Case Study – Raynaud’s
Here is an interesting story of a genetic sensitivity leading to a rare and painful disease, called RAYNAUD’s DISEASE. Read on to find out how even poor genetics can be overcome in a genetically based condition, such as Raynaud’s.
This patient was in her last year of college when she started noticing the peculiar symptoms defined as Raynaud’s disease. Her hands and sometimes toes would suddenly feel like they lost circulation, and feel very cold.
In her case, it worsened slowly over time, to where she was having episodes where her fingers turned completely white and she couldn’t bend them or move them, to a deep blue, almost black at times, with severe pain. It was like the charley horses (muscle cramps) people get in their calves or hamstrings, but the muscles involved were the blood vessels.
It is considered disabling, because when the episodes occur, the pain and immobility are so severe that they HAVE to respond, usually by going to the bathroom to run warm water over the affected extremities. I can imagine the helplessness as this process overcomes her intentions. She is so wanting to feel normal, to have her hands and feet remain warm…normal. Yet there is nothing she can do to stop it.
When she returned home from college, she checked in with her family doctor, and then a doctor specializing in arthritic disorders. In medicine, this disease is of unknown cause, and the treatments are “off label” pharmaceuticals…basically high blood pressure medications. She tried them, but she didn’t have high blood pressure, so her blood pressure dropped to, as she put it, “scary” levels, and she felt faint from the lack of oxygen!
The next treatment is of the “learn to live with it” variety…wearing thick socks, gloves, and other ways to keep the extremities warm. That’s where she was when another patient of mine, who had a more mild case of Raynaud’s, suggested she check in with me.
As you may have come to understand, I don’t have an arthritis specialty, or even a thyroid, or cardiovascular specialty. My specialty is digging deep for root cause, and, particularly important, the causes we have control over. I can’t change your parents or your genetics, so what DO we have control over!? This is the mindset I always begin with. And remember…you will not “see” something in plain sight if you are not looking for it.
When I reviewed her history, a couple things jumped out at me. Number one was that most of her episodes happened after eating. Number two was that she started birth control pills a few years prior to the onset of the painful symptoms. The reason that is interesting to her case, is that birth control pills deplete vitamin B6 (and several other vitamins and minerals).
The reason this is so important, is because of a Doctor by the name of Bruce Ames. For 20 years, he has been researching the effects of nutrient levels on genetic diseases. He has hundreds of published articles on the National Library of Medicine revealing that we all have good and bad genes, and that the circumstances we find ourselves in determine which genes fully “express” themselves. Circumstances such as inflammation, stress, and nutrient intake determine whether we “express” our best genetic potential, or our worst.
He describes that most chemical processes inside us could be viewed as a production or degradation (breaking down or recycling) factory assembly line. The GENETIC effect is how efficient each worker is. For example, most people know someone who is 120 pounds, but can drink 15 beer without appearing intoxicated, and another person who has a glass and a half of wine, and has to be carried to bed. This reflects the efficiency of the degrading of alcohol. The “fast” metabolizer has highly efficient workers; whereas the slow metabolizer has a genetically set lower efficiency of workers.
Still sounds helpless right? What he discovered, was that each “worker” is capable of increased efficiency if a specific B vitamin was provided. Each worker has unique B vitamin needs…and remember the worker represents the genetic efficiency…which when optimized for the less efficient worker, can “catch up” and function at a ‘normal’ efficiency.
This has the implication of ERASING genetic weaknesses and susceptibilities! Putting you back in control of your health with a wisely chosen B vitamin (or more). (Sorry, the multivitamin approach doesn’t seem to target the weakness specifically enough to alter genetic expression)
So back to our Raynauds patient …during our initial evaluation, and remembering from her history that most episodes occurred after meals, we searched for foods and food chemicals that she reacted to. There are a couple ways to find food allergies and sensitivities, including blood tests for immune reactions, or muscle testing reactions followed by elimination and reintroduction.
We found that a strong muscle weakened to wheat, aspartame, and MSG. Wheat is the most common gluten containing grain; aspartame is found in most diet sodas and drinks; and MSG is found in most junk food, junky restaurant foods (we have many farm to table restaurants in Asheville, thankfully!), as well as spices, dressings and sauces…you really have to be a label reader to make sure. Of course, foods that lack a label (package) like an orange or broccoli, are pretty safe.
Like me, she was in college, drinking diet drinks for her “health” and late night studying, and eating junk food plus plenty of wheat products. And like most gluten allergy (true allergy-celiac disease) people, she didn’t notice much in the way of GI symptoms.
Aspartame and MSG (glutamate) are being defined by researchers as “neurotoxins.” I remember seeing a video around 10 years ago, where brain tissue was exposed to aspartame, and over the next several seconds, you could see the neurons (brain cells) spasm and twitch, faster and faster, and then literally explode…yes, the nerve cells died! I’m very sensitive to both chemicals, and the last time I made a poor restaurant choice, I was in the waiting area for an oil change, and suddenly, I was so tired…the super heavy eyelids type of tired…and as I fought off passing out on the bench, I had an image of my brain cells “popping” and dying…which, of course is very tiring!
To affirm this sensitivity, I performed a simple neurological test to identify percussive myotonia. This is where you tap a muscle in the arm or hand, and instead of jumping and relaxing instantly, it stays in contraction for several seconds. I did it on the muscles by her thumbs, and on both sides, her thumbs jumped up in the air, and danced around like on puppet strings for several seconds. (Here is a video that shows that so you can appreciate neuro-toxicity! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UucTfZPNVsc)
Then we tested what nutrients would improve these sensitivities. We simply create the weakness by holding the substance over a reactive acupressure point, and then add nutrients until we find one that will stop the weakening reaction. In her case, we found Thiamine (vitamin B1), B6, and GI healing nutrients (glutamine, DGL, and Aloe). We also prescribed a diet change…no more wheat, aspartame or MSG.
In her first follow up visit, she remarked that she had gotten used to a moderate level of bloating and gas, which she didn’t mention because it was her normal, but now it was gone! Which leads to the deep philosophical question, “How many toots are normal?”
During her 4 month follow up, she noted that she had lived through spring without antihistamine support, which was “unheard of!”
At her 6 month follow up, she reported that she was now going weeks without episodes, and when she did have “episodes” it was just cold hands. (That might be normal, right…I get cold hands when I feel nervous! And she did acknowledge that it was when she felt nervous or anxious)
She had been near perfect with her diet…no wheat, aspartame, MSG…and this is why I think she had a true gluten allergy or celiac disease. After symptoms were normal or minimal, she had a glass of beer one night. She woke to find her arms covered in a rash. It subsided gradually, but that type of reaction is what I notice in my patients with true gluten allergies…they feel good, say what the heck and have some, and their body, now in a less stressful state, reacts noticeably. When you have gluten daily or even weekly, your body adapts to deal with the stress. Stress gone, body happy…add in stressor, and body reacts clearly.
Isn’t that a kinder, gentler way to evaluate for gluten allergy, vs the punch biopsy of the intestines, which only detects late stage celiac anyway!? And this method generally proves its point, you either feel fine, or you have the attention grabbing reaction, telling you, “no-no!”
As for the aspartame and MSG…I find zero tolerance for anyone, because they are “not of nature.” Maybe you don’t have severe fatigue and heartburn like me with one exposure (I’m a “sensitive”)…but it will disrupt your hormones, cause inflammation, stress…and slowly erode your health.
Another observation in this case…which you may have picked up on. We “learn to live with” so many mild to moderate symptoms…she didn’t even report the GI distress or allergies…but they were an earlier (and more subtle) sign of her body being stressed out.
The message here is to RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS! I view symptoms as messages from our internal wisdom, and if you love yourself, you should listen and respond. I call this internal wisdom Regulation, and if you ignore regulation, or suppress the symptoms/messages of regulation, they will get louder and louder. You should feel vital and healthy all your life. You may slow down, but that should be compensated for by a growing wisdom of experience (which comes from listening to this internal wisdom)
IT IS AN INSULT to God and nature, to accept that your body is broken or malfunctioning. If it is not functioning well, it needs something, and it needs you to find out what.
Our clinic is a resource to discover those internal needs… towards restoring your God given right to heal. This woman discovered her genetic needs, which makes EVERYTHING work better…immune, stress response, energy, and healing. She discovered what to AVOID that stressed her system away from healing (in about 5 minutes of muscle testing!!), and how certain nutrients, along with avoiding, would return her to that healing state.
Our patients also discover what life patterns are creating that same stress, what invasions are creating that stress…what organs need healing and what will help them to heal…what nutrients are needed to energize and metabolize…and more!
What do you need to discover?!?