Showing posts with label paleo diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paleo diet. Show all posts

What Doctors Won't Tell You About Autoimmune Disease

By Dr. Terry Wahls

(MindBodyGreen) It’s finally happened. Your doctor's put a name to your illness. The years of not feeling quite right, of fatigue, achiness, and brain fog finally have an explanation, and it all makes sense. You have an autoimmune disease. Maybe it’s multiple sclerosis, or celiac disease, or lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, or something else. Whatever it is, you have a name, and you’ve longed for answers for so long that part of you feels like everything is going to be OK now. A diagnosis means a treatment plan … doesn’t it?

You are not alone in your diagnosis, or your thoughts about it. About 24 million Americans have an autoimmune diagnosis. Another 50 million people have not felt well for years, with symptoms of pain and fatigue and autoantibodies, but they do not yet have enough damage to their bodies to make an actual diagnosis.

That means a total of 75 million Americans have immune cells that are inflicting damage to their bodies. That's far more than are affected by cancer (approximately 25 million) or heart disease (also around 25 million). Scientists aren’t sure why, but the rates of autoimmune diagnoses have sharply climbed over the last two decades.

Currently, more than 140 diseases have officially been classified as autoimmune diseases, and the number is steadily rising with each passing year, as we learn more about autoimmunity and its ravaging effects on the body.

Your doctor might be able to give you a name for your disease. We’ve categorized many, but not all, autoimmune conditions. (Some we still call “Unspecified.”) Your doctor can also tell you that an autoimmune problem means that your immune cells are damaging your healthy cells and organs, in a mistaken attempt to rid the body of something it sees as other than itself. Scientists don’t know the precise reason why this happens, but they do know the result: progressive damage to vital organs (like the kidneys, heart, brain, and more) and tissues of the body (like the joints and skin).

Furthermore, your doctor will give you a treatment plan: medication that blocks the immune cells, or a specific step in the immune pathways, in order to slow the damage being inflicted by the immune cells on the body. The first drugs used to suppress the immune cells were a mild poison to the rapidly dividing immune cells, so they were not as vigorous in their attack of "self."

We are developing more potent and effective drugs now, which block specific steps in the immune cell pathways. These new autoimmune drugs are part of a multi-billion dollar industry, and they aren’t cheap. With prices ranging from $1,000 to $45,000 a month (or more), many people have a hard time affording them, or simply cannot afford them. These drugs also come with side effects, ranging from mildly annoying fatigue, mouth sores, heart palpitations, to life threatening infections and more.

But there is more to know about autoimmune disease—much more. And now we get into what doctors won’t tell you about your disease. What doctors usually don’t tell their patients (unless they are functional medicine doctors) is that hundreds, perhaps thousands of studies have demonstrated that all autoimmune conditions are a complex interaction of a person’s genes and the environment. Each individual gene known to increase the risk of an autoimmune condition increases that risk by only 1 to 2%. The rest of the risk comes from the interaction between those the genes and the environment.

This is significant. It means that autoimmunity has a genetic component, as we have long suspected, but it's very small. It also means it has a major lifestyle component.

Therein lies the good news for you, so it’s a shame more doctors aren’t spreading the word. Seventy to 95% of the risk for getting autoimmune conditions (as well as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer) is due to what you do: What you eat, how much you move, how you live your life, how much support you have, and what you're exposed to every day, from agricultural chemicals and industrial toxins to pollution.

The potent drugs doctors prescribe so easily will not address those environmental factors. Nor will they compensate for a diet that fails to provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fats that your cells need to keep your body healthy. Nor will those medications do anything about the solvents, pesticides, mercury, lead, arsenic, or any of the other toxins stored in your fat that dramatically increase the reactivity of your immune cells, making whatever disease you have more difficult to control.

And this treatment is free, or mostly free.

The health and vitality you long for requires an optimal environment for your cells. That means you must:

  • Consume a maximally nutrient-dense diet that avoids foods you react negatively to.
  • Reduce your toxin exposure.
  • Activate and use your muscles.
  • Control your stress hormones.
  • Maintain or build connections with supportive people.

I have found that taking these inexpensive and comparatively small steps are the most effective way to reduce symptoms of nearly every chronic disease that afflicts modern society.

It is time that we stop blaming our genes for our poor health, using medication as a crutch so we don’t have to change our lifestyles, and address the 70 to 95% of the reason why we became ill in the first place.

About the author:

Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches internal medicine residents, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic, and conducts clinical trials. She is also a patient with a chronic progressive neurological disorder, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. But thanks to the power of the Wahls Protocol™, which is based on functional medicine and the Wahls Paleo™ diet, Dr. Wahls restored her health and now pedals her bike five miles to work each day. Dr. Terry Wahls is the author of THE WAHLS PROTOCOL: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine, co-written with Eve Adamson.

Maple Glazed Cabbage with Bacon {adaptable paleo, gluten-free, salicylate-free}

Cabbage. The word doesn’t exactly bring up images of high cuisine. Nor is it especially exciting. And yet, if you participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) like we do, cabbage is the order of the day—literally. It came into season a few weeks ago, and since then, we’ve had more cabbage than we know what to do with. I mean, really, there’s only so much coleslaw one can tolerate in a lifetime. I think we reached that limit after the first bowl. A new spin on an ordinary (somewhat tasteless) vegetable was needed. And this recipe fit the bill. 

Is Your Paleo Diet Making You Irritable, Depressed and Sleep Deprived?

Struggling with mood swings, anxiety, brain fog or fatigue? If so, you may be GABA compromised. An important neurotransmitter that contributes to our overall sense of well-being, GABA production can become severely disrupted by chronic stress and during the dark winter months. Gut flora imbalance, environmental pollutants and pharmaceutical drug use are also associated with lowered levels. Those on a Paleo diet may suffer from insufficient GABA too.

How To Eat For Bright, Beautiful & Clear Skin

(MindBodyGreen) By Dr. Alejandra Carrasco

We're all taught that acne is something that happens to teenagers, but the truth is that many adults struggle with this, too.

And it’s frustrating!

The good news is that dietary changes can make a huge difference in your skin. However, for many, the challenge is committing to a long-term dietary approach before throwing in the towel and taking prescription medicine.

Could you say goodbye to milk, refined sugars, and high glycemic index foods to get clear skin?

The most common culprits in acne are dairy, refined sugar, and high glycemic index foods – basically the foods that make up our Standard American Diet (SAD), according to a recent paper published in Cutis.

Physician heals multiple sclerosis in eight months with paleo diet

The tale of Dr. Terry Wahls is an inspiring one. Diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, Wahls abandoned her conventional regime of chemotherapy and immune suppressing drugs for an unorthodox approach: food. Within a year of adopting what is essentially a paleo eating plan, she was able to walk without a cane and complete an 18-mile bicycle tour. Considered a miracle by many, Wahls is a thriving testament to the power of sound nutrition.

Devastating manifestation of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, debilitating disease that leads to a wide range of motor control issues -- sometimes resulting in the need for a wheelchair. It can strike at any age, but usually occurs between ages 20 and 40 years old. When the disease sets in, the immune system attacks proteins in the nerve protecting myelin sheath -- resulting in muscle tremors and weakness, loss of coordination, fatigue, imbalance and blindness. To date, drugs have proven to be ineffective for reversing the effects of multiple sclerosis. When Wahls discovered this fact through her own experience, she turned to diet in the hope of slowing the disorder.