Dr. Laura: Can Fasting Heal Auto Immune Disease?

Fasting is known to initiate cellular clean-up, reduce inflammation, heal leaky gut and reset the immune system. What better formula could we ask for when it comes to autoimmune disease?

Can Fasting Really Help AutoImmune Suffering?

After a recent talk at Goodness Me! I did on the safety of fasting, I was left with more questions on how fasting could help those suffering with autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s, celiac, diabetes type I, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In the interim I have played with intermittent fasting over the past couple of months and my body says “thank you!” My digestion has not been this good for years and the persistent scalp psoriasis has all but disappeared. Even when I eat tomatoes, a common trigger for me. It seems anacdotal, however fellow colleagues in the the functional medicine industry like Mark Hyman, Amy Myers, and Courtney Sperlazza all agree.

What Kind of Fasting?

There are many kinds of fasting. We fast when we exclude a single food or types of foods from our diet. So the 30-day reset with no grains, sugar or dairy is a type of fast. This is a good start. The Ketogenic diet is a type of fast too. A Keto diet for a while may be helpful because it switches the body from a carb burning engine to a fat burning engine. But here I am talking about intermittent and more extended fasts to give complete
digestive rest
. When the body is not busy digesting and sorting out where to use or store the blood sugar, it can focus on cellular clean up and repair. Of course when you do eat, nutrient dense foods are a must because you are eating less overall and will need to pack the nutrients you need into less meals. If you are sensitive to foods, like tomatoes, dairy, wheat and sugar for me, that doesn’t mean I go back to eating them all the time. If at all. My excuse was I was in beautiful Italy and learning to make a succulent Bolognese sauce.

Can Anyone Fast?

No. Fasting isn’t for everyone. Not for children or pregnant mothers, those who are malnourished or those with anorexia or bulimia – that’s just playing with fire. Fasting also has to be monitored if you are on medications or have certain medical conditions. Medical complications include gout, cardiac arrhythmia, and postural hypotension.

How Long to Fast?

There is nothing written in stone about the perfect length of fast. And if you ever feel nauseous, dizzy or unwell you should eat. This isn’t about starvation. It’s about digestive rest. It’s about resetting insulin sensitivity and the immune system. Also, we know where the food is and have access to it if we need it. So it’s not starvation.

What Foods are Allowed?

As I mentioned above there are no real rules and there are many different  types and lengths of fasts. If you are on the thinner side and can’t stand to loose some weight, then you better consider bone broth fasts, where there are some nutrients and fat going in. If you have a little loving around that waist line, you likely can feed off that for a while and have coffee, tea and of course LOTS OF WATER.

For more information on whether fasting is right for you, and how to do it, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown ND. 519.826.7973.

 

Dr. Laura: Epstein Barr Virus Linked to Several AutoImmune Diseases

The Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) we know mostly as “mono” yields connections to several autoimmune diseases.

Who Gets EBV?

More than 90% of the world’s population is infected with EBV. The age of contraction varies and for many it lays dormant for years. Like other human herpes forms of virus (EBV is HHV4), it reactivates in times of stress or trauma. Typical symptoms are what you hear from the college student and their “kissing disease” – tired, sleep a lot, muscle aches and pains, swollen glands/lymph nodes, altered sense of taste and the list goes on.

It seems that if such a large percentage of the population has EBV, it’s easy to pin it to any disease. Recent research at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital sheds some light on how EBV affects our genome.

What Diseases Link to EBV?

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Celiac Disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Graves and Hashimotos thyroiditis

“This discovery is probably fundamental enough that it will spur many scientists around the world to reconsider the role of this virus in these disorders,” said John Harley, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE) at Cincinnati Children’s.

How does EBV Increase Risk for Autoimmunity?

EBV alters the human DNA in ways that weaken the immune system’s ability to combat certain diseases. We all have imperfect genes with variances called SNP’s (pronounced “snips”) that may give us advantage or risk over others in certain situations. EBV tends to change the genetic transcription of DNA to suit its own vitality and puts us more at risk for certain diseases.

What Can Increase the Risk of EBV Sickness?

  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Poor nutrition
  • Eating the wrong foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor  sleep
  • Lack of spiritual connection

More research is required in this area of science for our full understanding of how to combat this detrimental virus. A Naturopathic Doctor like Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help balance lifestyle, diet, nutrition and immune boosting profile to keep the Epstein Barr and other forms of Human Herpes Virus (warts, shingles, cold sores) dormant in your system. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can also order and inert genetic tests to help you evaluate your risk for certain autoimmune diseases. Knowing your risk factors can contribute to proactive wellness plan that is tailored specifically to you.

 

Dr. Laura: 6 Causes of Hip Pain

Slow to move, can’t get up out of the chair, or have pain or stiffness in the hip when walking?  You may have one of these six hip concerns.

What causes pain in the hip?

  1. ™Bursitis
  2. Tendinitis
  3. ™Osteoarthritis
  4. ™Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  5. ™Ankylosing Spondylitis
  6. ™Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
athritisresearchuk.org

What can be done about hip pain?

Bursitis: Bursae are jelly-like sacs that provide cushion between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes bursae get irritated with repetitive activities that overwork the joint.  Inflamed bursae are very painful. Classic symptoms are pain when rising from a chair and pain down the front of the thigh. Homeopathy, acupuncture topical ligaments and anti-inflammatories may all be helpful.

Tendinitis may be in just one side of the body, or both. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Exercising too hard without a proper warm up, or overuse of the joint can lead to pain and immobility. It is important to have the concern addressed as soon as possible to prevent long term mobility issues from the scar tissue from build up. Tissue work, natural anti-inflammatories and acupuncture can be very helpful.

Osteoarthritis (OA) doesn’t have to be a right of passage of aging. There are things that can be done to slow the wear and tear on the joint and actually help restore the proper function of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. OA can happen on just one side of the body in one joint. Treatment is longer term and can involve diet and lifestyle adjustments and possibly some supplementation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body is attacking its own tissues. Classic symptoms are worse in morning on rising and better with movement. RA usually happens equally on both sides of the body.  One way it can be diagnosed is with blood work to see if there is a rise in the RF (Rheumatoid Factor). Anti-inflammatories will be helpful, but it is important to address the root cause of the autoimmune condition, and this often begins in the gastrointestinal tract. Naturopathic medicine is fantastic for getting to the root cause of an issue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is another autoimmune condition. Ankylosing means fusing and spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Symptoms include  a stiff, inflexible and painful spine and/ or hip area. In AS, ligaments and tendons as well as the bones are damaged. New bone is often formed in response which is thin and fragile and may grow together. Diagnostics include ANA blood factor and HLA_B27 genetic testing. Acupuncture and botanical medicines can be very helpful to reduce the immune system response in tissue, reduce inflammation and maintain strength and mobility.

Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE). The classic presentation is a triad of fever, joint pain, and facial butterfly type rash in a woman of childbearing age should prompt investigation into the diagnosis of SLE. Since SLE is an autoimmune disease affecting  many different tissues, something the symptoms can be body wide and unique for the individual, but one of the most common reasons at first is joint pain, including the hip. Diagnostics for SLE involve multiple factors; more information may be found here.  As many factors in SLE present, the naturopathic doctor can piece together the picture and begin the process based on clinical presentation and blood work. Many factors in natural medicine can reduce symptoms of SLE.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Psoriasis and other Autoimmune Conditions

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder typically identified by reddened dry skin that becomes progressively flaky and scaly as well as painful and itchy. Usually the plaques are found on extensor surfaces such as elbows, knees and scalp.

psoriasis medscape

The immune system is involved in this inflammatory condition. Quite often once one autoimmune disease is had, others will evolve as well. Autoimmune means that the body’s defense system is attacking the body it lives in. It is hypervigilant. There is likely some genetic susceptibility in the individual, followed by an incident where the immune system launched a defense against a foreign molecule that had some resemblance to the molecules of the body. Now, when the immune system sees that near match it sends out its troupes and ends up destroying the tissues of its own body.

Autoimmune diseases can affect the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels. Among others, it is the underlying mechanism of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Celiac, Crohn’s, Sjogren’s, Type I Diabetes and Psoriasis.

On Wednesday, July 27 at 6:30 in the Goodness Me! classroom at the corner of Gordon and Wellington St. in Guelph, join Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn some of the underlying mechanisms of autoimmune diseases and the natural approaches for treatment. In this session, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND, will share her experience with research in Iceland’s geothermal psoriasis treatment centre and will address natural treatments options for those suffering with autoimmune diseases.

Register here.

picture from Medscape.com