New research points to the link between autoimmunity, inflammation and difficulty losing weight.
You may have tried many diets over the years and have even been successful on them. But, stray just a little and the weight goes right back on and then some.
If this sounds like you, then you need to read this article because it has cutting edge information that can get you off that vicious cycle.
Dr. Datis Kharrazian is one of my favorite people. He is a brilliant clinician, researcher and an all around kind person. He is one of the foremost thinkers in autoimmunity today (along with Dr. Aristo Vojdani).
According to Dr. Kharrazian there is an inflammatory autoimmune epidemic going on today that is driving many of the health problems of the western world.
Dr. Kharrazian and his research team are finding that certain chemicals that are ubiquitous in the environment can bind to human albumin and become a new antigen that causes a heightened immune response in certain people.
Human albumin is found everywhere in the body – blood, organs, skin, cells, etc. The environmental chemicals that bind with it are also everywhere.
Benzene is one of these chemicals. Benzene is found in the air from emissions from burning coal and oil, gasoline service stations, and motor vehicle exhaust.
Formaldehyde is another.
Formaldehyde is found in furniture and carpets and is constantly off-gassing in the home or workplace. New furniture, new carpets and even new kitchen cabinets off-gas formaldehyde. (Ugh! I want a new kitchen, but I don’t want all those toxins!)
These contaminants are unavoidable unless you live in a bubble.
Some people are more reactive to chemicals than others. The immune cells called the Treg (regulatory) cells are the key player in chemical intolerance and autoimmunity.
Researchers are finding that people who lose chemical tolerance and are hyper-reactive to foods and chemicals, may be in the early stages of autoimmunity. Our food supply is saturated with thousands of chemicals that are potentially damaging.
Furthermore, they are finding that some of the foods that are reactive are foods within the restrictions of the Paleo diet.
The Paleo diet is not enough for some cases of autoimmunity. The researchers are linking which foods are specifically reactive to which autoimmune conditions. They have already completed this research on thyroid, (will be published soon) and Type 1 diabetes and are now studying cerebellum issues such as autism and gluten ataxia.
I can’t wait to see this research! It will make the lives of people with autoimmunity so much easier to know right away which foods can be reactive to their specific condition!
When the chemical binds to albumin, it creates what is called a hapten. This hapten is completely foreign and becomes a new antigen. Your body will make human antibodies to this and this is structurally similar to, for example, thyroid hormones, so that the body now creates this autoimmune condition against thyroid hormones.
Some foods on Paleo are reactive.
For instance Dr. Kharrazian found that tuna cross reacts to T3. If someone is reactive to tuna their body will make antibodies to tuna and these can cross react to T3 thyroid hormone and will destroy it. If the person has leaky gut, that compounds the problem.
This is just another model of how autoimmunity develops and this cutting edge research adds so much to our knowledge base.
Food intolerance is common in autoimmunity. These researchers are finding in addition to food, there are certain chemicals that bind to the foods and cause the immune reaction.
For example, in peanut allergies, they are finding that it is the aflatoxin in the peanuts that cause the reactions in some people. A human protein is binding to aflatoxin.
In our environment today there are many foods that are bound to chemicals. Another example is the arsenic and lead in rice.
Previous ideas about why people can’t lose weight have to do with underactive thyroid, overactive adrenal, problems with insulin, etc.
This is all true.
However, in recent years a whole new field of study has developed called Immuno-Metabolism, which is how the world of immunology explains the obesity epidemic.
Inflammation causes many different problems in the body. If you have inflammation, your insulin receptor sites and hypothalamic feedback loops are not working correctly and your thyroid receptor is not responding to thyroid hormones.
Inflammation also has to do with the microbiome. The many species of bacteria allow us to process calories and use calories and have been shown to be contributing to the bacterial metabolism of weight loss. Some species keep us more metabolically balanced than others. The research on the microbiome is also another aspect of the obesity epidemic.
The Paleo diet has a huge anti-inflammatory effect. Just going off all grains and dairy is an enormous improvement for some people. However, if someone is not losing weight on Paleo, there are other issues that must be addressed, such as, blood sugar regulation, thyroid, or adrenal.
We used to think that adipose tissue (fat cells) were simply storage cells for fat. Now, this new research indicates that fat cells are very metabolically active.
Body fat has the ability to create inflammation – fat cells are highly metabolically active cells.
An insulin surge stimulates the immune system to have an exaggerated immune response.
Insulin stimulates adipocytes to create inflammation. Said another way, insulin stimulates fat to create inflammation.
A vicious cycle begins because the inflammation activates pre-existing inflammatory responses, and the inflammation itself causes the insulin receptor to become resistant to insulin.
Any diet you are on will not work if you cannot calm down this autoimmune response first.
This is a diagnostic indicator – if someone goes on Paleo and doesn’t lose weight. This indicates all these other issues that could be going on as stated above – blood sugar regulation, thyroid, or adrenal.
It is diagnostic if you eat a meal and get tired and/or crave sugar. If this is the case, you may have some insulin resistance issues (even if blood tests are normal).
According to Dr. Kharrazian, the fix is to decrease (by half) the size of each meal. The inflammation is causing an insulin surge and your food (glucose) is not going into the cells. This causes the food to become triglycerides (high triglycerides are a clear indication of carbohydrate metabolism problems). Converting glucose to triglycerides is also a process that requires energy, so you feel tired.
Eat smaller meals (more frequently) and figure out when and how much you can eat at each meal without getting tired. Eating fat can help stabilize the meal. But you also want to have a little fiber in the meal as well.
Exercise is a big way to control insulin. Most research is now showing that interval training is the best way to stabilize and control insulin.
Note that if you over train, you create inflammation and may have difficulty losing weight.
This is diagnostic because, as you increase past your metabolic capacity, you make more inflammatory reactions, increase cytokines and inflammatory biomarkers. Research with top athletics has shown that over-exercise will increase the cytokine, Interleukin 6. This cytokine is a key marker that goes up with exercise and physical stress, or anything that increases the inflammatory immune response.
Interval training will improve the insulin receptors.
In order to lose weight and get out of the vicious of fat cells creating inflammation and inflammation driving fat storage, you have to control inflammation.
For most people, Paleo is an anti-inflammatory diet. For those with already diagnosed autoimmunity, there is the more restrictive Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) if necessary.
Autoimmunity goes up with physical stress, lack of sleep, emotional stress as well as diet. You can be inflamed because of outside forces. If you are in an environment that is stressful, you need to get out of it to improve.
While diet is the BEST way to control inflammation, there are also supplements with anti-inflammatory effect that do not stimulate the immune system.
Most cases (90%) of under-active thyroid problems are autoimmune in nature (Hashimoto’s), even though most doctors don’t test for the auto antibodies to thyroid.
The current medical model assumes that you have autoimmune thyroid, treats with thyroid hormones (usually just T4 which is not correct) and expects your thyroid to get worse over time, as the autoimmunity destroys the thyroid tissue.
Here is another instance where you really have to educate yourself and become an active player and advocate in your own treatment.
Gluten is a protein with many components that can be reactive. However, celiac testing is only for 2 out of the over 50 components of gluten. Therefore, there are many people that go undiagnosed because the standard testing tests only 2 aspects of this complex protein and you don’t have to be celiac to be intolerant of gluten.
Gluten has molecular mimicry to the thyroid. In other words, when someone who is sensitive to gluten is exposed to it, high amounts of antibodies are released against it.
Unfortunately, thyroid tissue is very similar to the gluten molecule and the immune system can mistakenly attack the person’s thyroid along with the attack on the gluten molecule.
Additionally, these researchers (Dr. Kharrazian and Dr. Aristo Vojdani at Cyrex) are linking the many different gluten particles to specific parts of the thyroid. For instance, they have found that Transglutaminase 3 interferes with the conversion of T4 to T3 which is a big problem in under-active thyroid.
This is really cutting edge research! I can’t wait to see the published research!
They are also doing research on non-gluten grains that shows that gluten can cross react with other proteins because they are very similar. These are; rice protein, sesame protein, corn protein and yeast. Yet another reason to Go Grain Free because of this cross reactivity to other grains.
Datis Kharrazian is such an interesting speaker and he knows SO MUCH!
His book, Stop the Thyroid Madness, is a very good resource for the thyroid patient as well as Dr. Kharrazian’s book, Why Do I Still Have Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal? They are both geared towards the layperson and written in easy to understand language.
If you have Hashimoto’s and you are on the Paleo diet, you probably feel better, but may not be able to lose weight because of all the issues discussed above.
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