allergy testing

IS it an autoIMMUNE or autoINFLAMMATORY disease?

cda_displayimageAs a researcher I love to read. I do prefer some light reading, but on occasion I do try to read a research article, or two. I recently came across a publication that was of interest… is it an Autoimmune or Autoinflammatory disease?

So let’s begin with a little primer on AS for those of you who do not understand what this disease is.

Most people, including some doctors, believe that AS is an autoimmune disease (AD), which it is not. It is considered a chronic inflammatory disease or autoinflammatory disease (AID). AID and AD both result from the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues. Both of these disorders also cause inflammation. However, in AID the immune system causes inflammation for unknown reasons, whereas in AD the immune system mistakenly reacts with the body’s own cellular components as if they were foreign antigens. AIDs also have a hereditary component usually associated with a gene mutation. [1] [²] Autoinflammatory diseases is a new group, since 1999, of rare hereditary immune-mediated disorders that share similar features, but I have found that some of these features are controversial depending who you are talking to.

At one time, way back in the beginning, AS was labeled as an autoimmune disease, but researchers began looking at self-directed tissue inflammation and said “wait this isn’t autoimmune in nature”.  Well they didn’t really say that but that is what I was thinking as I read it. Anyway, with this new category all diseases that were of a self-directed tissue inflammation type were taken out of the “autoimmune” classification and put in the “autoinflammatory”.  Along with this new information they had problems with another weakness in the concept of autoimmunity: the idea that the immune system functions by making a distinction between self and nonself has come under scrutiny for failing to explain a number of findings. For example, why can’t the body tell that a tumor is a foreign invader?

There have been several studies completed in the past that dispels the idea that AS is just an inflammatory disease but in fact an autoimmune disease. 3  One study even suggested that AS was in fact a Mixed pattern diseases, meaning it has both AIDs and AD characteristics.4

So what do you think? I know the medical community is grasping at straws. Everything has to be in a category. So my question is “who cares if it’s an autoimmune or an autoinflammatory?”  Why can’t doctors find the root of the inflammation, since both of these types of diseases obviously center on inflammation?

I am sticking to what I know about both of these diseases and that is the inflammation is killing us slowly! So I will continue to do what I have been doing, trying to find the root source of my inflammation. Try it yourself and see if you get any better result than your doctor can!

  1. Check for hidden infections — yeast, viruses, bacteria, Lyme, etc. — with the help of a doctor, and treat them.
  2. Check for hidden food allergens with immunoglobulin G (IgG) food testing, biofeedback,  or muscle testing.
  3. Get checked for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
  4. Fix your gut.
  5. Use nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally.
  6. Exercise regularly — it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.
  7. Practice deep relaxation like yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or massage, because stress worsens the immune response.

¹ The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center

2 Clinical Study: Spondyloarthropathies in Autoimmune Diseases and Vice Versa

³ Ankylosing spondylitis: an autoimmune disease?

10 replies »

  1. interesting, another point that might add to the insight is this autoimmune reaction may not be a mistake, the body may being doing it on purpose, I have heard one explantion as in microbes or cellular damage (caused by glycation?) causes the reaction as they body attempts to destroy the invader (microbes like to go for fatty parts of our bodies fat tastes good I guess) second explanation the body is stealing cholesterol sulfate or sulfate from less important tissue to use in more important like the brain, or the heart which is deficient and it needs to use inflammation to get the process going. you know how chrondrotin sulfate helps joints? it is the sulfer in it, the body will rob one part to help a more important part if it needs it desperatly. also heart disaese is the same, the heart is not getting enough choleserol sulfate and fat (due to low fat dieting?)and needs to accumulate it around itself, private supply you know, and inflammation is used to produce cholesterol sulfate when one gets in adequate unprotected sun exposure or has lost the abilty to make it in the skin,also such fatty deposits attracts you guessed it microbes too and cholesterol is used as first line of defense as stopping those little buggers from reaching the heart via following it into the blood vessel walls and enclosing it. so inflammation probably is a life saver not a killer, but if you don’t get at the underlying reason why the body needs to do this eventually the body will not be able to compesate for the lack of certain substances inthe body and you die. or get very sick. anyhow our bodies sure are complicated things arent they? stupid they are not and if we remember that, which I need to remind myself so I don’t hate my body for doing what I perceive as stupid, it will help us to come to the proper conclusion of why it does things that seem self destrutive.

    • Interesting, glycation disrupts normal metabolic pathways and advances the circulation of Advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) and it can promote certain health risks. I know that when our bodies are deficient that it can damage organs due to inflammation and I agree that inflammation plays an important part in our bodies self defense archetype. Awesome input on this, it makes my head spin with so many differing theories of why our bodies do what they do just to protect itself. Thank you :0)

  2. I prefer to look at this in much more simplistic manner.

    I’ve had debilitating AS since puberty hit me in 1982 – and for two decades, doctors put me through the typical battery of tests, only to come up empty handed. I was only formally diagnosed in 2006 after a particularly severe attack (and testing methodology finally caught up). Once diagnosed, I took matters into my own hands through forums and anecdotal advice from fellow sufferers. In short order I was able to control my pain 100% and without drugs. The internet… what a glorious creation.

    My cure is simple. No starch and no acid based foods. No exceptions.

    So this basically means nothing grain based, no root vegetables and no acidic veggies or fruits. Instead, I just eat whole, unprocessed foods like meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, a smattering of fruits and most leafy and/or green vegetables… oh, and pure water. Some fermented foods are good too, except things like pickles and sauerkraut… which are too acidic. I also exercise regularly as well (but I’m not convinced this positively affects my AS much, if at all).

    However, by sticking religiously to this regimen, I’ve managed to effectively control my AS for the last 8 years straight. As a side effect, this also leaves me in great shape 🙂 My doctors can’t believe it and often grapple awkwardly with my success.

    As long as I follow this culinary advice, I’m completely free of any pain. However, I’m only human – and as a self-proclaimed carb addict, this isn’t easy long term. How often can one turn down cinnamon rolls, apple pie, pizza, cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies? Ugh. This stuff is available on every street corner… and so good. So eventually I do end up “cheating” on occasion. Luckily without much repercussion – as long as I don’t keep eating the offending food for more than a few days in a row. If I do… I’m immediately limping, having fitful sleeps, groaning when I stand up or wincing when I walk. And this happens without fail.

    The odd part is, I can cheat more often, and for much longer periods of time with corn based foods. I can eat corn chips or popcorn daily for a week or two without it bothering me.. but eventually it’ll get me. Wheat on the other hand, is the absolute worst. One small sandwich and I’m in pain the very next day. Tomatoes, green peppers and oranges? Somewhere in between.

    So I’m more inclined to think this is auto-inflammatory instead of auto-immune. But what does my experience with food say about the nature of this disorder and it’s root cause?

    • Randy thank your for this insight, never thought about acidic foods. Currently I am trying the blood type diet as the gluten free diet hasn’t eliminated my ever increasing joint stiffness. I will try the acidic elimination and see how that works. As far as pain the Humira has helped me with that, but what I found is if I turn the electricity off to my room (EMF) I don’t need regular injections. I went for 4 months without a shot or a painkiller then had to leave the electricity on because the A/C was connected to it. Is that weird or what?

      • EMF’s affect your AS? Interesting, not weird at all. I’ve read that a lot of us who suffer from auto-immune related problems have electro-sensitivites too. Your experience made me think about my own “leariness” (for lack of a better word) with EMF’s.

        Have you ever tried Earthing products? If not, you might want to look into it as a way of reducing inflammation while you sleep (the most popular product is a bed sheet which is grounded to the earth via a silver filament woven through the fabric). It sounds really new-agey, but the theory is – it simply just grounds you to the earth. Apparently it can also protect you from EMF’s. There’s lots of good science around it now.

        I tried this for a while and it certainly helped. Unfortunately, for me, it caused me to wake up with a racing heartbeat after about 4 hours each night. I tried easing my way into it, but still couldn’t handle a full night on them, so I finally gave up. But during those nights, there was a distinct reduction in pain for me the next morning. Distinct. I believe that if I could handle it better, it would make all my pain go away eventually – again, without drugs of any kind.

        I seem to have a lot to say on this subject… maybe I should write a book. lol.

      • Funny you mention the Earthing products, I do sleep on one of the mats, haven’t bought the sheet yet and it does help. But it didn’t do as well as turning off the electricity. Last night the electricity went off for and I went to bed and slept great. Got in about 4 hrs before it came back on then slept ok. I really believe that the EMF in my room keep me from getting a good nights rest.

  3. Actually Joyce, a gluten-free diet didn’t eliminate pain or stiffness for me either. The reason I found was, there are so many gluten-free foods that still contain starch (corn, rice and potatoes being most common). And if I happen to eat any gluten-free packaged foods, I’m almost guaranteed to be eating starch, as most of these will surely contain potato, corn, tapioca & rice starches, among others.

    Plus, I have to watch out for those less obvious hidden starches… bananas, avocado, carrots, cashews & Tamari sauce (Licorice… if I’m cheating 🙂 If I’m already in pain, eating any of these just makes pain worse too. If I’m not in pain, I can eat these particular foods in small amounts (for short periods of time) without it affecting me.

    Of course, I also have to make sure I’m not eating acidic stuff either. I love Pineapple, Oranges & Strawberries for instance… but alas, I can’t ever indulge. Late last year I was in constant pain for a few weeks until I realized that the 1500mg of daily Vitamin C I was taking is… ascorbic acid. Whoops. Once I stopped, the pain immediately subsided. Duh. This is why I now rarely eat any food that comes in a bag, box or can. Starches and acids are just so damn common.

    In other words, it took a lot of experimentation to come up with a diet that doesn’t aggravate my AS. Basically, I just eat the following (all organic):

    Meat (Beef, Bison, Lamb, Chicken, Pork on occasion)
    Fish (Salmon mostly)
    Eggs (boiled usually, scrambled as a treat)
    Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia)
    Seeds (Sesame, Sunflower)
    Leafy green veggies (pretty much any of them),
    Cucumbers, Celery, Squash, Radish, Broccoli, Cauliflower
    Dairy (full fat yogurt, butter, unpasteurized cheese & Kefir)
    Fruit (limited mostly to apples, blueberries, raspberries, grapes & raisins on occasion)
    Water

    And really, that’s it. It can be a pretty limiting diet to most people, I know. But for me, the pain is worse – and affects my life to a degree that unacceptable. Either that or I resort to drugs… which I refuse to let enter my body anymore, unless it’s a life threatening situation.

    Luckily though, this kind of diet falls in line with great overall health too – as long as you subscribe to the newest, most well regarded nutrition authors on the market (Gary Taubes and Michael Pollan immediately come to mind) and not the nutritionally un-informed, dollar persuaded medical community.

    • Well, I am going to try this, as you say it can’t hurt if your getting the right nutrition. The past few weeks, I don’t know if it’s just depression kicking in or what, but I haven’t felt really good and can’t seem to kick it. I want to be able to exercise but have no motivation to do it and I know that it will help with my stiffness. The last week or so my lower back has really been bothering me so maybe the gluten free isn’t working to well. I know that making my own foods is much healthier but that requires more energy and motivation than what I have had lately. I’m going to print this out and kick myself in the butt to follow it. Thanks for this information. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. It’s been quite a while since I last posted – curious to know how things are progressing for you Joyce. Have you had any better luck with the starch-free, acid-free diet? How about earthing?

    Also, was wondering – do you happen to have (or had) any root canals? How about any amalgam fillings? Probably seems like an odd question – but I have been developing a unique theory about how AS might be triggered initially.

    Having now traced my medical history back to when I was born, I’ve been searching for patterns. One thing that stands out in particular… for me, my AS symptoms showed up immediately after I had my first fillings put in – I was 17 (way back in 1986). They got much worse after I had my first root canal done at 19. Things just progressed from there. Over the years I had more amalgams, another root canal and a lot more AS symptoms.

    Finally, four years ago I had all my amalgams removed – and last year – I had my two old root canaled teeth finally removed. Haven’t had a cold, flu or even a sniffle since – still have AS though… rats 😉

    Regardless… I’m curious to see where other AS sufferers might stand here. I mean, it makes sense afterall – it’s been proven that mercury severely affects the immune system. And so do root canals… especially if you believe the info contained in “Root Canal Cover Up” by George E. Meinig. An interesting read.

    What do you think?

  5. As you can see Randy, I’m terrible about responding. For some reason this post just slipped past me :0) You bring up some interesting points. I do earthing, amazing how it makes one feel and have been able to give up the starch-free diet. I’m going to write a post which will enlighten everyone on the progress I have made in the last year. I have had root canals and had all my amalgam fillings removed because I wanted to detox using cilantro and couldn’t do it with mercury fillings. I can’t trace mine back to root canals or fillings as I didn’t have those until after AS symptoms appeared. So no luck linking that to AS. After spending the last year really researching AS, people aren’t going to like what I have to say in my next post. So please don’t be offended with the information I provide ok?

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