7 thoughts on “The Health Edge: Managing Autoimmunity

  1. Carmen Orozco

    Dear John and Mark,
    I heard today your podcast about autoimmunity because I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis one year and a half ago and since then I have been trying to learn as much as I can about everything I can do to heal from it. I already changed my diet completely and was very lucky to find an integrative rheumatologist this year, who is treating me on all levels. There is something you mentioned about the role of disruptive sleep on autoimmunity and I have a question about that. I am 55 years old female and about 6 years ago I began to snore which I believe is a symptom of sleep apnea but I haven’t done anything about until now. Can you please tell me what I should do to address this issue correctly to make sure that it is not contributing to my autoimmune disease or not letting me heal completely from it?
    Thank you in advance for your reply,
    Carmen Orozco

    • Hi Carmen,

      The process would generally start with a referral from your primary care provider to a sleep specialist. These are usually “pulmonary” specialists with special training in sleep disorders. They often start with a screening test known as nocturnal oximetry. This can be done at home where an oxygen sensor attached to you measures your oxygen during the night as you sleep. A positive screen would show periodic drops in your oxygen levels during the night. If that were the case, a more formal sleep study would be scheduled at a local facility where you would spend the night having brain wave and ekg monitors tracking this in more detail. It is a very important thing to think about as, in my experience, it is often not considered.

      As an aside, John and I recently discussed the topic of “lectins” and their role in leaky gut, inflammation and autoimmunity. I just finished Dr. Stephen Gundry’s “Plant Paradox”, an excellent read and I believe, the best nutritional roadmap for autoimmunity I have seen to date. When I have a moment, I will email you his dietary summary of high-lectin foods to be cautious with…many are surprising to folks like whole grains, beans, legumes and nightshades.

      Warm wishes and thanks for listening to the health edge. Mark

      • Carmen Orozco

        Hi Mark,
        Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I really appreciate it. I just ordered the book you recommended. After I read online about the subject a couple of months ago I did stop eating all grains, beans and legumes. Grains with gluten, nightshades and dairy I had stopped eating already. What is your opinion about dairy and autoimmunity? Can you explain to me exactly what is the effect of disruptive sleep on autoimmunity? What will happen after I get the results of the tests you mentioned? What would be the best solution after I get a diagnosis? Is there something I can do right now before I find a sleep specialist?
        Thanks again,

  2. Mark Pettus

    Hi Carmen,

    The concern with most dairy produced today includes how the cows were managed (and the impact on the milk they produce e.g. antibiotics, grains and the pesticides-herbacides that come with them) and that most industrial production comes from Holsteins that produce A1 beta-caseomorphin. A1, for some is problematic because it promotes inflammation as a “lectin” that enhances intestinal permeability, a driver of autoimmunity and inflammation. Drinking organic A2 milk is an alternative.Chronic disruptions in sleep are known to disrupt immune and neuro-endorcine function as circadian rhythms are no longer synchronized. This can increase risk for many chronic complex health issues where inflammation is a driver, i.e., depression, weight issues, pain, fatigue, diabetes, cardiovascular risk as well as cancer risk. If sleep studies reveal an obstructive sleep apnea then the sleep specialists apply a “CPAP” mask which applies positive pressure throughout the night when you breath to keep your airway open and improve air exchange, preventing drops in oxygen levels as well as preventing increases in the carbon dioxide you produce. The best strategy to reverse this is through effective and sustained weight loss. In general, a low-carb/high fat approach (dietdoctor.com) or a similar approach like Dr. Gundry’s low-lectin (these are variations on the theme of eliminating many of the foods you have) or a paleo (bulletproof.com) are proven effective.

    Very best!


    • Carmen Orozco

      Thank you very much for your reply Mark I really appreciate it. Just to make sure I understood. All organic dairy products are made with A2 milk? If not, where do I find dairy products made with A2 milk?
      Take care,

      • Mark Pettus

        Hi Carmen,

        While certified organic is the way to go as it relates to assurance regarding antibiotic use, pesticide residues from the corn-soy used to feed, etc., it does not imply A2 and most organic milk is still A1.
        This is a good site to explore local availability. https://a2milk.com/find/
        Very best,

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