Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cure for Cancer, Autoimmunity, Allergies, etc.

The immune system is powerful enough to provide protection from disease. Unfortunately, to act decisively the cells of the immune system have to be able to discriminate between self and non-self. Poor discrimination can lead to autoimmunity, cancer or infection. New approaches promise the precise use of interleukins, to reset self-recognition, eliminate a wide range of diseases and liberalize organ transplantation.

IL-2 is the Cytokine Responsible for Suppression of Autoimmunity -- Tolerance

Self/non-self discrimination is dependent on cellular communication and much of that communication takes place via small proteins called interleukins. First and foremost among the interleukins is interleukin-2 (IL-2). IL-2 is made by cells of the immune system, lymphocytes. Mice that are either defective in producing IL-2 or the lymphocyte receptor for IL-2, IL2R alpha, also called CD25, rapidly develop autoimmune diseases, such as type I diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease. Thus IL-2 is necessary for both effective immunological defenses against pathogens and suppression of immune attacks on self tissues, i.e. autoimmunity.

IL-2 Balance Achieved with Complex of IL-2 and Anti-IL-2 Antibodies

Direct injection of IL-2 has some impact on cancers, but is very difficult to control. This should be expected, because local environments should determine if the IL-2 will stimulate aggressive immunological attacks or development of regulatory T cells, Tregs, that produce tolerance.

More subtle control is achieved by using antibodies that bind to particular regions of the IL-2. The resulting IL-2/anti-IL-2 complexes can be used to stimulate immunological reactions to an antigen, which is useful for vaccines, or can stimulate tolerance for use in organ transplantation.

Future applications may be in the cure of a wide variety of autoimmune diseases, e.g. type I diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, asthma; degenerative diseases, such as arthritis or athersclerosis, and cancers.

Webster KE, Walters S, Kohler RE, Mrkvan T, Boyman O, Surh CD, Grey ST, Sprent J. 2009. In vivo expansion of T reg cells with IL-2-mAb complexes: induction of resistance to EAE and long-term acceptance of islet allografts without immunosuppression. J Exp Med. Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print]


Kevin said...

Hi Dr A,

I read your report:

In dealing with inflammation, do you think it's a cause for BPH which eventually deteriorates into prostate cancer? I was diagnosed with BPH a few months ago. So far I've resisted the doctor's recommendation to take Avodart. I'm taking Saw Palmetto, pygeum and lignans. Also I've changed to a mainly vegetarian diet. I've read Ornish diet but don't follow it mainly because he's a fan of wheat products. I've also read Sear's The Anti-inflammation Diet which I think is essentially a low-calorie diet. Also I read Shippen's book from ten years ago. In it he says the same thing as your article, that estrogen is a cause of BPH. I'm following a diet similar to his recommendations. Any idea if a vegetarian diet high in estrogenic compounds might reverse BPH or at least prevent its worsening? Or is is a situation that requires something stronger?

Not looking for medical advice here, just your insights.



Dr. Art Ayers said...

My first suggestion for people who have some kind of annoying symptoms is to ask a vet. But I guess the problem here is that dogs don't have prostate problems that increase with age. Sorry about your problem. I've already looked up the Wikipedia article, since I am getting to that stage in life where standing and waiting is inevitable.

Since prostate problems are linked to Western diet and lifestyle, the obvious advice is to live like a rural Asian.

Squatting is a big advantage for rural Asian women in easing child birth. Maybe physical exercise and circulation in the lower half of the body makes the prostate susceptible to inflammation and erectile dysfunction. That suggests exercise of the lower body and more than cardio -- perhaps yoga.

I think that wheat vs. rice is informative, because wheat is a problem in an inflammatory environment in many inflammatory bowel problems. That also leads to probiotics and all of the typical absorption problem deficiencies. I wouldn't head in the direction of a vegetarian diet, because it is just harder to meet your nutritional needs with no obvious benefits.

I have worked with plants as a plant scientist and I literally wrote the chapter on toxic plant chemicals produced in response to infection of plant tissue. I consider agriculture to be a necessary evil and I don't trust plants -- they are killers down to their vascular tissue. I don't think that adding plant estrogens is a good thing, since estrogens support prostate cancer.

I think that Sears gets it mostly right. It is a hypoglycemic diet and I think that avoiding blood sugar spikes is important. So you should eat like a knowledgeable diabetic who minimizes blood sugar spikes by avoiding more than a couple of ounces of starch/sugar in a meal.

Increase your vitamin D to 5000 IU/day; vitamin C to 2000mg/d, glucosamine 1500 mg/d, tend to your B12 and other B vitamins, as well as the cysteine/methionine/glutatione oxidation axis (This is an issue that I haven't mastered. The link between prostate inflammation and erectile dysfunction points to nitric oxide donor depletion [arginine?], similar to asthma. ). Many of these deficiencies use up amino acids, so protein abundance in the diet should be supported. Plant anti-oxidants may reduce the depletion of amino acids and vitamin C.

The omega-6/3 ratio is another big deal and I think it boils down to getting rid of most vegetable oils except olive oil and cooking with butter/coconut. Enjoy lots of fatty fish, because it is almost as cheap as the DHA/EPA supplements (take at least 8 capsules a day).

Sears talks about ways to monitor inflammation in his books. I think that you need a way to determine your level of inflammation, since that is the source of all of your problems. A sound gut flora may also reduce inflammation. Don't forget to eliminate all other sources of inflammation such as dental problems.

Let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Dr Ayers

"I don't trust plants -- they are killers down to their vascular tissue."

Would you consider it optimal for health to minimize cosumption of vegetables and fruit? This is contrary to mainstream advice, but most promoting them don't have your qualifications.

My intake of them has been minimal for the past few years. Don't really care for them. I just wonder sometimes if my exclusion of them is detrimental to my health (which presently is fine).

Thank you


Dr. Art Ayers said...

That is a great question.

I tend to be a little contrary, just because all of the advances to our thinking in science require us to give up the status quo. Also, most medicine is not based on science.

We need to eat plants, but I don't want people to think that plants are freebies -- just because it is green, does not mean that it is all good for you. At the same time, it is good to nibble lots of different kinds of plants.

Most of the advice by professional nutritionists is not based on science. Cultural wisdom is also heavily tainted in the West by decades of advertising. Vegetarian diets have been popularized and mainstreamed to the extent that they are now unhealthy. You can't live by bread alone.

I have written a hundred short articles to provide some simple principles for eating and living. Part of those suggestions is to eat lots of greens (and other colors) of plants. The reason behind that suggestion is to avoid some of the problems of mainstream eating, e.g. starch and vegetable oils, provide for some essential nutrients and feed your gut flora.

So the bottom line is: Learn to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables with lots of spices. Browse and avoid the starch/fructose.

If you want some pragmatic advice about diet and nutrition, go to Nigel's web site.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Dr. Ayers,

Just wanted to say, I think you have a great perspective.

"Most of the advice by professional nutritionists is not based on science. Cultural wisdom is also heavily tainted in the West by decades of advertising."

Exactly. And the current "cultural wisdom" taints our observational studies as well, leading to spurious associations, difficult-to-interpret results and self-fulfilling prophecies.

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