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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : ULCERATIVE COLITIS - MY STORY : PART THREE

HI. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. THIS BLOG IS SIMPLY MY STORY, MY OPINIONS, AND MY OBSERVATIONS. I'VE DONE MY OWN SEARCHES FOR INFORMATION AND COME TO MY OWN CONCLUSIONS. NOTHING IN THIS BLOG IS INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR PRETEND TO CURE ANYTHING. SUPPLEMENTS AND SOME FOODS CAN AND WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR. FINISH IN THEIR ENTIRETY, ALL THE MEDICINE YOUR DOCTOR PRESCRIBES.  DISCONTINUE YOUR MEDICATION ONLY WITH YOUR DOCTOR'S PERMISSION, AND ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU TRY OR DO ANYTHING NEW IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR UNIQUE HEALTH SITUATION.

So, now is the time to share with you what I discovered about why my body's immune system broke down so quickly.  This is my theory.  And I'm sticking to it.

First, I'm an adopted child.  I was adopted at birth by two wonderful parents who gave me a nice, loving life.  The year was 1952.  Baby boomers were being born, and I was one of them.  Life was good.  Modern medicine was creating vaccines for polio and other diseases and we were led to believe that science and invention were going to conquer all disease and leave us with a better and better life. My parents and I were part of that energy. The first group of wonder drugs, antibiotics, were being introduced.  Convenience consumed convention. No longer did mothers have to breast feed. Dads could help too as baby formula was coming into fashion.

The challenge with formula, even today, is that it isn't breast milk. Our scientifically formulated baby formula is missing the natural enzymes and other ingredients of mother's milk that researchers now know provides a boost to the child's evolving immune system.  There is no substitute for a mother's milk in immune system support and is far superior than any formula.

Plus, so much of today's baby formula is made with soy, an allergen for many.  Genetically modified soy (GMO), made by agricultural scientists eager to patent nature.   So, if you're going to use a soy based baby formula, make sure it's made with organic soy.  Organic soy is not genetically modified and is healthier for your child (assuming they're not allergic).  Soy is a potential allergen, so be aware of your child's reaction. Again, mother's milk is the natural and best nutrition of choice.

By being formula fed rather than breast fed, I believe the strengthening of my immune system was compromised.  Research suggests I probably did not have the same advantages as breast milk-fed babies had. No one knew it at the time.  Doctors, antibiotics, and food processors were our friends.  They tried to make the world healthy and satisfied.  It was the modern age.  Smoking was endorsed by 4 out of 5 doctors, for goodness sakes.

During my childhood, I had several bouts with illness, including a bad cough (maybe whooping cough) when I was about 12 years old.  I was out of school for about two weeks.  The doctor gave me antibiotics, the new miracle cure for bacterial infections.  I healed.  Again, I was sick again for about two weeks when I was 16.

Then, when I was 17, I started going to a dermatologist for my inflamed acne.  He prescribed antibiotics, tetracylcene, erythromycin, and aureomycin.  My zits went away!  I was so happy my complexion was improving, I stayed on the regimen of antibiotics and doctor visits for 18 months.  Daily antibiotics for 18 months.

Ten years later, I was diagnosed with IBD, my very own ULCERATIVE COLITIS.

Summarizing my de-evolution into dis-ease, only my opinion mind you, I was adopted as a newborn and not breast fed. Baby formula fed me but did little to nourish or strengthen my immune system. My childhood and adolescent illnesses were often treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics were and are still used to this date on agribusiness meat and poultry. There was nothing about organic meat or poultry during the first 30+ years of my life and, feeding myself a lot of fast, convenient, packaged, pre-made food from convenience food places and coffee shops, I consumed a lot of meat and poultry treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics continue to be marketed by drug companies to agribusiness, promising fatter livestock that go faster to market.

(In 2011 according to the FDA, 30 MILLION pounds of ANITIBIOTICS were used on chickens and other food animals. The FDA in 2013, right now, is planning to ask drug companies to stop marketing antibiotics to agribusiness as a growth agent.  It is now 2014 and progress in this area is being made...buy organic when you can...)

Chlorine was and is still used as an antibacterial agent in our drinking water and swimming pool water.  Chlorine kills germs in our tap water supply and keeps the bacteria away in swimming pools.  We drink tap water (at home and when we go out to eat) as wsll as swim in and drink (yuck) pool water through our mouths, eyes, ears, and nose (ok, accidentally, but it's in and out of all our skin as we swim). Once consumed, chlorine has a similar effect in the long term on our human system.

Then, as a teenager, I was on a daily regimen of  antibiotics for about 18 months to manage my acne (which it did beautifully, by the way).  10 years later, I was diagnosed with IBD, specifically Ulcerative Colitis, an auto immune disease in which the immune system appears to attack itself as a foreign entity.

So, there might be a pattern of system-breakdown causality, under my theory, connecting the overuse of antibiotics with an already compromised immune system.  Being adopted, I'm not totally clear about what my genetic disposition might be to my diagnosis. I do believe I could have had this system-breakdown even if I wasn't genetically predisposed simply based on my own individual environmental situation.
My consumption of antibiotics in its many environmental forms - as medication and acne treatment, in water, in meat and poultry - led me to a silent, hidden history of incomplete immune system rebuilding that, in the long run, proved inadequate to keep me healthy. The good bacteria had been killed off for so often for so long, there weren't enough of them to do their main job: keep a balanced control of the bad bacteria.

The good bacteria were weak in population and the bad bacteria (also known as C. Difficile or C. Diff. for short)simply overran them.   And when bad bacteria is having a party in your gut, you're sure to be miserably inflamed. My bad bacteria simply overtook the good and had its way with me.  I've come to believe that the good bacteria are essential for me to manage my own inflammation.
I've come to believe that how inflammation expresses itself depends on one's own environmental factors and/or genetic propensity. I think there's a connection between generalized inflammation and the way an individual's body turns on the alarm system. Symptoms occur when a body is trying desperately communicate something. Like, "The house is on fire! Someone, please put it out!!"

IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, or Celiac Disease, as well as Lupus, hemorrhoids, psoriasis, and arthritis, are examples of auto-immune diseases associated with excessive inflammation.

Based on those inflammatory responses, doctors diagnose them and call them diseases so they can prescribe treatment. I believe that all inflammatory diseases are connected and that one approach to all - a nutritional based approach designed to enhance immune defenses and response - may have more to offer than the next round of pharmaceutical drug invention. But that's just me and my wild imagination.

It should be noted, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, or IBS, also due to inflammation, is different from IBD and less severe initially. It could lead to other diagnoses, for sure, so IBS is nothing to fool around with either. It's a possible warning flare from a soon to be listless boat in the ocean. It's better to find a life vest.

As the miracle organism that it is, the body is asked to filter everything it ingests and to eliminate waste along with toxins. When the body takes in more toxins than it can adequately filter, an accumulation can occur.

This is where a potential increase of FREE RADICALS (waste and toxic cells that were used up in the process of metabolizing energy and that now need to be removed from the body's system) may become problematic.  For some, a body's inability to efficiently remove waste and toxins can lead to CHRONIC INFLAMMATION. The body is simply asked to do too much for too long and can't keep up.   Free Radical elimination is hampered by the excessive consumption of potentially toxic substances such as smoking, alcohol, exercise, sugar, caffeine, medicines, antibiotics, sunshine, additives and preservatives and so much dead food (see my page that talks about the concept of dead food).  After a while, decades probably, parts start to go bad and break down. Sometimes earlier on, like me at 29 (representing 3 decades of dead food and antibiotics), a complete systemic breakdown occurs.

Here's another way I look at it. The human body is an amazing processor of energy - sunshine, food, air and water.  Our body's main purpose is to make sure every cell is nourished and then filtered out upon reaching the end of its lifespan. Its an ongoing process that is occurring in all of us, even as you read this. I just learned that we humans shed 30,000-40,000 skin cells EVERY HOUR!  We don't feel the process so much as experience the results of that process.

A body hungers for attention every day of its life. As the body's owner and guide through this thing called 'Life', if you don't provide these energy sources to your body efficiently - if you're not able to get enough sunshine, your food sources are inadequate in terms of fresh, whole food, you don't drink enough water, or the air you breath isn't clean - your body is going to tell you by having a part break down or you can have a complete system malfunction, like I experienced.

Weight gain and stress can exacerbate internal inflammation. We also consume toxins such as alcohol, caffeine, prescription and recreational drugs, as well as antibiotics and chemicals in our food, water and soft drinks, not to mention cigarette smoke and air and highway driving pollution.

So, how do we maintain this filter known as the human body?

Well, we know that good health is tied to a healthy immune system.  A compromised immune system is more vulnerable to dis-ease.  So, how do we grow the good bacteria in our gut so that they can crowd out the bad bacteria and more ably lower inflammation and fight infection?  Is it even possible after months or years or decades of medication and toxin ingestion?

The wonderful thing about the human body is that it strives to live healthy and with a balanced PH.  The immune system wants its host to live long and prosper.  That's why, when it shuts down, you need to listen to your body. Because you're the only one it's talking to and you're the only one who can figure out what it's saying. It all starts with LISTENING. Once we listen, we can act.