Flashback Friday: Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Flashback Friday: Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
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Rheumatoid arthritis may be triggered by autoimmune friendly fire against a urinary tract infection bacteria called Proteus mirabilis, which could help explain why sufferers randomized to a plant-based diet experience such remarkable benefit.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting millions, characterized by persistent pain and stiffness, and progressive joint destruction—particularly in the hands and feet, leading to crippling deformities. What can we do to prevent it and treat it?

In a famous 13-month long randomized controlled trial of plant-based diets for rheumatoid arthritis, patients were put on a vegan diet for three and a half months, and then switched to an egg-free lactovegetarian diet for the remainder of the study. Compared to the control group, who didn’t change their diet at all, the plant-based group had a significant improvement in morning stiffness within the first month, cutting the number of hours they suffered from joint stiffness in half. Pain dropped from five out of ten down to less than three out of ten. A drop in disability; they reported subjectively feeling better, significant improvement in their grip strength, fewer tender joints, less tenderness per joint, and less swelling, with the added benefit of losing about 13 pounds and keeping most of that weight off throughout the year. They also had a drop in inflammatory markers in their blood, sed rate, C-reactive protein, and white count. The question is why. What does diet have to do with inflammatory joint disease?

Well, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the lining of your own joints. Why would it do that? Well, there’s a different autoimmune disease called rheumatic fever, in which your body attacks your own heart. Again, why would your body do that? It appears to be a matter of friendly fire.

Rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat, which is caused by a bacteria that has a protein that looks an awful lot like a protein in our heart. So when our immune system attacks the strep bacteria, it also attacks our heart valves, triggering an autoimmune attack by “molecular mimicry.” The protein on the strep bacteria is mimicking a protein in our heart, so our body gets confused and attacks both. That’s why it’s critical to treat strep throat early to prevent our heart from getting caught in the crossfire.

So researchers thought maybe rheumatoid arthritis might be triggered by an infection as well. A clue to where to start looking was the fact that women seem to get rheumatoid arthritis three times more frequently than men. What type of infection do women get more than men? Urinary tract infections, so researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, and lo and behold found this bacteria called Proteus mirabilis. Not enough to cause symptoms of a UTI, but enough to trigger an immune response. And indeed, there’s a molecule in the bacteria that looks an awful lot like one of our own molecules in our joints, so anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, leading eventually to the joint destruction. Therefore, therapeutic interventions aimed at the removal of this bacteria from the bodies of patients, with consequent reduction of antibodies against the organism, should lead to a decrease in inflammation.

Well, as we saw before, urinary tract infections originate from the fecal flora; the bugs crawl up from the rectum into the bladder. And so, how might one change the bugs in one’s colon? By changing our diet. Some of the first studies over 20 years ago on trying to fundamentally shift people’s gut flora were done using raw vegan diets, figuring that’s about as fundamental a shift from the standard Western diet as there is. And indeed, within days one could significantly change someone’s gut flora. And you put rheumatoid arthritis sufferers on that kind of diet, and they experienced relief, and the greater improvements were linked to greater changes in their gut flora. But the diet was considered so intolerable that half the patients couldn’t take it and dropped out–perhaps because they were trying to feed people things like buckwheat-beetroot cutlets buttered with a spread made out of almonds and fermented cucumber juice.

Thankfully, regular vegetarian and vegan diets work too, changing the intestinal flora and improving rheumatoid arthritis, but we didn’t specifically have confirmation that plant-based diets brought down anti-Proteus antibodies, until now. Those who responded to the plant-based diet showed a significant drop in anti-Proteus mirabilis antibodies compared to the control group. Maybe it just dropped immune responses across the board? No, antibody levels against other bugs remained the same, so the assumption is that the veg diet reduced urinary or gut levels of the bug.

A shift from an omnivorous to a vegetarian diet has a profound influence on the composition of the urine–for example, higher levels of lignans in the urine of those eating vegetarian. Up until now, it was just thought that lignans protected people eating more plant-based from getting cancer, but now we know lignans can also have antimicrobial properties as well, so may be helping to clear Proteus from the system. Either way, this suggests a new type of therapy for the management of rheumatoid arthritis. This new treatment includes anti-Proteus measures such as dietary manipulations in the forms of vegetarian diet.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting millions, characterized by persistent pain and stiffness, and progressive joint destruction—particularly in the hands and feet, leading to crippling deformities. What can we do to prevent it and treat it?

In a famous 13-month long randomized controlled trial of plant-based diets for rheumatoid arthritis, patients were put on a vegan diet for three and a half months, and then switched to an egg-free lactovegetarian diet for the remainder of the study. Compared to the control group, who didn’t change their diet at all, the plant-based group had a significant improvement in morning stiffness within the first month, cutting the number of hours they suffered from joint stiffness in half. Pain dropped from five out of ten down to less than three out of ten. A drop in disability; they reported subjectively feeling better, significant improvement in their grip strength, fewer tender joints, less tenderness per joint, and less swelling, with the added benefit of losing about 13 pounds and keeping most of that weight off throughout the year. They also had a drop in inflammatory markers in their blood, sed rate, C-reactive protein, and white count. The question is why. What does diet have to do with inflammatory joint disease?

Well, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the lining of your own joints. Why would it do that? Well, there’s a different autoimmune disease called rheumatic fever, in which your body attacks your own heart. Again, why would your body do that? It appears to be a matter of friendly fire.

Rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat, which is caused by a bacteria that has a protein that looks an awful lot like a protein in our heart. So when our immune system attacks the strep bacteria, it also attacks our heart valves, triggering an autoimmune attack by “molecular mimicry.” The protein on the strep bacteria is mimicking a protein in our heart, so our body gets confused and attacks both. That’s why it’s critical to treat strep throat early to prevent our heart from getting caught in the crossfire.

So researchers thought maybe rheumatoid arthritis might be triggered by an infection as well. A clue to where to start looking was the fact that women seem to get rheumatoid arthritis three times more frequently than men. What type of infection do women get more than men? Urinary tract infections, so researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, and lo and behold found this bacteria called Proteus mirabilis. Not enough to cause symptoms of a UTI, but enough to trigger an immune response. And indeed, there’s a molecule in the bacteria that looks an awful lot like one of our own molecules in our joints, so anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, leading eventually to the joint destruction. Therefore, therapeutic interventions aimed at the removal of this bacteria from the bodies of patients, with consequent reduction of antibodies against the organism, should lead to a decrease in inflammation.

Well, as we saw before, urinary tract infections originate from the fecal flora; the bugs crawl up from the rectum into the bladder. And so, how might one change the bugs in one’s colon? By changing our diet. Some of the first studies over 20 years ago on trying to fundamentally shift people’s gut flora were done using raw vegan diets, figuring that’s about as fundamental a shift from the standard Western diet as there is. And indeed, within days one could significantly change someone’s gut flora. And you put rheumatoid arthritis sufferers on that kind of diet, and they experienced relief, and the greater improvements were linked to greater changes in their gut flora. But the diet was considered so intolerable that half the patients couldn’t take it and dropped out–perhaps because they were trying to feed people things like buckwheat-beetroot cutlets buttered with a spread made out of almonds and fermented cucumber juice.

Thankfully, regular vegetarian and vegan diets work too, changing the intestinal flora and improving rheumatoid arthritis, but we didn’t specifically have confirmation that plant-based diets brought down anti-Proteus antibodies, until now. Those who responded to the plant-based diet showed a significant drop in anti-Proteus mirabilis antibodies compared to the control group. Maybe it just dropped immune responses across the board? No, antibody levels against other bugs remained the same, so the assumption is that the veg diet reduced urinary or gut levels of the bug.

A shift from an omnivorous to a vegetarian diet has a profound influence on the composition of the urine–for example, higher levels of lignans in the urine of those eating vegetarian. Up until now, it was just thought that lignans protected people eating more plant-based from getting cancer, but now we know lignans can also have antimicrobial properties as well, so may be helping to clear Proteus from the system. Either way, this suggests a new type of therapy for the management of rheumatoid arthritis. This new treatment includes anti-Proteus measures such as dietary manipulations in the forms of vegetarian diet.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

I have to admit I had never even heard of Proteus mirabilis. That’s why I love doing this work—I learn as much as you do!

I explored another unconventional theory as to why plant-based diets are so successful in treating inflammatory arthritis in Potassium and Autoimmune Disease.

There’s another foodborne bacteria implicated in human disease, the EXPEC in chicken leading to urinary tract infections—another game-changer: Avoiding Chicken To Avoid Bladder Infections.

This reminds me of the Neu5Gc story (The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc), that mystery pig brain disease (Eating Outside Our Kingdom) and the crazy tick bite meat allergies thing (Alpha Gal and the Lone Star Tick).

Since this video came out, I’ve done lots more videos on gut flora. See them all on the microbiome topic page.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

109 responses to “Flashback Friday: Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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  1. So, let me get this right. According to the video, a plant-based diet decreases morning stiffness in people with RA. Yet, according to the current blog post, Pill-Free Ways to improve Your Sex Life, a plant-based diet will increase morning stiffness in males.

        1. Yep, Every once in a while, Fumbles does come up with a good one!

          And that website you mentioned is interesting … I like the “click-bait” they use : “erectile-dysfunction-pictures” ;-)

    1. Let’s see, was that the 501 or 502 erection of the night?

      (It was Dr. Greger who recommended that study be done for Game changers.)

    2. Ha ha, Mr. Fumblefingers,

      I am stiff in the morning, from what I think is osteoarthritis, and even before this video I was remarking to my husband that I now have a whole new definition of “stiffies.”

    3. Rheumatoid arthritis is much, much, more than just “morning stiffness”. It is literally the immune system attacking your own issue! Note that if you don’t get treatment for RA, it can actually kill you.

      1. Hi Sir, a low-fat whole food plant diet decreases morning stiffness by promoting endothelial function and endothelial nitric oxide production, as demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial:

        “PBD participants showed significant endothelial function improvement in FMD response and arterial stiffness response, with increased carotid-femoral and brachial-ankle PWV compared to the control group.”

        https://ijdrp.org/index.php/ijdrp/article/view/53

    1. Thanks for the link… She recommends feeding kids quality protein like lean meat and eggs…. I think gdoc has mentioned comparisons and a paradox or two concerning today’s meat and eggs vs. historical meat and dairy consumption but cant remember where that info is here. Something along the lines of “Its not your grandfathers steak”, but it apparently worked for her for114 etc… and many others too, smokers and meat eaters living well into their 90s etc…

      1. It probably just shows that doctors then were as ignorant about nutrition as most doctors are now. Dr Denmark recommends eating meat for its iron but appears not to know that many plants contain iron and may well be healthier sources
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safety-of-heme-vs-non-heme-iron/

        Also, since most people in those days ate meat and dairy, and smoked, it is not surprising that most people from that era living into the 90s were also smokers and meat/dairy eaters. Think about it. If 98% of the population then ate meat and dairy and say had only a 10% chance of living into their 90s whereas the 2% who didn’t had say double that chance of living into their 90s, what would we see? Out of every 100,000 people we’d see 9,800 meat/dairy eaters living into their 90s but only 400 who didn’t eat meat and dairy That’s about 25 meat/dairy eaters surviving into the 90s for every one non-meat/dairy eater. But it still doesn’t prove that meat and dairy in those days must have somehow been healthy or even healthier than now.

        The same logic applies to smokers. If 70% smoked and 30% didn’t, with the same 10% versus 20% survival rates, we’d still see more smokers surviving into their 90s than non-smokers. In this example, 7,000 versus 6,000. it still wouldn’t prove that smoking is (or was then) healthy or harmless.

        And just defining meat and eggs as ‘quality protein’ doesn’t make it so. It’s a great marketing slogan but is it truthful? This site has a number of interesting videos on ‘protein’ which can be found by going to the search box above.

        1. Fumble,

          Let me see if I get this right.

          You are trying to find fault with Dr. Leila Denmark?

          A woman who:

          1 Was one of the first woman to get a medical degree from her college in 1928.
          2 She won the Fisher Award in 1935.
          3 She co developed the revolutionary Pertussis vaccine which is still in use today.
          4 She was the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician.
          5 She lived in good health to age 114.
          6 She received around 15 verified awards and honors.

          Can you provide me with the list of awards and honors you have received?

          1. Good for you Smarty.

            We must hope he ca surprise us in a good way. Oh, and by the way Fumble Fingers, I know you are waiting for some answers from me. I have had to attend to other matters.

            You will be happy to know that lately modern science has been verifying my theories one after the other.

            Including, indirectly I admit, my no grain is good grain approach as recently as June 5, 2020. I’ll fill you in when I get face time in my computer.

              1. Me too. You’ll get them when I can sit long enough in front of my computer without being in mortal pain from a problem with my back and my hip.

          2. Hey Smarty

            Argument from authority is pretty much laughed at these days. What does the science and the evidence show is a more useful question to ask than what does some famous person think.

            Just because someone knows a lot about say vaccines and medicines doesn’t guarantee that they know a lot about nutrition, any more than calling yourself ‘Smarty’ guarantees that you are actually smart. .

            May I suggest that you Google ‘argument from authority’, ‘Nobel disease’ and the ‘Dunning-Kruger Effect’ before chiding others for not blindly accepting the opinions of some dead authority figure or other? Heck, you might try Googling ‘science’ for that matter.

            .

            1. The science says there are 80,000 centenarians in the USA right now and they grew up with the nutrition
              advice given by Dr. Denmark in the 1920’s or so and they have done pretty well.

              Maybe one of those 80,000 centenarians will post on here a comment asking you how they can improve their health,
              even if you do not list your awards, honors, credentials or track record.

  2. While intriguing, this theory entirely ignores the profound difference between men and women’s immune systems, which in itself could explain why women are more susceptible. Two years ago I was diagnosed with RA and was tested for Proteus Mirabilis. Negative result, but then researching immune systems and their differences offered a more compelling explanation. I wish you would devote time to these differences instead of repeatedly relying on the one-note idea of this video.

    1. I’ve found that food intolerances can trigger RA in patients.
      This study looked at the most common foods that help or cause exacerbation of symptoms.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5563270/

      Also had one person with severe arthritis. She said she woke up one morning a few months after it started realizing that almost every joint in her body ached. After going on an elimination diet turned out the culprit was pesticides or herbicides. When she consumes only organic foods she is arthritis free. She does make sure she gets enough boron. But the nonorganic strawberries turned out to be the worst trigger.

      Point is, trying an elimination diet can be helpful.

      1. Marilyn,

        That is interesting.

        I always had so many food allergies. I was reading that women have more allergies and more autoimmune.

        I was reading about the differences in genes in males and females and the immune system. I wonder if having sex partners changes things for women because women keep the genes from all of their male partners. I wonder what that means if these conditions are related to genes.

        (Sorry to the science people. Yes, I do not understand science enough to know whether my questions are good ones.)

          1. I looked at your linked article. My question is: Was the one group of women who had never been pregnant all virgins? Because I’ve also read that pregnancy occurs far more frequently than women realize, but self-terminate very early, before women even suspect they might be pregnant. (Ever had a late period, and worried about what it might mean? Then, whew!)

            But that would raise the question: When are these “fetal cells” shed into a mother’s bloodstream? Because there are a few stages after fertilization before an embryo forms, and the embryo then develops into a fetus. And most miscarriages occur within the first trimester, during the embryonic phase. As do most abortions. So, if this research is correct, then “fetal cells” can be released before the fetal stage is reached. So, how early can that occur?

            It seems unlikely that the Y chromosome is floating around as naked DNA, and sperm are not notorious for surviving very long, But, zygotic, embryonic, and even some fetal cells seem more likely to survive for extended periods of time. And they are more likely to be pluripotent, which means that they are not themselves specialized (or not very specialized) but can develop into differentiated cells, which could explain their presence in various tissues and organs in women, such as heart and maybe liver tissue (I forget exactly where). And women can apparently have fetal cells from multiple pregnancies, making them quite chimeric indeed. But then, siblings may have chimeric cells from the siblings that preceded them. It’s all quite fascinating and complicated. And to my mind, highly unlikely due to simply sperm.

            1. Agreed, to even a layman, its interesting but the test itself seems to have flaws. ( or perhaps the summary of the test had flaws?)

        1. I am also interested in Vitamin K2 for these things.

          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23124653/

          Plus, I am interested in things like soy.

          The autoimmune diets say to avoid soy, but they say that estrogen was immunoprotective and soy helps women going through menopause. But when I looked at soy studies, they used things like soy oil. I need an autoimmune translator for soy. I don’t have the logic for that. I have the logic for soy with cancer now. And, soy with thyroid would be it is okay as long as you eat some iodine, right?

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180531131116.htm

      2. My husband and I have found the elimination diet very helpful. We gradually added all the foods we had eliminated back to our diet and the arthritis came back! We have recently gone back on the elimination diet, and are feeling better.

      3. ‘Other, nongenetic factors are also believed to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis. These factors may trigger the condition in people who are at risk, although the mechanism is unclear. Potential triggers include changes in sex hormones (particularly in women), occupational exposure to certain kinds of dust or fibers, and viral or bacterial infections. Long-term smoking is a well-established risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis; it is also associated with more severe signs and symptoms in people who have the disease.’
        https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis#genes

    2. Kathleen

      This is a website about nutrition not about medical conditions generally. That’s why, when Dr Greger discusses individual medical conditions, he does so largely from a nutritional perspective.

  3. I appreciate that Dr. Greger covers each topic in this easy to understand way.

    Yes, I also would be interested in diet and mast cell regulation and things like fiber and other topics like allergies – high histamine – and how that relates to autoimmune, etc.

    There are obviously a whole lot of topics that Dr. Greger could cover but I do like that he will tackle them all in these bite-sized very easy to understand videos.

  4. Kudos for pairing the 2/3rds more of a female topic with the 1/3rd more of a male topic.

    Laughing.

    I don’t hear the males saying that their immune system issues are more urgent right now.

    1. It’s swings and roundabouts though isn’t it?

      ‘•Males develop more chronic inflammatory diseases than women prior to menopause.
      •Chronic disease incidence in females equals or exceeds male rates after menopause.
      •Males develop less autoimmune diseases than women prior to menopause but not after.’
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0008874915000295

      I always wince when people write ‘less’ instead of ‘fewer’ though. It always makes me think that if they can’t get basic things like that right, what else might they have gotten wrong?

      1. Agree, Fumbles. It’s one of my top pet peeves. It always sticks out like a sore thumb, to use a cliche’.

        Along with “I could care less” instead of I couldn’t care less.

  5. Related to RA: I had autoimmune type reactions when eating badly. Now I had been looking forward to his webinar on B12, as that had been prescribed by a good MD years ago. But this liquid B12 supplement has some amount of folate, as folic acid, and I am concerned about that. The webinar today on B12 was on Zoom. I do not do Zoom anymore because of their China ownership. I seriously hope Dr Greger will summarize his B12 recommendations in a normal video on the website. I was waiting for this for weeks.

  6. Be very careful
    I was PBWF for a while and had lots of pain walking up stairs….my knees were killing me
    Now back eating eggs and clean meat I’m pain free…
    To many carbs create inflammation
    Fruit oats all carbs…
    Insulin resistant is the big problem even before heart and cancer…..
    Eat what makes you feel good

    1. Most of us prefer to know what the science shows rather than simply believe all the weird and wonderful claims of low carbers. By the way did you know that

      Compared to participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4-year follow-up. In addition, risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.

      The results were confirmed in a meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies with 447,506 participants and an average follow-up 15.6 years, which found 15%, 13%, and 8% increased risks in total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality with low (compared to high) carbohydrate diets (see figure for total mortality).

      Professor Banach said: “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”‘
      https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/esoc-lcd082318.php

    2. What Tom said.

      Plus, carbs aren’t what causes insulin resistance.

      After you have insulin resistance carbs point it out to you.

  7. This is interesting – I have a friend in Canada who is a veterinarian. Many yours age, she developed RA in her hands. She could not work because her fingers were so painful and her joints swollen. I mentioned to her that vegetarians did not get RA – she became veg right away and the RA disappeared.

    1. In my young age, I have worked in an horticultural operation which cultivated roses in big greenhouses. I cutted roses all the day and often in the night I woke up with excruciating pain in the hands and fingers. I stopped working there and then the pain went way at night.

  8. On a more serious note: the video states that “there’s a molecule in the bacteria that looks an awful lot like one of our own molecules in our joints, so anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, leading eventually to the joint destruction.”

    To us, they look similar, but do they look similar to the antibodies? Is there any evidence that the anti-proteus antibodies also bind to this molecule in our joints? And that this could lead to joint damage? Or did I miss that part? The video says “may:” “anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacteria MAY inadvertently damage our own joint tissues.” Is there research on this point?

    1. Very good point Dr J, the human body is not stupid.

      Immune cells actually reach the place where pathogens are and unload their stuff there to dispell them.

      To my limited anatomical knowledge there is no joint in the sexual organs, so the antibodies against pathogens are not located near the place where it could trigger an autoimmune reactions when dealing with a vaginal bacterial infection for example. Plus, if the pathogens are in llittle quantities, it is not sufficient for triggering a lot of autoantibodies able to spill over to other places like joints where it could trigger an autoimmune reaction.

  9. Off-topic

    We’ve discussed several times before the possibility that vitamin D (supplementation) may have a role in protecting against covid 19 – most recently when Alef1 raised it again.

    UK national health authorities are now reviewing the issue. However, as mentioned before we need to bear in mind that that there is a possibility that the association between low vitamin D levels and covid 19 may be because the infection lowers vitamin D levels

    ‘Reverse causality could also be operating, he added. “Inflammation itself can disturb vitamin D metabolism and actually render somebody deficient, as we have recently shown in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”2’
    https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2475?

      1. I have been looking at COVID-19 and glutamate and Homocysteine.

        I am hoping the young brain damaged people were tested for things.

        For heart problems Homocysteine was correlated with the serious outcomes.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7240252/

        There is an animal study with glutamate excitotoxicity and a coronavirus. I don’t think COVID-19.

        With my brain problems, if I get it, I will be fighting the glutamate storms ahead of time and fighting high homocysteine.

        I am trying to pre-figure out the mechanisms of brain damage for COVID-19.

        Dehydration is something I am trying to remember as Possibly preventative of some things.

    1. Dan, That is interesting.

      I wonder how many Saharan dust plumes have reached the USA?

      The dust bowl in America they had said was caused by switching crops to non-drought resistant wheat, plus drought, plus, wind.

      When I think about the Sahara, I think about all of those movies with the huge walls of dust and sand where you have to ride your horse quickly into a building and don’t look back.

      Was there a change in agriculture, I wonder? Or increase drought?

      It is still pretty amazing that the dust had to cross the ocean, plus a whole bunch of land to get there.

      I guess I have to watch some videos.

      1. Deb,
        The dust storms were blamed on turning up the plaines with plows. There is some speculation this bad weather was a drought more related to a climate shift.

    2. Dan,

      There are really, really cool great big gadgets for healing the environment. I finally got YouTube to understand that I like planet-saving technology.

      Maybe Oklahoma could do a Kickstarter to get a smog-free-tower

      https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/smog-free-tower

      There are CO2 absorbing algae machines that are more efficient than plants.

      And there are so many cool energy generators. One made me laugh. It builds a tower and then brings the blocks down by gravity and generates power that way.

      Honestly, there are so many very cool things.

      But, somehow, someone needs to make sure that the Black community that has been overtaken with air pollution because they couldn’t protect themselves from money grabbers get some good ones in their areas.

      1. I laugh that the smog-free tower captures the smog and makes quirky jewelry out of it.

        Now, if we could have it make something more practical, that would be even more fun.

      2. Deb,
        I’ve seen some of that technology on PBS & maybe YouTube. Oklahoma has large wind farms. Hydroelectric was installed here in the last century. Oklahoma has thousands of miles of shoreline from rivers and lakes, many of the latter being constructed. Oklahoma has more shoreline than all of the east coast.

    3. Dan C, global deforestation induces an increase in wind intensity because of lower temperatures at night and higher temperatures the day. It creates a thermic gradient that increase the ampitude of atmospheric movements. It’s why one see stronger atmospheric events past decades and also why the surface is warming to which one can add all the anthropic heat produced by a growing mankind population and industries. Nothing to do with CO2.

      1. ab,
        I understand some of what you wrote. I’m a tree lover. Did you know humans share 60% of their genome in common with trees?

        1. I didn’t know, but I’m actually worried about newspapers titles and so-called “scientific” studies claiming that forests have a detrimental role on climate because they would increase atmopsheric CO2…

          Such bad and reductionist science encourages people who have industrialized the means of global deforestation to continue their mischiefs.

          But this is total non sense, because, forests are actually cooling the earth surface, particularly at the equator:
          https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7603/figures/2

          The CO2 dogma is turning science and reason on its head.

          1. The earth has much less than a third of the trees on it that should be there. Sort of like wearing a hat and underwear for a human on a winter day. Look up clear cutting. That should give you some idea of the planetary rape that is going on.

      1. ab,
        Lower your blood pressure by watching Paul & Lucky on YouTube. You will see a guy petting his dog. Lots of things lower blood pressure: sex, death, pets, some foods, laughing, crying, immersion in water, sleep. . .the list goes on.

        1. Maybe, but also atmospheric pressure depends on the global volume and molecular weight of the atmosphere…So a significant change in the content of the atmosphere might significantly affect blood pressure.

          People are worrying about insignificant variations of CO2, a trace gas, at two decimals levels in the context of the atmosphere. Miniscule variations of atmospheric CO2 is clearly not what can impact human health.

  10. COVID-19 passed 500,000 deaths today.

    They had expected it to reach there by Labor Day. I thought it was going to be July 1st, but societies started opening.

    NY is already back to an R Naught over 1.

    Here we go again.

    That being said, I take comfort that Italy had said that the newer cases are having way fewer deaths than at the beginning.

    I was reading an article that it was safe to go to places like the gym as long as your local cases are low. But NY just went above R Naught of 1 makes me say, “Sorry Planet Fitness, I think it is going to be a long, long time before I go back. Hope you still exist on the other side.”

  11. The video, albeit interesting, is a bit misleading. Plant-based diets alone do not really help with rheumatoid arthritis as they are not proven to reprogram immune cells that are responsible for attacking the internal organs, however they may help to prevent the disease by reducing pathogens and thus consequently their associated antibodies.

    In fact, plant-based diets help with atherosclerosis and inflammation, clearance of pathogens as well as with the general health condition of rheumatoid arthritis patients but not with the particularity of rheumatoid arthritis disease once it has been initiated.

    In Europe, in the context of the CARDIOIMMUNE EU program, a randomized-clinical trial showed that a gluten-free vegan diet “decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis” (Elkan et al, 2008)

    In US, a randomized clinical trial by John McDougall’s team showed that a starch-based plant nutrition was also atheroprotective but had no visible effect on rheumatoïd arthritis itself:

    “While a very-low fat, plant-based diet was well adhered to and tolerated, it resulted in no significant improvement on brain MRI, relapse rate or disability as assessed by EDSS scores in subjects with RRMS over one year. The diet group however showed significant improvements in measures of fatigue, BMI and metabolic biomarkers. The study was powered to detect only very large effects on MRI activity so smaller but clinically meaningful effects cannot be excluded.” (Yadav et al, 2016)

    A nutritional way that seems to be protective against rheumatoid arthritis is a short duration hypocaloric plant diet (fasting-like diet) of several days (5 to 7) (potentially multiple cycles of it at one month interval) followed by a long-term starch-based plant nutrition. The hypocaloric plant diet actually activates stem cells, triggers apoptosis of old and deficient immune cells and promotes the renewal of new immune cells at refeeding.

    This echoes the following review: « Fasting Followed by Vegetarian Diet in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review » (Müller et al, 2001)

    The hypocaloric plant diet actually activates stem cells, triggers apoptosis of old and deficient immune cells and promotes the renewal of new immune cells at refeeding (Choi et al, 2019).

    A clinical trial on multiple sclerosis (NCT01538355), has found that a short duration hypocaloric plant diet (7 days) followed by a mediterranean plant-based diet is more effective than a chronic « ketogenic diet » that may also be dangerous long term for cardiovascular risks (Choi et al, 2019). “Based on changes in self-reported HRQOL, and documentation of a mild improvement in EDSS”, positive effects have been documented.

    The hypocaloric diet of the clinical trial consisted of :

    Day 1 : 800 calories from fruits, rice and potatoes + water
    Day 2 to 7 : 200-350 calories from vegetables broths and fruit juices with flax seed oil (for omega3) three times a day + water
    Day 8: refeeding with a steamed apple
    Day 9-10: continuity of refeeding
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4899145/bin/NIHMS785151-supplement.pdf

    However, the plant-based diet contained fish, nuts and olive oil (high in fat) which may have impaired better results from the plant-based group, which would have benefited more from the low-fat starch-based plant nutrition from Yadav et al quoted above.

    During the seven days of hypocaloric diet, urinary and respiratory infections have appeared in a few participants, which might be avoided by not supplementing with omega 3 (flaxseed oil), which “may be detrimental with regard to host defense against invading pathogens” (Meydani et al, 1993).

    Elkan AC, Sjöberg B, Kolsrud B, Ringertz B, Hafström I, Frostegård J. Gluten-free vegan diet induces decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(2):R34. doi:10.1186/ar2388

    Yadav V, Marracci G, Kim E, et al. Low-fat, plant-based diet in multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2016;9:80-90. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2016.07.001

    Müller H, de Toledo FW, Resch KL. Fasting followed by vegetarian diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Scand J Rheumatol. 2001;30(1):1-10. doi:10.1080/030097401750065256

    Choi IY, Piccio L, Childress P, et al. A Diet Mimicking Fasting Promotes Regeneration and Reduces Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms. Cell Rep. 2016;15(10):2136-2146. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.009

    Meydani SN, Lichtenstein AH, Cornwall S, et al. Immunologic effects of national cholesterol education panel step-2 diets with and without fish-derived N-3 fatty acid enrichment. J Clin Invest. 1993;92(1):105-113. doi:10.1172/JCI116537

        1. This is straight from the study of the Hospital The Charité in Berlin. I do not know the reason why they choosed the apple, particularly. The purpose, one thinks, during the refeeding, is to slowly reintroduce consistent foods into the diet after the hypocaloric liquid diet of fasting.

          Dr Valter Longo in USC Davis School of Gerontology, California, has developed a hypocaloric ketogenic plant diet in order to maximize the calories and to allow non liquid foods, so that it is less difficult for patients while still benefiting from the effects of fasting. But the problem is that he is a big fan of fish and olive oil, based on epidemiological studies about centenarian and of animal proteins after 65 years old. His arguments are quite weak on this point because based on epidemiological studies alone.

  12. I have RA. I changed to a WFPB/ Vegan diet 15 months ago with hopes to get off all meds and possibly free from RA. I still have chronic stiff finger joints and a occasional flare up in an extremity joint. I quickly load up on Predisone so I don’t have to go through days of sever pain with not being able to move. I get disgusted seeing post from people who claim they are RA free after going plant based for a few weeks. What gives?

    1. There have been a number of studies demonstrating benefits for RA patients from adopting plant based diets, eg
      https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/cb93/efa91e3219ae7638ba90bf06bafd12f71e93.pdf
      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03009748609102091?journalCode=irhe20

      However, they don’t necessarily work for everyone.

      You may also want to consider the Johns Hopkins suggests that supplementation may be beneficial because of nutritional deficiencies arising from both the disease itself and drugs used to treat it such as steroids (and you have written that you use Prednisone)

      ‘ The most commonly observed vitamin and mineral deficiencies in patients with RA, are folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.(ref 4) Although, food is always the preferred source for vitamins and minerals, it may be essential to use supplementation to assist in counterbalancing the outlined deficiencies and improving nutritional status for patients with RA. Increased intake of antioxidants such as selenium and vitamin E may decrease free-radical damage to joint linings, which diminish swelling and pain. However, to date, there have been no human clinical trials that convincingly prove or disprove the efficacy of antioxidant use. Supplementation of calcium and vitamin D is also recommended to decrease the risk of osteoporosis that results from nutritional loss of these supplements, from menopause and from concurrent steroid therapy.
      …………………………………………………….
      Patients are encouraged to discuss diet therapy with their health care provider, follow the recommendations of the US Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans and add a multiple vitamin-mineral supplement that contains 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake to their diet ‘
      https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/rheumatoid-arthrtis-nutrition/

      https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/gfiresources/pdfs/usda/Healthy-Vegetarian-Eating-Pattern.pdf

    2. Mr Malec, I share with you your discontentment. Some vegan doctors are pushing the idea that it suffices to eat whole foods plant-based and then all the diseases go away…

      It is at the level of pure marketing propaganda and often totally incorrect. Of course, it ameliorates health condition and disease biomarkers. But it is not at all proven to be able to reprogram immune cells dysfunction like in the case of autoimmune diseases. And in many cases, it has no effect on the underlying disease. it may prevent many diseases and be essential to correct nutrition, but not really reverse existing diseases in many cases.

      Presently, only fasting and fasting-like hypocaloric plant diets have been demonstrated in vivo to activate stem cells and trigger immune cells regeneration. In autoimmune diseases, immune cells are dysfunctional and so they have to be replaced for reversing the disease. The only way known to science right now is hypocaloric diet or fasting. And as many diseases have an immune component to it, a sole whole foods plant-based diet is not sufficient to reverse disease. An hypocaloric short term plant diet should be considered in complement.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-why-do-plant-based-diets-help-rheumatoid-arthritis/#comment-608042

      1. But such intervention should be closely monitored with the doctor if one takes medications like insulin or blood pressure medications, as such medications may be dangerous with fasting or hypocaloric diets.

  13. Are they using Morphine to sedate people in the ICU for things like COVID-19?

    I ask because they say that up to 80% of patients have hallucinations and delirium and can become psychotic thinking people are trying to kill them.

    They also said that the CNS getting damaged is one thing that can lead to the delirium.

    From my experience, every relative that I have had, plus, friends, had horrifying hallucinations on Morphine and the “It will kill her faster” doctor who wanted me to kill my grandmother faster said that Morphine negatively effects the CNS.

    The man who had 3rd degree burns who physically fought a nurse to keep her from giving him even one more dose of Morphine died at the beginning of COVID-19. He said that he would rather be in excruciating pain than to use Morphine. My mother and Uncle said the same thing. My friend thought the nurses were decapitated by a serial killer. My cousin’s father thought he was on the beaches on D-Day.

    I have fought so many people to get them to not use Morphine to kill my relatives faster while my relatives said that it gave them horrifying hallucinations, caused them to not be able to speak, and didn’t help with pain at all. They just couldn’t communicate about the pain while on it.

    Three of my church friends went through the same battle with their relatives and all of us said that the dying process was very gentle except when the Morphine took away our loved ones ability to communicate and took away their personalities and they looked haunted.

    Well, that is my COVID-19 question.

    Are they sedating people with something that could possibly kill them faster?

    1. In rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, there are antibodies to myelin basic protein, so it may increase the risk of dementia and cognitive disorders, as myelin is an important component of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

      Myelin Basic Protein as a Novel Genetic Risk Factor in Rheumatoid Arthritis—A Genome-Wide Study Combined with Immunological Analyses
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108877/

      Interestingly, a lack of bioaactive vitamin B12 has also been associated with myelin impairment, as vitamin B12 is responsible for the maintenance and the synthesis of it. So, perhaps an abundance of non bioactive vitamin B12 may actually trigger myelin impairment and nervous dysfunction. Methylcobalamine (and not cyanocobalamine) is the bioavailable vitamin B12 necessary for remyelination.

      Methylcobalamin promotes the differentiation of Schwann cells and remyelination in lysophosphatidylcholine-induced demyelination of the rat sciatic nerve
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523890/

      One’s hypothesis could be that a diet rich in vitamin B12 like the western diet with a lot of animal products creates a lot of vitamin B12 analogs that are not bioactive and may result in the impairment of the CNS, resulting in cognitive disorders. That may also be the case with high doses of vitamin B12 supplements (like cyanocobalamine) that may producea lot of analogs of vitamin B12 not really distinguishable the ones from the other in simple blood tests.

  14. I had medical people say straight to my face that they had never heard of anyone getting hallucinations on Morphine.

    Yeah, right, I believe you.

    1. In fact, people never really get hallucinations on so-called “hallucinogenic mushrooms” or psilocybin, but they may do have hallucinations with opioids.

      Mushrooms internalize the consciousness with visuals that arise from the consciousness, while the self is still there observing what is happening. But when the observer let goes and that there is no psychological division, there is only the trip and nothing else. Bad trips may sometimes happen due to resistance to what is actually perceived, which comes from memory and the psychological content of the brain itself.

      But hallucinations are quite different, they are visuals or thoughts that are surimposed to the external reality and distort the external reality. This is not the case with internal trips like with psychedelic mushrooms.

      1. At least, with psychedelic mushrooms, patients know what to expect, they are going to trip wihtin the realm of their consciousness, whether with morphine, no one tells them that they risk to hallucinate, plus the body feels that morphine is not quite right for their physical condition. It is quite an uncomfortable sensation physically.

  15. They said that they give it so that people won’t be afraid of drowning.

    The thing is, my grandmother came home with me and never went through the fear of drowning and, trust me, I had some on hand in case that ever happened.

    The fear of D-Day and serial killers and the real torment I saw on my relatives’ faces which only showed up when they were given Morphine is not something I would ever wish on anybody.

    The biggest thing to me is that it was as if they were waiting for an “explosion” of some sort in the dying process – as if I couldn’t trust any of the relatives who were saying straight out that they weren’t in any pain at all and didn’t like the effects of Morphine. They hated not being able to communicate more than the hallucinations.

    The nurses and doctors said that they wouldn’t listen to us, because they looked at things like heart rate and decided that was pain, even if the person said, “I am not in any pain” every half hour of the shift and that is what happened for all of the cases. The man with the burns was in pain but he was the man’s man type of man who could handle anything, including 3rd-degree burns, but not the hallucinations of Morphine.

    Yes, I had better not get COVID-19.

    They knocked my mother into a coma with it and we took her off of it and they accused us of being abusers, but when she came out of the coma, the first question they asked her was, “Are you in any pain?” and she said, “No.” and they left and she said to us, “They aren’t very nice people, are they?”

    Methadone was what helped my uncle with pain. Morphine was what helped kill him faster and I hate that.

    1. Yeah, they gave me morphine once even though I had no pain and didn’t ask for any pain medication. I was as sick as a dog for two days. When they admit you to hospital, they force you sign some all-encompassing patient consent form which pretty much allows them to do anything they want.

      When they ask you on admission to hospital about what you are allergic to, you could include ‘morphine’. That might work.

      Be sure you have ready an answer to the question ‘what effect does it have?’ ………… ‘severe hypotension’ and ‘bronchospasms’ should do it.

      1. If ever you get infected by novel coronavirus and that you have to go to the hospital, be sure to put in the consent form that you are allergic to “animal foods, heparins, steroids, remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ ritonavir, tocilizumab, opioids, benzodiazepines, ketamine, nicotine, sedatives,” plus check the list of all the pills that are used into your country for treating COVID-19.

        Jus accept low dose nitric oxyde into the respiration mask and breathe gently through the nose. It ever you feel that you need something more, ask for a psilocybin trip.

  16. The pain clinic doctor called Morphine a mediocre pain medicine. He said that the only reason they use it is that you don’t have to swallow it and it helps shut down the CNS and apparently, MAYBE, takes away the fear of drowning. Or takes away the ability to communicate the fear of drowning.

    1. Opioïds are very uncomfortable and do not suppress fear as it does not tamper down the “default mode network”, which is the cerebral network of the “self” or “ego”. Only psilocybin from hallucinogenic mushrooms have been demonstrated to inhibit the default mode network and induce temporary “ego dissolution” and thus ending of fear in clinical trials:

      Finding the Self by Losing the Self: Neural Correlates of Ego-Dissolution Under Psilocybin
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26010878/

      1. In the John Hopkins study, people in palliative care for life-threatening diseases (cancer) often said that to try psilocybin under clinical supervision was the most beautiful and/or significant experience into their life, comparable to the birth of a child (from a documentary about it on youtube).

        This is what happens when the default mode network of the self calms down. And that is also what experiences truly religious people actually knowing what meditation is: the dissolution of the self and an emptying of the psychological content of consciousness.

        https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hallucinogenic_drug_psilocybin_eases_existential_anxiety_in_people_with_life_threatening_cancer_

  17. And what I will add, to be fair, is that at the very low doses people can talk maybe even better but that doesn’t manage pain and they never leave people there. They want to do the shutting down the CNS faster process.

    1. Deb, this is terrible what they are doing in hospitals with drugs… The doctors are more like Pablo Escobar than real doctors… For example, for COVID-19 in France, they use all the drugs that are dangerous and addictive in order to treat patients: opioïds, benzodiazepines, ketamines, nicotine… you name it.

      However, non addictive and non dangerous compounds, like psilocybin from hallucinogenic mushrooms, are not even used in palliative care, though they have been proven in randomized clinical trial to be very effective, and as they do not extinguish consciousness (like sedatives) but rather stimulates it, it should not be incompatible with respiratory dysfunction:

      Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5367557/

      1. ab,

        Thanks for sharing.

        It is traumatizing.

        They said that COVID patients are saying, “You are trying to kill me” and they are calling it a psychotic break.

        It could be a psychotic break but it could be their belief about their care.

        I, honestly know full well that the hospital was trying to kill my grandmother.

        They used the words “kill faster” and described the medicines and procedures they would use to accomplish it.

        To them, it was facilitating death but none of them were communicating wanting to die and they were arguing about that and about whether they were in pain and whether they could know what they wanted.

        Either way, if the sedative causes people to think, “You are trying to kill me” or if it is causing them to think about serial killers or D-Day, that is not exactly what I would call a sedative at all.

  18. My grandmother cried out, “I am not dead yet” and they were badgering me to not listen to her because she had dementia and didn’t know what she wanted. Then, they would badger from the “She is just saying those things for you and you have to stop being selfish, who are you doing this for? What are your goals?”

  19. Name anything more traumatizing than thinking there is a serial killer after you or any battlefield imagery as traumatic to an American military person than D-Day.

    They were communicating, “This is the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.”

    1. Deb, they are using benzodiazepines like midazolam for “deep sedation until death” and they call it “palliative care”. In fact, those drugs alter the episodic memory, and so they may not even relieve from pain, but just from the memory of it.

      They think that patients under sedative are not suffering, while in fact they just are brainwashing them to have the illusion they do not suffer… Plus, those medications are often use in affairs of “drug rape” and “chemical submission”.

      So they may make the patients tell what they want by suggesting them they do not suffer when they in fact do. They use those drugs only according to subjective observations according to a vigillance-attention scale (Richmond scale), so if you suffer and move a little bit too much, they rise your dose of sedative.

      The only goal is to not be disturbed by patients and to make them die into their bed without having to really take care of them and of their disease.

  20. i thought the body had identifiers within each cell so the body could differentiate between itself and foreign cells. how does a bacteria not get identified but if you transplant another human organ the body tries to reject it? Wouldn’t it do the same thing to the bacteria??

    1. There is a lot of speculation or shortcuts in what Dr Greger said in the video, and clearly, he also talked in another video of the COVID-19 serie about “our near-total ignorance of the immunological aspects of this new disease” though all immunological diseases share exactly the same mechanism…

      Indeed, why the immune system would use antibodies (adaptative immune system) against a protein within a bacteria that does not cause infection ? It makes double no sense, as the first line of defense comes from the innate immune system which is not antigen specific, and the protein within the bacteria is not exposed to the immune system, unless it is secreted by the bacteria.

      The potential for autoimmune diseases or complications comes from the adaptative immune system, which is antigen specific and involves lymphocytes producing antibodies. If a particular protein is secreted by a bacteria, it may be used as a marker for the immune system for localizing the bacteria, in order to counteract its growth. But if cells in the human body also produces somehow the same protein than the bacteria serving as a pathogenic biomarker for the adaptative immune system, and that human protein is exposed to lymphocytes, they may be trumped by those human body cells and potentially mistakenly consider them as pathogens. But this scenario might be even more plausible if the bacteria and the human body cells are actually at the same place at the same time, so when the bacteria infection is cleared up, the immune system still continue to attack the underlying organs that continue to produce the protein serving as an immunological biomarker.

      That said, the first line of defense against bacteria does not involve these mechanisms, they rather involve granulocytes (neutrophils, monocytes,etc.) and are not specific to some particular compounds.

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