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Posts Tagged ‘immune system’

Do People Die of Autoimmune Pernicious Anemia?

Friday, January 25th, 2013



Autoimmune pernicious anemia is a disabling condition which causes severe damage to the nervous system. Historically, vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia was fatal. Today, according to health reports, the mortality rates linked with autoimmune diseases such as pernicious anemia are not as low as you may think.

Do People Die of Autoimmune Pernicious Anemia? B12 Patch

Scientists study mortality rates

In an English study which focused on mortality rates linked with autoimmune diseases, including pernicious anemia, scientists found that females are more likely to suffer from autoimmune disorders, and that a small percentage of middle-aged women may die as a result of their dysfunctional immune response.

The study was conducted as a means of finding out how many deaths are either caused by an underlying immune system breakdown, or autoimmune disease as a contributing factor.

Because autoimmune illnesses such as pernicious anemia are not treated as pathogenic mechanisms by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), their impact on mortality rates are concealed from the public.

“However, autoimmune disorders are neglected in the ICD classification, because they are listed for the most part individually under separate organ systems. The combined burden of mortality from autoimmune disorders is therefore hidden.” (American Journal of Public Health)

For example, death from a ruptured stomach lining would be classified under organ system, with no indication of whether underlying conditions such as celiac disease, IBD, or pernicious anemia contributed heavily to the cause of death.

Autoimmune pernicious anemia

Researchers included 24 autoimmune diseases in their investigation, including:

  • Pernicious anemia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Celiac disease
  • Graves’ disease

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency an Autoimmune Disorder? Yup.

Results and conclusions

“Autoimmune diseases constitute a leading cause of death among young and middle-aged women. This fact is obscured by current methods used to identify leading causes.” (American Journal of Public Health)

Compared with the oft-cited leading causes of death for women in the US, scientists were able to conclude that immune system dysfunction far surpassed the 10th leading cause of death for women under 65, and may also have contributed to higher mortality rates in women ages 15 and over than the “official” eight leading cause of death for such an age group.

  • The scientists found that 10 women between the ages of 55 and 74 died with autoimmune pernicious anemia as a contributing factor.
  • Two young girls under the age of 34 also died partially as a result of pernicious anemia.
  • All in all, 121 female deaths were linked with the autoimmune form of pernicious anemia.
  • Total deaths associated with autoimmune disorders numbered 9271.


If you’re diagnosed with pernicious anemia, then it’s crucial that you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent neurological damage, maintain healthy homocysteine levels in relation to your risk for stroke, and find a reversal of symptoms.

Unfortunately, as stated  in the article Pernicious anaemia patients “suffering needlessly”, many patients of severe vitamin B12 deficiency don’t receive enough vitamin B12, usually because their healthcare providers refuse to authorize vitamin B12 injections past a certain monthly allocation, regardless of the severity of symptoms.

For that reason, an overwhelming number of pernicious anemia patients choose to supplement with extra over-the-counter vitamin B12, for more energy, relief from chronic pain, and overall increased well-being.

Your turn!

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Like this? Read more:

Pernicious anaemia patients “suffering needlessly”

Autoimmune diseases: a leading cause of death among young and middle-aged women in the United States

Image(s) courtesy of coward_lion/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is an Allergy also an Autoimmune Disease? When the Immune System goes awry

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012



The immune system is a complex network of cells, and when things go wrong- as with autoimmune diseases, allergies, or immunodeficiency disorders- the results can be debilitating at best…or deadly, at worst.  Sometimes, telling the difference between various immune disorders can be confusing.  Like, what’s the difference between gluten hypersensitivity and celiac disease? Find the answer below…


The immune system

Your immune system is a busy place- it’s made up of your lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, bone marrow, and parts of your digestive system.  The immune system’s main purpose in life is to protect your body from dangerous antigens, which could be anything from bacteria  to viruses and toxic chemicals.  (Sometimes, even somebody else’s blood or saliva can be labeled by your immune system as an antigen.)

Once your immune system picks up the scent of an antigen, it goes into attack mode, producing antibodies to destroy the “alien invader.”   Not only that, but your immune system also sends white blood cells to gobble up the offending flu virus, germ, contaminant, or mutant cell.

Except when it doesn’t. Because sometimes, the immune system doesn’t react the way it’s expected to.  When that happens, it’s called an immune system disorder.

There are many types of immune disorders, including allergies, autoimmune diseases, and immunodeficiency disorders.


Allergy and Hypersensitivity

When your immune system has an inappropriate response to a perfectly safe substance, then that is called an allergic reaction, or hypersensitivity.  An example of an inappropriate reaction can be an overreaction to laundry detergent.  With chronic allergies, your immune system is trigger-happy, reacting to numerous stimuli by producing histamines, causing uncomfortable and sometimes fatal allergic reactions like swelling, hives, congestion, diarrhea, vomiting, and headache.

People don’t usually inherit specific allergies.  Still, if your parents (or at least, your mother) suffer from allergies, then you are likely prone to allergic reactions, as well.

Things people are allergic to:

  • Pets
  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Insect bites

Celiac and B12- Celiac Disease and Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body attacks healthy cells in your body, mistaking them for antigens.  There are over 80 kinds of autoimmune diseases, and they can affect any part of your body. Symptoms of autoimmune diseases often come and go; flare-ups cause debilitating chronic pain, and brief periods of remission offer some respite.  While the disease itself can’t always be cured, the symptoms can be treated.

Common autoimmune diseases:

  • Pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


Immunodeficiency disorders

Unlike autoimmune diseases or allergies, where the immune system is intact (albeit malfunctioning), immunodeficiency disorders occur when certain parts of the immune system are missing or deficient.  Usually, an immunodeficiency disorder involves insufficient or malfunctioning white blood cells, or not enough antibodies.

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is an example of an immune deficiency disorder caused by a human immunodeficiency virus- HIV.  Some immunodeficiency disorders are inherited, as well.

AIDS with B12 Deficiency

What’s the difference between an allergy, and autoimmune disorder, and an immune deficiency?

When you have allergies, it is because your body overreacts to otherwise harmless stimuli, causing uncomfortable and sometimes harmful symptoms.

When you have an autoimmune disease, your body essentially attacks itself, causing damage to your digestive system, respiratory system, or muscles, for example.

An immunodeficiency disorder is when your body stops protecting you from foreign stimuli like viruses, toxins, bacteria, or tumors.

Did you figure out the difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease?

With celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that causes serious harm to your digestive system.  People who have celiac disease must cut all gluten products from their diet.  If eating starchy bread, cakes, or crackers gives you a stomachache, that doesn’t mean you have celiac.  You might have gluten intolerance, which means that your body produces histamines whenever it detects gluten in your system.

If you liked this article, then show us some love!  Share this with friends, and leave your comments!

Read more about autoimmune disorders here:

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- 4 Causes, 1 Solution

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable


Autoimmune Diseases

Immunodeficiency disorders


Images, from top:

Esther Gibbons, taliesin, jeltovski,  Trygve.u

Kick your Sugar Addiction in 4 Weeks without Cravings

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011



Try the Dr. Oz Sugar Detox Diet- Break your sugar habit in just four weeks.  Start feeling better…immediately.


Think you can’t live without refined sugar?  Guess again.  White sugar is hard to avoid, but with determination and a willingness to feel healthier, you can overcome the sugar habit for good. 

By following this simple four-week plan, as featured on the Dr. Oz Show, you can easily eliminate sugar from your diet.  In as little as one week, you can start feeling healthier than you ever imagined.

Say goodbye to your sweetie- he wasn’t good for your, anyways.


Let’s face it- sugar is addicting.  It tastes good.  It lifts your mood, temporarily, at least.  Before it drops you right back on your bottom, but hey- you’re the forgiving type.  No matter how many times refined sugar lets you down; you’re always ready to let sugary snacks and sodas back into your life, faithfully giving them your unconditional love.  You look the other way while sugar flash floods into your veins, setting your insulin reaction off kilter, before finally settling into your gut to fester and spread infection.


Breaking up is hard to do.

It won’t be easy, and sugar will probably try to put up a fight.  Practically since birth, you’ve preferred the taste of sugar on your tongue; your taste buds numb to all but the most intense heights of sweetness.  You scoff at cowboys and their molasses candy.  If they had refined sugar then, they would have agreed, right?  No. By the 1900s, the average American consumed about five pounds of sugar per year.  Compare that to today, when the average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar in just one week.  In truth, we have trained ourselves to want more and more sugar; much in the same way a drug addict requires more drugs in order to attain the same feeling of euphoria.

By the 1900s, the average American consumed about five pounds of sugar per year.  Compare that to today, when the average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar in just one week.


Unless you break the sugary chains now, you will suffer a lifetime of sugar-induced problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weakened immunity
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney damage
  • Tooth and gum decay
  • Migraines
  • Hypertension
  • Colon infection

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps


Week 1: Cut back

For the first week of the sugar detox diet, you are just going to focus on not adding table sugar to your coffee, cereal, or other foods, save for one teaspoon.  Don’t worry about added sugars in packaged foods; they’re in there, but you can deal with that later.  Right now, this week, picture yourself tiptoeing your way out of sugar’s reach, one baby step at a time.

Week 2:  Seek and destroy

Remember those hidden sugars?  Well, now’s your chance to give them the old heave-ho.  Scour your pantry for all products containing any form of sugar.  Even if you think a certain food doesn’t have sugar, check anyways.  Many low-fat “health food” manufacturers compensate by adding sugar to their recipe.

Check ingredient labels for terms like:

  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Dextrose
  • Anything-ose


Week 3: Make new friends

Many healthy sweeteners hold up well in dessert recipes, and still more are good substitutes for sugar in your coffee or tea.  Visit your nearest health food store; they’re likely to have a cornucopia of natural sweeteners at your disposal.

Some healthy sugar substitutes to try:

  • Stevia, an herb that is available in powder and liquid form
  • Agave nectar, the byproduct of the agave cactus
  • Other sweeteners that are not promoted by Dr. Oz, but are nevertheless healthier than white sugar, are concentrated apple juice, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and honey, when used sparingly

Eight Great Juices that Heal and Protect your Body

Week 4: Add some spice

By now, you should have lost most of your sugar withdrawal.  Suddenly, your awakened taste buds appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits like apples, oranges, and grapes; fruit salads that you once took for granted now taste exotic and refreshing.  Experiment with different spices; many seasonings bring out the flavor in desserts.

Some sweetly satisfying flavor combinations to try:

  • Baked pears with nutmeg
  • Banana ice cream with cinnamon
  • Gingered carrot salad
  • French vanilla oatmeal
  • Natural applesauce with allspice


Read this:

12 Ways to Flavor your Drinking Water without Refined Sugar

The 20 Do’s and Don’ts of the GERD Diet

11 Easy Strategies for Eating Healthy on a Tight Food Budget

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Sugar Free In 28-Days | The Dr. Oz Show

Why and How To Break Your Sugar Addiction- Blisstree

Sugar Addicts Guide to Overcoming Sugar Addiction

Sugar’s effect on your health

Flickr, Pink Sherbet Photography, D. Sharon Pruitt

On the Run with Crohn’s? 6 Ways to Ease Public Restroom Anxiety

Friday, June 10th, 2011



Crohn’s disease is hard to deal with in the privacy of your own home, but on the road, it can be painful and devastating.


What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes inflammation of the bowels.

Scientists don’t know the exact cause of Crohn’s disease, only that it occurs when the immune system malfunctions.  

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Severe stomach cramping
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Mouth ulcers

Natural Treatments for the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

How does Crohn’s affect your daily life?

Crohn’s doesn’t leave much room for social anxiety as far as public restrooms are concerned; chronic Crohn’s disease patients rely on these “safety zones” to get them out of embarrassing predicaments while traveling or just shopping for clothes. But if you have anxiety about using a mall restroom, for example, then you’re likely to avoid leaving the house at all.  Don’t let awkwardness or nervousness about using public restroom facilities keep you from enjoying life.

Here are 6 coping mechanisms for overcoming public bathroom anxiety:

1) Check for supplies. Before you lock the door, make sure that there are enough toilet paper rolls and seat protectors in your stall. This sounds obvious, but imagine how embarrassed you’d feel if you had to beg a total stranger for supplies after the fact.

2) Stall for time. While in the bathroom stall, preoccupy yourself with rummaging through your messenger bag or purse, covering the toilet seat, or examining your shopping bags until you have enough privacy or until the noise level increases. Once you hear other occupants leave, you will probably feel more at ease.

3) Always opt for the private stall, as opposed to the open urinals. Resist the temptation to use the handicapped station, which is really reserved for people in wheelchairs.

4) Keep an mp3 player, such as an iPod, in your purse or pants pocket. Nobody will think anything amiss if you play a little music to mask background noise.

5) Plug your ears and close your eyes to create the illusion of being in a quiet, private restroom, and your nerves will react accordingly.

6) Pretend you’re at ease, even if you feel differently. Sometimes, just putting on an outward display of self-assurance will make you feel more self-assured on the inside, as well. Breathe slowly, and smile or hum while checking yourself in the mirror.  Act cool and confident, and everybody around you will assume that you are.

Read more about gastrointestinal disorders:

Gut Bugs:Winning the Bacteria Battle

Boost Energy Now! 20 Practical Tips for Fighting Fatigue




Nine Healthiest Canned Foods: Many Contain Vitamin B12

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Think canned foods are bad for your health?  Guess again. Many canned foods like pinto beans, canned pumpkin and smoked mackerel have essential vitamins like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin A, and also high protein.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois even proved that canned varieties of fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts in the produce section, having the same amount of vitamins and dietary fiber.


So you don’t have to sacrifice your family’s health just because you’re on a tight food budget.

Here are the 9 best canned foods you should be storing in your pantry:


  • Canned salmon

Canned salmons deserves top billing as best canned foods because it is a powerhouse of nutrition; salmon is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.  And because canned salmon manufacturers leave the bones in, you get added bone-strengthening calcium into the mix as well. For picky eaters, mash the soft bones into the salmon well and add a dollop of low cholesterol light mayonnaise.

  • Canned pinto beans

Sure, you could get dried pinto beans and soak them overnight…but why bother?

There’s no real nutritional difference between the old school method and cutting open a can of beans. Canned pinto beans are high in protein, folate and manganese.  For a healthier version of refried beans, try mashing pinto beans with an immersion blender. Cook it up in the microwave, add some hot sauce, a dash of olive oil and salt for flavor, and serve it up with hot salsa and tortillas.

  • Canned tomatoes

You say tomato…canned or fresh, tomatoes are full of vitamin C for a healthy immune system.  And canned tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant found in ketchup which becomes more effective by the heating process involved in making canned fruits and vegetables. Canned tomatoes are a flavorful addition to soups and stews.

  • Canned smoked mackerel

Canned smoked mackerel- another score for vitamin B12.  Smoked mackerel is also loaded with brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Canned fish is a great packing option for camping, hiking or trips; also a nutritious staple to store for emergencies, along with a package of high fiber crackers.

  • Canned sardines

Scoring a home run for B12, canned sardines have high protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  The tomato sauce varieties also contain the antioxidant lycopene. Look out for a low sodium brand of canned sardines for a healthy alternative. Kids don’t like sardines? Cook up some fish patties- mash up a can of sardines, add an egg, some bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of mayo and their favorite seasoning. Pan fry in olive oil until brown.

  • Canned kidney beans

Just like pinto beans, canned kidney beans are another great vegan source of B12 and high protein which are just as healthy in a can. Canned beans are also high in fiber, iron and vitamin B1. Make a delicious French bean salad with canned kidney beans, canned beets, flavored vinegar and sliced red onions.

  • Canned pumpkin


Avoid the sugary canned pumpkin pie fillings; all natural canned pumpkin puree has 500 times the amount of recommended vitamin A, along with high fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and magnesium. Incorporate into a healthy pumpkin pie recipe by substituting sugar with agave nectar or pure maple syrup.

  • Canned clams

Clams are high in vitamin B12, iron (more than in red meat), omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, but they also contain zinc, which is great for the immune system.  Stir up a clam chowder and pass the croutons.

  • Canned chicken

Another great staple item to keep in your pantry for emergencies, canned chicken is loaded with vitamin B12, high protein, selenium and niacin.  Cook up a pot of spicy chicken jumbo using canned chicken, canned okra, canned tomatoes and some fresh hot peppers.


Fox News

It’s National Nutrition Month: Are You Eating Your 5 Colors a Day?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

We all know we’re supposed to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day, but are you getting all five colors?

Not all vegetables were created equal; the same goes for the wide variety of fruits. Some can prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and premature blindness. The only way to be sure you’re getting maximum vitamins is to include groups from all 5 hues.

  1. Seeing red? Fruits like tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers and pink grapefruit a phytochemical called lycopene, which many scientists believe is beneficial for preventing prostate and breast cancer.
  2. Orange foods are high in alpha and beta carotene, which your body needs to produce vitamin A.  Fruits like cantaloupe, tangerines and apricots have powerful antioxidants for killing  free radicals which threaten our immune system; yams, carrots and pumpkins are also good for your eyes and bones.  Now orange you glad you know that?
  3. Feeling yellow? Many yellow and green veggies  like wax beans, artichokes and corn contain lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals which prevent you from going blind in your old age.
  4. Go for the green when shopping for vegetables; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and green cabbage help to rid your body of cancer-causing toxins.
  5. Berry-licious shades of  purple, red and blue mean the presence of brain-boosting and heart-healthy antioxidants; deep purple eggplants, berries, radishes and plums will keep your clock ticking.

Wanna read more about foods that are good for boosting memory?


Eating Well

7 Celebs with Lupus

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

At least 1.5 million Americans have lupus, an autoimmune disorder which affects all parts of the body, including the joints, skin and organs. Not to be confused with HIV, lupus is a noncontagious condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells.

Sufferers of any autoimmune disease are recommended to boost their metabolism with vitamin supplements such as vitamin B12.

Here are 6 famous people who have lupus:

1) Lady Gaga, though not currently exhibiting any of the symptoms, told Larry King that she has tested “borderline positive” for lupus.  According to the Lupus Foundation of America and The American College of Rheumatology, a positive diagnosis of lupus may takes years and a battery of tests to determine.  Lady Gaga’s aunt Joanne died of lupus at the age of 19.

2) Toni Braxton. upon being diagnosed with lupus, tweeted to her fans, “Lupus medication actually causes most women to gain weight. But we’re still fabulous! I’m going to work it on out.” The drugs she referred to, Corticosteroids, are a form of steroid medication.

3) Musician Seal bears the mark of a skin-related form of lupus on his face; his scars are a result of discoid lupus, which causes extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light and hair loss.

4) Cori Broadus, daughter of  rapper celebrity Snoop Dogg, first started showing the signs of lupus at the age of 6. She is able to do all the same things other kids her age do, like sports and secular activities, thanks to lupus medication.

5) Ball player Tim Raines first experienced the symptoms of lupus in 1999 when he began to feel fatigue and swelling in the knees during a game.  It turned out that lupus was attacking his kidneys; radiation therapy was prescribed and he was able to continue his career in sports until retiring in 2002.

6) Charles Kuralt died of heart disease only weeks after being diagnosed with lupus. More common in females, lupus in male patients is often undiagnosed.

7) Novelist Flannery O’ Connor passed away at the age of 39 when the removal of a tumor triggered a pre-existing condition of lupus. Her father also suffered from lupus. Close relatives of lupus carriers have a 5% chance of developing the condition themselves.

More can be learned about lupus at the Lupus Foundation of America.



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