Week 21 – Balancing Immune System

What I Learned in Week 21

Overall:  Made some new recipes and learn more about balancing your immune system (Th1 / Th2).

Bun-less Hamburger

Bun-less Hamburger


  • Hamburger grilled:  Grass-fed Organic beef with rosemary, fresh garlic and pepper.  Topped with tomato and basil.  Underneath is a romaine lettuce leaf topped with salsa and whole grain mustard.
  • Side of cut tomatoes with (here comes the fancy) cranberry balsamic aged 18 years and Himalayan sea salt.
  • Goat cheese
  • Katamala Greek olives
Raw Donut Holes

Raw Donut Holes | Recipe Source

Balancing the Immune System

Before I begin, most of my research comes from this site explaining things in much better detail.  In fact, I suggest you read about balancing the Th1 (T cell) and Th2 (B cell) immune system on the site.  Below I will explain what I’m going through in balancing my immune system (Th1 / Th2).

As the article states, virtually all autoimmune diseases have a Th1 or Th2 dominance.  For me, my test came back with a Th2 dominance on only ONE marker, IL-6…and it’s 2X more than it should be.  IL-6 has everything to do with inflammation and the immune response.  This joins my other high test results (SED rate, C-Reactive protein).  According to the article, Th1 & Th2 dominance disorders could be:

TH1 dominance disorders:
Multiple sclerosis
IBD/Crohn’s disease
Type 1 diabetes
Hashimoto’s disease, Graves disease (thyroiditis)
Rheumatoid arthritis
Heliobacter pylori induced peptic ulcer

TH2 dominance disorders:
Chronic sinusitis
Many cancers
Hepatitis B and C (mixed Th1 and Th2)
Ulcerative colitis
Viral infections
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Helminth infections

How could I be Th2 dominant?  My disorder matches the Th1 disorders but the test shows I had a high marker in the Th2 area.  If you read the whole article, you may have picked up on this:

While there’s a basic list of common autoimmune conditions as a general guideline below, please be aware that this doesn’t always pan out in practice. I’ve found this along with some other practitioners.  When we run lymphocyte panels on people, we find some that differ from the clinical literature that categorizes people by Th dominance status. (In other words, the research says they should be one thing; but we find in fact that they’re the other.)

There is a lot we still don’t know about autoimmune conditions. If you see yourself on this list, don’t jump to any conclusions or self-diagnose, take the wrong supplement and make yourself worse (i.e. a Th2 dominant MS patient who demyelinates themselves by taking green tea). Always check with a qualified practitioner.Because of this, I might not be the right candidate for balancing my system.  

Although I am no doctor, I am betting that these high markers of inflammation / auto-immune (getting off Enbrel) are skewed and I am an uncommon candidate.  Regardless, I’ll try to stay away from Th2 supplements / high amounts of food until my auto-immune system calms down.

I’d like to hear your viewpoint on this subject in the comment window below.  If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

UPDATE 6/24 – My ND suggested that I am high in IL-6 because of Mercury I have in my system.  It states:

Other factors that increase Th2 include:

    • asbestos, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals, pesticides,
    • morphine, tobacco, alcohol, steroids,
    • pathogens (including HIV, Hepatitis C, and candida), streptococcus thermophilus,
    • continuous stress, negative attitudes and suppressed emotions,
    • sedentary lifestyle, lack of water, low body temperature, and chronic insomnia.
UPDATE 8/21 – After an updated test, my ND has recommended that I do not need to be concerned with the Th1/Th2 test for the concerns I explain above (along with my condition consistently improving).  The results are as follows:
  • Initial Th1/Th2 Test (4/18/12) – IL-6 abnormally high at 19.98.  SED rate 101 (normal 0-15) & C-Reactive Protein 142.8 (normal 0-4.9).
  • Th1/Th2 Test (8/21/12) – IL-6 reduced to 12.10, SED rate 37 (normal 0-15).  As for IL-4 (8.34), the ND states “Increased production of IL-4 can indicate allergies or some sort.  With an increase over this period of time it may indicate something seasonal.  IL-4 also has roles in maturation of T-cells and B-cells.”

For those interested, here are the list of Th1 / Th2 foods.

Th1 Foods/Substances (Increases Th1)

  • Echinacea
  • astragalus
  • licorice root
  • beta-sitosterol (found in avocado and pumpkin seeds)
  • ashwaganda
  • panex ginseng
  • mushrooms
  • chlorella
  • grape seed extract
Th2 Foods/Substances (Increases Th2)
  • Green Tea/Black tea
  • resveratrol – red wine (can’t have due to yeast), red grapes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate
  • pycnogenol – Only buy as a supplement.  A natural plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France in Les Landes de Gascogne.
  • genistein (fava beans and soy beans)
  • quercetin (found in capers, apples, red onions)
  • curcumin (found in Indian Spice Turmeric)

My Health in Week 21

  • Overall:  Hips continue to improve & was able to walk around all of the mall 6/9, anointed at church on 6/10, chiropractor finally able to unlock my neck 6/11, started wearing my Sole Support orthotics on 6/13, and sleep continues to be the same.
  • Mobility: On 6/9, I was able to walk around the entire mall with one major break (had some dinner at Ruby Tuesday) and my hips allowed me to walk faster than normal.  I’m about 2X slower than others now compared to 3X slower the previous week.  Starting 6/11 I am going to the chiropractor 3X this week.  On 6/11 Dr. T was able to unlock my neck after easing into it for the past month.  The next day I was definitely in pain and slept 11 hours, but I’ve been better and more mobile since.
  • Anointing:  For awhile now, I had wanted to be anointed by the church elders up at Sarasota Baptist.  Divine connection allowed me to see the pastor right before service for a few minutes uninterrupted (which is extremely rare) and to be anointed right after service.  Pastor Mike and 5 elders / deacons surrounded me, asked me of any sins I had and then laid hands on me (after the oil was put on my forehead) and prayed for healing and removal of any blocks spiritually.  
  • Sleep:  As with many other previous weeks, I am still waking up twice a night.  I go to bed at 10pm, get up around 1am (take 1 ibuprofen), then around 4am (take 1 ibuprofen, 1 probiotic, and fish oil), then finally get up at 6:30-7:30am.
  • Next Week:  I get my results from the X-Rays I took at Jubilee chiropractic and tests (Metametrix & Heavy Metals) are back from Dr. Joseph Chiropractic.
  • Current Areas of Concern:  Neck and shoulders are still sore from adjustments and inflammation.  Nighttime is still the “achiest” time of day as I’m writing this blog at 9pm and feeling the brunt of it.  Ankles still swollen and probably won’t improve until I get really used to the orthotics.  Lower left back, hips, and knees stiff and sore but improving.  Developed a Canker Sore on my lower-left lip area but pain wasn’t half as bad as in Week 9.
  • Areas of Improvement:  Continuing ibuprofen regiment to reduce inflammation & pain.  Hips, overall mobility and energy better.  In fact I didn’t need to take a morning nap like I’ve needed too today (6/14).
  • Enbrel:  It has been 16 1/2 weeks since my last shot.
  • My lowest weight was 131 lbs. and a BMI of 18.33.

Week 18 – Healthy Cooking Oils, Food Intolerance Cyrex and Immunity Balance Tests

What I Learned in Week 18

Overall:  On Tuesday, 5/22, I received the majority of my tests back and in this post I will be sharing a few (there’s too much information to go through this week).  Also, I was talking with my neighbor about cooking oils and did some research for the healthiest / best cooking and non-cooking oils to use.

  • What are the “healthy” cooking oils to use?

    Before you shout EVOO!, consider when you’re cooking and when you’re adding on to your favorite dish.  When oil is heated to a high temperature, it reaches smoke point. The bluish smoke that can then be seen means the oil is close to burning and is the temperature at which fats and oils begin to break down. Nutrition and flavor degradation occur at these temperatures. The chemical composition of the oil changes, sometimes with effects that are harmful to health. A low smoke point means the oil should not be cooked with at all, or only slightly. A high smoke point oil should be used for cooking at higher temperatures, for example pan frying (SOURCE).

    For those on the no-starch diet, they prefer to use coconut oil when cooking.  When not cooking, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) works quite well.  However, you should always consider alternatives based on the heat of what your cooking.  Here’s a list of cooking oil smoke points that range from high temperatures of 200 to over 500 degrees without degrading the oil.

  • Purchasing the right type of oil can get tricky too.  For one, don’t pick an oil that has come from more than one country.  If it has, there’s some additional processing and reduces / removes the healthy benefits.  If you don’t know, just pick an oil with the USDA Organic label on it.  Also, try to find olive oil stored within a glass container and not plastic as plastic leeches chemicals into the oil.

My Health in Week 18

  • Overall:  In the beginning of the week I was was getting around 7 hours of sleep and now I’m able to get back to my 10 hours on average (along with mid-day naps).  Symptoms from the previous week have changed slightly and the swelling of my feet have decreased.  Combination of travel and taking a long walk (for me) have really hurt my left hip this week.  Chiropractor suggest special orthotics that contour to my feet while standing and walking.  Because the arches of my feet are out of line / not strong enough, these shoe inserts will provide the correct posture and correct the feet, ankles and pressure on the knees and hips.  I start getting my feet scanned on Tuesday.
  • Tests: In this post I will focus on my Cryex Test and some results of my TH1 & TH2 (immunity) tests. In a nutshell, the Cyrex test measures gluten-associated  sensitivity & cross-reactive foods.  Included below are the foods that I react to.  Get ready, it’s a long list:

Cyrex Test – List of Reactive Foods

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Casein (Alpha & Beta) – Basically any dairy product.  Bye-bye butter, ice cream, etc.
  • Oats
  • Yeast
  • Coffee
  • Sesame
  • Buckwheat – Grain / Cereal
  • Sorghum – from what I can tell initially, it can be used as a substitute for Gluten.  If you know more about this, please comment below.
  • Millet – cereal/grain used as a flour and in some beers.
  • Hemp – Grain / Cereal
  • Aramanth – Grain / Cereal
  • Quinoa – Grain / Cereal
  • Tapioca – In breads & puddings / shakes.
  • Teff – Grain / Cereal
  • Eggs – SHOCKER!  I’ve eaten eggs almost every day for 15 years.
  • Corn

Cyrex Test – List of Acceptable Foods

Overall:  Being on the Low-Starch Diet, I have avoided all these foods (or had small quantities) except eggs.  For me, I switched my morning breakfast of eggs with ground turkey.  This one switch not only removes the food intolerance, but an 8oz. chicken/turkey chub / roll gives me almost all the protein I need for the day.  I cook it with spinach / kale / swiss chard / leafy vegetable I have along with tomatoes and sweet peppers in oil.  The ND told me that removing the list above should give me more energy and less inflammation after a week / maybe two weeks.

Th1 & Th2 – Balancing the Immune System:

Without going into details, there is scientific proof that your body’s immune system can be balanced with foods.   For now, I need to focus on Th1-based foods.  They include:

Th1 Foods/Substances

  • Echinacea
  • astragalus
  • licorice root
  • beta-sitosterol (found in avocado and pumpkin seeds)
  • ashwaganda
  • panex ginseng
  • mushrooms
  • chlorella
  • grape seed extract
Th2 Foods/Substances
  • Green Tea/Black tea
  • resveratrol – red wine (can’t have due to yeast), red grapes, cocoa powder, dark chocolate
  • pycnogenol – Only buy as a supplement.  A natural plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France in Les Landes de Gascogne.
  • genistein (fava beans and soy beans)
  • quercetin (found in capers, apples, red onions)
  • curcumin (found in Indian Spice Turmeric)
  • Current Areas of Concern:  Right side of neck (still improving but not there yet), left hip has been really bad this week, lower spinal area and shoulder blade area is negligible, and swollen ankles are less.
  • Areas of Improvement:  I can get up out of bed without my rope but it’s been harder this week than last and I’m able to sleep on a harder bed.  Also I’m taking less ibuprofen (especially during the day).
  • Supplements:  My supplements now only consist of Pylicorin (will end next week), Probiotics, Vitamin D3, Magnesium (Gluconate), HCL (1-2 times per week), digestive enzymes, and Maine Omega-3 fish oil.
  • Enbrel:  It has been 13 1/2 weeks since my last shot.
  • My lowest weight was 131 1/2 lbs. and a BMI of 18.43.

Day 22 to 6 Months – Week 9

Although I normally post on Tuesday, week 6 was definitely not a normal week.  While I found bouts of feeling “normal”, I also had inconsistent sleep (usually got up 3 times per night, every night), my body locked up one night while laying on my side (had to be pulled up out of bed by someone else in order to get out of bed…at 3:30am), developed a Canker Sore (probably due to my immune system), a swollen / sprained foot, trying to gain weight, difficult chiropractic visits (once finished I felt like I got done with a boxing match), and LOTS of information to sift through.  Without further ado, here are some of the things I found out:

Advice I’ve Received in Week 9

  • Is it better to eat vegetables raw or cooked?  VIDEO from Dr. Furhman
  • Proteins, calories & fat – increasing the healthy way (great advice for athletes who question a whole foods diet):  VIDEO from Dr. Furhman
  • Adding meats back in my diet, I need to remember what organic vs. natural means.
  • Inspiration:  The latest video, “Hungry for Change” from the “Food Matters” team is free to watch until the end of the month.
  • What’s the right balance of food?  Besides Furhman’s “Eat to Live” & the low-starch diet (LSD), I’ve learned about the GAPS diet (discussion on NSD forum).  GAPS have emphasis on fermented foods including yoghurts and vegetables and bone broth.  It also allows for starches such as certain types of beans, also bananas (ripe only), and some root vegetables.  There are others (vegan, vegetarian, etc.), but these nutritional lifestyles seem more appropriate for my body type & lifestyle.

 My 1st Desert Since the Diet – Chocolate Azteca (Mi Pueblo)

Mexican Chocolate Mousse Tart drizzled with macadamia cream and garnished with berries.  It was delicious & (I think) no flare-ups!

Other Foods Tested & No-Flare-Ups:  Small cup of chili (ground beef) with black beans, yogurt, soybeans / edamame, fish & chicken.

My Health in Week 9

  • I Have Hypoglycemia:  Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, uses hormones to keep your blood sugar in a normal range. But a long-term health problem that needs treatment can cause blood sugar to drop too low.  I usually refer this as a sugar drop – I get jittery, the sweats, achy (inflamed), short-tempered and sometimes nervous.  DEFINITION & SYMPTOMS It’s also an adrenal disorder that has too much/little cortisol that increases inflammation.
  • Hypoglycemia Test & Fix:  First, I know I’ve had sugar drops in the past + my mom has it, but never knew it could lead to chronic inflammation until my consultation with Dr. Jeremiah Joseph.  On 3/16 I switched my diet – breakfast was my normal smoothie (1/2 fruit, 1/2 veggie) and was still quite inflamed.  During lunch, however, I had a large 12 oz. portion of salmon along with 2 sides of broccoli.  Afterwards I felt much better than breakfast.  Dinner consisted of fajitas (w/o the wraps) – again more meat & veggies.  Two things happened here:  my blood sugar normalized and I introduced more protein in my diet than I did for almost the whole week.  Not only does this follow the Hypoglycemic diet, but the low-starch diet (LSD discussion).
  • Modifying the Diet:  Although I don’t have it all figured out yet, I need 20% of my diet in meat, find more protein sources, and combine meat while decreasing the dosage of the smoothie.  Currently, here is my list of protein sources (keep in mind I also need to maintain / increase my weight):
  • Almond butter – 7g protein, 180 calories, serving size: 2 Tbsp
  • Salmon – 34g protein, 241 calories, serving size: 6 oz.
  • BeansList of Protein (will start trying beans in the next week or two)
  • Edamame (Soybeans):  12g protein, entire bag contains 3 servings.
  • Kale, Spinach, & Swiss Chard – 1-2g protein, serving size: 1 cup (look up other veggies)
  • Enbrel:  It has been 4 1/2+ weeks since my last shot
  • My lowest weight was 138 lbs. and a BMI of 19.28.  To gain weight, I need to gain healthy fats.  Here are the things I need to do:
  • Daily calories 2220 X .20 (min) or .35 (max) = 444 (min) – 777 (max) calories of fat.  To get grams of fat, divide by 9.  444/9 – 777/9 = I need 49g – 86g of fat per day.  MORE INFO
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil on salads & edamame.  Contains 14g fat per Tbsp.  Look for organic and/or from one country producing it.
  • One Avocado contains 14.66g fat (9.80g monounsaturated / good fat)
  • Supplement Modifications:  Need to add in:
  • Magnesium Glycumate – 6-800mg. It will strengthen bones, muscle, and helps with 300 reactions per cell.  Individuals suffering from malabsorption conditions like celiac and Crohn’s disease will benefit from this form of magnesium.  AS has similar gut issues as Crohn’s.
  • Vegetable-based protein powder (can contain hemp or quinoa)
  • Apex Energetics Proglyco-SP 90 (regulates hypoglycemia’s blood sugar & adrenal glands).  Take 2 in the morning, 2 whenever during the day & 2 before I go to bed.
  • Removed Organic India’s Fiber Harmony Orange Flavor as the protein / meat is binding “things” just nicely.
  • Advil:  I stressed again that I need 2-4 Advil to keep me asleep over the night. While the ND would suggest not taking any medications, he mentioned that the recovery from sleep outweighs the issues with taking Advil.
  • TH1 vs. TH2 Immunology: Still reviewing the theory.  But a correct balance can reduce / remove the inflammation.
  • Daily chiropractic work:  Using the Denny Roll 1X/day should be sufficient as I progress.  I can add more once I get better.
  • Papaya Seeds:  I have been taking them everyday for 1 1/2 weeks with no effect.  Although it may not work for me, it could work for anyone who has intestinal worms in their system (no one knows if they do unless they take a probe to see or test).  The ND is fine with doing this.  MORE
  • Blue Fingers:  I’ve heard it before, but the ND confirmed I have Raynaud’s Syndrome.  It’s quite harmless and I only get cold quickly in air conditioned rooms.
  • Hair Thinning:  This could be due to my Thyroid, but mostly due to my Hypoglycemia / blood sugar issues.

What allergy tests should I take and how does insurance work?

  • Cyrex Test (array 1-4) – measures auto immune & cross-reactivity.  At this time, Cyrex Laboratories is not contracted with any insurance provider, including Medicare. Patients are given invoices/statements, which can be sent to their insurance provider for possible reimbursement.
  • Metametrix – Comprehensive testing – I choose what to test for (heavy metals for example).  I pay up front, they send the bill to insurance, and whatever Golden Rule covers is the money I would get back.  Their providers they deal with are Blue Cross / Blue Shield. 
  • Diagnostechs (Saliva Test) – SIGA test, cortisol & DHA levels.  Since Diagnos-Techs is a non-contracted provider with all insurance companies except Medicare, some insurance companies will send the reimbursement to the member. In this case, the patient will be responsible for forwarding the insurance checks to us or they can submit payment in the form of check, money order, or credit card.
  • The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test
  • Cholesterol Test – should be around 200 MG/DL
  • Thyroid – All panels, TPO & Anti-throid globulan