Updated Autoimmune Tests and Supplements

Since I began my journey early last year, I’ve gone through many challenges but made many advancements.  I took my biggest leaps after my autoimmune tests and supplement recommendations in April 2012 and am currently plateauing around 75% (100% being in remission).  After recent research, I’ve found a functional medicine doctor specializing in autoimmune disease and cured himself of the same Crohn’s disease that I currently have.  Listed below is his initial protocol of blood tests (note they’re from the same companies I used in April 2012) and autoimmune supplements:

Autoimmune Tests and Supplements

Autoimmune - More Supplements NOTE:  This is an explanation of tests and supplements.  A review of my results will conclude in a separate post.

Autoimmune Supplements

All these supplements have two things in common – they are here to improve my health but taste nasty.  Who said curing an incurable disease was easy?

1.  Rice Protein – Immediate results with doubling my amounts of protein into my diet.  I developed a nasty stomach ache when taking the normal amount of two scoops.  I now do one scoop per day with almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, dates/honey, and spinach.  Each shake keeps me full at minimum of 4 hours.  The only ingredient is rice protein concentrate.
UPDATE 6/22:  I have stopped taking the rice protein altogether as it flares me up.  Symptoms include inflammation and the inability to sit more than 5 minutes without severe stiffness.
Update 8/8:  I tried a Pea Protein supplement instead and still flared up from it and hour later after taking it.

2.  RepairVite (K-60) – Helps the intestinal lining to allow the correct nutrients in while leaving the bad ones out.  I take one scoop per day with 8 oz of water kefir / water / juice. Last day of supplement was 6/30.
Works in combination with Seacure (started 8/1) and Interfase (started 8/8) with leaky gut syndrome.

3.  Betaine Plus HP or HCL Premier – High potency hydrocholoric acid with pepsin to allow easier digestion of meats and other difficult digestive foods.  Less work for the digestive system allows for quicker / easier repair.  It’s in a pill form and easy to take.  Last day of Betaine Plus HP supplement was 7/13.  HCL Premier used in conjunction with HCL Activator Premier to detoxify the body.  Started back up 8/8 with Activator.

4.  Cococurcumin – A combination of Curcumin plus MCT & CoQ10.  The curcumin / curcuminoids acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  Out of all the supplements, this is the worst tasting (the taste is similar to eating your own bile…yes, it’s that bad) and can stain anything.  I suggest 4 tablespoons of applesauce per 2 teaspoons of cococurcumin. Took from 6/11 – 7/15.

5.  Optimal EFAs Caps – It’s high quality fish, flaxseed and borage oils all which promote anti-inflammatory.  I take two capsules three times per day.  Took from 6/11 – 7/3 and started again 8/8 – 8/31.

6.  B6 – ND – vitamin B6, one of the major B-Vitamins that I have been known to not absorb.  Their probiotic / fermentation process makes the formula in micro-sized grains to aid in easier absorption than your standard multivitamin.  I take one teaspoon in the morning and one at night with water.  Last day of supplement was 7/12.  Went back on 8/8.

7.  Nutriclear – I take this for other nutrients I lack / malabsorption and acts as a detoxifier.   Mix 1-2 scoops with one scoop of rice protein supplement.  If you need more info, take a look at this PDF.
UPDATE 6/23 – I take one scoop as I believe the benefits help, but too much can cause a flare-up similar to the rice protein if I take 2 or more scoops.  Over time started to flare me up like the Rice protein & stopped 7/10.

8.  Oxicell (K-22)Glutathione is known as one of the best antioxidants out there and this is a cream-based version you apply a pea-sized portion to your stomach / behind the knees / feet three times per day.  Took from 6/11 – 8/14.

9.  GI-Synergy-SM (K-83) – After I am done taking the Nutriclear, this bacterial detoxifier supplement helps out my intestinal system by providing broad-spectrum antifungal, anti-mold, and anti-ova ingredients. Took from 8/8 – 9/6.

10. (NOT PICTURED) Adaptogen R-3 – Helps regulate my cortisol levels and adrenal functions to their proper rhythm.  Symptoms include reduced energy levels from improper sleep and urgently needing to go to the bathroom throughout the night.  I take 3 of these per morning.  Took from June 25th – July 25th. Went back on from 8/8 – 9/9.

11. (NOT PICTURED) BioDoph-7 Plus – Contains the probiotic (healthy-bacteria) strain Bifidobacterium that I was missing from my Gut Ecology test and more “good” bacteria equals less bad bacteria.  I take two of these at night from 7/12 – 8/10.

12. (NOT PICTURED) EFAC – Esterified Fatty Acid Complex (EFAC) is used for joint pain relief and is said to be 95% absorbable.  Started 8/1.

13. (NOT PICTURED) Pro Multi Plus – Multivitamin and multimineral supplement with phytonutrients (from plants). Took from 8/8 – 9/7.


Autoimmune Tests

Most are updates of the autoimmune tests I took in April 2012, but include additional tests not taken before.

A.  Metametrix – the Gut Ecology Profile using DNA assessment to determine the bacteria levels in your system along with yeast/fungi and other parasites.  This stinky test requires your stool samples into 3 separate vials.

B.  Diagnotechs – Four saliva samples collected throughout the day for the Adrenal Stress Index Panel (ASI).  Overall if your adrenal system is out of rhythm, it can cause all kinds of issues.

C.  Cyrex  (Array 2 and 4)  Array 2 blood test covers your intestinal permeability (how well the lining of your gut is doing) while Array 4 measures gluten cross-reactive foods (food intolerance).

(NOT SHOWN) Comprehensive Blood Work PanelFunctional medicine doctors require a comprehensive blood test be done to start and figure out exactly what is wrong with your body.  While the other tests listed above are specific,  this test covers a wide range of test results.

What’s Next?

The results!  This week I will be reviewing the comprehensive blood work panel and I should get the results of the other tests within 3 weeks.  I will also be getting new supplements based on test results as they come in and share my results with you after testing for a few weeks /  a month.

My Daily Autoimmune Supplement Routine

August 2013

  • After waking, take B6-ND with acacia fiberwater kefir and EFAC (3).
  • Apply Oxicell.
  • Stretching / Yoga & then simple protein breakfast (2 eggs, turkey bacon + spinach / nuts / rice / etc.).  Take Seacure (2), Adaptogen R-3 (3), HCL Premier (1-5), HCL Activator Premier (1-2), , Pro MultiPlus (2), Vitamin D3 (1), Asacol HD (1) (stopped 8/21) and Optimal EFAs Caps (2) and GI-Synergy (1 Pack / 3 pills).
  • 2 hours after take Interfase (3)
  • Lunch time – with food take Take HCL Premier (1-5), HCL Activator Premier (1-2), Seacure (2), Pro MultiPlus (2), and Optimal EFAs Caps (2).  Apply Oxicell.
  • Take nap / rest as needed.
  • 2 hours after lunch, take Interfase (3)
  • Afternoon: 1 scoop pea protein along with almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, and spinach. Just like the rice protein, I flare up from this and stopped taking after a day (8/8/13).
  • Dinner Time:  With food take Optimal EFAs Caps (2), Seacure (2), BioDoph-7 (2), Asacol HD (1) (stopped 8/21), Premier HCL (1-5), Premier Activator (1-2), and Pro MultiPlus (2).
  • Late Evening:  Apply Oxicell, drink water with B6-ND.

June  – July 2013

  • After waking, take B6-ND with acacia fiber and water kefir.
  • Apply Oxicell.
  • Stretching / Yoga & then simple protein breakfast (2 eggs + spinach / nuts / rice / etc.).  Take Betaine Plus HP, iron supplement (will go away soon), Vitamin D3, Asacol HD, and Optimal EFAs Caps (2).
  • RepairVite with water / water kefir an hour later.
  • Cococurcumin with applesauce half hour after.
  • Lunch time – with food take Optimal EFAs Caps (2) and Betaine Plus HP.  Apply  Oxicell.
  • Take nap / rest as needed.
  • Afternoon: 1 scoop rice protein, 1 scoop Nutriclear along with almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, dates/honey, and spinach.  Each shake keeps me full at minimum of 4 hours.  UPDATE 6/22 – I only take 1 scoop Nutriclear & add other ingredients as needed.
  • Dinner Time:  With food take Optimal EFAs Caps (2), Asacol HD, and Betaine Plus HP.
  • Late Evening:  Apply Oxicell, drink water with B6-ND.

1st Year Auto-Immune Review

On January 14th 2012, I began the process of eradicating my auto-immune disease and attaining 100 percent health.  While I grow tired of finding the right combination to defeat the cause, I no longer put a needle twice a week in my thigh (Enbrel); now I only take one pill of Prednisone per day.  I’m also closer to finding the root cause(s), not just minimizing the symptoms.  From all the knowledge I’ve learned thus far, here is an overview of the current root cause, managing it, and the steps to remission.

The Root Cause

After taking many tests, my main issue is the digestive system.  Masking the root cause by taking Enbrel for 9+ has manifested additional symptoms such as hemorrhoids, anemia, and ulcerative colitis (UC) / Crohn’s Disease.  Additional digestive system issues include shrinking of the esophagus,  lack of absorbing nutrients, Jejunojejunal intussusception, and ulcers.  There may be other damage, but this is what I have found so far in the 1st year.

“Disease” Management

Before I begin, let’s define an auto-immune disease.  It is NOT a disease.  It is a warning system that says something is severely wrong within your body (similar to the engine light in your car).  If not fixed, something major will happen and if not treated, will lead to a miserable life and/or death.

There are three levels of “disease” management that I currently use:  holistic healing, medical healing, and inflammation management.  Holistic healing includes a modified Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) with a majority of cooked organic food, a variety of exercises (mornings with the Wii Fit+ Yoga/exercises, swimming,  power plate, and ballroom dancing), therapeutic massage and chiropractic adjustments.  Medical healing includes Asacol HD to repair the Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn’s Disease.   Inflammation is reduced to tolerable levels with low-dose (1/2 pill in morning, 1/2 pill at dinner) Prednisone and Omeprazole for acid reflux from the Prednisone.

NOTE:  Taking ibuprofen is not an option anymore.  I was taking one a night for 5 days, 2 for 1 day and was internally bleeding from it.  Hemorrhoid symptoms such as fissures were also coming back.  The only good that came out of it was the best consistent sleep I’ve had all year.

Steps to Remission

As my D.O. (doctor) explains, there is nothing more I can medically do right now to improve the situation.  I need to continue on the medicine described above and do another Colonoscopy / Endoscopy mid-2013.  Holistically, continue to follow the SCD diet and exercise regimen listed above.  As of last Friday, I also found the Naturopath I’ve been looking for.  Within the coming weeks I will probably start taking Water Kefir (video) and then essential oils (high-grade DoTERRA oils that are digestible) to detoxify the body and will allow my digestive system to absorb the nutrients since the Crohn’s Disease prevents this.  Based on the data I’ve gathered, I could see remission in April.


Auto-Immune 1st Year Health Review Details

Major Milestones

  • Recapping the 6-Month Review in chronological order, I started off with my Vegan 21-Day Food Reboot + stopped most forms of starch, got off Enbrel for good on 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.
  • Rice vs. Potatoes – A Starch Comparison for Auto-Immune Diets (Sept. 3rd) – Finding the reason why I could eat one kind of starch and not another.  Over time I am able to eat any kind of potatoes while I am taking the Asacol HD.
  • My Autoimmune Health 9 1/2 Months Later (Nov. 6th) – Moved away from regular chiropractic care, but added the Power Plate rehabilitation exercises every 1-2 weeks.  Focused more on a new massage therapist who understands auto-immune, exercise routine updated, changing supplements, and reducing ibuprofen down to 1-2 per day.  Due to blood tests & CT scan, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Anemia.   My SED rate went from 101 down to 34 on 8/21/12 with my comprehensive blood test and I no longer need to do the Th1/Th2 test due to the significant decrease in the markers of inflammation (Natural doctor confirmed this with me a month ago).
  • The Benefits of Soluble Fiber (Nov. 9th) – Crohn’s disease can lead to frequent runs to the bathroom and without eating grains in my diet this makes it worse.  In order to help this balance, I needed more soluble fiber.  I found that acacia fiber not only contains pure soluble fiber, but has a prebiotic that helps people with IBS.  The only downside is my body took months to get adjusted to it & I ran into a few flare-ups due to overdose.
  • Anemia and Natural Supplement Fix (Nov. 12th) – Fatigue due to internal blood loss (which I found out later had to due with the ibuprofen), I developed Anemia, lacking enough healthy red blood cells.  I found that by taking  Rainbow Light Plant Source Iron, I was able to help manage the Anemia.  I still have iron saturation issues, but that is more to do with the Crohn’s Disease than the iron supplement not doing it’s job.
  • Sugar Alternatives (Nov. 29th) Use black strap molasses rather than cane sugar, Stevia instead of artificial sweetners, and coconut nectar instead of agave.
  • My Autoimmune Medical Breakthrough – Chronicles the history of my holistic and medical history of 2012 and leads to my break-through procedure:  the Colonoscopy and Endoscopy.  Along with specific medications and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I doubled my quality of health.  My range of foods could increase along with an increase in exercise and social activities.  My urgency to go to the bathroom (spiked adrenal & cortisol levels) in the middle of the night went away (battled that for more than 6 months), people told me I looked better, and became overall more productive.  Eventually I had to reduce the dosage of the Prednisone & now use just enough of what I need.  Without it, symptoms like fissures, canker sores, lack of sleep, pain, and stiffness come back.
  • End of 2012 Results – Besides recapping my experiences in 2012, I enjoyed a 4-day cruise and tested out my improved health.  I was able to dance when I wanted, walked everywhere on the floating city / ship and I only had nightly calf cramps (after 1st night it went much better).  I experimented with many foods (some that I’ve not had in over 6 months) and did not receive any major flare-ups!  For the first time in 2012, I was able to go where I wanted and socialize without pain interfering.

Tests Taken

  • After the 6-months of test data, I took updated comprehensive blood tests, Anemia tests, Crohn’s / IBS / Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and they all came back positive – feel free to review the auto-immune tests in detail.
  • Overall the comprehensive tests got better and the test at the end of the year almost all markers within normal range.  The only concern still lingering is iron saturation (due to the Crohn’s), RDW and Neutrophils are high, and SED rate / C-Reactive protein are high (markers of inflammation).  To put this in perspective, my SED rate on 4/18 was 101; 8/21 it was 37. Although this is a huge improvement,  my test on 12/14 showed my SED rate at 38.  If the normal range is between 0-15, I still have work to do to get my inflammation to normal ranges.

Symptoms / Diagnosis

Included below are all the symptoms listed from my 6-month review and afterwards.  I’ve crossed out the symptoms that have not occurred after my 6-month review to the end of 2012.

What I’ve Learned

When you live, eat & breathe a healthy lifestyle, you pick up on some good information.  Listed below is some of what I’ve learned after my 6-month review.

Where Do I Go From Here?

As mentioned above in the “Steps to Remission” area, I need to continue to take my low-dose of Prednisone, Asacol HD to improve my gut, exercise, at eat the modified SCD diet. As of last Friday, I also found the Naturopath I’ve been looking for.  Within the coming weeks I will probably start taking Water Kefir (video) and then essential oils (high-grade DoTERRA oils that are digestible) to detoxify the body and will allow my digestive system to absorb the nutrients since the Crohn’s Disease prevents this.  Based on the data I’ve gathered, I could see remission in April.

End of 2012 Results

I’m not going to sugar coat this.  2012 was the most physically, mentally and spiritually difficult year of my life.  As the months went by, I could feel my body aging and deteriorating.  I know what it felt like to be in my 90s, and at times, to feel better than I have ever felt.  Random pain, stiffness, mood swings, and a host of symptoms came and went.  By faith, though, I never let up and by determination, I made this blog and learned as much as I could to find an answer.  I encourage you to review my comprehensive blood tests below to see the progression throughout 2012.  I hope these results will encourage some of you to see that food is medicine.

Comprehensive Blood Autoimmune Tests

  • While on Enbrel (12/6/11)
  • Off of Enbrel (4/18/12) – Note the high SED rate + C-Reactive Protein (both markers of inflammation)
  • Test on 8/21/12 – Hemoglobin/Hemocrit lowered (might be sign of anemia), but SED rate went from 101 to 37!  Also note the major decrease with IL-6 (19.98 down to 12.10) but increase in IL-4 (<3.20 up to 8.34) when measuring the Th1/Th2 immune system balance.
  • Test on 12/14/12 – Iron saturation is still low and SED rate stayed the same (38), but almost all other tests came back within the normal range (some on the very edge).

On a symptom-level basis, I am almost where I was while on Enbrel a year ago (except for the SED rate, iron levels, and a few other markers).  However, the only medication I take today is Asacol HD (treatment of moderately active ulcerative colitis – my main reason for my auto-immune disease) & 1 ibuprofen at night.  I currently still have stiffness, fatigue (especially at night after 7pm), soreness (especially after I work out / swim).  As of yesterday (12/29), I got off Prednisone & Omeprazole and will take a few days for my body to adjust the auto-immunity from it.

December 2012 Cruise

From 12/5 – 12/8, I went on a dancing cruise.  During this time I was on 1 Prednisone a day & 1 at night + I brought my air mattress (since beds are always too stiff for me to sleep in).  Overall, the cruise went exceptionally well.  I was able to dance when I wanted, walked everywhere on the floating city / ship and I only had nightly calf cramps (after 1st night it went much better).  I experimented with many foods (some that I’ve not had in over 6 months) and did not receive any major flare-ups!  For the first time in 2012, I was able to go where I wanted and socialize without pain interfering.  Now that I know I’m only going to get better, I can’t wait until we do it again.

After the cruise I am able to exercise, just not as much as I was while on the Prednisone.  My right hip was bad from 12/22 – 12/27 due to reduced dosage from Prednisone and exercise.  The good news is the level of pain is about 1/2 of what I went through last time.  I went to the pool on 12/28 as the right hip was getting better & 12/29 my mobility was back.  Now I am battling stiffness / soreness with my shoulders, some low-back & neck (stiffness).  Since my last post, I have been on the Wii Fit + almost every morning until my right hip got bad. My hope is to get back to the Wii Fit+ mid-week, gym / swimming by the end of next week, and I have a power plate session I’m scheduled for on Wednesday.

With the addition of ibuprofen, my sleep is better.  I still wake up 1-2 times at night, but the 2nd time I get up is usually 4-5 hours after the initial wake-up.  Just last night I was wiped out after 7pm, went to bed at 9:30pm.  I got up at 11:30pm, then 5am, went back to bed at 5:30am & got up at 7am.  Total sleep was 9 hours – something I haven’t done in awhile.

My supplements consist of acacia fiber & iron, vitamin b complex (will not continue in a few weeks), and vitamin D3 (5000 i.u.).

My weight on 12/29 was 131 lbs. and a BMI of 18.30.  Verifying with the doctor, Crohn’s disease makes it difficult to absorb nutrients.  My diet continues to be a modified version of the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).

What’s the Plan in 2013?  I’ve talked with many MDs, NDs, chiropractors, nurses, massage therapists, etc. and they all agree I’m on the right track.  Since my blood tests confirm it, I will continue what I’ve listed above while learning new healthy recipes and (God-willing) start to focus on the social activities I’ve missed.  While I’ve learned a lot in 2012, I’m glad it’s finally over.