It is very exciting to see the incredible increase in scientific research being released that relates gut issues to various health problems elsewhere in the body. The research that explores this relationship in terms of autoimmune conditions is particularly interesting, not just because it links gut-related problems to changes in immune balance, but in terms of how this new understanding might open the door for new treatments for these challenging conditions.
Today’s program features an interview with my good friend, Dr. Terry Wahls. Dr. Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa and a staff physician at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Hospital, where she teaches medical students and resident physicians, sees patients in traumatic brain injury and therapeutic lifestyle clinics (who often present with complex chronic health problems that include multiple autoimmune disorders), and conducts clinical trials.
While it may not be currently approved by the FDA, or even a mainstream treatment in general, fecal transplant offers a powerful means of resetting the gut microbiome. By simply transplanting fecal matter from a healthy host to that of an individual suffering from one of any number of health concerns (from obesity to autism to multiple sclerosis), fecal transplant offers an opportunity to rebalance the gut microbiome, and sets the stage for a return to better health.
Fundamental aspects of our clinical protocol for dealing with multiple sclerosis actually center upon re-building gut wall integrity. Multiple sclerosis, like other autoimmune conditions is a manifestation of lack of regulation of the immune system. We now understand that the integrity of the gut wall plays a fundamentally important role in keeping balance within the immune system. Loss of integrity, “leaky gut syndrome,” is a situation that is characterized by various proteins and even bacteria within the gut gaining access to the systemic circulation, and as such, challenging the in system and leading to inflammation. And it is this situation that has now been correlated with such autoimmune diseases as type I diabetes, celiac disease, as well as inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
Like these diseases, multiple sclerosis is a condition of increased inflammation with auto immunity. It is known that the blood-brain barrier is broken down in multiple sclerosis. It is now becoming clear however that like other autoimmune conditions, there is evidence to suggest that there is increased intestinal permeability in multiple sclerosis as well. Continue reading
We’ve certainly learned a lot more about the health benefits of vitamin D over the past decade. While it’s long been recognized that vitamin D is important for strong and healthy bones, it’s role in health and longevity is now recognized as casting a very wide net.
Over the past several years, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk for such brain-related disorders as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, and even dementia. With reference to the latter, a new study published in the journal Neurology, correlated low levels of vitamin D to increased risk of developing dementia to a far greater degree then anyone had predicted.
The study represents a collaboration of multiple highly respected institutions around the world and evaluated a group of 1,658 elderly individuals who did not have dementia, and measured their vitamin D levels. The average follow-up was about 5 ½ years. Of this group, 171 participants developed dementia, and of those, 102 had full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. When the data was evaluated, the correlation of low vitamin D level to risk of developing dementia was profound. Even having a moderate deficiency of vitamin D was associated with a 53% increased risk of developing dementia of any kind. Those who were “severely deficient” were found to have an increased risk of dementia by 122%. Continue reading
I remember meeting Terri for the first time, and it has been wonderful to see her take back control of her health like this. Wishing her continued good health. – Dr. Perlmutter
In January 2013 a slight eye tic that I have had for a few years suddenly turned into very hard spasms on the entire left side of my face. Whether I was awake or asleep, they were constant. They were so severe my speech was slurred; I couldn’t drive, read or do much of anything. My life came to a complete halt! I was even dealing with a lot of depression as a result. I just did not feel right.