Tag Archives: autoimmune thyroid disease

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./

Almost a decade of lab values: vitamin 25-D and hormone 1, 25-D, 2006-2015

Vitamin D and Hormone D values for 2006-2010 for a female patient with autoimmune thyroid disease, born in 1966.Low levels of the vitamin can occur with even more elevated levels of the active hormone but I (the patient) experienced muscle cramps and headaches and irritability and other symptoms at levels such as 56 pg/ml in 2006 and 71 pg/ml in 2010. 71 pg/ml would have been considered elevated in 2006-2009 but then the Reference Range changed from 22-67 pg/ml to 18-78 pg/ml:

Vitamin 25-hydroxy-D and hormone 1, 25 dihydroxy-D lab values, 2006-2010.

In 2006 I was taking a one-a-day supplement that contained vitamin D and had been tan that summer – and irritable. During 2007 and 2008 I was following the Marshall Protocol in the hopes that it would help my migraine problem. Which it did. I was taking Benicar and antibiotics and also avoiding vitamin D and excess sunlight. In 2009 I was no longer taking the medications and was less stringent about sunlight but I was still avoiding vitamin D foods and supplements — I was very irritable in the summer of 2006. Significant stress and poor diet was occurring during the increase in the levels seen in 2010.

From an article I wrote 2/16/2012: “In 2006 the reference range for 1, 25 dihydroxy D was 22-67 pg/mL, in 3/17/2010 it was listed as 18-78 pg/mL, and in 2012 the reference range is listed as 18-72 pg/mL. The patient case study (I’m the patient that I’m referring to) values vary from 51 pg/mL to 71 pg/mL for 1/25 dihydroxy D. The values for 25 D within the same time frame range from 8.0 ng/ml to 46 ng/ml* (*patient was taking supplements at that point in time).” The point I was trying to make is that my active hormone D level was always normal or even towards the elevated end of the normal range and that the range changed. The range for a lab value may just be based on average lab patient data gathered by the lab – average sick people seen by that lab – not average healthy people in a large national study.

2/4/2012, still avoiding vitamin D foods and supplements :

  • Vitamin D 25 Hydroxy:        serum 11.4 ng/ml   *Low        Ref. Range: 30.0 – 100.0
  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy:  serum 69 pg/mL  *Normal/high    Ref. Range: 18-72                (Vit D3; 1, 25 Dihydroxy: 56 pg/mL and Vit D2; 1, 25 Dihydroxy: 13 pg/mL)

The 6/15/15 lab values:

  • 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] (the active hormone D)

The 10/12/2015 lab values, after starting Benicar, 40 mg/day, on 9/23/15:

  • Vitamin D, 25 — 18.4 ng/mL — normal range: [30.0-100.0]
  • Vitamin D 1, 25 — 36  pg/mL — normal range: [18-72] (the active hormone D)

I have an autoimmune thyroid condition which actually involves a disorder of the bone marrow. Mislabeled bone cells can migrate to the thyroid and elsewhere in the body. The condition is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis. [ Both conditions may involve intracellular pathogens that block the function of the vitamin D receptor. The low values seen of 25-D can be due to the body’s protective increase in activation of 25-D to the 1, 25-D form. But if a pathogen has the vitamin D receptor blocked even elevated levels of the active hormone aren’t going to help. The medication Benicar is able to bypass the pathogen’s blocking chemicals and can activate the vitamin D receptor. The medication’s typical use is as an angiotensin receptor blocker for helping reduce high blood pressure.

More information about the vitamin D receptor and Benicar is available in the following articles:

  1. Meg Mangin, Rebecca Sinha, and Kelly Fincher, Inflammation and vitamin D: the infection connection, Inflamm Res. 2014; 63(10): 803–819., Published online 2014 Jul 22. doi:  10.1007/s00011-014-0755-z, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4160567/
  2. Marshall Protocol Knowledge Base: Science behind olmesartan (Benicar). http://mpkb.org/home/protocol/olmesartan

Magnesium deficiency can be a cause of irritability and it can be more of a risk with elevated hormone D levels. The active 1, 25-D at levels above 42 pg/ml signals the bones to release calcium and phosphorus from storage and signals the intestines to preferentially absorb more calcium rather than magnesium.

Epsom salt is a brand name for the alkaline salt magnesium sulfate. Soaking in mineral water has been a traditional remedy for muscle aches and other maladies. I have found it helpful for muscle cramps and restoring a good mood. Being internally irritable for no reason is unpleasant to experience and can be difficult to control — even scratchy clothing can be very annoying — at times. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath has left me feeling like singing after soaking just ten or twenty minutes after I had been feeling more like growling — or worse.

I add about a cup of Epsom salt and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to adjust the alkaline pH to a half tub of water and soak for twenty to thirty minutes — forty or more minutes could lead to a slowing of the heart rate and extreme relaxing of the smooth muscles (which can lead eventually to diarrhea or even coma or death — don’t fall asleep in a tub of Epsom salt bath). Epsom salt bath. Risks.

/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./