When people are working to manage an autoimmune or chronic condition, they typically focus on an anti-inflammatory diet and protocol. However, one often overlooked dealbreaker to getting better is anemia. Anemia as is a deal breaker to recovery because it means your cells are not getting enough oxygen. Without oxygen, recovery and repair can’t happen.
Anemia typically causes fatigue, weakness, brain fog, depression, lightheadedness, dizziness, irregular heart beat, cold hands and feet, chest pain, headache, and pale skin.
There are several different causes and types of anemia. Not all anemia is iron-deficiency anemia. It’s important to know this because you don’t want to supplement with iron if you don’t need it. In excess, iron is more toxic than mercury, lead, or other heavy metals. If you would like to get to the root cause of your autoimmune disease, you can schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
Types of anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia. This is the most common form of anemia and is caused by insufficient iron. What is less well known is that gluten intolerance and celiac disease can cause iron deficiency anemia. This is because these conditions damage the gut so that it can’t absorb iron. It is also caused by internal bleeding, such as from ulcers. This shows up on a blood test as low iron and low ferritin.
B-12 anemia. Like it sounds, this is caused by insufficient B-12. This could be due to a diet low in B-12. You can screen for B-12 deficiency with a urinary methylmalonic acid and serum homocysteine test.
Pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks a compound in the stomach called intrinsic factor, which is necessary to absorb B-12. Many people with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s also have pernicious anemia. This appears as B-12 anemia. Screening for intrinsic factor and parietal cell antibodies can identify pernicious anemia.
Anemia of inflammation or chronic disease. This type of anemia results from the breakdown of red blood cells. You may have symptoms of anemia but serum levels are normal. However, serum ferritin levels are typically high, indicating iron is not being used correctly by the body. Sources of inflammation that can cause this type of anemia are disease, toxicity, infections, gut damage, over training, and more. It’s important to rule this out because taking iron with this kind of anemia can exacerbate the inflammation.
Other types of less common types of anemia include aplastic anemia, anemia associated with bone marrow disease, hemolytic anemia, and sickle cell anemia.
Too much iron in the bloodstream
On the other end of the spectrum from anemia, some people have a genetic disorder that leads them to absorb too much iron. It’s a relatively common condition, affecting about one million people in the United States. Symptoms include joint pain, chronic fatigue, heart flutters, and abdominal pain. If left untreated, it can increase the risk of diabetes, arthritis, liver inflammation (cirrhosis), sexual dysfunction, and other diseases.
Hemochromatosis is managed through regular blood draws and a diet that minimizes iron intake.
If you would like to get to the root cause of your health problems and look into anemia, you can schedule for a free consultation with Dr. Celaya.
A recent study confirmed what functional medicine has long since known — the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet is highly successful for managing chronic health disorders. The first-of-its-kind study showed the majority of participants quickly achieved and maintained remission of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on the AIP diet. A number of participants were even able to discontinue drug therapies.
Many people follow the AIP diet to manage not just Crohn’s but also chronic pain, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, brain-based disorders, diabetes, autoimmune disease in general, and other chronic health problems.
People are surprised to find that not only do their symptoms fade but also they enjoy more energy, better sleep, weight loss, increased libido, less stress, and a general overall improvement of their well being. If you are interested in getting to the bottom of your health issues, schedule for a FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
A primary reason the diet is so effective is because it helps repair leaky gut, a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes inflamed and porous, allowing inflammatory compounds into the bloodstream. This creates inflammation throughout the body and brain and leads to a wide array of chronic gut, metabolic, and autoimmune disorders.
Anti-inflammatory is the key to the AIP diet
An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods and is free of inflammatory foods, additives, fillers, and artificial colors. It includes an accompanying protocol of appropriate sleep, physical activity, rest, and positive socialization and self-treatment. Certain nutritional compounds that gently cleanse and detoxify the body may boost the success of the diet.
AIP diet sites and articles abound, but here are basics:
- Eliminate all processed foods, fast foods, desserts, coffee drinks, sodas, etc. Your anti-inflammatory diet should consist of whole foods found in the produce and meat sections of the grocery store, with an emphasis on plenty of vegetables. Also, eliminate processed vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils and stick with natural oils.
- Eliminate common inflammatory foods, the most common culprit being gluten. Many people’s symptoms resolve simply on a gluten-free diet. However, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, grain, and nightshades are commonly immune reactive as well. Eliminate these foods for about six weeks to see whether you react to reintroducing them one at a time.
- Eliminate sweets. On the anti-inflammatory diet, you will avoid all sweeteners. This helps curb cravings, stabilize blood sugar, lower inflammation, and lose excess fat. Enjoy low-sugar fruits instead, such as berries.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Not only do plenty of veggies load you up with vital nutrients and fiber, new research shows they create a healthy gut microbiome – the bacteria in your gut that profoundly influence your immune and brain health. A diet based on veggies creates an abundant and diverse gut microbiome and thus better health.
- Get enough sleep and exercise. Sufficient sleep is a major inflammation-buster, as is regular physical activity. Overtraining, however, can cause inflammation so watch out for that.
Boost success with gut repair and detoxification
Adding in specific nutritional compounds can help repair a damaged gut, lower inflammation, support the liver, and detoxify the system. Want to know more about the AIP diet and your health? Schedule for a FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
The road to chronic disease — from arthritis to heart disease — is paved with sugar and refined carbohydrates. It’s a freeway that leads straight to insulin resistance syndrome, given the right conditions, most notably being overweight and inactive.
The devastating chain of events that leads to chronic disease goes like this:
- Carbs and sugar break down in the digestive tract to glucose that the body uses for energy.
- Beta cells in the pancreas make and secrete insulin into the blood to ferry any glucose you don’t use to muscle, fat, and liver cells for storage.
- Given the right conditions and more glucose than your cells can manage at the moment, the call goes out for even more insulin.
- Beta cells keep the insulin flowing but eventually the body’s cells can’t absorb it or the glucose building up in your blood stream. That’s called insulin resistance.
- Eventually the beta cells can’t keep up and insulin levels plummet. Now your bloodstream is flooded with glucose, which damages nerves and blood vessels, causes inflammation, and leads to a host of chronic diseases.
Chronic Diseases Linked to Insulin Resistance Syndrome
Here’s a short list of what may lay ahead for you if you fail to reverse insulin resistance as soon as possible:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Prediabetes and diabetes
- Arthritis Alzheimer’s disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Take the First Exit
The sooner you give those beta cells a rest, the better your chances of avoiding insulin resistance and diabetes. The intervention is simple but not easy if you’ve spent a lifetime eating processed foods and drinking sweet sodas.
Here’s what you’ve got to do:
- Clear your cupboards and fridge of processed foods and those that contain sugar, even if they seem to be “healthy,” like packaged granola, energy bars, and even yogurts with fruit.
- Eat whole, “real” foods — that is, foods made with ingredients you recognize as foods and without pesticides, additives, or any ingredient you can’t pronounce.
- Count your veggies and fruits. Seven to 10 servings a day is currently recommended. A serving is a half cup or, for lettuce and leafy greens, a cup .
- Avoid simple carbs like sugar and white flours and eat complex ones found in high-fiber foods. These digest more slowly and don’t cause a surge in glucose.
- Regular exercise, particularly high intensity interval training, makes muscles more sensitive to insulin. Sleep well, night after night.
- Sleep deprivation has been shown to promote inflammation and obesity.