Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by elliespad, May 12, 2006.
This is lengthy but well worth the read.
My hubby has Crohn's and colitis.
by Dr. Ray Strand
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease primarily involving the small bowel and occasionally the large bowel as well. The body actually attacks itself. Medical literature documents that in the case of this disease, the mucosal lining of the small bowel is very depleted in antioxidants. The inflammatory response created by the body's own immune system causes one to use up all the natural antioxidants in an attempt to offset the tremendous number of free radicals that are being produced. Since this disease involves the gastrointestinal tract, there is also a malabsorption of nutrients. When the depletion of nutrients caused by the inflammatory response is combined with the poor absorption of nutrients from one’s diet, one can clearly see why these patients need a nutritional supplement program.
I was taught in medical school that autoimmune diseases were the result of an overactive immune system since the body was essentially attacking itself. Consistent with my training, almost all of the medical therapies that physicians offer patients with an autoimmune disease are based on this premise. This is why most of these patients are placed on chemotherapeutic medications, which primarily suppress the immune system. Medications like Methotrexate, Plaquinil, and Immuran are just a few of the potent medications that are used. Corticosteroids like Prednisone are also used not only because of its strong anti-inflammatory qualities but also because they suppress the immune system. Even though these therapies may help to slow down the damage caused by this autoimmune process, they have serious side effects and can cause significant harm to the patient.
Since specializing in Nutritional Medicine, I have seen amazing results in my patients with autoimmune diseases who are using an aggressive nutritional supplementation program. My only explanation for such unbelievable results in my patients is the fact that they are not dealing with an overactive immune system, but rather a confused immune system.
The immune system is intended to be our reliable protector. It is always checking for self (one’s own body) while it is looking for non-self (any foreign substance or abnormal cell). When the immune system finds a virus, bacteria, or foreign body it destroys and eliminates it from the body. However, in autoimmune diseases the immune system actually attacks itself rather than a foreign substance. If it attacks the joint space, a person is diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis. If it attacks the bowels, it manifests as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. When the connective tissue is attacked, a person might end up with scleraderma or lupus. If the myelin sheath around the nerve is the target, multiple sclerosis (MS) ensues.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, I believe one’s immune system is not able to distinguish self from non-self. Being confused, the body is essentially destroying itself. I will encourage all of my patients with an autoimmune disease to begin an aggressive nutritional supplement program along with any medication they are already taking. In doing so, I am not only building up their NATURAL antioxidant defense systems, but also I am building up their own NATURAL immune system. I find this helps my patients on both sides of the disease.
I believe their immune system becomes less confused and begins to recognize “self” again. This means the immune system more readily identifies outside invaders--not attacking “self” as much. In addition, my patients’ antioxidant defense system is also built up to balance out the tremendous number of free radicals being produced. This brings the root cause of the damage--oxidative stress--back under control. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that I place my patients on the most potent antioxidant combination available.
Am I promoting alternative medicine? Absolutely not. I never take my patients off of their medications until they’ve experienced significant improvement. Nutritional supplementation is always used in tandem with their present medical regimen. They not only tolerate their medications better, but I believe the nutritional supplements actually enhance the pharmaceutical effect of the drugs.
My goal is to have patients improve so much that their gastroenterologist or primary care physician is able to decrease or eliminate some or all of their medications. I can't emphasize this enough. No one should stop taking the medications that have been prescribed to him or her by their physician. Almost all physicians desire to get their patients off of these potent and potentially dangerous medications. However, this decision must involve your personal physician.
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