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/

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Infinite Joy

I have to confess I struggle with remembering to count my blessings… Especially on days like I have experienced this past week when my sons blood sugar numbers have been all over the map and well outside a ‘normal’ let alone ‘healthy’ range.   But tonight’s middle of the night check is one of those where joy overflows – the kind of joy where you wake up your spouse, you call your best friend in the middle of the night to share great news! Praise our creator!  The joy seems infinite at times like these 🙂  And it’s a joy that one has to share – I give you my joy, take all you need, and take a little extra to give someone else in need…

Betrayal: Autoimmune Disease, what they aren’t telling you…

This is a great series that delves into looking at health conditions through a functional lens, looking at it from a functional perspective 😉

This is an 7 part series which you can sign up here to get the entire series:

https://betrayalseries.com/episode-1-1nyawjkj2?inf_contact_key=7d0cbc282bdddf41ebe8765a8e30e2913dfccc53967e4ef6635564f98c6380b9

5 Pillars to Healthy Function - Diet - Rest - Stress Management - Exercise - Proper Digestion

5 Pillars of Healthy Function

One of the challenges in functional health is figuring out where to start.  With the approach being different than the symptom management model it can be overwhelming as one attempts to uncover the root causes of the malfunctioning of our body.  Another challenge is looking at our health challenges from the perspective of a healthy body that is no longer in a state of homeostasis.  When our presupposition is our body was designed to function in that state and when it is not functioning as intended then we focus on what factors disrupt the natural balance and which factors promote balance.  So what are some of those things?  And, which of those things take priority?

The top five areas which impact our health the greatest are:

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Digestion

How many of us have worked really hard at one or two, maybe even three, of these and we still come up against roadblocks in our journey to good health?  In recent months our physician and I have been looking at the things which are working for my son, what’s not and where can we improve.  Out of these top five we have two of them down pat – knock out of the park grand-slams!  One of these we do ok with, better than the average American and two of them we struggle with – BIG TIME!

So what makes these five things the most important?  Well, they work in harmony. When we take one of these out of the equation things begin to malfunction.  Each of them by themselves directly impact our health. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Diet

This one is probably the most understood and the one we embrace the most.  What we eat. In every facet of life whether food, vehicles, electronics -the quality of the building blocks have a direct impact on the final product.  When we eat things which are food-like and not real food we are providing low quality building materials for our body to work with.   At some point we will get what we pay for.  Just as we get what we put into our retirement accounts, our health in latter years will be a return on what we invested earlier in life.

Rest

There are several blogs which I follow that have some amazing posts which reflect on our childhood years.  Do you ever remember asking why you needed to take a nap? Why did you have to go to bed so early?  The answer I always received was – that was the time my body repairs, the more I rest the more I will grow.  Of course I couldn’t wait to grow up so that usually motivated me to take that nap or head to bed!

Our bodies need time to rest.  We have a lot of demands for our time and energy.  Just as we don’t leave our vehicles running all the time we shouldn’t keep our bodies running all the time.  They need time to repair from the daily toils from our day to day life.  If we continually ‘burn the candle at both ends’, the wick is going to burn out.  If we keep our engine going without down time it is going to overheat. The same with our bodies – it will start to malfunction.

Stress

This one is HUGE!  I don’t know about you, but I have heard this many times “stress affects your health”.  Yeah, yeah and I shrug it off going about my stressful life… Well, I am not sure I am able to articulate how vital eliminating and reducing stress are to a healthy functioning body.

The best illustration I have is our vehicles again -if we drove it off-road continuously putting stress on the suspension the suspension system is going to fail.   If we ran into curbs every time we park our vehicle it will cause damage.   The kicker is our body has a way to deal with these repairs on a daily basis – the problem is those ‘internal bandages’ can cause more malfunction when we have everything bandaged up!

This is one of those two areas my family, especially myself, struggles with.  The only answer I have found to effectively handle stress is a connection with our Creator.  My spiritual life has impacted my stress where nothing else would help.  Finding the peace from our Creator can do amazing things for our health!

Exercise

This is the second most accepted concept to good health.  Diet and exercise, right?  Isn’t that what everyone says?  Well – it is true!! Well, partially – its those PLUS the other ones listed.  But, lets look at exercise.

Did you know when you exercise your endothelium(lining of the blood vessels) releases nitric oxide?  In 1998 Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad were awarded the Nobel Peace prize “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”.  What does nitric oxide do?  It helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, regulating clotting and blood flow, to name a few.  Basically it helps to promote healthy cardiovascular function.  Sort of like having a built in fuel system cleaner in a vehicle – wouldn’t that be neat!!

What happens with our fuel system in our vehicles when it gets dirty?  The engine starts running rough, right?  Sometimes it causes other problems as well.  Our bodies are very similar, if our cardiovascular system is not working as designed, it starts to malfunction.  Exercise promotes a smooth running system.

Digestion

So what if we are eating great foods, amazing sleep, no stress and we exercise regularly – we should be all set to a healthy body right?  Ah there is still another piece of the puzzle which needs to be in place – digestion!  If we are not assimilating the wonderful foods our bodies are not going to have access to the building blocks needed for repairing from daily life.

Again I like the illustration of our vehicles.  If our fuel system has a clog and the gas is unable to get to the spark plugs, the engine is not going to work.  Or if the gas that is getting through but its not flowing at the proper rate, the engine is going to run rough.

Having a properly functioning digestive system is another vital part in achieving that highly sought after homeostasis, referred to as good health.  This one is perhaps one of the most difficult to correct since many processes are intertwined with others.  When our system is disrupted it often seems like trying to get untangled from a spiderweb.  Which often loops back to stress as we attempt to untangle our digestive mess.

So what do we do now? How do we return these areas to a balance which promotes healthy function?

Support.  Surround yourself with others who are supportive in your journey. It is amazing what can be accomplished when you have others to help carry your burdens.  Just remember, we have to share that we have a need for folks to have the opportunity to help  😉

Your comments and questions are always welcome! I hope this is beneficial to you or someone you love! Thanks for stopping by!

 

The Eye of My Needle — Roth Poetry

We often think “diet & exercise” are the key to health. Then we overlook one very important, perhaps even of greater importance, factor: Our attitude. How we approach life, especially during challenges play an intricate part in our state of health. Many functions are tied to ‘stress’, whether good or bad.

While we can’t, and shouldn’t, control others we can control ourselves. This poem reminded me of the importance of our responses in the journey of restoring good health.

When confronted with the caustic attitudes of the current political campaign, it is easy to get caught up in negativity. How we respond is our choice. When a friend has been injured by the words or actions of others, it is easy to jump onboard and promote the negativity. I am proposing there is an […]

via The Eye of My Needle — Roth Poetry

Balance

Balance. It applies to so many things around us. Have you ever thought about what is needed to keep specific things in balance?  Such as what is required to keep the air being cooled by the air conditioner in your home?  Or what about what happens if you add more yeast in a bread recipe? Most of us have probably experienced an out of balance tire on our vehicles, it certainly makes for a rougher ride especially for the driver.

Today I was reading over some of my previous posts, especially those which had information which was new to me.  These questions came to mind – How does this information affect my direction?  What about any information which presents an opportunity for me to change?  What if there is something presented which shows an obvious need for change but the change is just not plausible?

What do we do when we want the best health choice for ourselves or a family member but for what ever reason it’s not an option for us?  For instance, a topic which is often hotly debated is formula v. breastfeeding.  If you have seen my other posts you probably figured out I have strong convictions regarding the subject. But, I want to share that even though I advocate exclusive breastfeeding I was faced with the challenge of being in a situation where it just wasn’t viable!

My oldest had severe re-flux and my youngest had a sudden stop in growth.  In an attempt to provide a solution for my children to get back on a track, formula entered our lives.  What I have found is sometimes we are faced with solutions of A or B.  We want option A but it’s not possible.  So we choose the next option that benefits us the most.

Now, how do we balance out our convictions and our circumstances?  What do we do when we know solution A is the better health choice but it is not capable of meeting immediate health needs?  What if we really, really want that solution?  From past experience that is one of the roughest roads to navigate.  Having others in my life who were supportive and helpful in guiding me through the turns was indispensable.

What is interesting is some of the supporters had similar convictions, but there were some who were on the other side of the spectrum.  Reminiscing on this got me thinking about how much we can learn from others when we view things from their perspective or through their circumstances.  The valuable insights that we gain.

For instance, the person who encouraged me the most to pursue this profession has some convictions which differ from mine.  We have “topics” that we are on very different pages.  But I look forward to talking with this person and bouncing ideas off of them as much as, and in some ways more than, those who I already have a common view with.

This afternoon we had another one of our encouraging conversations, but since our conversation I have been pondering what is it about them that I look forward to what their perception is?  Why is it that even though we may be at opposite ends I crave their insights?

I have come to the conclusion it is balance.  They know how to balance their convictions with a sincere desire to know the perspective of others.  I am so thankful to have such a great mentor and guide.  Its people like these who make overcoming health obstacles possible.

 

Some days…

There are some days more humbling than others.  Some days where blessings are more vivid than others. Some days when you just want to sit and consider those who have touched your life in meaningful ways.  Some days when you can’t fathom what brought you in contact with those extraordinary people.

Today is all of those.

Pleasant Surprise!

Ding.Dong.

Hmmm…. Wonder who that could be so early on a Saturday morning… No way! It’s fedex! How exciting my training materials – YIPEEE!!  Well – looks like I have the rest of my weekend cutout as I explore and entrench myself in this box of goodies!  Guess it’s not going to be a long weekend after all!