AIP for Chronic Inflammation

autoimmune protocol

While researching nightshade vegetables and their effect on people with sensitivities to them, I came across something called an AIP. This stands for an autoimmune protocol, something I had never heard of. However, through the years I know I have inflammatory issues and suspect they may be related to underlying autoimmune factors.

What is the AIP?

To clarify, the AIP or autoimmune protocol is a diet somewhat related to the Paleo diet, but slightly more restrictive. Nicknamed the hunter and gatherer diet, Paleo supports a back-to-the-basics approach. In addition to foods restricted in the Paleo, AIP also eliminates nightshade vegetables as well as other inflammation-triggering foods like eggs, seeds, nuts, and most sweeteners.

What’s left to eat on the AIP? In short, foods that fight inflammation such as leafy greens, fruit, lean meat, healthy fats, and cruciferous vegetables are all permitted.

To sum things up, this chart shows what is allowed or not, and how to swap the bad for the good. It comes from AmyMeyersMD.com:

AIP for chronic inflammation

Chronic Inflammatory Conditions that the AIP can Alleviate

Many things cause chronic inflammation. Exposure to chemicals, foods we consume, and autoimmune disorders are all culprits. Research shows that autoimmune conditions and inflammatory diseases are often connected. Both of these can be genetic, but it is the ability to be allergic that is genetic, not the specific allergy. Healthline lists some well known autoimmune conditions and symptoms:

  • joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis
  • gout
  • irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease
  • chronic fatigue, trouble concentrating, brain fog
  • skin rashes and conditions like eczema, scleroderma, psoriasis,
  • phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, vasculitis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • type 1 diabetes
  • hair loss
  • low grade fever, achy muscles
  • numbness and/or tingling in the hands or feet

Long Term Goals

Treatment of many of these conditions and symptoms may require medication to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, exercise more, quit smoking, eliminate stress, and change diets. These actions can alleviate autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms over the long term.

Most importantly, the autoimmune protocol is never a quick fix. It may take several months for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune symptoms to subside.

Do your own research. Find reputable sites online or do your research the old-fashioned way by reading a book. Here are a few selections from Amazon on the topic:

Repairing Skin Damage, Five ways to do it

Repairing Skin Damage

photo credit

This article was originally posted on Higher Dose, adapted for use as a guest post here on Loreeebee…

You might not wear your heart on your sleeve, but you definitely have an organ that is outward-facing. *Drum roll* Your skin.

As your body’s largest organ, your skin requires a lot of attention because it’s literally the body’s barrier, protecting you from external factors. Even though your skin is your body’s protector, external factors such as sun damage, stress, free radicals, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, pollutants, and the natural aging process all put wear-and-tear on our skin.

Even though our skin endures a lot every day, there are many ways to both repair and prevent further damage.

Here are our favorite ways to give your skin a healthy DOSE of TLC.

Detoxify the skin

Multi-step self-care routines can seem daunting and unnecessary, but what if we told you they were actually essential for your skin’s health? With one-third of your body’s toxins being excreted through the skin, your skin is constantly working to help transport toxins out of your body to keep your system refreshed. Skin impurities like acne, rough texture, and poor complexion can be a result of buildup on your skin, so taking some extra time to detoxify your skin will help keep things popped, snatched, and glowing.

Step 1 | Detoxify

Detoxifying your skin starts with stimulating your lymphatic system and then pushing out toxins with a DOSE of infrared. A lymphatic facial helps to drain waste from the lymph system, promoting better circulation and less water retention. Following up a lymphatic drainage massage with an infrared sweat is the ultimate cleanse, clearing out buildup and increasing blood flow for a fresh face.

Step 2 | Fight Inflammation

When you apply heat to the skin, cold must follow. Therefore, post-sweat, opt for cold therapy to get the heat out of the skin and quell inflammation. Cryo facials are an excellent way to tone and tighten the skin while shrinking pores and strengthening your body’s immune response. If you don’t have access to a cryo facial, spend up to three minutes in a cold shower, or consider an ice roller that you keep in the freezer.

Step 3 | Nourish

Once the skin has detoxed, it’s time for restoration, rejuvenation, and recovery. Follow up any treatment with proper hydration and nourishment in the form of serums, creams, and oils that lock in moisture and keep inflammation down. Clean products that are high in antioxidants like vitamin C help support the skin’s recovery process, fight and prevent oxidative stress, and encourage collagen production.

Chill out with a cryo facial

Cryo facial is a type of cryotherapy that focuses on soothing, stimulating, and refreshing your complexion using cold temperatures to enliven the skin.

Rather than using exfoliating creams or chemical peels that can irritate the skin, a cryo wand is used to blow cold air on your face in concentrated, circulated motions. The freezing temps and vaporized liquid nitrogen instantly shrink enlarged, oily pores and increase circulation to your face, leaving you with a fresh-faced, cool glow. These facials also encourage collagen regrowth and cell repair — giving you long-term anti-aging protection.

Get a face-full of LED

Immerse your skin in the benefits of blue, red and near-infrared LED light energy.

The sun emits a full spectrum of light to help our bodies function throughout the day. While blue light signals cortisol production to help us be more productive, red and infrared light suppress cortisol and increase melatonin to promote better restoration and recovery.

However, because most of our jobs keep us indoors and exposed to artificial blue light from our screens AM to PM, our bodies stay in a prolonged state of stress. More stress means less melatonin, which means worse sleep and inflamed skin.

This mood-enhancing, skin-restoring treatment provides the skin with healing light sources, taking no longer than 30 minutes. Near-infrared LED light energy stimulates cells to regenerate and heal, leaving you with an even skin tone, a clearer complexion, and fewer wrinkles. Plus, it’s a great way to de-stress by stepping away from your screens to give those frown lines a break!

Give your skin a workout with a microcurrent facial

Your body isn’t the only thing that needs a workout.

Microcurrent technology, which is touted as the ultimate non-invasive facelift, can be used from head to toe to tone and tighten skin from the inside out.

Using low-voltage current, microcurrent sends frequency deep to stimulate the muscle as well as promote cell growth in skin. Similar to physical exercise, this facial / body workout activates the lymphatic system, encouraging proper drainage aka no facial puffiness or water retention. Mircocurrent, which is virtually painless, also oxygenates the skin, invigorating the proteins that signal repair and ease inflammation.

Not only are results immediate, but long-term treatment can undo fine lines and wrinkles and keep the skin smooth without paralyzing the muscle (like Botox // other injectables).

Read the labels

There are many, many beauty products out there that claim to prevent and reverse skin damage. How do you know which ones work?

Always look for clean ( with no endocrine-disrupting ingredients) beauty products like:

  • Niacinamide to minimize dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
  • Azelaic acid to lighten dark spots from acne and repair sun damage.
  • Topical retinoids like Vitamin A in these products reduces fine lines and improves skin texture.
  • Vitamin C to improve collagen production and boosts skin firmness.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to reduce hyperpigmentation

And, of course, drink lots of water, wear a long-lasting (natural) SPF, and eat lots of antioxidant-rich whole foods. Your skin will thank you.

Show us what you’re doing to take care of your skin by tagging us on Instagram @higherdose.

This article was originally posted on HigherDOSE.com

The End of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's

The book I read recently, called The End of Alzheimer’s, is the inspiration for this post.  It is written by Dr. Dale Bredesen and can be purchased here.

Seven years ago I was struggling with various health issues including a terrible short-term memory.  As I worked through the process of finding out what my problem was, I discovered that many common dietary habits are linked to poor short-term memory and the general fatigue I was experiencing.

More recently I heard about this book that claims to contain the solutions to preventing and even reversing the cognitive decline of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  I was intrigued since the causes of cognitive decline outlined in this book are eerily similar to what I discovered were the causes of my earlier health issues.  That is my excuse for why there are so many internal links to my previous posts.

I will attempt to summarize these causes and their solutions but read the book for full details if you are seriously concerned about yourself or someone you care about.  What I took away from reading this book is that the main cause of cognitive decline (dementia including Alzheimer’s) is an overproduction of sticky amyloid plaque that destroys the synapses of the brain.

Alzheimer's
synapse: Wikipedia

This amyloid is produced naturally as a defense mechanism when our immune systems detect irritants or pathogens in our bodies.  The problem becomes when our immune systems face a chronic (consistent) bombardment of irritants to fight and never shut off.

According to this book, the three culprits that cause our immune systems to be overworked resulting in the overproduction of amyloid are:

  • inflammation including infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic) poor hygiene (gum disease) and poor food choices (trans fats, omega 6 fats vs omega 3s, sugar, dairy, gluten)
  • the shortage and decline of nutrients, hormones and molecules that are necessary to support our brains
  • toxins (metals, chemicals, antibiotics, medication, alcohol) and biotoxins (mold)

So, how do we prevent or reverse the onset of cognitive decline and yes, even Alzheimer’s?  The author uses the analogy of terrorists on an airplane.  If you prevent the terrorists from getting on the plane, they cannot blow it up mid-air.   Likewise, we can thwart these neuro terrorists (listed irritants) that are wreaking havoc on our immune systems by not ingesting them.

Note that the first two irritants on the list are diet-related, meaning they should be easier to control.  Removing the toxins in your home and life may be more complicated, but can be done.  Note too that this neglect or abuse of your immune system has (most likely) gone on for years.  That means fixing it won’t happen overnight!

From my own personal experience, I can say that eliminating gluten, reducing sugar and trans fats, choosing omega 3s over 6s, and reducing my exposure to toxins for the past seven years has made an incredible difference in my overall health.

Please check out my gardening website at gardens4u

Autoimmune Disease, my Take

What is autoimmune disease, what causes it and how can it be treated?  This is my stab at explaining what I have learned since I suspected I have one or more.  A recent conversation with two cousins revealed many of my relatives have similar chronic issues.

What is autoimmune disease?

There are many known autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, arthritis, thyroid disease, fibrocystic breasts, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis, to name just a few. They are all caused by inflammation which causes your immune system to work overtime.  When your immune system is on all the time, it produces too much fibrin, a mesh-like protein.  Normally our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes to remove the fibrin, but if too much fibrin is produced, the enzymes cannot keep up.  It does not help that our natural production of these enzymes starts to decrease in our late twenties.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Your immune system is designed to attack anything foreign entering your body, whether it is a virus, bacteria, toxin or food allergen.  When it detects something foreign antibodies are produced.  The problem arises when your organs get attacked by these autoantibodies and surrounded by the cobwebs of fibrin.

Although research has shown that autoimmune disease is genetic, the genes are not activated until “turned on” by toxins, food allergies, yeast or mold infections and viruses.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease

A few indications that you may have an autoimmune disease include:

  1. unexplained weight loss or gain
  2. insomnia,
  3. heat intolerance and sun sensitivity
  4. muscle or joint pain, weakness or tremors, numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  5. rapid heartbeat
  6. unexplained hives or rashes
  7. brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor short term memory
  8. constant fatigue
  9. multiple miscarriages
  10. abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea

Treatments for Autoimmune Disease

If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, unfortunately, you will probably have to stop and reverse your symptoms yourself.  Why?  Because most doctors only treat the symptoms, hardly a long-term solution.  Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars producing products to treat the symptoms, so why find the cause?  To add insult to injury, many of these medications increase the risk of cancer and severe infection. That issue is a whole other can of worms that I have talked about in a recent post.

These are my recommendations, again based on my (limited) knowledge on the subject.  I am not a doctor nor an expert, merely one who was frustrated and confused with my declining health at an early age.  This is not a get better quick process either, it will take months even years to straighten out.

Start with removing irritants from your gut because most of our immune system is in the GI tract or gut.  Problems in your gut are so much more than gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  Many chronic health conditions, like the ones listed above, start in your gut too.  Removing known inflammatory foods is the first step.  While it might be difficult to remove all of these from your diet, try to eliminate as many as possible.  They include:

  • gluten (a wheat protein): bread, bagels, pasta etc
  • sugar: brown, white, anything that ends in “ose” (sucralose, fructose etc)
  • nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, white (not sweet) potatoes, peppers, eggplant
  • processed foods that include trans fats and omega 6s
  • dairy and soy products
  • corn and other grains like rye, spelt, barley and rice
  • pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat
  • eggs
  • alcohol
  • legumes (peas and beans)

If removing these items from your diet for a period of six months does not do the trick, find a doctor that will test your stool for hidden infections and bacteria as well as your blood for antibodies, infections, and toxins like mold and mercury.

Once you have removed these inflammatory foods,  you can try supplements of natural anti-inflammatories.  These include turmeric, devils claw, rutin, bromelain, papaya, boswellia, ginger and yucca root.  I do not take any supplements, but I do include ginger, turmeric, and pineapple (bromelain) in my daily smoothies.

It is a long and frustrating process but can be done.  I know because I went through it myself!  Many of my previous posts, especially the earliest ones, discuss my journey to health.  In fact, that is why I started this blog.  Feel free to comment, email or message me with concerns, corrections etc.

The main thing to remember is this.  Just as the genes for inflammation get activated by allergies, viruses, infections, and toxins they can also be deactivated.