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:
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism, calcium deficiency and irritability,
- 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]” 
“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]’
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism and calciphylaxis symptoms; an update with lab values,
- 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./