#Mised Connective Tissue Disease
– In this blog I discuss how I discovered I was deficient in Vitamin C and how I figured out what amount my body needed to leverage better health.
As I continued on my quest to cure my positive ANA diagnosis, I did some research on the benefits of Vitamin C, hoping to educate myself on how I could use it to leverage better health. I learned many things I didn’t know about Vitamin C. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means whatever your body doesn’t need or use will come out in the toilet. I also learned that there can be some side-effects for taking too much, such as: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and abdominal bloating and cramps, headache, Insomnia and kidney stones. Although I’ve experienced only one of these, diarrhea.
So I wondered “How would I know if I am Vitamin C deficient?” Severe Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can consist of: bleeding gums, dry skin, fluid retention, depression, joint pain and bruising easily. All, (except bleeding gums) were on my list of side-effects. So I thought I would add a supplement into my daily routine. I started out taking an additional 1000mg supplement. But how would I know if that amount is too much, or not enough? After further research, I found that if I increase my dose by 500mg each day I can figure out what amount I need to take as a supplement because it will cause diarrhea when you are at the maximum amount your body can absorb. I got just over 6000mg before I flushed! My “Flush” occurred about 2-3 hrs after I took my daily dose, which indicated to me I was Vitamin C deficient, as the recommended dose for an adult is 65-90mg per day to a maximum of 2000mg. I needed an additional 4000mg over the recommended dose to reach my body’s absorption. After taking this amount for a few weeks my body told me to back it down from 6000mg to 4000mg and now I am steadily taking 2000-3000mg per day. I noticed a substantial decrease in the amount of fluid I was retaining, my dry skin seem to improve and I am not so quick to bruise and when I do it seems to heal quicker than before I started taking the Vitamin C.
Vitamin C has also been known to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower or reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Vitamin C is critical for immune system function and plays a role in antibody production and white blood cell function and activity, which I felt played a critical role in my success to better health!
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”
My Fourth Blog “A Positive ANA -> Autoimmune deficiency -> My Battle with Inflammation” – this blog will explain more details about my battle with inflammation caused by my autoimmune deficiency. A description of the symptoms I suffered from, which foods made the inflammation worse and which vitamin supplements helped me reduce the inflammation while I was on my quest for the ‘Cure’.
One good thing that came out of my positive ANA diagnoses is that I now take my personal healthcare much more seriously, and I have learned a ton about nutrition and how to listen to my body after each meal. I knew nothing about auto immune deficiencies previously. I also learned doctors will run the tests and tell you the results but rarely advise you what to do next. That one is up to you! If you do nothing, it will get worse and possibly develop into one of the common autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, Fibromyalgia, polymyositis/dermatormyostis, mixed connective tissue disease, or drug induced lupus to name a few). If you get lucky, you might end up with a doctor that actually cares about “curing” your problem, but that is highly unlikely! Why? It stops the flow of their revenue. If you are no longer “sick” you don’t need a doctor. Why would they provide you with a ‘cure’ when they can just attempt to treat your symptoms, that way you will keep coming back! You will likely be prescribed a few drugs that in order to get a refill you will need to go back to the doctor, the vicious cycle will continue until you die!
If you are passionate about feeling better you need to take charge of your own healthcare, if you throw passion into your own health you will feel better than you have ever felt and it will cost you little to nothing – as all the resources are out on the web! You have a good chance of recovering from all the symptoms in which you suffer, but only if you put yourself first and start practicing what you read, and listen to the way your body reacts to the changes you implement, that way you can make adjustments along the way. I personally don’t feel popping chemical-based pills are the solution! Sure it might make you feel better at first; but it’s just covering up the symptoms that will always be there.
Personally I think Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and Fibromyalgia are what I call “bullshit diseases”. I believe these two diseases were made up because so many people suffer from similar issues and there wasn’t a bucket to drop them into so they created a new disease bucket. I firmly believe they are not diseases! Why, because I was diagnosed with both of these by two separate doctors, but oddly enough after I ‘cured’ myself through diet, (refer to blog #2) I no longer have either one of these diseases. So what the hell are the doctors doing? Well first, they are creating revenue for their practice. Second, they are trying to put a name to your symptoms so you can go out and shout to the word what problems you have so others will come in and be diagnosed with the same disease as they are suffering from similar symptoms. Remember doctors don’t make any money off of finding solutions to your problems. So I wouldn’t rely on them to provide you one.
A positive ANA means auto-nuclear antibodies are present in your body. By itself, a positive ANA test does not indicate the presence of an autoimmune disease or the need for medical treatment. If you are like me and have been battling with a random number of symptoms that are now affecting your life and you have found out you have a positive ANA, but the doctors haven’t been able to really pinpoint an actual “disease,” there is still HOPE!
Antibodies are developed in our immune system and help our body fight off infectious organisms. When antibodies recognize something foreign, they send out a massive Twitter message (ha-ha) to recruit other proteins and cells to help fight. This cascade of attack is called “INFLAMMATION.” (www.rheumatology.org) As long as your body has this positive ANA you will battle with inflammation. I fought this same battle for many years before getting it under control. While you are on your mission to figure out what is causing your positive ANA, there are other things you can do to reduce this inflammation, therefore, reducing the number in your own self destructive army. Foods I found that made inflammation worse are Dairy (and Dairy products) and Gluten! Try eliminating these from your diet and see if you symptoms improve. This may not cure you positive ANA, but it will help you manage your symptoms until you pinpoint what is actually causing the problem. Mine ended up being Gluten and Diet Soda (refer to blog #3).
This chronic INFLAMMATION caused consistent hip, knee and back pain. I also believe it affected my circulation and nervous system as I suffered from muscle spasms, leg and foot pain, leg cramps & my hands and feet falling asleep, which I later found out is called: Raynaud’s symptom, the picture to the right is an example of this symptom (a picture I took on my way to work one morning).
Raynaud’s phenomenon – is a vessel abnormality caused by smooth muscle in the wall of arteries, leading to blood vessel spasms of the small vessels that supply blood to the arms, legs, hands and feet. (www.emedicinehalth.com)
Leg cramps were so bad I had to pull over while driving and get out of the car. Leg pain was so bad it woke me up from a dead sleep only to put me in a serve shock as my body couldn’t endure the pain. My blood pressure dropped so low the EMT’s could barely get a blood pressure or pulse reading.
As I continued on my quest for a cure, I came across several vitamin supplements that helped reduce inflammation. I knew taking these vitamin supplements had to be better than the chemical based drugs I was receiving from the doctor and I knew it wasn’t a fix to my problem(s) however; it helped me control the symptoms until I figured out what was the “cause”. Below are the vitamin supplements I discovered along my journey that helped reduce inflammation and pain. Oddly enough, I got more great advice from my Chiropractor then any MD I had seen as he seemed to be much more knowledgeable about overall health and nutrition.
– in free form, I took 5000mg 1-2x per day. I mixed it in with cranberry juice and added a little apple cider vinegar, which doubled as a natural detoxifier. Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glutamine is produced in the muscles and is distributed by the blood to the organs that need it. Glutamine helps gut function as well as the immune system and other essential processes of the body. Glutamine is needed to make other chemicals in the body such as other amino acids and glucose (sugar). (www.webmd.com)
Turmeric Root and Curcumin – I take in pill form, 500mg per day, however, the bottle says you can take up to 3x this per day. Turmeric is also the main ingredient in curry, an ingredient widely found in Indian food. Curcumin is a substance found in turmeric. Turmeric/Curcumin is used to treat many things, but it is known to help reduce inflammation and pain caused by inflammation in the body and I have found it to be extremely helpful.
I have tried many other vitamin supplements but the two above I have found the most beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body and helping control pain level before I found the ‘Cure’. If I had it to do over again, I would have introduced vitamin supplements one at a time. Sometimes I would go gung-ho on research and implement many new vitamin supplements at once. I would start to feel better, but then couldn’t figure out which one was providing the results I was feeling.
If you are suffering from various symptoms like I had and have a positive ANA, I would encourage you to start your QUEST for a CURE! I did it, you can too. You could just sit around complaining of how much pain you’re in or how much you can’t do as a result of the label the doctor put on you. Or you could EDUCATE yourself and take the steps towards a better life! Listen to what your body is telling you, write a food journal and see if you can pinpoint what your body has red flagged as your “invader.” Unfortunately, you can’t send an email to your immune system and ask. Although that would be nice and ultimately a lot less work for both of us. It could be the same as mine or it could be something totally different. Do you want to show your family and the rest of the world you are just another statistic or do you want them to see you as a fighter that can solve their own problems?
- First cut out the foods you know cause inflammation. Start with Dairy and Gluten.
- Vitamin supplements can help temporarily manage your symptoms until you pinpoint what is causing your positive ANA. Introduce these one at a time but not at the same time you start eliminating foods, so you don’t confuse the vitamin, which might make you feel better from the food that you eliminated, which might also be making you feel better.
- Start keeping a food/environmental journal and figure out what you are eating on a regular basis, then start eliminating them one at a time until you see your symptoms improve. (Some of the common culprits are: Aspartame, Food additives/preservatives & MSG, Sugar and simple carbohydrates, Caffeine, Gluten, & Dairy) but there are others.
“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”