Tag Archives: autoimmune disease

Neuropathy can be a cause of extreme tiredness

An underlying problem affecting a main nerve or affecting many nerves can be a cause of tingling and numbness in the hands or arms and legs. An increased feeling of heaviness of the arms or legs or feeling tired from just holding the arms up in the air may be due to problems with the nerves rather than weakness of the muscles. Autoimmune disease or some nutrient deficiencies (vitamin B12 deficiency most common) can be causes of neuropathy, or nerve damage. Other common causes are mentioned later.

Autoimmune disease itself can be very tiring and a cause of muscle cramps and diffuse chronic pain and it could make it very hard to cope with a physically demanding job. Some types of nerve damage can become permanent but may be reversible if caught early enough and the underlying causes are corrected. Vitamin B12 may be poorly absorbed by elderly people or for others with digestive problems; a monthly injection of B12, bypassing the digestive system, is a common treatment.  Dissolve in the mouth supplements of B12, cobalamin, are also used sucessfully by some people. In Parkinson’s Disease neuropathy has been seen and “perhaps we should be measuring MMA levels in these patients and treating with cobalamin supplementation to reduce MMA levels and prevent neuropathy.” [4]

Recognizing when tiredness is tiredness and when it is due to underlying nerve damage may be a step that can help prevent the nerve damage from becoming more permanent paralysis or numbness. Neuropathy can also affect gland or organ function as well as affecting motion and sensation. Poor coordination can become a problem with walking or with picking up and not dropping things because they just slipped from your fingers. Symptoms may also include feeling moments of burning or stabbing pain and bowel and bladder problems may include constipation or feeling unable to urinate. [1]

Neuropathy may affect approximately 24 million people in the United States. [1]

Neuropathy is more of risk for people with diabetes, about 30% of the cases are associated with diabetes. Heavy alcohol use and traumatic injury can be causes in addition to autoimmune celiac disease, hypothyroidism and other immune system diseases and viral infections sometimes can be a cause. Some types of antibiotics, radiation and chemotherapy treatments may cause neuropathy. Some cases of neuropathy are present at birth. [1]

Since celiac disease may be a cause of neuropathy trying a gluten free diet may be worth trying, (and hypothyroidism can also be a cause of neuropathy and for some people may be due to gluten sensitivity problems). Not overeating sugars and simple starches may help by promoting more stable blood sugar which would be especially important for diabetics but elevated blood sugar may be part of the cause of nerve damage: [3]. Hot pepper – and it’s active ingredient capsaicin may be helpful and warm showers or a bath may also help circulation and muscle relaxation. Taking care with toenail health is important as numbness becomes more extreme minor injuries may become infected and go unnoticed until they are major infections. [1]

Of the 16 million Americans with diabetes, approximately, about 25% have foot problems due to peripheral neuropathy.  Peripheral nerves are those extending out from the brain or spinal cord to the muscles and organs and skin. Neuropathy can progress from feeling tingling sensations of ‘pins and needles’ in the fingertips to not being able to feel sensations of hot, cold or pain. [2]

Peripheral neuropathy has been known to occur with Parkinson’s disease, possibly due to treatment with L-dopa [4], or possibly as a side effect with another commonly used treatment, dopamine hydrochloride. [5] Dopamine producing cells become dysfunctional in Parkinson’s Disease. [6] Dopamine is a brain neurostransmitter involved in movement but it is also has roles in immune system function.

Adequate levels of dopamine are involved in preventing both autoimmune disease and cancer. Research that compared the lifestyles of family members with and without Parkinson’s Disease found that siblings without the disease were more likely to have been coffee drinkers (three or more cups per day) and were more likely to have smoked tobacco cigarettes. Smoking tobacco has negative health risks but it may help boost dopamine levels and may have some protective effects on the dopamine producing cells. [7]

Smoking tobacco my have protective effects for some people but not others. Coffee has also been associated with less risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, [8] but again it may be helping those with a certain type of genetics and be a negative risk for people with other types of genes. Obesity and smoking cigarettes once a patient already has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with the disease progressively getting worse. [9] Fructose, sugar from fruit or refined in the form of high fructose corn syrup, intake has also been associated with worsening of NAFLD. [10]

Protecting liver function may be important for protecting against cancer. The herb milk thistle has been found to have some protective affects for the liver. [12] Cirrhosis of the liver is also associated with peripheral neuropathy so protecting the liver may also help protect the nervous system and brain. [11]

Summary of tips for protecting against neuropathy:

  1. Stable blood sugar and not developing diabetes may help protect the nerves.
  2. Regular exercise and stretching and warm baths or showers and massage and other methods for increasing circulation may help protect the nerves.
  3. Not eating excessively of fructose or simple sugars may help prevent damage caused by glycation of proteins; by helping prevent obesity or diabetes.
  4. Moderate use of coffee may help protect the liver from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some types of liver disease have been associated with peripheral neuropathy.
  5. Dopamine or L-dopa when used as a medication to treat Parkinson’s Disease may be involved in development of peripheral neuropathy. Parkinson’s Disease involves dysfunctional production of dopamine so some other issue may be involved that causes peripheral neuropathy or it may be important to have adequate but not excessive levels of dopamine for health of the nerves.
  6. A deficiency of vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, can be non-reversible cause of peripheral neuropathy. [13]
  7. Smoking tobacco may have some protective affects against Parkinson’s Disease for some people but it has also been associated with worsening of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients who already have the disease. It is unclear at this time what genes may be involved in why some people seem less at risk from tobacco smoking than others – overall it has been found to be associated with lung cancer. Chemicals within smoke cause blood vessels to constrict and reduces circulation. It has been associated with worsening of diabetic peripheral neuropathy so quitting smoking may be more protective of nerves. While it may help boost dopamine levels there are many other healthy ways to boost dopamine naturally. [14]
  8. Following a gluten free diet may be helpful in preventing peripheral neuropathy for some people. If hypothyroidism is also a problem then trying a strict gluten free diet may be beneficial as it may be a cause of autoimmune sensitivities. Eating less gluten in that case would still be exposing the body to the autoimmune ‘allergen’ so a trial of a gluten free diet may have to be very strict and last several months to six months before significant health benefits occur (in research on autoimmune celiac disease it took six months on a very strict gluten free diet in order for the levels of autoimmune antibodies against gluten to be reduced — and (potentially) the thyroid hormone which the gluten molecule resembles.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. http://thelightmedia.com/posts/28389-neuropathy-12-ways-to-identify-and-manage-this-painful-disease
  2. http://www.foot.com/site/foot-conditions/neuropathy
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycation
  4. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/725699
  5. http://www.ehealthme.com/ds/dopamine%20hydrochloride/neuropathy%20peripheral/
  6. http://justneurology.com/
  7. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11568-do-coffee-and-cigarettes-protect-against-parkinsons/
  8. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264995.php
  9. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.23516/full
  10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427081044.htm
  11. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/460036
  12. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/milk-thistle
  13. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/supplement-guide-vitamin-b12#1
  14. http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/04/17/how-to-increase-dopamine-levels/


Good news: Baths can be less exhausting than showers

Yes, autoimmune disease can be exhausting and it can be confusing for other people to understand because autoimmune disease may not have obvious symptoms. A person with an autoimmune disorder may suffer from severe pain or other symptoms throughout their body but not have lab tests that show obvious problems to a physician. Autoimmune antibodies are known for a few types of disorders and those can be screened for if the lab test is ordered but not all autoimmune antigens have been identified.

Magnesium deficiency may be an underlying issue though for many/most autoimmune disorders, so taking an Epsom salt bath can provide improved magnesium absorption through the skin and allow a person to sit down to wash their hair and shave their legs (if desired). No promises though, that a nap might not still be desired after the exertion of bathing while sitting, or before the exertion of blow-drying long hair.

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain problems may have autoimmune origins [3] and/or may have to do with our cell’s energy workhouses, the mitochondria, running out of their preferred energy source — magnesium. They use calcium but it can overwork them to the point of cell death. In normal physiology membrane transport systems, also called ion channels, carefully control how much calcium is allowed into the interior of mitochondria. Something called ruthenium-red (RuRed) and magnesium ions are involved in controlling the entry of calcium ions through the transport channels. [1, 2]

A deficiency of magnesium may allow excess calcium to enter the mitochondria and cause overexcitation and even lead to death of the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are actually similar to bacteria and have their own DNA that in nature always matches the mother’s mitochondria’s DNA but that is a different story.

(RuRed) – not a nutrient I didn’t know about – it’s a dye used in labs that selectively binds with some things but not others so it is used for identification purposes with unknown samples — roughly.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/287/4/C817
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20680823_Ruthenium_red_and_magnesium_ion_partially_inhibit_silver_ion-induced_release_of_calcium_from_sarcoplasmic_reticulum_of_frog_skeletal_muscles
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24435355

“Spending my spoons with you;” aka: Autoimmune disease is exhausting

The Spoon Theory is a way a person with the autoimmune disease lupus explained to one of her friends just what it can be like to live with an autoimmune disease — exhausting.

Each day a person with autoimmune disease wakes up and has to go about the day like everyone else but just showering takes energy. Holding arms overhead to wash long hair is exhausting. Leaning down to shave legs is exhausting. Drying off, blow drying the long hair with arms overhead, carefully applying makeup . . . it is all exhausting.

Listen and learn about thinking twice before wasting a spoonful of energy, as the author shares her theory at a conference, The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino:

Be thankful for your spoonfuls of energy and your loved one’s; health is a blessing that is not doled out equally, but if you are careful, sometimes it can be maintained and improved.

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
Dalai Lama XIV

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A few loose ends

That last post wandered far afield so I’ll try to wrap up a few loose ends or tie them in a pretty bow perhaps.

Re: Vaccinations and autoimmune disease

Calcium chloride can be used as a safer adjuvant (activates immune system) for use in vaccinations. Aluminum and squalene when used as adjuvants in vaccinations have been associated with increased autoimmune disease.  Aluminum is a metal that is too large for the body to excrete easily so injecting it straight into the bloodstream bypasses the intestinal wall where it would have been to large to enter. Squalene is a type of oil derived from ocean sources (I believe – yes, from shark liver oil, [1] ) and might have triggered autoimmune antibodies developing in some people – perhaps / speculation/.

The excessive number of vaccinations being given to infants and children may also be part of the problem of increased autoimmune risk. Children are now getting as many as 40 vaccinations by the time they are 18 months. [3] In the 1970s only 7 vaccinations were being given to children. [2] The body’s immune system may become over-activated against all allergens and autoimmune antibodies in addition to becoming activated against the diseases the vaccinations were designed to protect against. In animal studies it was found that any number of vaccinations given greater than eight was associated with an increased risk for autoimmune disease later in the animal’s life (mice). For that study the heavy metal preservative mercury or adjuvant aluminum or other additives were not included. Only the disease antigens were included in the experimental vaccination as a test of the animal’s immune system response to over stimulation. Read more: [3]

In looking for that reference I found this from a 2014 research article “Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women” [4] (microchimerism may be the reason women are more at risk but I didn’t read that article to find out if it is mentioned, I was interested in looking at the statistics so I’m saving this link for later.)

Vitamin D metabolism is involved in autoimmune disease risk because it is involved in controlling the white blood cells activity against allergens. Too little vitamin D and you have a system that doesn’t work as well as normal and may be overactive against allergens and autoimmune antibodies. so if glyphosate is inhibiting our vitamin D metabolism then it is inhibiting our ability to be less allergic and less prone to autoimmune disease. Low vitamin D has also been associated with some types of cancer including breast cancer. [5] The following explanation is pretty simple but the gist is that activated vitamin D receptors can help identify cancer cells for the immune system to kill or to prevent the cell from multiplying or spreading to other parts of the body:

There are vitamin D receptors in breast tissue, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors. This can cause cells like oncogenes to die or stop growing, and can stop the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.  Therefore, it is thought that vitamin D may help in protecting against breast cancer, by making cells in the breast smarter. [5]

So vitamin D when it is activated to hormone D (and if it isn’t being inhibited by glyphosate) can help the immune system’s white blood cells to protect against autoimmune disease and against cancer.

So it’s not that autism is “caused” by vaccinations it’s that in some susceptible children the immune system becomes over activated and the detoxification systems become overloaded by heavy metals and other pollutants. Vitamin D deficiency, iodine, zinc, magnesium and sulfur and B vitamin deficiencies (particularly B12 and folate) may also add to susceptibility to having an overactive immune system that can lead to brain inflammation (encephalitis [6]) and may cause long term changes.

  1. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/367202/
  2.  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/development-immunization-schedule
  3. http://naturalsociety.com/publicized-study-vaccination-schedule-bombshell/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328995/
  5. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/breast-cancer/
  6. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/168997.php
Spider silk goat milk appears to be a very real and life saving product:
Cold water fish tomatoes also appear to have been a real experiment that was not continued due to poor results and negative press that resulted. The tomatoes never made it out of the research phase. The experiment was an attempt to develop tomatoes that would be more frost tolerant (Monsanto was not the company):

This was my “worse case scenario” food — tomatoes that might cause a fish allergy (allergies to fish and shellfish, like peanut and bee-sting allergies, can be more life threatening than some other types of allergies). From a dietitian perspective unidentified allergens in a major food ingredient are a worse case educational scenario. The patient either has to just cope with random symptoms occurring occasionally or learn how to avoid all foods that contain the ingredient or contain non-organic versions of the ingredient.

So people with a spider silk allergy would have to avoid all goat milk if spider silk milk was mixed into the general supply (but it is only being used for the non-food purpose. The spider silk is filtered out to use to make strong fibers for use in industry and for medical purposes).

There were probably a few other loose threads but I’ll start with those three.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Autism and vitamin D

Refugee groups who have relocated to cities in northern climates after fleeing war in Somalia have been having children diagnosed with autism for the first time in their culture’s experience. The condition was unfamiliar to the families at first but enough women shared their concerns with each other that it became recognized as an issue that many of the families were experiencing. Some women share their story in the following article — they hope their families’ difficulties might help shed light on the increase in autism rates. The women in the video relocated to the state of Minnesota in the U.S. but an increase in autism rates has also been seen in similar groups who relocated to other countries located in northern climates. Low vitamin D levels at birth has been associated with an increased risk for autism. Additional risk factors must be involved however because some of the siblings in the study also had low vitamin D at birth but did not have autism. [https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/swedish-study-suggests-low-vitamin-d-birth-may-increase-autism-risk]

Women with dark complexions and who tend to wear full coverage garments could be at increased risk for low vitamin D levels when living in a northern climate due to little sun exposure most of the year. Increased use of vitamin D rich foods such as sardines, or fortified dairy products, or supplements is important during pregnancy anyway as levels of vitamin D are normally elevated during pregnancy and within the placenta.

The vitamin D receptor and hormone D are important for immune function throughout the body but also play a role in helping the woman’s body accept the infant’s foreign DNA.

The dendritic cells are part of the immune system that helps increase tolerance or acceptance of something foreign to oneself. Tolerance is desired when the mother’s body has to accept the presence of the foreign DNA of the expected infant during pregnancy. tolerance is also important when some of our important body proteins are also chemically similar to types of protein that are commonly found in the food supply. In addition to other functions the dendritic cells can help prevent white blood cells from being as overactive and acting as if they are allergic to one’s own body or allergic to the developing infants’ brain cells.

Some cases of autism may be due to the development of autoimmune like fetal brain antigens which are attacked by maternal auto-antibodies, UC Davis MIND Institute researchers identify specific fetal antigens attacked by maternal antibodies,  “Nearly 23 percent of mothers of children with autism had certain combinations of autoantibodies against the target antigens, compared with less than 1 percent of mothers of children without the disorder.”

Antibody production within the mother against an illness or a vaccination, especially during the first trimester, may be affecting the developing infant’s production of autoimmune antibodies that may affect the brain. [7]

Work is advancing on developing ways to detect epigenetic changes in children which may have occurred during prenatal development and may be a contributing factor in autism. [https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/study-finds-way-track-exposures-may-contribute-autism]

The dendritic cells and T regulatory cells seem to play a large role in both autoimmune disease and in cancer. Autoimmune disease involves overactive white blood cells which seem to have become allergic or intolerant to normal tissue while cancer seems to involve underactive white blood cells that fail to stop tumorous cells from growing uncontrollably. Plasma levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine are involved in control of the cells. The dendritic cells are themselves also able to make and store and release dopamine so there may be some ability by the cells to affect the plasma levels of dopamine and therefore also be able to affect their own activity level in some way /speculation/. And autoimmune disease is associated with reduced plasma levels of dopamine and cancer is associated with elevated plasma levels of dopamine. Calcium may be able to signal release of dopamine from the dendritic cells. [] And dopamine may also be able to “induce VDR-mediated signaling in the absence of the ligand suggesting a complex interaction between Vitamin D and neurotransmitters (Matkovits and Christakos, 1995).” [4, Eyles, 2005]  The vitamin D receptor is found in some areas of the brain and the enzyme that can activate vitamin D to hormone D is found throughout the brain.

So low vitamin D levels during pregnancy, plus other factors such as maternal auto-antibodies from an autoimmune condition  [8, 9, 12, 13] may be underlying factors in risk of a infant developing autism later in life. Preventing low vitamin D in pregnant women is already a standard recommendation for many health reasons but now it appears that it may also be helping reduce the risk for developing autism for some people.

The refugee women from Somalia likely had low vitamin D because of the change in sunshine but other women may be more at risk for low vitamin D due to genetic defect in the Vitamin D Binding Protein gene [7] or other reasons that are unidentified at this time.

Stopping use of vaccinations during the first trimester of pregnancy may also be found to be important for protecting against the child’s later risk for developing autism. Vaccinations for the mother during pregnancy might protect her from getting the sickness but they still boost her antigen production.

Ideally pregnant women may need to avoid both getting sick or getting vaccines during pregnancy to best help protect the developing baby’s brain from later autism risk – more research is needed about the use of vaccinations prenatally . The recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding influenza vaccinations for pregnant women were changed in a series of stages beginning in 1995  through 2004. Prior to 1995 influenza vaccinations were recommended only for women with preexisting medical conditions, by 2004 the recommendation had changed to include all pregnant women regardless of trimester. [10]

(A chart on autism rates by birth year shows the increase starting prior to 1995 which suggests it doesn’t really have to do with vaccinations given during pregnancy: [Autism U.S. and Outlying Areas, 2008, 12]. The artificial sweetener aspartame is mentioned as having been added to the food supply around the time of the initial increase in rate of autism. “Dr. Woodrow Monte said: “The epidemic of Autism began 9 months after the introduction of aspartame into carbonated beverages. A recent questionnaire posts Lite Yogurt as one of the favored food during pregnancy of women who bore autistic children…..when will this madness stop?”” *But this is from a questionable looking reference: [14] If it is true then it would be very hard to avoid because Neotame, a slightly more concentrated version of aspartame, was approved for off label use in 2002 by the U.S. FDA. It may be in many processed foods without having to be listed in the ingredients. )

The dendritic cells are necessary to help protect the developing baby’s brain from  maternal antigens by inducing ‘tolerance’ of the expected infant, but they require appropriate levels of hormone D and enough of the Vitamin D Binding Protein to help deliver it. Vitamin D Binding Protein is like a personal taxi service for moving vitamin D around the body and into a cell’s interior where an enzyme can activate it to hormone D and it can then activate the antimicrobial functions or other functions of the Vitamin D Receptor (if no pathogens have blocked it with a chemical ligand that is similar enough to hormone D to fit in the receptor but chemically inactive, serving to block it’s antimicrobial functions as well as it’s baby tolerance functions, but that is also a different topic. [11]).

Clinical work has been done in the field of cancer treatment and autism treatment with the use of GcMAF, a protein similar to the Vitamin D Binding Protein that is important for immune function. — and human albumin, like egg white albumin, is also in that family of proteins, [7],  so maybe a confused and overactive immune system might confuse egg white albumin with a protein in the Vitamin D Binding Protein group and set up an autoimmune antibody to it that can cause calciphylaxis like skin sores — you know, they don’t know what causes that condition after all and I do know that egg white now seems to cause my skin to not grow in patches, and while I like eating eggs, I prefer having the ability to grow healthy skin.

You know something else? Traditional holiday stuffing is usually made with eggs even when it is especially made with gluten free bread crumbs  — hindsight is still 20/20.           You know what a holiday baked potato is made out of? A potato. Sometimes simple is easier for the both the cook and for the allergy prone guest, live and learn. A vaccination is inserting a variety of foreign chemicals into an allergy prone environment – dangerous for an adult, but potentially brain damaging to a developing fetus.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Adorini L, Penna G. Dendritic cell tolerogenicity: a key mechanism in immunomodulation by vitamin D receptor agonists. Hum Immunol. 2009 May;70(5):345-52. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19405173]
  2. Excerpt from the Abstract:  “Tolerogenic DCs induced by a short treatment with VDR agonists promote CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells that are able to mediate transplantation tolerance and to arrest the development of autoimmune diseases. VDR agonists not only favor induction of CD4+CD25+ Treg cells, but can also enhance their recruitment at inflammatory sites.
  3. Rodrigo Pacheco, Francisco Contreras, Moncef Zouali, The dopaminergic system in autoimmune diseases, Front. Immunol., 21 March 2014, [http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fimmu.2014.00117/full]
  4. Darryl W. Eyles, et. al., Distribution of the Vitamin D receptor and 1a-hydroxylase in human brain, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 29 (2005) 21–30, [http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/VitDGenScience/D%20recptor%20brain.pdf]  Excerpt: “There is now convincing evidence that Vitamin D is important in brain development (Brown et al., 2003; Burkert et al., 2003; Eyles et al., 2003; McGrath et al., 2003; Mackay-Sim et al., 2004).”
  5. Cheng-Lin Lang, et. al., Vitamin D and the Immune System from the Nephrologist’s Viewpoint, ISRN Endocrinology, Vol 2014, Article ID 105456, 11 pages, [http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2014/105456/]
  6. Adrian F Gombart, The vitamin D–antimicrobial peptide pathway and its role in protection against infection,  Future Microbiol. 2009 November ; 4: 1151. [http://www.d-optimum.com/PDFs/Nastolatki/5.pdf]                                                    Excerpt (page 8):  “The production of secondary bile acids by microbes may modulate cathelicidin expression in the colon via the VDR. One could speculate that the selective force for placing the cathelicidin gene under the regulation of the VDR was so its expression could be regulated by both vitamin D and xenobiotic factors (Figure 4).” *                                                                                                                                                                                                “A recent study indicates that the VDR may act as a receptor for additional nutritional ligands, including curcumin and polyunsaturated fats such as α-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid [118]. The in vivo relevance of these findings remains to be elucidated, but it is intriguing to consider that numerous nutritional compounds may modulate the expression of VDR target genes such as antimicrobial peptides.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Excerpt (page 9):  “The therapeutic use of active vitamin D has been hampered by the toxic side effects of hypercalcemia.”  **                                                                                            *That the Vitamin D receptor can be regulated by “xenobiotic factors” suggests that some healthy strains of intestinal bacteria may be protecting us from unhealthy strains of bacteria by activating the production of our own internal antibiotic/antimicrobial proteins (the cathelicidin mentioned in the excerpt) by activating our vitamin D receptors. So mom was indeed right about the benefits of eating fiber rich vegetables — feed the healthy strains of bacteria and let them protect us against the unhealthy strains.                                                                   **Hypercalcemia is why some types of patients might need a substitute for vitamin D or D3 which might not also affect calcium balance in the same ways as the active hormone D. The medication Benicar/olmesartan or the phytochemical curcumin may be able to activate the immune functions of the vitamin D receptor without also causing increased release of calcium from the bone matrix, but more research is needed. The medical use of vitamin D receptor agonists is still in early stages of study. (Curcumin is a medically active phytochemical derived from the spice, turmeric, which is commonly used in curry type dishes).
  7. Suneil Malik, et. al., Common variants of the vitamin D binding protein gene and adverse health outcomes, Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2013 Jan-Feb;50(1):1-22 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23427793]
  8. Megan Brooks, Autoimmunity a Player in AutismSept. 06, 2013, [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/810559]
  9. Alexander Keil, et. al., Parental Autoimmune Diseases Associated With Autism Spectrum Disorders in OffspringEpidemiology. 2010 Nov; 21(6): 805–808.
  10. David M. Ayoub M. D. and F. Edward Yazbak M. D. , Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy: A Critical Assessment of the Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol 11, Number 2, 2006, [http://www.jpands.org/vol11no2/ayoub.pdf]
  11. Grant R. Campbell1 and Stephen A. Spector, Toll-Like Receptor 8 Ligands Activate a Vitamin D Mediated Autophagic Response that Inhibits Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1, PLoS Pathog. 2012 Nov; 8(11): e1003017.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499571/]
  12. Neonatal Lupus [http://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-lupus]
  13. Maternal thyroid autoantibody and offspring autism risk, Jan. 15, 2015,
  14. [http://rense.com/general95/mothers.html]

Calciphylaxis, molecular mimicry and egg white albumin; an experiment, n = 1

Calciphylaxis is a rare type of wound that is associated with hyperparathyroidism and is most commonly seen in patients who are receiving kidney dialysis due to end stage renal disease. The condition is also associated with an eight times increased risk of morbidity (death) compared to patients who don’t have calciphylaxis.

The term calciphylaxis came to my attention this year when I found out that I had an elevated parathyroid hormone level. See the following posts for more information about calciphylaxis and about other symptoms associated with elevated parathyroid hormone:

  1. Secondary hyperparathyroidism, calcium deficiency and irritability
  2. Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 1-25-D, calcium deficiency and calciphylaxis‘Calciphylaxis is more of a risk with end stage renal disease but it has also been found in people who had normal vitamin D levels and normal kidney health. And “high dose vitamin D administration is capable of inducing STC (soft tissue calcification) and calciphylaxis in murine models. [56, 57] In an attempt to reestablish normal calcium-phosphate homeostasis, ESRD patients receive vitamin D analogs that could theoretically increase their risk of calciphylaxis if hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia ensued. [58, 59]” [3]

    “Experimental sensitizing events and agents included nephrectomy and exposure to parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D. Substances used as challengers included egg albumin and metallic salts. Calciphylaxis was the end result.4  – from a 1962 study, abstract is free. [4.5]’

  3. Secondary hyperparathyroidism and calciphylaxis symptoms; an update with lab values
  4. Calciphylaxis may be caused by several different nutrient issues

Antibodies against chemicals that are a normal part of the human body can develop in autoimmune disease. The term molecular mimicry refers to the autoimmune antibodies that may be manufactured by overactive white blood cells in response to a large foreign protein allergens that may have made it through ‘leaky’ intestinal walls into the blood stream.  See: Robert S. Fujinami, et. al., Molecular Mimicry, Bystander Activation, or Viral Persistence: Infections and Autoimmune Disease, Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 80–94.

To skip to the point, egg white albumin is very similar to the albumin found in human blood. It is an essential protein within plasma and it helps maintain fluid balance between the blood plasma and extracellular fluid (too much extracellular fluid would be noticeable as edema – puffy ankles from excess fluid collecting outside of the cells and blood vessels.

After finding the research about egg white albumin on September 24, I eliminated egg white from my diet. My symptoms did get better fairly rapidly but I had tried a few strategies at the same time so it wasn’t clear whether stopping egg white had been necessary for the symptoms to improve or whether the other strategies I had tried may have been adequate on their own — so after feeling better for a couple weeks I decided to retry egg white to see if eliminating them had been an unnecessary strategy. Sadly I found that the day after trying egg white albumin again (in the form of baked chocolate chip cookies) my skin sores returned. I stopped eating egg white again. The sores aren’t as bad as they had been in September but calciphylaxis sores are termed necrotic wounds and necrosis means death and dead tissue in wounds can lead to gangrene and septic bloodsteam infections.

Open sores with oozing plasma that sticks to fabric is unpleasant and painful as well as being associated with an eight times increased risk of morbidity (which means death of the patient).

So I don’t have proof that my body set up autoimmune antibodies to albumin but I would rather stop eating egg white than continue having oozing sores – that is my choice, it is my body and I should have a right to take care of it to the best of my own ability rather than having to follow mainstream medical advice about a condition that is not well understood but is associated with an increased risk of death.

For more information about albumin antibodies and autoimmune disease see:

  • Rodríguez-Juan C, et. al., Increased levels of bovine serum albumin antibodies in patients with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease-related antibodies., J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Aug;37(2):132-5.
  • Excerpt from Abstract: “Although 46% of patients with autoimmune thyroiditis had positive results, the level detected (22.1 +/- 8.7 AU) was significantly lower than that recorded in patients with type 1 diabetes who had celiac disease antibodies (P = 0.04) and celiac patients (P = 0.04). Healthy volunteers showed no antibodies against bovine serum albumin.”  “Thirty-one percent of patients with diabetes yielded a positive result…” End stage renal disease is actually a significant risk for people with autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes because diabetes can cause an increased load on the kidneys from excess blood sugar and increased leaking of protein into the urine. Thirty-one percent of them might benefit from avoiding beef (bovine) or egg white albumin – but more research would probably be necessary before an ‘evidence-based’ recommendation could be made – except Rodriquez- Juan C, et al, did get a nice start on the project.


/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Neuraminic acid was known first as sialic acid

Neuraminic acid, or sialic acid as it was first called, is a monosaccharide with nine carbons. It has a negative electric charge which gives compounds containing it a negative charge. This is useful for keeping molecules like red blood cells from getting to near to each other. The negative charge on the surface glycoproteins repels the red blood cell from each other or from the walls of blood vessels which also have compounds containing sialic acid.

Mature red blood cells have an active life for about seven days.  White blood cells remove older red blood cells and de-sialylation of the surface proteins is one way the older cells are identified. Cancer cells with the ability to produce excess surface sialyation may have an increased chance to metastasize and turn up somewhere else in the body. [13]

Our bodies need to be healthy and well enough nourished overall to keep the whole system working. The neuraminic acid is produced within our cells from other chemicals in a series of membranous channels called the endoplasmic reticulum and the golgi apparatus. The channels have embedded enzymes along the way somewhat like an assembly line in a factory. We can not just eat more sialic acid in our diet and have it show up on our cell surfaces – we have to be healthy enough and well enough nourished over all in order to be able to manufacture our own supply of sialic acid.

Therapeutic glycoproteins are being developed and the problem of just the right amount of sialylation is one of the hurdles being studied. [2] In addition to the negative charge sialic acid tends to stabilize and stiffen the protein portion of the glyco-compound.  The proteins that line vessels were described to be somewhat like bottle-brushes; the protein being somewhat like the sturdy wire handle of the brush and with the negatively charged sialic acid acting as bristles that electrically repel other molecules of sialic acid. [1]

/This article was originally posted on 8/21/2013./ /Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./

More recent research from the scientists at the University of Zurich, regarding sialic acid, found an association between the presence of autoimmune disease and reduced levels of sialic acid on the individual’s antibodies, which are important for the body’s immune cells to be able to recognize and remove infected or foreign or decaying cells: “Specific Sugar in Antibodies Structure Determines the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases,” Oct. 7, 2015, [molecularbiologynews.org]


  1. S.A. Brooks, M. V. Dwek, U. Schumacher, Functional and Molecular Glycobiology, (BIOS Scientific Publishers, Ltd., 2002), Amazon.
  2. Bork K, Horstkorte R, Weidemann W., “Increasing the sialylation of therapeutic glycoproteins: the potential of the sialic acid biosynthetic pathway.” J Pharm Sci. 2009 Oct;98(10):3499-508. doi: 10.1002/jps.21684.  [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  3. R. T. Almaraz, et. al., “Metabolic Flux Increases Glycoprotein Sialylation: Implications for Cell Adhesion and Cancer Metastasis.” Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 July; 11(7): M112.017558. Published online 2012 March 28. doi:  10.1074/mcp.M112.017558 [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]


Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 1-25-D, calcium deficiency and calciphylaxis

I’m feeling so much better after only two days of calcium supplements that I feel like throwing a party. Fatigue is tiring. Replenishing supplies of a trace nutrient deficiency can help resolve symptoms so quickly that it feels like a miracle. I’ve experienced rapid resolution of symptoms in the past when I had a problem with low B1 intake [2] that was due to a low intake of everything – I had an anorexic appetite at the time which I later found may have been due to an underlying zinc deficiency.

The anorexic appetite symptom resolved when I added zinc and B6 supplements after reading about pyroluria. Pyroluria is not yet treated or accepted by most main stream health practitioners but it is believed to be due to a genetic defect affecting an enzyme that helps break down old hemoglobin for reuse and recycling. Molecules of B6 and zinc are involved in the process and in normal health would be recycled but if the person has the genetic modification than the B6 and zinc is released in urine rather than being retained for reuse. [1]

Calciphylaxis is a symptom that is not well understood but is associated with severe hyperparathyroidism. It is a rare symptom in the general population but is seen more frequently in people with end stage renal disease. When the kidneys are no longer able to make normal amounts of 1, 25 dihydroxy D the plasma calcium levels can drop. And to try to maintain normal calcium levels the body responds by having the parathyroid glands increase production of parathyroid hormone which in normal health would tell the kidneys to activate more 1, 25 dihydroxy D which would then tell the intestines to absorb more calcium and would tell the bones to release more calcium from storage. [3] But in end stage renal disease there aren’t functional kidneys and the elevated levels of parathyroid hormone can cause other symptoms like irregular or rapid heart rate or in severe cases calciphylaxis may occur.

Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome of vascular calcification and skin necrosis.” [4] The word calciphylaxis may refer to the syndrome or to the patches of necrotic (decaying) tissue which may occur internally on the surface of bones or externally in patches on the surface of the skin. The decaying areas occur more commonly on the lower legs. The areas can first appear as reddish or purplish bruised areas that may feel like they have small hardened nodules under the skin. The skin surface may be itchy and eventually may break down to be an open wound that doesn’t heal easily. There is a risk of skin infections developing in the open wound which can become severe enough to cause sepsis and death as the patches of decaying skin or bone areas do not heal well.

Calciphylaxis is more of a risk with end stage renal disease but it has also been found in people who had normal vitamin D levels and normal kidney health. And “high dose vitamin D administration is capable of inducing STC (soft tissue calcification) and calciphylaxis in murine models. [56, 57] In an attempt to reestablish normal calcium-phosphate homeostasis, ESRD patients receive vitamin D analogs that could theoretically increase their risk of calciphylaxis if hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia ensued. [58, 59]” [3]

“Experimental sensitizing events and agents included nephrectomy and exposure to parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D. Substances used as challengers included egg albumin and metallic salts. Calciphylaxis was the end result.4  – from a 1962 study, abstract is free. [4.5]

Eczema is something I’ve had to cope with since infancy along with severe congestion problems. The images of calciphylaxis do not look quite like the itchy patches that I’ve been dealing with for a few months but they resemble the images of calciphylaxis more than they look like the patches of eczema that I’ve had off and on since infancy.

The fun thing about autoimmune disease is all the nifty weird symptoms that you get to experience – and which are so rare that many physicians don’t want to see you or the symptoms in their office –  because those unusual symptoms must be covered by some other specialist’s field. This quote said it well:  Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome”. [4]  Maybe I wouldn’t want that syndrome to be my professional responsibility either, and maybe it is just too bad for me that it might be my personal responsibility whether I like it or not. However maybe I’m lucky that my professional and personal experiences have left me more informed about odd symptoms than other health professionals, and therefore I may possibly be better equipped to cope with the odd symptoms.

Thankfully just two days of calcium supplements (while continuing to avoid excess vitamin D and sunshine) have left me feeling less itchy and my open wound areas are beginning to form scabs instead of remaining open wounds with seeping plasma.

In normal physiology the activated hormone form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, is typically found in elevated amounts only in areas of rapid growth or membrane breakdown, such as in scab formation by white blood cells, [6], and within the placenta during pregnancy. [5] – Maybe elevated 1, 25 dihydroxy D can also be an underlying problem causing calciphylaxis rather than it being due only to deficiency of the inactive vitamin 25-D or the active hormone 1, 25-D.

Yes, my vitamin 25-D level was low at 10.9 ng/mL and anything below 20-30 is considered deficient and I was recommended by my endocrinologist to take vitamin D and calcium. However my hormone 1, 25-D level was 55 pg/mL which is considered within the normal range by mainstream medicine (range: 18-72 pg/mL). Specialists in vitamin D/hormone D metabolism would consider levels of 1, 25-D above 42 pg/mL to be elevated enough to be an osteoporosis risk because above that level the bone cells start releasing calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium into the blood supply instead of absorbing the minerals from circulating plasma and storing them for increased bone strength or for later use. [7]

Calcium and magnesium are so important as electrically active ions that the body has a variety of ways to maintain the blood levels of the two minerals within a narrow range. Blood tests for calcium and magnesium levels may be normal even though there is inadequate dietary intake because the bones can act like a savings account at the bank. In normal health if the blood plasma dips a little low for calcium or magnesium, more minerals are released from the bone, and if levels are getting too elevated than more would be excreted by the kidneys, less would be absorbed by the intestines, and more would be absorbed into the bones for long term storage.

However if 1, 25-D levels are elevated above 42 pg/mL than even if calcium levels were elevated in the blood the abnormally elevated 1, 25-D level would still be telling the bones to release more calcium and for the intestines to absorb more calcium which would lead to way too much calcium for the kidneys to be able to excrete during good health let alone during renal disease (elevated blood calcium would normally signal the body to make more of the enzyme that de-activates 1, 25-D but some microbial pathogens seem to bypass our immune system by disabling our body’s ability to make that enzyme). Adequate magnesium is necessary for the kidneys to be able to excrete calcium and elevated 1, 25-D causes the intestines to preferentially absorb calcium rather than magnesium.

And it turns out that eczema is an autoimmune disease so I may have been trying to figure out how to feel healthier since I was a baby. [8]

My mother gave up trying to spoon feed me. She said I would spit food into my hand, look at it, then put it back into my mouth before swallowing. She put cookie sheets around my highchair to block the mess (and possibly the view) and left me to feed myself from a fairly early age. I still don’t like to be fed by others, whether it’s just a taste of something on a spoon, or whether it is a dietary supplement that might cause my underlying autoimmune condition to worsen.

I’m feeling less itchy and the open wound areas are beginning to heal. The tachycardia problem is better, (having a rapid heart rate with little exercise), and an internal jittery feeling is less. The problem with trying to medicate a nutrient deficiency with psychiatric drugs is that the psychiatric drug can’t take the place of a nutrient in metabolic pathways. For years now physicians, family members and friends have been encouraging me to just take the psychiatric medication as prescribed and stop complaining about psychosomatic symptoms and imaginary problems. But the psychiatric medications that were offered all had bad side effects and while some helped slow down whirling thoughts they didn’t make the thoughts less sad or negative and they didn’t take away the internal feeling of tension.

I felt like a coiled spring internally, very jittery all the time and unable to concentrate as well as normal. I knew something was wrong and I knew feeling like a coiled spring all the time wasn’t an imaginary delusion and the feeling didn’t go away with the three different anti-psychotic medications that physicians or psychiatrists had me try.

We can’t afford ineffective health care as individuals or as a global community. Harsh medications that cause side effects in humans are probably also causing side effects in the health of the environment once the chemicals become waste products. Expensive pharmaceuticals that cause side effects in patients without addressing the person’s underlying condition are primarily helping the pharmaceutical company and may be causing the person’s condition to worsen over the long term.

Low protein intake may be involved as hypoalbuminemia is a risk factor for calciphylaxis. [9 -includes images of calciphylaxis wounds.] I don’t know for sure that my weird skin patches are early stage calciphylaxis wounds but I hadn’t been eating much protein in the weeks before my bruise like symptoms became more like open painful sores and I have probably had a low calcium intake ever since I started limiting my use of dairy products. I did take calcium supplements in the past but my chronic muscle cramps became a problem and the calcium seemed to make it worse. More recently not eating much for a couple weeks would have further reduced my intake of calcium from the sources such as sesame seeds and tree nuts that I normally do eat. Just two days of calcium supplements have helped me feel calm internally instead of jittery (I’m using about 500 mg spread out through the day in low doses). I’m also eating a more adequate amount of protein and other foods and the odd skin patches have less of a burning itchy painful feeling and the areas are starting to heal rather than remain open seeping wounds.

Twenty three and a half to fifty million Americans may have one or more types of autoimmune diseases. [10] So I don’t think that I am the only one who has been regularly told that her symptoms must all be imaginary and to go see a talk therapist or to go get stronger and stronger psychiatric medications. We can’t afford ineffective health care because it doesn’t help the patient and the medications may be bad for the environment once they become waste products. Calcium is a natural mineral that is not harmful to the environment and it is inexpensive.

6/15/15 lab values:

  • Parathyroid hormone level – PTH Intact – 154.1 pg/mL — normal range: [15.0-75.0]
  • Calcium – 8.8 mg/dL — normal range: [8.4-10.2]
  • Phosphorus was not ordered but would probably be good to check.
  • Vitamin D, 25 – 10.9 ng/mL — normal is considered: [30.0-100.0]
  • Vitamin D 1, 25 – 55 pg/mL — normal is considered: [18-72]

I did schedule an appointment with a physician but it will be a few weeks and the tachycardia was not pleasant, the internal coiled spring feeling made it hard to concentrate and hard to not over react to outside events, and the open seeping sores were painful.

I don’t see why I should not try to take care of myself rather than having to follow the orders/recommendations of physicians or psychiatrists when they are working from the premise that “we don’t know what is causing your symptoms or how to cure them but we would really like you to take these harsh medications anyway because we guess that they might reduce some of your symptoms – and please just ignore the negative side effects that the medication is actually adding to your problems because we guess that the medication might help reduce some of the symptoms that you originally came to see us about.” That is an example of circular logic based on guesses and I’m not buying it anymore now than I did when I was sitting in a highchair covered with eczema, milk based formula, and baby food.

Medications can be life saving and certainly are a modern miracle but nutrients will always be our body’s building blocks. Providing medicines to reduce symptoms of nutrient deficiency will only prolong the time the body is left without adequate nutrients and some deficiencies can cause long term damage that is not reversible once the nutrient is added back to the diet. A long term deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause irreversible nerve damage, [11], and it turns out that calcium or vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis if the deficiency is chronic enough to lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


  1. Pyroluria: anxiety and deficiency of B6 and zinc
  2. Thiamin: people with anorexia or alcoholism are more at risk for vitamin B1 deficiency
  3. Julia R Nunley, MD, “Calciphylaxis,” Medscape, July 21, 2014, [4-Overview,  4.5-Pathophysiology]
  4. Liu NQ et al., “Vitamin D and the regulation of placental inflammation.” J Immunol. 2011 May 15;186(10):5968-74. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003332. Epub 2011 Apr 11, [5]
  5. Eleftheriadis T., et al., “Vitamin D receptor activators and response to injury in kidney disease.” JNephrol 2010: 23(05): 514-524 [6]
  6. Meg Mangin, Rebecca Sinha, and Kelly Fincher, “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” Inflamm Res. 2014; 63(10): 803–819., 2014 Jul 22. [7]
  7. by Charlotte LoBuono, “For the First Time, Study Proves Eczema Is an Autoimmune Disease.” Jan. 5, 2015, [8]
  8. Dermnet NZ, “Calciphylaxis,” [9]
  9. AARDA, “Autoimmune Statistics,” [10]
  10. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause long term nerve degeneration.” August 21, 2013, [11]

Additional references about risk factors for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients:                   These articles are not mentioned in the text above and the research studies are not about secondary hyperparathyroidism but they do suggest that adequate protein intake may help reduce risk for calciphylaxis and that having elevated phosphorus or alkaline phosphatase levels may increase the risk.

  • Zacharias JM, Calcium use increases risk of calciphylaxis: a case-control study. Perit Dial Int. 1999 May-Jun;19(3):248-52.  [link] *This small research study is about calciphylaxis occurring in patients on kidney dialysis – calcium supplements were found to increase risk of calciphylaxis, while iron intake may have been protective, vitamin D intake made no difference between groups, (n=8 women). The study group’s parathyroid hormone and albumin levels were not found to be significantly different then the lab values of the control group of dialysis patients who did not have calciphylaxis. The conclusion includes the suggestion that “use of calcium salts as a phosphate binder” during dialysis might have something to do with the increased rate of calciphylaxis that was being seen at dialysis centers at the time.
  • A Rauf Mazhar, et. al., Risk factors and mortality associated with calciphylaxis in end-stage renal disease.  Kidney International (2001) 60, 324–332; doi:10.1046/j.1523-1755.2001.00803.x [link] *This study (n=19) found an increased risk for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients who were female, and when the patient had elevated phosphorus and/or alkaline phosphatase levels and/or low serum albumin levels. “Calciphylaxis independently increased the risk of death by eightfold.”
  • Doweiko JP, Nompleggi DJ. The role of albumin in human physiology and pathophysiology, Part III: Albumin and disease states. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1991 Jul-Aug;15(4):476-83. [link] *Albumin is the main protein found in blood plasma and having low albumin levels is also associated with poor wound healing and an increased risk of death.
  • Albumin levels can be low even when there is adequate protein intake in the presence of edema. Fluid imbalance can make the albumin values seem lower due to the change in concentration of the blood serum rather than due to changes in diet. However edema and low protein intake may both be problems. A low protein intake can increase the risk for edema.
  • Pickwell K, Predictors of lower-extremity amputation in patients with an infected diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes Care. 2015 May;38(5):852-7. doi: 10.2337/dc14-1598. Epub 2015 Feb 9. [link] *Severe edema is also a sign of ill health. the presence of edema increased the risk of poor wound healing and the need for amputation for patients with a diabetic foot ulcer.


Food Additives, leaky intestinal membranes, and autoimmune disease

The newspapers that I set up using the paper.li website have been very informative. I added links to the papers that I created and to a few other newspapers hosted by the service on a page: [Virtual Stream Media]

One of the articles from today’s issue of The #Autoimmune Daily discusses seven types of commonly used food additives that may cause leaky intestinal membranes. Leaky bowel syndrome was a term that developed in association with food allergies but the problem may also be involved with the increased rates of autoimmune disease that have been occurring in the last twenty to thirty years. Intestinal membranes are thin to allow nutrient absorption but ideally would block allergens and other larger infectious material from being able to pass through to the more sterile environment of the blood stream.

Food additives may sound like minor trace chemicals but the list includes some very common additives and some newer creations: “glucose (a molecule of table sugar/sucrose, is made up of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose), salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles.”

During digestion the emulsifiers and organic solvents that are used in many foods and beverages and in infant formula may also be emulsifying and dissolving the tight junctions between the cells that make up our intestinal membranes.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./