
[Dr Emily Barrett, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, in New York] recommends that women trying to get pregnant should avoid processed and fast food as the more processing that food goes through the more chance it has to come into contact with the chemicals.
This is because phthalates are endocrine disruptors, and they affect testosterone and, it now seems, estrogen.
This might be another argument in favor of organic food, as these chemicals are sometimes used in pesticides. Even better if there’s no packaging!
Ian: For me it’s just another HUGE reason to institute and maintain my own antitoxin program, including greens, and molecular hydrogen with lots of pure UltraStream water to move those accumulating toxins on and out!
It’s official – artificial sweeteners cause metabolic disturbance!
A new study in Nature finds that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame can actually raise blood sugar levels instead of reducing them, inducing glucose intolerance.
This completely opposes the regularly reinforced opinion that artificial sweeteners pose no risk to consumers.
The study demonstrates that the consumption of commonly used artificial sweeteners drives glucose intolerance through creating alterations in the gut microbiota. These changed microbial metabolic pathways in turn create susceptibility to metabolic disease e.g. obesity, fatty liver, type 2 diabetes etc.
Whilst the study was carried out on mice, the researchers show similar artificial sweetener-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy subjects. Although the direct mechanism for creating the dysbiosis is still unknown, the paper calls for an urgent reassessment of the massive and widespread usage of artificial sweeteners.
While it may not be on the front pages of the health section every day like Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) still affects a number of lives across a broad spectrum of the population. One of the most difficult aspects of trying to treat the condition has been trying to get a handle on what actually causes it.
One of the most widespread approaches to Multiple Sclerosis has been a supposed breakthrough treatment referred to as Liberation therapy. While it has only been around for a short time, many experts attempting to unlock the secrets of MS had touted it as an essential ingredient in a treatment regiment.
I just read a quite scary article about the findings of scientists studying bee deaths in the US. At first, research identified one range of pesticides called neonicotinoids as the culprit. So the answer was to remove these pesticides from farms, right?
Well, now another group of scientists have come up with a more chilling tale. They watched hives decline when they were put in areas where there was a very mixed usage of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides and the dieback was equally bad.
Why is this chilling?
Because there is simply no way our modern agribusiness model can survive if they have to stop use of such a broad spectrum of products whose only purpose is to permit intensive cost effective food production. So it’s now a very tough choice. The food? Or the bees? And if it’s the food, we better find another way (something we haven’t been able to do so far) of pollinating the billions of plants our bes do so efficiently – because there won’t be any bees!
As bad as that may be, I take it as a lesson for myself, and it is prompted by a message from a friend of ours who rang us to say how elated he was. he had had a hair analysis and the therapist involved rang him in great excitement. He was the first person in twenty years of testing to get a report with NO heavy metals or other toxins. Peter has had his own AlkaWay water ionizer for years and also has his own FIR sauna. , so I’m not saying that it was only our water, but what amazed me about hi story was the prevalence of toxicity in every other report over a 20 year period. We could say that except for Peter, everyone was toxic.
There’s more. If indeed our little buzzy friends thrived and supported us for millions of years and only now become an endangered species due to our toxic habits. what does that say about us? For millions of years we developed a life system as sophisticated as (or more than) a bee. The bee is now incapable of handling the combination of toxins we have thrown at it and on our crops.. so why would we be any better off? Why aren’t WE dying off like the bee? Or.. perhaps we are. Cancer? Allergies galore? Motor neurone disease? And hundreds of diseases so weird that it takes a faculty of specialists to even identify it.
So does this make sense to you?
If indeed we need a clean inner environment to deflect all the challenges we are forced to overcome in food as toxic and varied in types and form of toxicity , but we don’t HAVE a clean inner environment, how can we think that like the bees we will keep on buzzing? Surely it behooves us to give our kids the best possible chance of a long and healthy life by giving them good organic food and encourage them to drink exactly what our paleo ancestors drank – clean mineral and (hopefully) hydrogen-strong water. Why? Because if, like the be, we are designed to operate without contaminants floating around inside is? surely we have to get back to that clean state and remain there as soon as we are able!
An obvious question that i could answer in so many ways.. but here’s a bit part of my reasoning. It’s a quote from Gizmag.
” In the United States, about one in every 20 people admitted to a hospital will end up with a healthcare acquired infection, or HAI. Of those people, approximately 100,000 die from such infections annually.”
After 13 years on the water I can definitely say that I have saved massive amounts in healthcare, plus the insurance that might pay for my ‘HAI’ but wouldn’t stop the suffering.
Taken from http://thedomesticman.com/my-story/
I am sure with time he will make a full recovery turning his whole health around.
“For the purposes of this website, my life was pretty boring until 2005. And then at the age of 25, out of nowhere, I had a stroke.
2005 – a few months after the stroke
I had always considered myself to be pretty healthy, and had no major health issues prior to that. The stroke occurred as a result of a lesion (most likely a blood clot) in the right side of my pons. I lost fine motor function on my left side, which was not very fun considering that I’m left handed. Besides having to learn how to walk again, I had to re-learn how to write, play guitar, hold a fork, etc. Luckily, my young brain quickly recovered, and after a couple months of physical therapy I was pretty much back to normal. I had to walk with a cool cane for a while. A lot of excellent doctors treated me, but no one ever figured out what caused the stroke.
2006 – hospitalized for a month for autoimmune diagnosis
A little over a year later I noticed that I was having a hard time exercising. I kept thinking I was just way out of shape. It got so bad that I was out of breath even from walking, so I went to the doctor. I then spent the next month or so living in a hospital, being tested for a wide range of possibilities – long story short is they settled on a narrowing of my pulmonary arteries most likely caused by inflammation. I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Takayasu’s Arteritis, which is characterized by the narrowing of arteries due to inflammation. The cause of this disease, like most autoimmune diseases, is not known. So then I spent a year on heavy immunosuppressant therapy; we tried a wide range of steroids and other scary drugs, and they worked for the most part. I would still get winded upon exertion, but I could at least function.
2007 – about a week after surgery
In the fall of 2007 I went to California to have a pulmonary re-sectioning surgery performed, where the doctors would remove the inflamed tissue surrounding my arteries and enlarge the arteries using some cool cow parts. I often joke that I sometimes crave grass. It’s a pretty scary procedure, something they call a standstill operation – in order to get to the arteries, they had to perform a full cardiopulmonary bypass, deep hypothermia and full cardiac arrest. As you can imagine, when you’re clinically dead for 8 hours there’s a pretty good chance you won’t come back. It was a scary moment in my life, and I am so grateful for my supportive wife and family for being there to help me through it. I made it out okay and now I have a killer scar and some crazy stories. Unfortunately, it didn’t ease my symptoms – I was on the same amount of medication with little or no improvement.
2007 – immunosuppressant steroids caused weight gain and other side effects
Flash forward to 2010. My continuous steroid and immunosuppressant medication therapy was starting to take its toll, even though I was trying to slowly taper off the steroids. I felt lousy almost all of the time, and worse still was the fact that I couldn’t foresee it getting any better. I then happened across an article that mentioned this crazy diet modeled after cavemen that eliminated grains, and it could reverse autoimmune symptoms. Within a week I had devoured the Paleo solution and just about every Paleo resource I could find, and switched my diet. My inflammation markers decreased significantly within a month.
2011 – about six months after adopting the Paleo diet
Since then things have been much better. I’m not cured – there’s no mistaking that I still have a serious autoimmune condition – but the Paleo diet has absolutely helped. I started exercising for the first time since 2006. I was able to get off of steroid therapy, which was causing all sorts of side effects (weight gain, brittle bones, memory issues, kidney stones, shingles, and so on). When I was on steroids, I would get sick at least monthly; since switching over my diet I rarely get sick. Lastly, my wife and son have joined me on this crazy journey, which gives me comfort that we’ll all three live long, healthy lives.”