Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Gut Biota

In the last several months, I have developed swelling and discomfort in my hands and wrists as well as some swelling in my feet. The swelling later turned to numbness and tingling in my fingers. I have been told I have carpal tunnel syndrome and need to see a hand surgeon to determine if surgery is necessary to relieve the tension in the median nerve in the wrist which innervates movement in the fingers. I am in the process of being worked up by a rheumatologist to determine the cause of the swelling and tingling. She thinks that these symptoms are consistent with mild rheumatoid arthritis, yet wants to do a bit more testing to be sure.

My functioning has been seriously impacted by these new symptoms. Even lifting a glass, making a fist, and brushing my teeth are painful. When I sleep, pulling up the covers and re-adjusting the pillows causes me pain, which awakens me several times each night.

Research from the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic suggest that rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory process and an autoimmune disease, meaning the body stages an attack on itself. In this case, the attack leads to swelling and bone erosion and deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause difficulty with the skin, the lungs, the heart, the eyes, and the blood vessels.

Dr Taneja (2016), an immunologist, has uncovered the link between rheumatoid arthritis and gut bacteria. By treating leaky gut, rheumatoid arthritis can be avoided. Leaky gut is indeed the culprit of many autoimmune diseases. So it all really comes back to what you put in your mouth!

I am rather astounded by the fact that the old sayings are true “we are what we eat”, and “our bodies are our temples.” It is our job to fix ourselves. The sooner we take on that responsibility the sooner we will begin to feel better and live better lives.

Given that I am not only doubly, but likely triply blessed with three autoimmune diseases, namely fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and presumably rheumatoid arthritis, I really need to take care of my micro biota. Dr Mark Hyman told me that those with one autoimmune disease are likely to develop more over time. I am obviously displaying this pattern quite clearly. The only way to reverse the tide is to treat the gut by eating the right foods, avoiding the rest and consuming the supplements that are needed. I truly have my work cut out for me.

What about you? Do you have any autoimmune diseases? Do they run in your family? Are you willing to contact a functional medicine doctor and treat your gut micro biota as a means of disease management or prevention? What holds you back? This seems to be the hottest new tip in medicine and it puts all the control at your finger tips, literally!

What you eat determines the health of your micro biota. The health of your gut micro biota determines how well you feel day in and day out. It’s easy! Eat clean! Avoid processed foods and eat whole foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Skip the sugar, or at least consume it in moderation.

Think back to what your grandma ate. It was more than likely much more wholesome than the general fare most Americans eat today. Grandma likely ate better than you eat today. What was on grandma’s plate? Can you duplicate this? Are you willing to get back in the kitchen and prepare more of your own meals just like grandma did? If not why not? Are you really willing to sacrifice your health and your family’s health just because you think you don’t have the time to cook? Make cooking a priority.

How can you clean up your own micro biota? What three changes are you willing to commit to today? Now make sure you don’t short change yourself! What can you do today that you are willing to duplicate tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and so on? Make a positive change today, and then make that change a habit!

Speak Soon!


Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written In My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

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