1st Year Autoimmune Recap (2012)
On January 14th 2012, I began the process of eradicating my auto-immune disease in hopes to attain 100 percent health. Started a 21-Day Reboot (January 18th) – 3 week start of the “no starch diet” (NSD) + eating vegan. I lost over 10 pounds and found out quickly this diet was not for me. During my first 6-months, I got off Enbrel for goodon February 7th, took many medical & holistice tests, went to Costa Rica, started on an ibuprofen regimen, found out I needed starch (rice), started an exercise regimen, and was able to expand my starches with potatoes and stopping the “no starch diet” (NSD). From 6 – 12 months later (my first year), I discovered that my digestive system was medically dysfunctional and developed Crohn’s disease, IBS, and Ulcerative Colitis. Continuing to be off a biologic medication (i.e. Enbrel), I was given Prednisone, Asacol & Omeprazole medications along with the eating protocol of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to reduce inflammation & heal the gut lining. In the end of 2012, my health was strong enough with the medications to go on a 4-day cruise.
2nd Year Autoimmune Review Details (2013)
- Rates of Inflammation – Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2013 (2 Years) and Major Milestones
- Tests Taken
- What I’ve Learned (helpful health tips)
- Where Do I Go From Here?
In 2013, I learned that the focal point of all my symptoms stem from inflammation. The higher it is, the worse I get. Below are the rates of inflammation that I had in the past two years (Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2013) along with explanations of what I did during those times.
- 10-20% Health – Mid-March 2012: Enbrel out of system, could barely tie my own shoes. Life unbearable at times, but parents lovingly got me through as my body was slowly healing. Many symptoms developed at this time. Rates of Inflammation: CRP spiked from 9 in Dec. 2011 to 142.8. SED rate at 101.
- 20-40% Health – July 2012: Eating and learning to cook a healthier lifestyle improved my condition, but times still unbearable and started a regimen of ibuprofen to function in my daily life. Started many tests to determine root causes of my issues.
- 40-50% Health with Bursts: December 2012 – Found major root causes from the tests I took. Symptoms / issues pointed to Crohn’s Disease / IBS / Ulcerative Colitis (Which might have developed due to the ibuprofen I was taking – Mayo Clinic states: “Don’t use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin. These are likely to make your symptoms worse.”). My bursts were coming from taking Prednisone (hard to sleep taking this) and going off ibuprofen.
- 40-60% Health: April 2013 – Detoxification off of meds and supplements.
- 30 – 50% Health: June – Early September 2013: Recommendations from an autoimmune specialist put me on a new set of supplements and tests. Although I reverted back to my lowest points in 2013 (I needed other people to help drive me to places and did not leave the house sometimes for a weeks), I did find root issues: Mold / fungus in my house, oxidative stress, and leaky gut syndrome (nutrition dysfunction). Taking medications helped the root cause, but made my system weak. Supplementation either had little help or was harmful.
- 50 – 70% Health – Mid-Late September 2013: Introduction of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). With low cost and minimal side effects, LDN boosted my health around 20% + getting off all the “fixing the root cause” medication & supplements.
- 70 – 85% Health – November / December 2013: Along with the Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), I started taking Humira due to my Iritis attack. Within the 1st 3 days after Humira I saw significant consistent improvement. Increasing weight along with exercise / Yoga has continued to increase my health. In December, back to a “normal” weight, Iron levels back to normal (no anemia), and have more energy than I ever had in my 30s. Rates of Inflammation: CRP rate at 3.3 (better than when I was on Enbrel and had a CRP of 9.5) and SED rate of 4 (review latest test).
For more extensive details, review my daily and weekly autoimmune diary for 2013.
Autoimmune Tests Taken
Out of all the autoimmune tests taken for 2013, the ones that helped me were functional medicine test and the comprehensive blood tests. My gut ecology profile test did show for a fungal infection, but later determined that it was the water kefir I was taking. The Leaky Gut Absorption Test was just verifying my nutritional deficiencies. Once I started taking Humira and got my inflammation down, I was no longer nutritionally deficient. The Cyrex (Array 4) food intolerance tests are someone accurate and did give me a starting point of food elimination. But other markers, like eggs, turned out to happen because I was eating too many of them. The Diagnostechs adrenal stress test is a waste of money for me as the stress levels were all due to the increased inflammation.
- Antioxidant Test Review for Autoimmune (5/30/13)
- Autoimmune Functional Medicine Test Review (6/14/13)
- Comprehensive Blood test on 10/3/13 – First time SED rate in normal range, but CRP still very high. Only explanation is the introduction of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).
- Comprehensive Blood test done 11/13 – Tests done 2-3 weeks after taking Humira. SED rate, CRP, and Fibrinogen Activity (All markers of inflammation) results all back to normal and better than my test results while on Enbrel (12/6/11).
- Gut Ecology Profile (Metametrix) – Tests for fungal, bacterial, parasites & drug resistance. My result on 6/26/13 reveals a fungal infection. SEE RESULTS
- Leaky Gut Absorption Test and Explanation (6/20/13)
- Cyrex Test (array 4) – measures gluten cross-reactive foods (food intolerance). RESULTS 4/6/12 | 6/20/13
- Diagnostechs Test – Adrenal stress & cortisol levels. This test confirmed why I can’t sleep well at night. Tried the supplement Apex Energetics Proglyco-SP 90 (regulates hypoglycemia’s blood sugar & adrenal glands) & did not help. Slowly diet and exercise helping the situation. RESULTS: 4/6/12 | 7/13/13
What I Have Learned in 2013 (Helpful Health Tips)
- Water Kefir for Autoimmune (If you have taken any antibiotics recently, I suggest you read this blog post).
- doTERRA Aromatherapy Essential Oils for Autoimmune Disease (I had high hopes for these essential oils, but they did very little for me – not worth the money).
- Autoimmune Detox – The Benefits and Side Effects
- Refined Salt Triggering Autoimmune Disease
- Check Your House for Mold Especially if you Have an Autoimmune Disease
- Leaky Gut Absorption Explanation
- Low Dose Naltrexone / LDN Review for Autoimmune Disease (If I had to suggest one medicine most people should try, LDN is it. Low-cost, little/no side effects and boosted my health around 20%).
- Iritis – The Last Straw (The reason why I went back on a the biologic Humira).
- Humira – My Autoimmune Benefits, Side Effects, and Results
- Pushing My Autoimmune Limits and Preventing the Flu
- Healthy Sauces for Autoimmune
- Raw Key Lime Pie (Less Sugar Than Soda)
- Turkey Rice Soup with Grilled Fish Salad
- Recipe Week
Where Do I Go From Here?
In 2013 I learned that if I block the inflammation, I block the symptoms and most of the core issues. Right now Humira is doing this, but I am looking for the reason why the autoimmune system is sending these signals to inflame my body. The only consistent theory so far is making sure to eat clean and whole / real foods and this may take many years to clear out of my system.
My 6-month game plan is to continue to take Humira and get quarterly comprehensive blood tests done to gauge how my inflammation levels are in comparison to the food choices I am making. For example, after starting Humira + LDN + better food choices, my CRP rate is at 3.3 which is better than when I was on Enbrel and had a CRP of 9.5 and SED rate of 4 (review 11/12/13 test vs. 12/6/11 test while on Enbrel).
Possible Future Plans to Finding the Autoimmune Root Cause
- Switching to another biologic if Humira stops working (scroll down to “How Many TNF Inhibitors to Try?”) due to the buildup of antibodies within my system.
- Future genetic / DNA Modification – read about CRISPR (or see diagram above)
- Using stem cells to fix my dysfunctional digestive system and/or other areas within my body.