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./

Wheat is rich in Albumin – so are egg whites and ginger

Albumin is also listed on Dr. Duke’s database as having no biological activities. However it is protein that is essential for healthy plasma and blood pressure control. More importantly at trace levels is the allergy risks. Egg allergies are common and the reactive agent is most typically the albumin found in egg white rather than the nutrients that make up egg yolk. Sensitive individuals may be able to use egg yolk but not egg white or whole eggs.

Albumin would be commonly found in any food that contains egg whites. A very sensitive individual might react to trace amounts rather than just to entree’s that are egg based. Scrambled eggs and omelets are obvious sources but egg white is also in meringue. Marshmallows are based on egg white and coconut macaroons need egg white as the binder. So crispy rice treats could be an allergen due to the marshmallows and  it turns out that grains of wheat themselves might be allergens due to the protein albumin as well as the gluten.
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Albumin  Biological Activities: No activities reported for ALBUMIN

Plant species with highest amount

[Triticum aestivum] L. — Wheat; 30,000 – 50,000 ppm in Seed;
[Zingiber officinale] ROSCOE — Ginger; 4,984 – 45,924 ppm in Rhizome;
[Aloe vera] (L.) BURM. f. — Aloe, Bitter Aloes; 1 – 5 ppm in Leaf;
[Ricinus communis] L. — Castorbean; in Seed;

The Albumin information is from Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
 [ ] (but this no longer goes to the original link.)
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***Interesting list  The presence of albumin in the wheat seed could help explain the increasing frequency of “gluten intolerance:” Actual cases of Celiac Sprue are rare. Celiac sprue is a genetic gluten intolerance characterized by a missing enzyme that is necessary for digesting gluten.

  1. A shared set of predisposing HLA-DQ genes account for the epidemiological overlap of celiac sprue and microscopic colitis. []
  2. A study in Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jan;24(1):59-63. links HLA-DQ types of celiac disease with Type I Diabetes-presence of both found in 11% of Libyan children in the study (n=218):  []
  3. Persistently positive gliadin antibodies without transglutaminase antibodies in the elderly: gluten intolerance beyond coeliac disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2011 Oct;43(10):772-8. Epub 2011 Jun 8. []
  4. Transglutaminase seems to be involved not only with gluten, albumin, but also with glutamine and calcium and also with the thyroid gland, healthy endothelial tissue and healthy bovine lens tissue (***gluacoma is a disease of the lens that is also commonly found in diabetes patients): []
  5. Relationship between glaucoma and diabetes, hypertension. ScienceDaily (Aug. 17, 2011)[]
  • BTW magnesium deficiency is common to diabetes, hypertension and glaucoma.
  • Irresistible Quote about magnesium:

Mg is very similar to a great opera singer: it is very demanding, but when everything is right, it can perform wonders. It is demanding in that its absorption requires a host of conditions and is inhibited by several factors. Moreover, Mg will leave the body, without hesitation, if any of a series of conditions are not met.”   by S. Johnson,  published in Medical Hypotheses

and more details:   “Mg absorption requires plenty of Mg in the diet, Se (selenium), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamins B6 and D. Furthermore, it is hindered by excess fat. On the other hand, Mg levels are decreased by excess ethanol, salt, phosphoric acid (sodas) and coffee intake, by profuse sweating, by intense, prolonged stress, by excessive menstruation and vaginal flux, by diuretics and other drugs and by certain parasites (pinworms).”    by S. Johnson,  published in Medical Hypotheses

“The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency”, Medical Hypotheses (2001) 56(2), 163–170 © 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd doi: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1133, pdf []


***This section on Albumin allergy made it into an attempt to make the Ginger page shorter – cutting out the Albumin section made sense if the goal for a page on ginger was shorter not longer.
***I will be testing gluten free quick bread mixes. I no longer prefer to eat wheat, it makes my symptoms flair up. Had to test the batches though, never having found a written copy of my recipe for the basic mix, but the memory cells were right this time: Pancakes in a jiffy, quick bread mix. Also see the webpage on, G8. Cookies & Bean Soup.
Disclaimer: 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.