Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Suppress or Boost?Thursday 26 July 2018
As chiropractors at the Orchard Chiropractic Centre we see many patients with chronic inflammatory disorders ("CID"). Unfortunately, CID has become more prevalent in western industrialised countries due to environmental changes which have had a negative impact on the gut microbiome. The term chronic Inflammatory disease (or disorder) covers a multitude of conditions that the lay person may not link to inflammation. Examples of some of the more commonly encountered inflammatory conditions include, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lupus, hashimoto's disease, eczema, phlebitis and just about anything ending in '...itis' but to name a few.
In general there are three types of conventional treatments for chronic inflammatory conditions, but they all carry risks and do not address the underlying cause:
1) non steroidal anti inflammatory: give fast acting pain relief but are for short term use and do not affect the disease. The most common side effect of prolonged use is stomach irritation and ulceration.
2) steroids: work by to suppressing the body's immune system but do not affect the disease. Long term use of steroids carries risk of significant side effects such as osteoporosis, suppression of adrenal gland function, diabetes, cataracts, infection, skin and connective tissue disorders .
3) DMARDs: Disease Modifying Anti- Rheumatic Drugs suppress the immune system over weeks or months in order to reduce joint damage. This class of drug would be used in severe cases as it does carry risk of significant side effects including organ damage, bone marrow suppression, increased risk of some cancers especially skin cancer, birth defects, therefore, close monitoring is required.
There is now a significant body of research and evidence indicating that chronic inflammatory conditions can be traced to the gut (more precisely, a leaky gut). After-all, if the immune system is in overdrive and attacking the body, a good place to look for the trigger is where 85% of the immune system is located- in the gut.
In a case study published by Spinal Research five subjects suffering from serious inflammatory conditions were treated with dietary supplements, probiotics and dietary changes. Their baseline presentation was recorded as was the effect of their condition on activities of daily living and quality of life:
- Sam, 29 year old male: Annular tear, annular bulge, constant neck and back pain. “I am never pain free.”
- Eric, 33 year old male: Psoriatic arthritis, OA, de Quervains syndrome, extremely stiff and sore on rising each morning. Pain in both knees, wrist, right sternoclavicular joint, right shoulder, lower back, one toe and finger.
- Jasmine, 45 year old female: OA in knees and hands. Pain in back, shoulders and hip daily. Pain gets her “down in the head.”
- Helen, 47 year old female: OA, ankylosing spondylitis. Worst pain in neck with pain radiating to shoulders, yet pain in hips and back most days. “This is painful every day.”
- Julie, 52 year old female: RA, OA, Hashimoto’s disease. Daily pain in all major joints.
Table showing prescribed supplements for each subject.
Reproduced from https://spinalresearch.com.au/case-study-natural-management-chronic-inflammatory-conditions
Interestingly, all participants were given turmeric and all but one were also given probiotics, vitamin D, selenium, zinc and magnesium as part of Meta Mag. The anti inflammatory properties of tumeric are now well documented and it has been shown to be more effective than diclofenac when given to RA patients.
Selenium deficiency is associated with, amongst other things, Crohn's disease, thyroid disease. Selenium is required for a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone. It is estimated that approximately 80% of American are deficient. Deficiency of this hormone is associated with arthritis, chronic pain, depression, cancers, diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, diabetes and many other conditions. that is vital for
Magnesium deficiency is associated with muscle spasm, muscle aches, poor digestion, anxiety and poor sleep.
Zinc is a powerful anti oxidant that aids nutritional absorption, healing, balances hormones, enhances immune function.
After 12 weeks all patients reported significant reduction in subjective pain scores and improved quality of life. Of particular significance, one patient was even able to stop using DMARDs.
What stands out here is the polar opposite approaches to treating chronic inflammatory conditions: the 'natural management' aiming to boost the immune system and the gut, compared to the pharmaceutical interventions that suppress the immune system and irritate the body. At the Orchard Chiropractic Centre we encourage all of our patients to take care of their gut microbiome as a means to preventing the onset of inflammatory disorders and maintaining optimal health. Our chiropractors, Charles and Cardin are happy to discuss any health related issues.
 In addition to the above prescription, the following patients also received additional supplements based on individual presentation and serum testing. Jasmine received High Purity, Low Reflux, Concentrated Fish Oil, Helen received Glutamine & Boswellia (BosPure® Boswellia) for Intestinal Integrity. Eric, Jasmine, Helen and Julie were also prescribed Astragalus membranaceous (astragalus) 10 g/day, and Hemidesmus indicus (hemidesmus) 5 g/day