Winning the battle against Autoimmunity

Hello and welcome to The Functional Perspective!  My name is Salena and I am a functional medicine health and wellness practitioner with a passion to help others restore their health.  I specialize in helping those facing autoimmune challenges, especially children.

In 2014 my family was impacted by an autoimmune disease. Upon being flown to Dallas Childrens hospital, my eldest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  This took us by complete surprise due to no family history of diabetes and after all, we ate ‘organic’, homemade foods.  As my child lay in the ICU my mission to restore health was ignited.   ‘

The Functional Perspective’ is a result of that spark.  My work is to restore health in those who are battling with a health obstacle most others think to great to overcome.

The website consists of blog posts with a variety of topics such as the all important Microbiome and the three game changing diagnostic tests for autoimmune sufferers.  There is a recipe section (with many recipes inspired by my children) as well as a page with links to research and other scientific resources.  Of course the most important page is the one with my contact info – I offer a free 15 minute no-obligation consultation.  You can also find the pricing for my services on that page.  I hope you find information to better your, or a loved one’s, health and to walk away from my site knowing there is hope for autoimmune sufferers.  I look forward to the opportunity to help you navigate the road to better health!   ~Salena

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Biomarkers for navigating autoimmune health challenges - DAO, LPS and Zonulin

3 Bio-markers are Potential Game Changers for Autoimmune Sufferers

This year has already flown by, I can’t believe we are in the third month already! I have many things in the works to share with you and have been eager for reliable internet service to share these fascinating diagnostic testing options with you.  Especially for those on that auto-immunity journey and those on that health journey roller coaster which seems to have wheels spinning in circles…

I’ll cut to the chase – DAO, LPS and Zonulin – Have you heard of them?  Do you know their significance?  Let me give a brief, and I mean brief, overview of what they are and why they are significant.

What are they?

DAO – Diamine Oxidase is primarily secreted in the digestive tract and helps set the stage for a healthy environment in the digestive tract.   Do you have any guesses as to one of the things which happens when someone has low DAO?  If you guessed an adverse environment with an unhealthy microbiome you guessed correct!

LPS – Lipopolysaccharide is also primarily located in the gut.  It is an endotoxin which comes about as your body is fighting bacteria. When we find this in the blood that tells us it is no longer confined in the digestive tract, rather has made its way into our system!

Zonulin – (this is one you may have heard about!) Dr. Alessio Fasano, from Italy, is responsible for discovering the role of this fascinating protein.  Simply put – Zonulin is responsible for opening the tight junctions thereby allowing ‘stuff’ to pass between the cells lining the digestive tract. (If you want to dig deeper and connect some dots on your health journey take a minute and do a quick search at Pubmed: “Fasano Zonulin” and see what turns up 🙂

zonulin illustration

What is the significance?

First, if you haven’t read about the microbiome you may want to check out this post. When our digestive tract has an unhealthy environment that sets the stage for unhealthy flora to take up residence.  In addition what is typically healthy flora can get out of balance and become overpopulated, thereby rendering this once helpful bacteria unhelpful.  Furthermore, this loops back to causing an imbalance so we are left with having an imbalance due to bad environment and a bad environment due to an imbalance – quite the ‘catch 22’ situation!

Next have you heard of antibodies?  Are you familiar with how they come about?  Again, a brief snapshot.  Antibodies are part of the second line of defense in our immune system.  SIgA is the first line involved in the elimination of ‘invaders’.  When these invaders make their way through the lining of the digestive tract(such as when Zonulin opens the door) antibodies come into the scene.  Can you see where this is headed and how this is tied to autoimmunity?

So, we have antibodies getting made and foreign invaders attaching to things where they shouldn’t and our body decides to do what it can to eliminate the offender despite the collateral damage!  It is rather fascinating how we are made!

In addition to all of this histamines and allergies come on the scene…  I said I was going to keep this brief so will leave it at that… Things start to go downhill and the circling domino effect magnifies… Autoimmunity takes hold…

zonulin related disease illustration

What can we do about abnormal findings?

Ah, the million dollar question!!!  I wish I had the answer you are looking for, the fact is there isn’t a one size fits all solution.  This is why those of us with autoimmune conditions often find ourselves spinning in circles trying this protocol and that protocol.  For instance, overall those with MS find Wahls protocol effective, others may find Autoimmune Paleo effective or perhaps SCD(Specific Carbohydrate Diet).  Some may need to tweak and eliminate FodMAPs, Histamines or Nightshades…

We find relief in one area and think we are on the road to healing then have another ‘episode’. What you do for your T1 Diabetic condition may be different than what needs to happen for my T1D son.  This is where these three tests can be very valuable! We know ‘leaky gut’ is associated with autoimmune diseases, so the challenge is to find the breach and fix it.  Is it due to low DAO?  Perhaps its an abundance of Zonulin?  What about a combination of the two?  This is where partnering with a functional practitioner is invaluable. We can help you identify patterns and nuances specific to your situation.   We have to look at all the clues given us, these three markers are just three of the many clues to your ‘health mystery’.

I would love to be able to tell you to take this probiotic, that combination of supplements and you go on your happy way to healing. But, one thing I am 10,000% certain of is we are individuals and a restoration of health must be customized!   Are there similarities and common components to the solutions?  Absolutely!!!

So, can I help you?  Most likely, but it would take looking at your health journey with a fine tooth comb! In the meantime I can recommend a few things which will encourage your body to seek homeostasis:

  • Lifestyle changes which support synchrony with circadian rhythms
  • Plenty of water
  • Real foods
  • Elimination of stress
  • Quality rest
  • Exercise
  • Laughter

The simplest way to come up with a customized plan will take one of two things:

Find a functional practitioner who is passionate about YOUR health challenges. (For instance my  primary interest is in autoimmune challenges, another practitioner may focus on cardiovascular or hormone challenges)  Many do not ‘specialize’ and that is ok, they can still help you formulate a plan!

or

Enroll in functional medicine training and put the pieces of your health back together.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments 🙂 And of course you can also take advantage of my free 15 min consult! Best wishes on your journey!

A few references:

Polyamine Oxidase and Diamine Oxidase Activities in Human Milk during the First Month of Lactation.
Bjelakovic L, Kocic G, Bjelakovic B, Najman S, Stojanović D, Jonovic M, Pop-Trajkovic Z.
Iran J Pediatr. 2012 Jun;22(2):218-22.
PMID: 23056889 Free PMC Article

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3446060/

 

Zonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases.
Sturgeon C, Fasano A.
Tissue Barriers. 2016 Oct 21;4(4):e1251384. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2016.1251384. Review.
PMID: 28123927

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21688370.2016.1251384?journalCode=ktib20

 

Abnormal intestinal permeability and microbiota in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.
Lin R, Zhou L, Zhang J, Wang B.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 May 1;8(5):5153-60.
PMID: 26191211 Free PMC Article

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26191211

 

Chronic Kidney Disease Induced Intestinal Mucosal Barrier Damage Associated with Intestinal Oxidative Stress Injury.
Yu C, Wang Z, Tan S, Wang Q, Zhou C, Kang X, Zhao S, Liu S, Fu H, Yu Z, Peng A.
Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2016;2016:6720575. doi: 10.1155/2016/6720575.
PMID: 27493661 Free PMC Article

https://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/6720575

 

Concomitant Prevalence of Low Serum Diamine Oxidase Activity and Carbohydrate Malabsorption.
Enko D, Meinitzer A, Mangge H, Kriegshäuser G, Halwachs-Baumann G, Reininghaus EZ, Bengesser SA, Schnedl WJ.
Can J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016;2016:4893501. doi: 10.1155/2016/4893501.
PMID: 28042564 Free PMC Article

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cjgh/2016/4893501/

 

Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Middle Ear Inflammation Disrupts the cochlear Intra-Strial Fluid–Blood Barrier through Down-Regulation of Tight Junction Proteins
Jinhui Zhang, Songlin Chen, Zhiqiang Hou, Jing Cai, Mingmin Dong, Xiaorui Shi
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3): e0122572. Published online 2015 Mar 27. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122572
PMCID: PMC4376743

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4376743/?report=reader

 

Analysis of the human monocyte-derived macrophage transcriptome and response to lipopolysaccharide provides new insights into genetic aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease.
Baillie JK, Arner E, Daub C, De Hoon M, Itoh M, Kawaji H, Lassmann T, Carninci P, Forrest AR, Hayashizaki Y; FANTOM Consortium., Faulkner GJ, Wells CA, Rehli M, Pavli P, Summers KM, Hume DA.
PLoS Genet. 2017 Mar 6;13(3):e1006641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006641. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 28263993 Free Article

http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1006641

 

Systemic lipopolysaccharide induces cochlear inflammation and exacerbates the synergistic ototoxicity of kanamycin and furosemide.
Hirose K, Li SZ, Ohlemiller KK, Ransohoff RM. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2014; 15:555–70. doi: 10.1007/s10162-014-0458-8 PMID: 24845404

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141430/?report=classic

 

Lipopolysaccharide alters the blood-brain barrier transport of amyloid beta protein: a mechanism for inflammation in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Jaeger LB, Dohgu S, Sultana R, Lynch JL, Owen JB, Erickson MA, et al.  Brain Behav Immun. 2009; 23:507–17. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.01.017 PMID: 19486646

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2783557/

 

Restoration of impaired intestinal barrier function by the hydrolysed casein diet contributes to the prevention of type 1 diabetes in the diabetes-prone BioBreeding rat.
Visser JT, Lammers K, Hoogendijk A, Boer MW, Brugman S, Beijer-Liefers S, Zandvoort A, Harmsen H, Welling G, Stellaard F, Bos NA, Fasano A, Rozing J.
Diabetologia. 2010 Dec;53(12):2621-8. doi: 10.1007/s00125-010-1903-9.
PMID: 20853098 Free PMC Article

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/20853098/

Expert Talk: David Perlmutter, MD Brain Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease and Nutrition

I just listened to the first ‘bonus’ video from the Autoimmune Revolution and I was STUNNED! ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!  I am looking forward to the rest of the videos – I have a feeling it is going to end up being a great resource for me on this journey…  If you missed my previous post here is another link below to sign up for the free content!

After registering you will get an email confirmation with a link to the bonus content – The video I just watched was:

Expert Talk: David Perlmutter, MD Brain Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease and Nutrition

(Here is Dr. Perlmutters website http://www.drperlmutter.com/

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/50763-the-autoimmune-revolution/embed

So, which came first?

Which came first – autoimmune disease or malfunction in the body?questions-1922476_1920

(Update 4/11/2017: Check out this post for a hint)

the Functional Perspective – What is that?

This is a great question!

Simply put, when we take a functional perspective we continually ask ourselves how is the body supposed to function?  Then we find ways to support and encourage that function.

A quick search on dictionary.com gives the following top 3 definitions for functional:

  • 1. of or relating to a function or functions:
  • 2. capable of operating or functioning:
  • 3. having or serving a utilitarian purpose; capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed:

When one takes a functional approach they transform from a symptom management of health challenges to restoration of function – they look at the problem from a different perspective.  They are looking to restore the body to operation in a manner for which it was designed.  To find a solution for malfunctioning they look at the reasons why, or what, triggered the malfunction. Then they look at what changes need to be made to achieve restoration.

For instance with my son and his diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  In the process of examining our management options we ask many questions.  We are trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. Connect the dots.  Such as:

  • What causes the ‘honeymoon’ period?
  • How does the pancreas stop working then start working again?
  • Which processes are involved in the triggering of insulin to be released in the body?
  • Does this food support the body in eliciting an insulin response?
  • How are we supporting the leptin or ghrelin responses?
  • What processes are triggered during the sun converting vitamin D?
  • What does my son’s cholesterol panel look like?  Will that give us a clue to what ‘health road’ we were on?
  • What role does the bouts with eczema over the last two years fit in to where we are health-wise today?
  • The severe infant re-flux as an infant, was that a clue we missed?
  • Are all carbs the same?  Are different metabolic processes triggered due to various types carbs?
  • Is this activity disrupting or supporting circadian rhythms?
  • The list grows and grows…

In other areas it would be like one looking upstream to see why the water stopped flowing.  Or looking at the root system, soil and water to see why has this plant stopped thriving.  An arborist looks at the historical environmental factors to see why this tree has a disease.  Ironically a functional perspective is used in nearly every other industry.

We wouldn’t keep going to a mechanic who only treated our misfiring car with fuel additives.  We expect him to find the reason why it is not working and restore our vehicle to the original operation for which the vehicle was designed.   Just as we would be quite upset if went to a tire dealer because we kept getting flats and all their solution was use of a flat fixing additive. We would expect them to find the reason it is going flat and restore the tire to fully operational condition.  Driving around with a nail and just adding air or some other filler does not address the problem – it’s symptom management.

Should you have any questions, comments or would like to share your thoughts – I love hearing from you and welcome discussions!!  In January 2017 I will have finished my certification course and will begin offering heath coaching consultations. In the meantime my resource section contains links to many of the places I go as I search for ways to transform and achieve restoration.

The Functional Perspective: Well, so it begins

Well, so it begins…

I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend with a passion to help others.  Many experiences have shaped who I am but the most recent is why you and I have crossed paths. In 2014 a shocking health event happened with my oldest child.  It was during a point in my life when I thought I had conquered the most difficult events one can have once becoming a parent – suffering the loss of four children during pregnancies. Now I was faced with a more traumatic event as my oldest was on a life-flight to Dallas with a newly diagnosed disease.

From the onset we were encouraged how this is a very manageable disease, not life threatening and one can live a “normal” life, after all  “we have medicine for that”.  And from the onset I was determined to alter the normal outcome of a life being dependent on the latest “medicine” and restore life dependent on the provisions from our Creator.  Let’s face it we have a body that functions in magnificent ways… So two years later, after strong encouragement of a supporter that has been imperative in this journey, I took the plunge to become a health coach in hopes of being able to encourage and guide others to take control of their health and reach their goals of a better outcome.

Are you up for the challenge?  I sure am! Take my hand, let’s do this together… I guarantee you it’s always easier when we have another to help navigate the way…