Foods to support the immune system - part 3

Cruciferous vegetables are the gold standard in immune-boosting vegetables.

Watch this video to see the great range of Cruciferous vegetables. 

Although all vegetables have nutrients and some protective powers, for these vegetables, it’s off the charts. Cruciferous vegetables, from the Brassica family, have a special chemical composition: They have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent flavors. When they’re broken down by biting, blending, or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs prevent and knock out cancer and have infinite proven immune-boosting capabilities.
They contain antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep you disease free. Adding the following cruciferous vegetables to your daily plate is like taking an anticancer pill: arugula, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, red cabbage, turnip greens, or watercress. Cruciferous vegetables are often called cole crops by people in North America and brassicas by people in the United Kingdom.

Here is a great book that provides recipes on cooking with these healthy immune assisting vegetables: 

Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More
A cookbook showcasing 80 recipes for the most popular of the world's healthiest vegetables-kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, leafy greens, and more-tailored to accommodate special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
For a long time, brassicas had a mixed reputation. While a small group of people staunchly adored them, most Americans were not as fond of the vegetables formerly known as "cruciferous" (who doesn't remember a plate of stinky boiled cabbage or President Bush's condemnation of broccoli?). But in recent years, a transformation has occurred. Kale has taken the world by storm and there's hardly a restaurant left that doesn't have cauliflower on the menu. The rising popularity of brassicas is not only due to their extraordinary health benefits and "superfood" status, but also the realization that they can taste delicious when properly prepared.

Diagnosis of autoimmune urticaria

The autologous serum skin test is used as a screening test for chronic autoimmune urticaria and has a sensitivity and specificity of about 70 and 80%, respectively. The current gold standard diagnostic test is the basophil histamine release assay. NCBI
Autoimmune urticaria (AIU) cannot be diagnosed by this test alone. A study has been done showing "A simple, combined test can improve the diagnosis of autoimmune urticaria."

Researchers from Hungary’s University of Debrecen have shown a more effective testing procedure for diagnosing AIU. The combination of tests have increased the sensitivity and specificity to 98% and 86%. 

The researchers found that ASST positivity, the occurrence of symptoms at night, angioedema, incidence of more than five symptomatic days per week, and anti-thyroid antibody positivity were more frequent in the AIU group versus patients with chronic spontaneous non-AIU. These parameters were defined as specific to AIU. MD Magazine

urticaria on back
Urticaria is another name for hives which are raised red marks on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body. Chronic urticaria is when the hives have been there for 6 weeks or more. This is called chronic idiopathic urticaria, which means there is no known cause. Many people with chronic idiopathic urticaria are thought to have autoimmune urticaria (AIU) where antibodies exist. 

A strong connection has been found between AIU and the existence of other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, Lupus (SLE) and celiac disease. 


Fatigue in Sjogren's Syndrome

Fatigue and Sjogren's Syndrome

A U.K. study found that factors that associated with high levels of fatigue among patients with Sjogren's syndrome included pain, depression, and - unexpectedly - low levels of two proinflammatory cytokines. Proinflammatory cytokines are cytokines that promote systemic inflammation.

"This suggests that measures of disease activity in primary Sjogren's syndrome appear to be less important than cytokines, depression, and pain in accurately predicting fatigue levels," the researchers observed.

Conclusions: Cytokines, pain and depression appear to be the most powerful predictors of fatigue in Sjogren's Syndrome.  The research data challenged the idea that proinflammatory cytokines directly cause fatigue in chronic immune conditions. "Instead, we hypothesise that mechanisms regulating inflammatory responses may be important."  

Fatigue in primary Sjogren's syndrome is associated with lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Published in BMJ Journals in 19 July 2016


What to eat when your body attacks itself: immune diet

immune diet

Many people have found improvement in their autoimmune symptoms when changing their diet. If you are interested in diet and it's role in helping improve a damaged immune system, i.e. one with an autoimmune condition, you may be interested in these ideas: 
Get off gluten grains: wheat, barley, rye. And don’t go for so-called “gluten-free” breads, as they generally contain soy or corn products or members of the nightshade family, especially potatoes, that can also damage the lining of your intestinal tract.
Get off all cow dairy products.
If you stop insulting your gut tract, it will probably recover to some extent.
In addition to the things you should avoid, there are foods to improve the health of your intestinal wall. While not a complete list, these include:
A probiotic supplement.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially green and leafy ones.
Healing supplements like L-glutamine; omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, C and E; and turmeric.
From an article by Bob Keller, a holistic practitioner, Making Sense of Medicine

READ A BOOK ABOUT AUTOIMMUNE DIET: The Autoimmune Diet: Feel the freedom and energy of using whole food to manage autoimmune disease symptoms

Gigi Hadid talks about her autoimmune condition

Supermodel Gigi Hadid has just revealed she has an autoimmune disease that causes her weight to fluctuate - Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
"My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year. I have Hashimoto's disease. It's a thyroid disease, and it's now been two years since taking the medication for it, so for the VS show I didn't want to lose any more weight, I just want to have muscles in the right place, and if my butt can get a little perkier, then that's good." she told Elle magazine.
Gigi Hadid, age 21, is one of the most famous supermodels in the world right now participating in the Victoria Secret runway for a second time this year. But despite millions of headlines and her Instagram account there is still a lot we don't know about the Reebok #PerfectNever campaign spokesperson. Today we learned a little about her autoimmune condition.
Her sister, model Bella Hadid, her brother Anwar and her mother Yolande all suffer from Lyme disease. 

FIND OUT MORE: Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's




Morphine paradoxically prolongs neuropathic pain in rats

morphine and pain

Pain after disease/damage of the nervous system is predominantly treated with opioids, but without exploration of the long-term consequences. We demonstrate that a short course of morphine after nerve injury doubles the duration of neuropathic pain.

A University of Colorado Boulder study led by Professor Peter Grace showed that just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain. This pain continued for several months doe to the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord. The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain.

Read more PNAS
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Allergies and Multiple Sclerosis

Food allergies associated with MS

Allergies Are Associated with Increased Disease Activity in Multiple Sclerosis 

This study found that patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who have food allergies have a more active disease than those without allergies. There suggestions were for exploration of the allergy-associated immune mechanisms that modulates the MS disease course. 

Patients enrolled in the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (CLIMB) study completed a self-administered questionnaire on environmental, drug and food allergies.

  • Tanuja Chitnis. 

  • Published: Neurologyvol. 86 no. 16 Supplement P2.187

    FirstWord Pharma

    Related articles: Hayfever Hope


    Autoimmune colors

    Autoimmune ribbon colors

    The use of different colors and different colored ribbons, was created to bring awareness to different issues including health and disease conditions.  The colors bring awareness, education, understanding and support for people affected by these disorders and wearing your colors helps bring awareness to that specific condition. Keep in mind though that some colors are used by more than one advocacy group for example purple is for Migraine awareness, Crohn's Disease and Colitis awareness, Cancer survivors, Sarcoidosis awareness, Fibromyalgia, Lupus and Peripheral Neuropathy to name just a few.

    The history of the coloured ribbons seem to stem back to the early 1980's when yellow became the color for safe return from war.  Because of the then popular song titled, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” Penny Laingen tied yellow ribbons around trees near her home to show her support for her husband and his safe return from Iran. In 1986 rainbow colored ribbons were used at the London AIDS Faith Alliance conference.  In 1991 the pink ribbon became the official symbol for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The popularity of these ribbons inspired many other organizations to use a colored ribbon to symbolize and represent their cause.

    Here I have tried to list the Autoimmune conditions in alphabetical order and their colors,  If you would like to make any corrections or additions please leave a comment here on this post. Go to the list of colors.

    Autoimmune colors for awaeness


    Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

     Disease in focus: 

    Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) or acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its own brain tissue. It damages the myelin – the protective covering of nerve fibers - of the brain and the spinal cord and sometimes the optic nerve.

    An illustration of a myelin map in the human brain
    from a paper by HCP researchers Matt Glasser and David Van Essen,
    published by the Journal of Neuroscience

    ADEM is more common in children than it is in adults. More than 80 percent of childhood cases occur in patients younger than 10 years old. Most of the remaining cases occur between the ages of 10 and 20. In more than 50% percent of ADEM cases, the inflammatory attack is preceded by a viral or bacterial infection.  Most cases begin about 7 to 14 days after an infection or following a vaccination. In some cases of ADEM, no preceding event is identified. 

    Symptoms of ADEM include fever, headache, confusion, altered level of consciousness ranging from lethargy to coma, acute cognitive dysfunction, behavioral changes, vomiting and seizures in about a third of those diagnosed. Neurologic signs of ADEM include decreased voluntary movement, muscle weakness on one side of the body, decreased muscle coordination and damage of cranial nerves.

    The diagnosis of ADEM is considered when there is an infection and the development of more than one neurological symptom, accompanied by headache, fever, and an altered mental state.
    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important part of the diagnosis. In ADEM, there are usually widespread, multiple changes in the white matter of the brain which contains the nerve fibers. Over months these brain changes gradually improve and even completely disappear.
    A lumbar puncture may be needed in patients with ADEM to rule out direct infections or other processes that look similar to ADEM such as Multiple Sclerosis. The spinal fluid often shows an increase in white cells, usually lymphocytes. These cells are an active part of the immune system. 
    Transverse Myelitis Association 

    Cleveland Clinic Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
    Medscape Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Author: J Nicholas Brenton, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, FRCP, FRCPC 

    NINDS Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Information Page. 2010 

    PubMed Article: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

    National MS Society: Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

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