Happy Friday everyone! I woke up today feeling significantly better! I didn't eat very much yesterday but I did limit the rice milk and I must have drank about 5 litres of water. Anyway- it feels good!!
I was up late lastnight researching and I ended up coming across some really great blogs about RA. I swear most people with blogs are professional writers- they are so well written. I've added a few new blogs to my side bar- check them out!!
After reading lastnight, it reminds me of a few important factors. Firstly, most people with RA have what they call leaky gut syndrome (sounds lovely huh?) Well, this is a very common problem with lots of people. It is basically little holes along your GI tract that allows undigested food particles into your body. They say that health starts in the gut and if you do have leaky gut, then you will have health problems. In a study done, they found out of 100 people tested with RA, all 100 of them had leaky gut!!! So, it was a good reminder for me to continue taking my probiotics.
Secondly, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have the option of testing my food sesitivities while going off my meds. While I try not to complain, there are others out there that are much worse than I. I actually have it pretty good and the fact that I am able to function and live without any meds (minus prednisone) is amazing. Some people are in such debilitating pain that they simply can't go off their meds, it's just not an option. For this reason, I will not feel deprived when I can't eat what everyone else is eating, it's a choice for my health... a smart choice that I have to take seriously.
Here is an article that I came across on a random website... it was a good read. (A tad long though) Enjoy!!
Arthritis may be an allergic response to materials in the food supply. Diet
revision may be helpful in reducing the activity of inflammatory arthritis and
in some instances may halt the progression of the disease. There are many
patterns of arthritis. A group of related joint and connective disorders have
been called rheumatic diseases. All these diseases are immune-mediated, and all
are expressions of inflammation in connective tissues. Inflammation damages
joints and surrounding tissues resulting in loss of function and deformities.
Variations in the patterns of these diseases reflect the many possibilities for
immune damage to disturb and distort structure and function. Severity ranges
from mildly painful, chronic activity to drastic, disabling disease. Rheumatoid
arthritis, often severe and disabling, is the dominant rheumatic disease that
can attack all joints in the body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is often considered to be an autoimmune disease. Our idea
is that no disease is just internally generated and must involve outside
contributions. Arthritis is often associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
The mechanisms of food allergy link abnormal gastrointestinal Tract (GIT)
function with immune attacks on connective tissue. In all arthritic patients,
normal GIT function should be rigorously sought by adaptive dietary adjustments.
Simple allergic arthritis is a definite entity that is often not recognized as a
food allergy. Typically, a dramatic, acute, and painful swelling develops in one
or more joints asymmetrically. Eating a food, either an unusual food eaten for
the first time or sometimes a regular food eaten in excess usually brings on the
joint inflammation. This presentation is similar to and often confused with
gout. Any food can cause allergic arthritis. Staple foods such as milk, eggs,
and wheat (rye, oats, barley), coffee, beef, pork, and food additives are the
most common food triggers. Carinini and Brostroff reviewed the concepts of and
evidence for food-induced arthritis. They stated:
Despite an increasing interest in food allergy and the conviction of innumerable
patients with joint disease that certain foods exacerbate their symptoms,
relatively little scientific attention has been paid to this relationship.
Abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract are commonly found in rheumatic
disease...Support for an intestinal origin of antigens comes from studies of
patients whose joint symptoms have improved on the avoidance of certain foods
antigens, and become worse on consuming them. These have included patients with
both intermittent symptoms, palindromic rheumatism and more chronic disease.
In another study, 33 of 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis improved
significantly on a hypoallergenic diet. The authors concluded: Increasing
numbers of scientific studies suggest that dietary manipulation may help at
least some rheumatoid patients and perhaps the greatest need now is for more
careful and well-designed research so that preconceptions may be put aside and
role of diet, as a specific or even a nonspecific adjunctive therapy, may be
Unfortunately, dairy products, wheat and its close relatives, oats, barley, and
rye, have proved to be a major problem in the diets of our patients. There are
many possible reasons for cereal grains to become pathogenic. Hypersensitivity
mechanisms triggered by grain proteins, collectively called Gluten, are the
likely cause of the illnesses related to intake of cereal grains. Gluten is a
mixture of individual proteins classified in two groups, the prolamines and the
Glutelins. The prolamine fraction of gluten concerns us the most when grain
intolerance is suspected. The prolamine, gliadin, seems to be a problem in
celiac disease; gliadin antibodies are commonly found in the immune complexes
associated with this disease. Recently marketed grains, spelt and kamut, are
wheat variants (despite claims to the contrary) and are likely to cause problems
similar to other wheat varieties.
A wheat gluten mechanism has been studied in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The
clinical observation is that wheat ingestion is followed within hours by
increased joint swelling and pain. Little and his colleagues studied the
mechanism, as it developed sequentially following gluten ingestion. Dr. Parke
and colleagues concurred with this explanation of the gut-arthritis link in
their report of three patients with celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The
mechanism involves several stages:
* GIT must be permeable to antigenic proteins or peptide fragments, derived
from digested gluten.
* The food antigens appear in the blood stream and are bound by a specific
antibody (probably of IgA or IgG, not IgE class), forming an antigen-antibody
complex, a circulating immune complex (CIC).
* The antigen-antibody complex then activates the rest of the immune response,
beginning with the release of mediators - serotonin is released from the blood
* Serotonin release causes symptoms as it circulates in the blood stream and
enhances the deposition of CICs in joint tissues.
Once in the joint, the immune complexes activate complement, which in turn
damages cells and activates inflammation. More inflammation results in more
pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of mobility.
Arthritis is usually treated with salicylates or related anti-inflammatory drugs
generally referred to as NSAIDs. These drugs alleviate the terrible pain of
active arthritis but do not favorably affect the outcome of the disease. All
anti-arthritic medication can produce asthma or chronic rhinitis and a variety
of allergic skin rashes. Gastrointestinal surface irritation, bleeding, and
ulceration are routine problems of anti-arthritic medication.
The first attack of joint swelling and pain should be treated as an urgent
problem to be solved. Inflammation may damage joints. Often NSAIDs and
physiotherapy are the only treatments prescribed and inflammation is given every
opportunity to ravage tissues. We have seen countless patients, just treated
with NSAIDs, who progressed rapidly to a severe disabling disease, often with
poor pain control. In unlucky patients, severe deformities of joints accumulate
in the first few months of a severe attack. There is a trend to recommend more
aggressive treatments, using drugs that impair the immune response. The best
drug is prednisone, but it is seldom used because it has long-term side effects
which scare both physicians and patients. Prednisone is often a magic drug that
relieves terrible pain and suffering often in the first 48 hours of therapy.
Beyond prednisone, there is a grab bag of immune suppressant drugs to treat
arthritis-chloroquine, penicillamine, gold and methotrexate have emerged as the
favored drug therapies. All these drugs have impressive side effects and great
potential for toxicity.
Our preference is to try to stop the inflammatory activity as soon as possible
with diet revision. All inflammation is likened to a fire. You get out the
fire-extinguishers and go to work. No matter what pattern the immune attack
assumes, our standard defense can be tried first. The Core Program method of
diet revision is used. Food is replaced with an elemental nutrient formula,
ENFood, for a clearing period of 10 to 20 days. Prednisone and/or NSAIDs are
drug options during the clearing period and then the dosage is reduced after
pain and swelling have subsided. Improvement is followed by slow food
reintroduction (see Core Program). Each returning food is carefully screened for
arthritis- triggering effects. You hope that food allergy caused the problem and
that food control can be successful controlling the disease in the long- term.
Nothing is lost by taking this approach and complete control of the disease can
sometimes be obtained. If strict food control proves to be inadequate, then
other drug treatments can be instituted.