Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weight Gain

Young afro woman suffering from arthritis, close up

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Hi Dr Bean, I was diagnosed with RA 5 years ago, am now 48 years old. I stopped taking the strong meds (Mtx) for 1 year now. I am currently focusing on gut healing due to dysbiosis using diet & natural supplements for 18 months. Am gluten, dairy, egg & sugar free and have an intolerance to many foods. I find that my fingers & joints swell when I eat high fructose foods and have ongoing inflammation most of the time. I was flare free when I was on a candida diet for 3 months. I seem to be affected by build up of lactic acid from uric acid producing foods, especially fermented foods, yeast, mushrooms & vinegar but my body seems to tolerates meat or fish. It has been nearly 2 years since I have been treating my RA naturally and although I am almost there I have not quite reached my goal yet. I gradually lost weight after cutting down on intolerant foods.

So I am also looking to gain more weight. What types of tests/supplements would you recommend for my issues? What protocol do you suggest I follow? Have a nice day!

Thank you for your message!

For those that are unaware of what rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is, it is an autoimmune condition of the joints. What this means is the immune system is attacking itself by way of destroying joint tissue. Why does this happen?

There has been great evidence showing links with viruses, bacteria, yeast, parasites and gluten triggering an immune response. After or even during this immune response, the body will attack other parts of the body. In the case of RA, it is the joints because the joints look like these offending microbes or gluten. This is called molecular mimicry.  Gut health then becomes pinnacle in dealing with most autoimmune conditions. This is great that you have diligently been working to support gut health and work to target dysbiosis.

It is key to also look at key factors that can influence autoimmunity, which for yourself you are already addressing some of these!

The diet we are eating that can cause inflammation and should be avoided

  • GMO

  • Gluten 

  • Dairy

  • Soy

  • Corn

  • Grains and legumes

  • Nightshade veggies

  • Refined sugar

  • Eggs

When it comes to nutritional changes, you really must do things in moderation and rotate foods. Do not eat the same food everyday.

Infections

  • Yersinia

  • EBV

  • Bacteria/parasites

  • Yeast

Hormones

  • Thyroid function

  • Adrenal function

  • Insulin plus glucose

  • Estrogen and progesterone levels along with DHEA

Epigenetics

  • Genes play a role but are not the cause of autoimmunity

  • They can open up the expression of the genes and uncouple the immune system

  • Epigenetics is how genes are turned on or off which will change how the gene is expressed. This can simply be from decreasing the need for certain nutrients to environmental toxins.

Toxins

  • Removing plastic containers from your household

  • Poly Phenols: react with DNA. Then reducing genetic strength

  • Gluten sensitivity:  manifests itself as systemic inflammation

  • Heavy metals: mercury, cadmium, lead

  • Mercury: amalgams have lead which can contribute to MS. Once removed, MS issues can go away.

  • Makeup, nail polish, hair products and styling, lotions, perfumes

For supplements, I look at those that will first help eradicate any offending microbes. Then looking at healing the digestive tract along with ensuring enough stomach acid is being produced.  Lastly and most importantly, working to support the liver to detoxify and support methylation along with working to bring down inflammation (healthy fats, curcumin).

In terms of tests, I like Great Plains OAT test to look at yeast and bacteria metabolites. It also looks at oxalate levels, mitochondrial function, specific vitamin levels along with adding on heavy metals and amino acid levels.  I also like stool tests as they can pin point if you have bacterial or yeast dysbiosis or even parasites. Plus it will look at how you are digesting foods, along with inflammatory markers and what your SIgA levels are (the immune system of your digestive tract). In addition, I like testing genetic SNPs to see if you have any mutations affecting your ability to process certain nutrients and how pathways are working.

When it comes to autoimmune conditions, there are a lot of great things that can be done to support the body, eradicate offending microbes, reduce toxic load and support liver and methylation function

Thank you for your great question!         

Resources 

– http://www.fasebj.org/content/12/13/1255.full

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