ANTI-INFLAMMATION

IMG_8158The following is from  a post I wrote on January 10, 2014 entitled Babying my immune system/Soothing recipes for you.

I bought this book a little while back and thought I’d share it with you, in case you find it a useful resource. I’ll share some excerpts and favorite recipes below. Trying them has been a small part of how I am addressing any immune system issues that might be going on…

No tests have shown that I have any immune system problems so far, but it can’t hurt to try to reduce inflammation through anti-inflammation and gluten-free cooking. I have tested negative when it comes to gluten allergy—I have a clean celiac panel—but have tested moderately allergic to wheat (and eating wheat makes me feel horrible). I’ve been wheat-free for a long while but now I’m  gluten-free, as well. After all, studies have shown a connection between gluten and miscarriage. And some articles out there suggest that pregnancy might increase wheat/gluten sensitivity, or even “turn on” celiac’s disease (can’t find any peer-reviewed studies on this phenomenon, though).

I know a lot of you have recommended that I look into immune therapies for this upcoming embryo transfer, but I am not, after all, going to take Prednisone or do intralipid therapy. This is based on the advice of Dr. Shapiro at RBA and my OB, and on my own research. My local RE does rec Prednisone, and I am extremely tempted to take it, against Dr. S and OB’s advice, but I think that urge stems from simply yearning to try something very different. I don’t want to cause more harm than good in my eagerness to feel like I’m doing something new.

Still, I’ve researched immune therapies, and for those of you who are interested in learning a little more, I’ve created the page Immune Therapies. See, too, the page Super-Fertility, a phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with some of the immune therapies. They are both pages of a few links to articles and information.

So, for this upcoming FET, I am taking care of my immune system in other ways.

  • 3400 IU Vitamin D3 each day:  Vitamin D3 is safe up to about 4000 IU. It may decrease NK cells, and it might alter the T-helper 1/T-helper 2 ratio in a way that is anti-inflammatory—that is, by lowering T-helper 1 cells and increasing T-helper 2 cells. **T-helper 1 = bad. T helper 2 = good.
  • 230 Vitamin E each day: This is said to reduce inflammation and damage done by inflammation. It also increases blood flow.
  • 450 mg DHA and 90 mg EPA each day: These are anti-inflammatory. See http://www.ajcn.org/content/73/3/539.short and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121049.htm
  •  I’m also, as I’ve mentioned before, taking baby aspirin and Folgard 2.2 (and will be taking Lovenox). But that’s more as a safeguard against the unlikely effects of Factor V Leiden heterozygous and MTHFR heterozygous.
  • I will undergo a scratch biopsy and take doxycycline before transfer, a process that down-regulates the T-helper 1 cells I don’t want while favoring the T-helper 2 cells I do want.

But I feel that developing a gluten-free and mostly anti-inflammatory diet is the best thing I am doing for my immune system right now. The recipes below that I’ve made from The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book fill our kitchen with the scent of a health-food cafe, and when we eat the food, the subtle, soothing flavors make us slow down to savor each bite.

Some of the recipes I’ve tried have been a little bland (I haven’t featured them here) but I’m going to play around with cayenne and pepper and other spices to see if I can liven them up.

Here are some quotes and bits of info from the book that I’ve found helpful. I don’t follow every single dietary suggestions, but put it here for your perusal:

On inflammation

  • “When a body is no longer in homeostasis for any reason—for example…chronic emotional stress—it becomes weaker, rendering it less able to defend itself against certain microorganisms and other disease states.”
  • “Inflammation, fever, tissue swelling, and allergies are largely controlled by fatty acids called prostaglandins….certain foods promote the production of certain prostaglandins” and meat and dairy promote the prostaglandins that produce inflammation. Safflower, sunflower, sesame seed oils and DHA and EPA, for example, promote anti-inflammation.”
  • “Exercise helps to eliminate toxins through sweat and breath, and following the anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce intake of water-soluable and fat-soluable toxins that are part of the standard American diet.”
  • “Healthier lifestyles reduce stress on the body, leading to a reduction in the secretion of stress hormones.”
  • “Serotonin…promotes secretion of growth hormone [and] is responsible for mood, promotes sleep…ninety-five percent of serotonin is produced within the gastrointestinal tract….a better-functioning GI tract improves serotonin secretion, which improves sleep and mood…[and in turn] the immune system is better able to perform detoxification and to repair damaged tissue at night.”
  •  “When stressful events occur…cortisol [is stimulated] which in turn promotes an increase in blood sugar….These days, people live [with] chronically elevated cortisol levels…[which] can lead to thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar abnormaliteis, weight gain, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, hyperinsulineumia, hypercholesterolemia.”
  • “Physiological or psychological stress promotes inflammation through the release of certain neuropeptides [that in turn] stimulate a whole-body stress response.”
  • “Negative emotions and lack of supportive relationships significantly….stimulate proinflammatory cytokines….abrasive personal relationships [and] even negative stresssful events from the past that were not processed correctly or resolved increase risk of…disease.”

I’m sure that you, like me, have heard again and again that stress does not cause miscarriage. Considering the successful pregnancies that have occurred in concentration camps, during natural disasters and wars, in situations of rape and incest, I tend to believe that. But when I read these bits above, I wonder: How much specific research has been done about the effects of the chronic stress of recurrent pregnancy loss on subsequent pregnancy? Has anyone read anything out there that looks at this closely? I’d love to read it, if so.

On the importance of diet

  • If you remove the allergens from your food, you are more able to process unavoidable allergens in the environment.
  • “Any inflammation in the body [caused by allergens] interferes with and slows down metabolism and the healing response.”
  • “Coffee and other caffienated beverages are very taxing to the liver due to their toxin load and are taxing to the adrenal glands because of caffeine’s effect on cortisol levels. The adrenal glands…are responsible for…moderating the stress response….If a person’s system is already burdened with physiological or psychological stressors, caffeine will exhaust any stress-moderating resources left in the body.” (I’m still at 2 cups a day. Will get waterpressed organic decaf soon. SO SAD. DH thinks he’s my true love, but really it’s black coffee, in my favorite mug. We have such a rich history!)
  • “Pork, even organic, is not allowed on this diet because of its potential to stimualte an autoimmune reaction.” (Relates to crazy recent studies showing our similiarites to pigs.) “Pigs have very similar protien structures to humans; thus, consuming pork can increase the chance of cross-reactions in the immune system….triggering an immune response against the body’s own cells.”
  • Eat: * Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, halibut. *Pineapple. *Organic fruits and veg (most are ok). *Avocados. *Garlic, ginger, and tumeric. * Nuts and seeds (except peanuts)—flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are good. * Flaxseed and olive oil (don’t overheat the olive oil b/c becomes a trans fat). *Amaranth, spelt, barley, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, basmati/brown rice, rye, Wasa brand rye crackers. *Rice, oat, almond, or soy milk. *Legumes, tempeh, and tofu. *Organic, free-range, grass-fed meat. *Slow-cooked, poached, or soft-boiled free-range eggs. *Maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raw honey, agave syrup, stevia. *Coconut oil (especially for high heat and baking) . *Small amounts of organic butter.  *Filtered water. *Don’t eat any one food more than 5x/week. 
  • Avoid: Tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, shellfish, pork, conventional beef, citrus fruits, dried fruits, NO SUGAR or artifical sweetners, hydrogenated oils, overheated oils (trans fats), canola oil, dairy products like yogurt, cheese, cow milk, peanuts, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods.

I now have flax, pumpkin, chia and sunflowers seeds in my refrigerator, in airtight containers. Check out this information about proper seed storage—it really helped me. My seeds were getting soft on the shelf.

I’m now using coconut oil for almost everything, and I LOVE it! It smells so good.

Tumeric is a big one—I see it recommended all over the web for anti-inflammation. I’ve been making the most delicious and soothing Tumeric Tea at night, and can’t say enough good things about it. Tumeric tea + hot bath + book = good bedtime ritual.

Try the Carrot-Ginger Soup and Chicken Curry. You will be oh-so soothed. And I’ve been eating the deliciously mellow healthy cookies every day this week for breakfast (totally breaking the don’t eat the same thing more than 5x/week rule):

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The following recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies is from another cookbook I just got, Gluten-free on a Shoestring. Oh my lord they are delicious (just be sure not to bake them too long).

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  1. Recipes! Part One | the unexpected trip

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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    DOR
    Abnormal embryos

    Blood:
    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8

    History:

    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    ***
    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Protocol:
    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Zoloft
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:
    Pregnant

    Protocol:
    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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