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  • Writer's picturejimpullaro3

My Encounter With Autoimmune Disorder…

During the spring of 2023, I began to experience double vision, trouble speaking, and trouble swallowing.   Suspecting a stroke, I went to the emergency room and was tested.   I did not have a stroke.   My general practitioner then referred me to a neurologist who confirmed a diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disorder.  He treated my symptoms with pyridostigmine bromide and prednisone.  The eyesight, speech, and swallowing problems went away, but I was left with muscle weakness.   The term MG describes:  (myasthenia) abnormal muscular weakness or fatigue/(gravis) tending to be more virulent than average.  My treatment choices are either staying on the above medications or taking a recently FDA approved IV treatment called VYVGART™, which targets the specific activity involved with the disease at the neuromuscular level.  My neurologist said that the IV treatment is very helpful, with no side effects.  I made a future appointment to discuss the IV treatment.


In the interim, I began to do research outside of the realm of standard medical practice.  Was there a broader perspective on this disease?  One that addressed what was causing it, rather than just symptom treatment?


I discovered that medical doctors who practiced functional medicine were paying close attention to a large body of research linking the phenomenon of  increased intestinal permeability  to the autoimmune disorders. Most have built this research into their medical practices.


The theory is that environmental conditions (certain foods, stress, infection, etc.) may cause openings in the gut which allow pathogens into the bloodstream.  This then causes an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks the pathogens and, in the process, attacks itself.  In the case of MG, the self-attack is made at the neuromuscular level.


Two months ago I began a four month gut health dietary program.   This program has 3 phases.  Phase one lasts 3 months and addresses diet (your environment) and the repair of the gut lining.  Foods that are known to cause gut problems are removed.  I find that it is a very easy diet to follow: only whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, protein from meat and fish sources, but no shellfish.    No sugar.  None of the foods that are associated with allergic reactions: dairy, eggs, citrus, glutens, etc.    No coffee or alcohol.


I’m also taking daily nutritional supplements,  which are designed to repair the gut wall.

The second phase is a detoxification phase.  The third phase is a probiotic regimen designed to re-establish depleted gut flora.

 

I learned that MG has been linked with a depletion of certain gut bacteria.   So, I ordered lab tests through a company called Flore’.  They analyze your gut biome and formulate probiotics that will address areas of the gut that are depleted.  This test will reveal if my gut profile fits the MG profile and it will provide the specific information needed to formulate the probiotics that fit my specific needs.   Then they will do a follow-up gut biome analysis three months thereafter.   


Studies show that gut biome depletion (dysbiosis) can cause imbalance in immune function.  MG is associated with the reduction in Clostridia [1] in the gut microbiota and the subsequent decrease of short chain fatty acid production [2], as well as decreased levels of the immunomodulatory Tregs cells [3].  Short chain fatty acids are involved in the manufacture of Tregs cells.  These cells have a role in modulating the amounts of acetylcholine receptor antibodies[4].  These are the antiobodies that attack the muscle receptors, which causes muscular problems.   Therefore, a regrowth of clostridia should increase SCFA and Tregs cell production.  This would have a therapeutic effect on the symptoms of MG.  Studies have shown a decrease in symptoms, using this process.  



 Stay tuned for updates…


  “To regain health once it has been lost we need to begin to reverse some, and ideally all, of those processes which may be negatively impacting us, and over which we have some degree of control.”


Leon Chaitow,  N.D., D.O

 


Notes:

1.      In some cases clostridia was shown to be 3X as depleted in MG patients, as was seen in the control groups.  This helpful bacteria resides in the colon.

 

2.      Short chain fatty acids produced by microbial organisms in the colon are known to have myriad and important effects on host health, including modulating intestinal immune homeostasis, improving gastrointestinal barrier function, and alleviating inflammation.       Clostridia bacteria ferments undigested dietary fibers, thereby generating the short-chain fatty acids butyrate and acetate.

 

3.      Tregs cells (regulatory T-cells) are white blood cells within your immune system. Tregs control your immune system’s response to foreign substances as well as substances produced by your body. They also help prevent autoimmune disease.   Clinical trials are looking at the best methods to boost your Tregs to treat allergies, cancer and other diseases.

 

4.      Acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies are autoantibodies (antibodies that mistakenly target and react with a person’s own tissues or organs). These antibodies are produced by the immune system that (in MG) mistakenly target proteins called acetylcholine receptors that are located on muscles that you can consciously or voluntarily control (known as skeletal muscle fibers).

 

 

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