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Tag: inflammation

Food allergies and multiple sclerosis: study reveals a new link

The evidence is coming in that our diet makes a difference when it comes to MS and other autoimmune diseases.

Food for thought

It’s so gratifying when the research catches up with my theories on Multiple Sclerosis and diet. While I focus on food sensitivities more than food allergies with the dietary therapies I design, the general public and many healthcare providers use the terms interchangeably

Investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that MS patients with food allergies had a higher rate of MS disease activity. 

Like many other medical conditions, the mechanism of multiple sclerosis remains an enigma–a puzzle composed of complex genetic and environmental factors. A key piece to this puzzle is the immune system, which is also responsible for regulating many other physiological (and pathological) phenomena–including allergies. Although previous studies investigating the association between MS and allergies have yielded mixed results, a research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital sought to uncover the putative link in a new way. Investigating the correlation between allergy and inflammatory disease activity, the team found new evidence connecting food allergies and relapses of multiple sclerosis. The results are published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

“Some multiple sclerosis patients with significant allergies would complain of frequent relapses associated with their allergic episodes,” said Tanuja Chitnis, MD, senior author and a neurologist at the Partners MS Center at the Brigham. “We felt that the most likely mechanism associated with allergy and its influence on MS would be related to inflammatory activity.”

Accordingly, Chitnis and colleagues set out to investigate the association between inflammatory disease activity and allergy history in a subset of patients enrolled in a large study known as the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (CLIMB). A total of 1,349 study participants completed a self-administered questionnaire outlining food, environmental and/or drug allergies. Disease activity was assessed through evaluating the cumulative number of attacks over disease course, and new gadolinium (Gad)-enhancing lesions, as detected by MRI.

Interestingly, only participants in the food allergy group demonstrated a significantly higher rate of cumulative attacks and increased likelihood of new Gad-lesions compared to participants with no reported food allergies. This effect remained significant even when adjusted for potential confounders such as sex, age at symptom onset, and disease category. No significant effects were observed for the environmental and drug allergy groups after adjusted analyses.

This association between food allergy and MS disease activity highlights an important role for a potential player in immunity and inflammation–the gut. “It is interesting that this association was only found with food allergies and not other types of allergies, which might have been expected had this solely been an immune deviation issue,” said Chitnis. “The presence of food allergies and mechanisms related to food allergies may increase relapse rate and inflammatory activity in MS patients. There may be a common mechanism here, or other mechanisms which may induce MS relapses in a predisposed host.”

Currently, Chitnis and colleagues are working to further uncover these mechanisms of immune dysregulation in allergy and delineate how such dysregulation impacts MS inflammatory activity. Given the correlative nature of this study, the researchers are careful to highlight the limited clinical actionability of their findings. However, Chitnis is optimistic about the potential translational significance of the work and highlights the importance of addressing food allergies in MS patient care.

“There has long been a hypothesis of the gut being related to the immune system, and this really points to a stronger association than previously understood,” Chitnis said. “This research opens up a new way of thinking about the immune mechanisms in MS.”


Funding for this work was provided by Merck Serono and the National MS Society Nancy Davis Center Without Walls.

Paper cited: Fakih, R et al. “Food allergies are associated with increased disease activity in multiple sclerosis,” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2018- 319301

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Dementia and Food Sensitivities: The Hidden Link

Reader comment: I have Lewy body dementia. I’m 100% soy free. And completely 100% symptoms free of dementia. As long as I have no soy or soy lecithin in my system. ~ John B., Rosenberg, TX

Hi John! Thanks for sharing your experience! I definitely agree that food sensitivities and the inflammation they cause can influence mental awareness and I’m glad to hear you have identified your trigger with soy and are able to live symptom-free simply by avoiding soy and soy lecithin.

It can be difficult to identify the culprits that are creating symptoms such as dementia, which can lead people (and doctors!) to believe that there is no way for sufferers to avoid losing their minds. However, as your testimonial shows, there is a path to avoiding dementia. As you have discovered, the key is to identify your personal inflammatory triggers and avoid them, just like Celiac patients live symptom-free if they avoid exposure to gluten.

You are fortunate to have identified your triggers without help, however if you start experiencing symptoms even when abstaining from soy, then the MRT food sensitivity test could help you figure out additional sensitivities.

Congratulations on “reversing” this disease course by identifying your inflammatory trigger and I wish you a long and healthy life!

If you are suffering from a disease that is robbing you of your mind like dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, it would be worth having a conversation with me or my team to determine if a customized anti-inflammatory diet could help you recover your life like John did. Contact me by email to schedule a free initial phone consultation and get started on living –and remembering!– the rest of your life!

Food Sensitivities, Inflammation, and the Autoimmune Connection

I will be interviewed by Sharon Saylor, host of the Autoimmune Hour radio show, on Friday, August 31st, 2018, at 7pm PDT. Here are the details – I hope you tune in!

“A delightful chat with Dr. Elizabeth Yarnell about her mission and methods to improve lives simply by changing the way we think about food and anti-inflammatory diets. As a board-certified naturopath and designer of customized anti-inflammatory diets, Dr. Yarnell runs a nationwide food therapy clinic to help people discover the specific foods that not only taste good but make them feel good, too.
A 1999 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis forced Dr. Yarnell to re-think everything she thought she knew about health and inspired the now-patented invention of a quick and easy method for cooking whole foods that she introduced in her 2009 best-selling cookbook: “Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Healthy Approach to Dutch Oven Cooking.”
In 2011, she launched the “Fight MS with Food” project to investigate the connection between diet and autoimmune symptoms. In this episode Dr. Yarnell shares some of what she discovered, for example:
  • Causes of inflammation and how to minimize it
  • What are food sensitivities and how you can become allergic to food
  • The gold-standard test for finding food allergies
  • The connection between diet and autoimmune symptoms
  • Other things that can cause inflammation besides food
  • What is ‘Dutch Oven Cooking, plus so much more….
I only wished we’d had more than an hour, as you will hear how passionate Dr. Yarnell is on her quest to improve lives simply by changing the way we think about food. Learn more about Dr. Elizabeth Yarnell and take time to explore her healthy eating and natural lifestyle blog, “Effortless Eating for Healthier Bodies” at Then join us on August 31, at 7PM ET at”

Swollen Hands Due to Diet

Could the inflammation in your body be due to what you’re eating? Absolutely.

And, if this statement is true, then the opposite is also true: that you can reduce inflammation in your body by changing the foods that you are eating.

This is a story about a woman I met at a chance meeting who was suffering from terrible inflammation. I could see the inflammation just by looking at her, but at the time I did not know how negatively it was affecting her life. As it happened, the previous day she had photographed her hand, which was so swollen that it was painful to open for the picture.

Inflamed hand on 7/16/17.

We began working together the following week and on August 8, 2017, she began implementing a LEAP diet that was scientifically designed to be anti-inflammatory for her based on the results from her Mediator Release Test (MRT). The MRT is the gold standard in food sensitivity testing and takes all the guesswork out of figuring out what you should and shouldn’t eat in regards to inflammation. The results are as unique as your fingerprint.

Before we started working together, she had many days when she was in so much pain that she couldn’t get out of bed. In fact, she had been in bed since June when we met in mid-July. As she told me later, she realized that the reason she had dragged herself out of bed and to that meeting on July 17th, was to meet me and take control of her health.

Same hand on 2/28/18, a little over 6 months later.

On February 28th she emailed me saying, “I don’t know if you have ever seen this, but it was by fate that I had these pics. I took the first one 7/16/17 the day before I met you. It was for a hand analysis session. I was having a hard time opening my hand to get a good pic.

The second one is today, 2/28/18. A world of difference. I was floored. I accidentally discovered this by cleaning up photos on my phone. When I saw the picture, I sat up. I immediately looked at my hands and couldn’t believe it. You can see the information so clearly.

I am also sending to my mastermind group who are hand analysts. I am not, but sent the photo into a group last summer. I would like them to know that if they ever see this, to bring forth as further discovery and suspect for inflammation and forward on to an ND or such. It’s profound.
Glad that you are going to blog about this. It was fate to have this baseline picture, but this could also be a baseline activity to consider so that others can physically see their progress and keep going.”
Are you suffering from painful inflammation? Is inflammation affecting your life in a negative way, keeping you from doing the things you’d like to be doing? If so, contact me to schedule a free initial phone consultation. What have you got to lose – except

Chronic Inflammation Behind Most Diseases

When the Wall St. Journal asked the question, “What do heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer have in common?” would you have guessed the answer would be “chronic inflammation?”

To this list of inflammatory diseases, I would add multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and so many more.

As the WSJ suggests, science is realizing that chronic inflammation is found at the core of most, if not all, chronic conditions and auto-immune disorders.

Inflammation is the culprit.

The secret to healing from these disorders? Get rid of the inflammation and the physical manifestations of the inflammation will disappear.

How do you get rid of inflammation? Well, you can use drugs like steroids and NSAIDs designed to decrease inflammation and bring relief, but they come with their own risks and side effects, particularly with long-term, chronic usage.

Customized anti-inflammatory dietary therapies can be incredibly effective at reducing and avoiding inflammation, and may be used alongside any other medications – i.e., you don’t have to stop taking your meds just because you are changing your diet, too.

Therapeutic dietary strategies are empowering: choosing what you put in your mouth is one thing you can do to control the disease that is controlling your life.