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

Leap Into Action!

Diversity and the Human Microbiome

The human microbiome covers every inch of the body, inside and out. Space creates a unique environment which is non-conducive to bacteria. Scientists have thus discovered that astronauts in space, with an ever growing reduction in diversity in the human microbiome, get sick overtime.

Whitmond (2015) explains some environments that are too squeaky clean just aren’t good for us. We were meant to live in a symbiotic relationship with a wildly diverse array of microorganisms covering our skin, and inside our the length of our gastrointestinal system and with in our urogential and respiratory systems. In fact, it is important for babies, prior to the first year of life, to have exposure to many different microorganisms in order to improve the overall functioning of their immunity. Continued exposure to these same organisms is important throughout the life span.

Some have referred to the combination of humans and the micro-organisms that co-exist on and within humans as a super organism. Others have begun to call it an eco system. The more diverse the super organism, or eco system, the healthier it is.

Whitmond notes that scientists agree that the diversity of this micro-organism alters the human system at a cellular level, actually turning on and off the expression of certain genes, which leads to the expression of disease or wellness, depending on the variability found within this super organism. Some scientists contend that the use of antibiotics can permenently change the microbiome and render it susceptible to certain health conditions that it would not have otherwise been susceptible to.

So avoid antibiotics and anti inflammatory medications when you can, eat your whole foods and avoid chemicalized, junk food and don’t be too hygienic! For example, don’t scrub daily with Hibiclens, like a surgeon. This robs you of bio-diversity in the microbiome of the skin and just isn’t how we were meant to live. Remember there is a healthy symbiotic relationship between the bacteria or micro organisms on our skin. Both need each one! Eat naturally. Your body was not meant to injest foods with words we can’t even pronounce, including preservatives, artificial sweetners, saturated fats, thickeners or food coloring, and the like. Stick to whole foods and for goodness sakes get your pots and pans out and cook at home, where you have more control over just exactly what is in your food! Living in this fashion will positively affect your microbiome and yield both immediate and long term positive outcomes. The on going diversity of your microbiome is vital concerning your overall health and wellness.

Don’t forget that the converse is true and behaviors consistent with reducing biodiversity of the microbiome are also ones which are consistent with reduced health and frank illness and disease overtime. Whitmond expounds that dysbiosis, or overgrowth of various bacterial, fungi and viruses, occurs when the ecology of the microbiome is disrupted. Illnesses to be concerned about as a result of dysbiosis include allergy, inflammation and autoimmune disease, as well as, other chronic health conditions. Be wary of what goes on your skin and what you take into your body, through eating, respiration or other means, as these are agents that can either promote or reduce biodiversity of the human microbiome.

What can you do today to change your lifestyle to make it more consistent with biodiversity of your microbiome? Write these down and put them somewhere convenient, where you are sure to bump into the several times daily, to help support your attempt to improve your life and create wellness and vitality!

Remember it’s all up to you! With this knowledge, you can create the lifestyle you want! Seems simple enough to me, but you decide. The choice is health and wellness or disease! If you want to be supported through your journey, pick up the phone or send an email to a health coach today! At Buidling Better Bodies Rocks, we are creating better bodies one day at a time!

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

Leap Into Action!