In Case You Think I’ve fallen Off the Face of the Earth……..

artwork by Shel Silverstein

I’m back!

Hi everyone!  For those of you who have followed this blog, you may have noticed that I abandoned writing for an unusual length of time.   What you don’t know is a company that didn’t appreciate one of my articles was trying to sue me.   I had received stacks and stacks of paperwork and I read every sentence.  I was never actually sued, just threatened.  They even threatened to put me in jail.  Who knew, a young rheumatoid arthritis sufferer could get so much attention?  Handcuffs could really hurt.  ;P  I don’t believe even for a second that they had a case but just for the record, anyone can be sued for anything at any time.  Guilt seems like an unnecessary ingredient in the court room these days.  It didn’t matter that I was sharing an experience, and that freedom of speech is a right. What mattered was that I grew tired of dealing with it, and in turn, they had shut me up.  They had accomplished taking away my voice.  Because of this, I left the blog world for a long while.  I even stopped writing entirely.  I didn’t even notice when I hadn’t renewed my internet hosting account.  I was sort of turned off.  Even journal-ling felt like a chore.  I turned my focus on other things, other things that were also going on in my life and taking up all of my time.  But because I stepped out of the habit of writing for so long, when I sat in front of the computer, I was stumped.  How was I able to come up with words?  You know, those letters that are grouped together and with some effort, turned into an entire sentence and then a paragraph that then becomes an entire article?  Even the very first word seemed difficult.  Hello.  Hi.  Uh…..    This time, more determined than ever and knowing that the writer in me still lives, I decided to return to some of my old habits, otherwise that very first article would never appear.  I did in fact post an article but a friend of mine let me know that it sounded like I just wanted to hear myself think….  It was the equivalent of ordering 2buck chuck for guests that are expecting fine wine.  In the right circumstance this is great, but as my first post, it needed to sound like me, not a watered down, just going to write a bunch of mucky junk and call it a post.  No, that wasn’t going to get swallowed easily.  It needed to sound like me, the old me, the me that had an opinion and was fallible and was always searching for something more.  Just an fyi, if you do like wine, I’m all about the organic red Green Fin from Trader Joe’s.  Incredibly affordable!  Oops, that’s a secret because they’re always running out.  Leave me some!  My point is, my voice was still being suppressed because I had buried it so very deep.  I am proud to say I think I’m finding my voice all over again.  I think my writing is certainly rusty and grammatical errors are bound to appear, but I want to say thank you all for your support and thank you dear friend for giving me that critique. It was the permission I needed to bear my soul.   Ahh, I like the sound of that!

I Finally Started Juicing!!

I don’t know why it’s taken me 5 years to start juicing.  It didn’t seem to matter how many times I read or heard how great juicing would be for me. The thought of  buying an expensive juicer, only to clean it daily, and buy ingredients frequently, etc. sounded terrible.  I’m not much of a cook and I am so busy, I just never realized that I could fit it in my lifestyle.

I had been thinking about juicing for some time, but I owe it to a co-worker from Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Paulli, who gave me that kick in the rear to get going.  She said, “What are you waiting for?”  And I realized, I didn’t really have an answer.  No excuse was a good excuse. This was my health I was talking about!  Buying a juicer this month sounded unrealistic, but she was right, no amount of money was worth sacrificing my health.  If this was going to make me better, then seriously, what was I waiting for?

I realized that I could at least try and use my blender.  If it didn’t work, I could buy a juicer, no excuses. I finally took it out of the top cupboard and brought it to work and put it on the counter, the same day that I bought some juicing staples for the week.  I had a few of the ingredients already, like turmeric, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar.

I chopped up a few stalks of celery, the entire cucumber, put a spoonful of turmeric, a spoonful of cayenne pepper, a splash of Apple cider vinegar, a splash of carrot juice that has omegas added, a splash of strawberry Kefir, and finally a splash of the green juice blend from Trader Joe’s.  And walla!  Instant juice drink!  The blender is detachable, so whatever I don’t drink, I just put in the fridge and blend again later.  In fact, day old juice tastes even better!  And the cleanup is super easy.  I just rinse out the blender and it’s ready to juice again!
It took me a bit to get used to the flavor, but I’ve actually acquired a taste for it now!  I’m planning on getting more ingredients…like parsley, ginger, almond milk, kale and whatever else I think would be great for reducing inflammation and adding antioxidants to my body.

Maybe it’s too soon to tell but I would swear that I can already feel a difference.  Two pitchers of smoothies later, I really think this is going to take me somewhere great.  It felt as though it was cleaning my body.  My intestinal health has never been great but since having had RA, it’s been extremely poor.  After juicing I felt like my intestines were saying “Hooray!”  Maybe that’s too much information, but I can feel a giant difference.   Thank you Paulli for your encouragement!

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how this goes!  Please feel free to ask for advice on juicing.  I have some pretty strong opinions as to what you should and should not be drinking!

many hugs,

Sarah

Help Pharmaceutical companies learn about you!

Whether you’re taking pharmaceutical drugs, or alternative medications, be part of a survey so they can get a better idea of what people need.

Centocor Ortho Biotech and UCB Pharmaceuticals is looking into researching two specific demographics of RA sufferers. The first group is for people who are using IV therapy and the second group is for people who are not using IV / injection treatment and are not using biologic meds.  Take this quick and easy survey if you’d like to be part of research.  It will only take a few minutes, I promise!  ((CLICK HERE))

Supplement substitutes (for Biologics)

Hello All!  If you are on a biologic, specifically for the treatment of an autoimmune disease or if you are considering one, then it’s important to realize how they work.  Here are a list of biologics that might be suggested to you:

  • Actemra
  • Cimzia
  • Enbrel
  • Humira
  • Kineret
  • Orencia
  • Remicade
  • Rituxan
  • Simponi

Some of these biologics work by reducing tnf protein.  Those biologics include:

Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade, and Simponi.

In my opinion, Kineret appears to be the safest of all biologics.  It works by blocking the action of the chemical messenger interleukin-1.  The only real drawback is that it is a daily injection and it is expensive.  But I am not here to tell you about these drugs really, but I did want to give you a brief bit of information on them as we go forward.

There are in fact, supplements that reduce tnf protein.  I can’t say how they work in comparison to a biologic that also reduces tnf protein.  I can’t tell you how much you should take either.  But I will say that if you are on a homeopathic adventure to controlling your disease, then you may want to give several avenues a shot.  Like drugs, supplements are powerful and for lots of people, have been proven successful.  If you are smart about it, you will attack your disease like a doctor would and figure out what supplements might actually work.  If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, chances are you have too much tnf protein.  You probably have too much Fibrin as well.  But let’s talk about supplements that naturally reduce tnf protein.  Here are your options:

N-AcetylCysteine-click link to learn more about how N-AcetylCysteine reduces tnf protein.

-reduces tnf protein, chelates metals, breaks up mucus, and fights cancer.  For dosage and precautions click here.  For product recommendations, click here.

Lactoferrin-click here to learn more about how Lactoferrin reduces tnf protein.

-binds iron, fights yeast, helping with anemia, reduces gut inflammation, reduces skin reactions, anti-microbial activity-fighting against ecoli, immune defense, anti-inflammatory.

Reishi Mushrooms-click here to learn more about how Reishi Mushrooms reduce tnf protein.

-antioxidant, treats mononucleosis, bronchitis, lowers cholesterol, fights cancer and inflammation and improves sleep

Resveratol-click here to learn more about how Resveratol reduces tnf protein.

-anti aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, lowers blood sugar and gives cardiovascular benefits.

Monolaurin (lauric acid)-click here to learn more about how Monolaurin reduces tnf protein.

-prevents heart disease, increases metabolism, lowers cholesterol, fights candida, anti-microbial and much more.

There are other supplements that lower tnf protein, but this at least gives you a start.  Off hand, I don’t know what they are but perhaps I could research and add to this list sometime. I just know that if you are fighting an auto-immune disease, it’s important to hit it at all angles and tnf protein is definitely one of them.  Good luck on your quest to health!

((GENTLE HUGS))!!-Sarah


How to Reduce Inflammation FAST… On a Budget!

I’ve had a lot of experience with this. If you’re flare is really severe, it can take time. And for some people, making these changes simply won’t do all that much if your disease isn’t being suppressed or changed by either medications or alternative treatments. BUT, in general, these switches will help, or at least I think they will! Good luck!

1. Switch from butter or margarine to OLIVE OIL.

2. Stop drinking milk and start drinking ALMOND MILK (unsweetened). Trader Joe’s carries it if you can’t find it elsewhere. Sugar is inflammatory so please don’t buy the sweetened version. And yes, honey IS sugar.

3. Start eating ORGANIC CELERY. Celery is known to reduce inflammation. It is also known to carry lots of pesticides if it isn’t organic.

4. STOP eating BREADS, PASTAS,RICE, WHITE POTATOES and CHIPS. You CAN eat Sweet Potatoes and Yucca. They are both Anti-inflammatory.

5. Stick with foods that are all natural. Buy the book, “The Inflammation Free Diet Plan” used at Amazon to understand more about inflammation and how much each food either decreases or increases inflammation. (Everything is in a point system).

6. Take COD LIVER OIL. It is one of the most anti-inflammatory fish oils to choose from AND it contains Vitamin A and Vitamin D. So it’s more bang for your buck! It can increase liver enzymes however, so don’t over due it and pay attention closely to your ALT levels. Once the flare is over, you may want to make the switch to something else, however, at this point I don’t have any great suggestions since most oils will increase your chance of higher ALT levels. Borage oil is pretty great as long as you choose one that is free of alkaloids. Just call the company and ask since most are unclear if they are PA free.

7. Get some light EXERCISE even though it hurts. Exercise will reduce the inflammation. Increase your exercise on days you feel better.

8. DON’T EAT SUGAR OR CHOCOLATE! If you need something sweet, buy bio-active Whey Powder and use Almond Milk. It’s sweet with a natural vanilla flavor. The almond milk will reduce your inflammation and the whey powder will reduce your tnf protein, thus reducing inflammation.

9. Get extra sleep! ZZZZZZZZZZ

10. EAT GASSY VEGETABLES. You heard me! Onions, Brussels sprouts, Asparagus, garlic, chard and cabbage are great sources. Gassy means it contains Sulfur and sulfur decreases inflammation. You’ve heard of Sulfasalazine and MSM right? Both contain sulfur, reducing inflammation.

11. If you don’t suffer from gastric reflux or ulcers, use CAYENNE PEPPER. I love to put it in my coffee. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and also helps, believe it or not, to make you feel calm.

12. If God gives you Lemons, you make lemonade, right? Well, if God gives you RA, you make LEMON WATER. Lemons reduce inflammation and they also help rid your body of toxins.

13. If you’re broke but need supplements, choose SWANSON. I did my best to research the company. From what I can tell, they are not ISO certified, however I had a hard time finding any company that was. I do not have experience with Swanson until my recent purchase (today-so I can’t tell you how the quality is), but I can tell you it was CHEAP, if nothing else!

14. Get some SUN if you don’t suffer from Lupus. Nothing compares to the real thing, even though supplements help and btw, you also get Vitamin K which helps suppress your appetite!

15. Speaking of appetite, just losing some weight and LOWERING YOUR CHOLESTEROL will reduce your inflammation. Cholesterol reducing medications have been shown to reduce inflammation in people with Arthritis. So be mindful of what you eat and know that lowering your cholesterol will do so much more than make you look great at your next doctor’s visit!

16. ACE BANDAGES can help push the swelling out and brace your joint for more comfort. And when you take it off, it forces the blood to rush back in, helping with circulation.

17. ICE PACKS in combination with heat, or even Ice packs on their own, depending on where the inflammation is can do wonders. I was able to reduce inflammation considerably by using an ice pack daily on a tendon due to RA.

18. Buy some airborn or the cheaper equivalent. Most drugstores carry their own version and it’s the same exact product. Airborn contains anti-inflammatories like vitamin C, zinc, ginger, etc. Take a few a day for a week and you’re flare should be easing up on you!

Lactoferrin, A Miracle Supplement

LactoferrinI have always been on the lookout for a natural supplement that can do what an antibiotic does. But wait, Lactoferrin does so much more. The amount of information out there on Lactoferrin is unbelievable, and I’m wondering why it’s taken until now for me to even hear about it. Read on and you will discover Lactoferrin is a supplement you should consider if you want to fight viruses, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and inflammation in general. And for those who are tired of taking supplements or popping any more pills, I have the answer for you too. Bioactive Whey is a great source for Lactoferrin. Scoop it up and serve it in your favorite drink. Your immune system will thank you later….

“It’s an effective anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer agent and immune-boosting powerhouse. The FDA felt confident enough to approve its use as a spray on beef carcasses to kill E. coli 0157:H7, a particularly virulent disease-causing bacteria.”-Raw Milk Facts

Although further research needs to be made, Lactoferrin is believed to be helpful for the lungs whether they are inflammatory conditions such as Sarcoidosis, Cystic Fibroisis, or cancerous lungs. “Lactoferrin is a protein that is found naturally in milk, tears and saliva and can stop the growth of bacteria by preventing them forming ‘biofilms’ (when bacterial cells group together on a surface, such as the lining of the lung).”-European Medicine’s Agency

Lactoferrin (LF), also known as lactotransferrin (LTF), is a globular multifunctional protein with antimicrobial activity (bacteriocide, fungicide) and is part of the innate defense, mainly at mucoses……….The combination of iron and lactoferrin in mucosal secretions modulate the ability and aggregation of pathogenic bacteria, and inhibit both bacteria and viruses by binding to host cells/viral particles. This inhibits the ability of bacteria and viruses to attach to cell membranes. It is also an antifungal agent.”-Wikipedia

If you’re taking drugs like Enbrel, Orencia, Humira, Amevive, Epogen Remicade or Herceptin, these are inhibitors of tnf-protein. The problem with these drugs is they come with a wide range of side effects, including some rare, but very serious ones which can be even more serious than the condition that you’re taking them for. “Lactoferrin released at sites of inflammation interacts with mononuclear cells (16) and suppresses the production of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha ) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) (6).”-Clinical and Vaccine Immunology

The possibilities of Lactoferrin seem endless.

Immunity:

“Lactoferrin is found throughout the human body and occurs in all secretions that bathe mucous membranes such as saliva, tears, bronchial and nasal secretions, hepatic bile, pancreatic fluids, and is an essential factor in the immune response. Lactoferrin is concentrated in oral cavities where it will come in direct contact with pathogens (i.e. viruses, bacteria, etc.) and kills or greatly suppresses these pathogens through a variety of different mechanisms. In fact, there are specific receptors for lactoferrin found on many key immune cells, such as lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages, and is known to be directly involved in the upregulation of natural killer (NK) cell activity. “-Life Extension

Anti-Viral:

“Lactoferrin has been found to both directly and indirectly inhibit several viruses that cause disease in humans. It directly inhibits viruses by binding to viral receptor sites, thus preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells. For example, in vitro studies have found that lactoferrin strongly binds to the V3 loop of the gp120 receptor on HIV-1 and HIV-2, resulting in inhibition of virus-cell fusion and entry of the virus into cells.10 In addition, lactoferrin indirectly kills or inhibits viruses by augmenting the systemic immune response to a viral invasion. It’s interesting to note that there is a systemic deficiency of lactoferrin in people with HIV infection.”-LifeExtension

Anti-Cancer:

“Perhaps one of the most promising uses for lactoferrin may be in its potential as a nontoxic adjuvant cancer treatment agent. Extensive in-vitro (test tube) and in-vivo research with animals has shown lactoferrin to be a powerful anti-cancer agent.”-LifeExtension

Colon and Lung Carcinomas:

“Sekine et al. have demonstrated in vivo prevention by bovine LF (bLF) of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and colon carcinomas in rats pretreated with azoxymethane and Bezault et al. found that injection of human lactoferrin (hLF) markedly inhibited tumor growth of solid tumors derived from v-ras transformed fibroblasts and a methl-cholanthrene-induced fibrosarcoma as well as lung colonization by the B16-F10 melanoma in an expermintal metastasis mode.”-Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

Anti-microbial:

“One study looked at lactoferrin as a “natural antibiotic” and found that lactoferrin both in-vitro and in-vivo strongly inhibited the toxic bacteria helicobacter pylori. They stated “It is concluded that bovine (cows) lactoferrin has significant antimicrobial activity against helicobacter species in-vitro and in-vivo.”(16) Another study using both in-vitro and in-vivo methods added lactoferrin to the drinking water of mice and subjected them to the toxic microbe staphylococcal. The study found that the mice getting the lactoferrin as 2% of calories reduced kidney infections by 40% to 60% and reduced bacterial counts 5- to 12-fold. They concluded “the results suggest a potential for the use of lactoferrin as natural anti-bacterial proteins for preventing bacterial infections.”(17)-LifeExtension

Antioxidant: “‘Several studies suggest lactoferrin reduces oxidative stress. Diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and AIDS are all closely related to oxidative stress either as a causative factor or as a factor in progression of the disease. One study that examined the role of whey proteins, multifermented whey proteins and lactoferrin in oxidative stress made the bold statement, “We can conclude that whey protein, lactoferrin and multifermented whey are good candidates as dietary inhibitors of oxidative stress and should be considered as potential medicinal foods in various pathologies as HIV infection and cancer.'(21) “-LifeExtension

Skin:

  • Repairs and purifies the skin
  • Reduces itching
  • Increases the skin’s defence mechanism
  • Reduces red and burning skin

Healthy Gums:

“A wide range of research institutions are focusing on and conducting research into lactoferrin. Through exhaustive gene expression analysis and administration studies, Lion was able to find out that lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a pathogen produced by periodontal bacteria, not only stimulates the progress of periodontal disease but also increases the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, a condition known as “dyslipidemia,” which is one form of metabolic syndrome*. “-LION

Anemia:

“It is relevant in the battle against anemia because it appears to improve iron absorption from food and helps transport this essential mineral to wherever it’s needed.”-HF

Candida and Ecoli:

“Lactoferrin possesses two known direct anti-microbial peptides called lactoferricin B and lactoferrampin. Researchers exposed cells of Candida albicans and E. coli to lactoferrin and then watched what happened under a high power laser-scanning microscope. The lactoferrin was taken up into the cell membranes of both organisms within a few minutes, and then proceeded to disrupt the integrity of their cell membranes, which either kills them directly or enables the immune system to fight an easier battle. The researchers observed that it was the lactoferrampin peptide that disturbed Candida, whereas the lactoferricin B disrupted E. coli. This indicates that lactoferrin uses multiple strategies depending on the type of problem.”-Wellness Resources

Arthritis:

“We have recently shown that resistin is a key mediator of arthritis accumulating in the inflamed joints and exerting its pro-inflammatory properties independently of TNFalpha. Here we evaluate neutrophils as a cellular source of resistin. Human neutrophils were subjected to subcellular fractionation where the presence of resistin was assessed using western blot, ELISA, and mass spectrometry. Presence of resistin on the neutrophil surface was visualized by flow cytometry. More than 95% of the neutrophils in circulation and in synovial fluid express resistin on their surface. Stimulation of mature neutrophils with fMLF induced release of resistin into supernatants and increased expression of resistin on the surface. Resistin is mobilized simultaneously with lactoferrin, a protein found in specific granules, and with granule-stored CR3/CD11b. Subcellular fractionation of human neutrophils demonstrated the presence of resistin in azurophilic and in specific granules. Here we show that neutrophils have two pools of resistin, the major one exists in specific granules, and the second on their cell membrane. Release of resistin from the neutrophil granules probably serves the main source of resistin at the site of inflammation.”-PubMed

Crohn’s, Colitis, Irritable Bowl Syndrome and other Intestinal Issues:

Perfect for a disease like Chron’s, “Lactoferrin also inhibits gut inflammation….”-Journal Of The American College of Nutrition

“The observation that lactoferrin can inhibit local inflammation by inhibition of TNF-{alpha} mediated immune responses predicts that lactoferrin exerts a similar antiinflammatory role at local sites of immune defense where the protein is expressed (e.g., the gastrointestinal tract, lung, uterus, etc).”-Journal Of The American College of Nutrition

Quercetin for Skin Issues

I discovered Quercetin, a flavonoid found in red wine by visiting the Sarcoidosis group in my support group, Daily Strength. I was convinced that I was actually suffering from Sarcoid Arthritis which isn’t diagnosed as easily and often mistaken for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although I have come to the conclusion that I most likely do have Rheumatoid Arthritis and not Sarcoid Arthritis, I’m still glad to have learned about it. My skin issues at that time were hive like patches. Some of them itched like crazy and some of them didn’t. I also had a lump in each corner of my eye that was itchy and somewhat swollen and driving me batty. The people in the Sarcoidosis group told me that Quercetin was good for skin issues. I immediately started researching and found that it would only help me, so why not give it a shot?

“From in vitro studies, quercetin has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting both manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators.”-Wikipedia We often take drugs like benadryl to help us with allergies, but why not try a supplement instead?

Beyond helping with allergy and inflammation type issues, Quercetin has shown in some studies to be beneficial for cancers. “An 8-year study found that three flavonolskaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin — were associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer of 23 percent”-Wikipedia

I don’t need to be convinced that Quercetin is beneficial. Two months later I’m skin symptom free after two years of dealing with skin issues, some that made my skin pigment change to a lighter hue. Is it a coincidence? It could be. I know I take so many supplements that it’s hard to say what’s working and what’s not sometimes. But I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think Quercetin does work wonders but I do advise one thing: take it after you eat because it can upset your stomach.

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