Autoimmunity, Swelling, Hives, Insomnia, and Fatigue Relieved by Treating a Viral Infection and High Iron Levels
Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi, everyone. This is Dr. Ruscio, and I’m here with David. He’s had some nice results lately, and I asked him if he’d be willing to… actually he was kind of looking forward to doing one of these conversations. One of the first things you said when you first came in was, “I’m looking forward to doing one of those cool conversations with you,” so here you are on the other end only a few months later. Can you tell people kind of what some of the things that you were dealing with when you first came in were?
David: Yeah, when I first came in, I was experiencing chronic delayed pressure urticaria, which is basically what the medical community uses to call chronic hives. I was getting swelling definitely anywhere where I applied pressure, and then I would just be getting random hives every day when I woke up. My body was trying to detox something throughout the night, and then when I woke up I would be swollen.
D: And then that along with my sleep was very interrupted, tired throughout the day, feelings of low testosterone. Yeah, basically that was kind of what I was experiencing.
DR: So we had a few different things that we were kind of trying to work through, and I want to come back to what we were thinking in terms of diagnoses and how all that played out, but for people who are just wondering, like, the bottom line, how you’re feeling now, can you kind of give us a snapshot of how you’re doing currently?
D: Yeah, I would say I’m feeling 95 percent better. Last time we spoke over Skype, I was telling you that I had been kind of tracking how many days I had without swelling consecutively, and I got to about 40 or 45 and just called it good, called it quits.
DR: I was super happy to hear that. Yeah, that’s great.
D: Yeah, so I don’t know exactly if I’m in remission yet. This is an autoimmune thing that I’ve been through twice before in my life, so I’m not exactly sure where it is along those lines, but I feel great. Energy is back up, sleeping good, sleeping all throughout the night, not waking up feeling like I need to pee or anything like that. And the skin issues are gone. I’m not having the swelling, no hives. So, yeah, feeling awesome.
DR: Yeah, overall I think you’ve done really well. You mentioned autoimmune, which urticaria does… some people are putting in the autoimmune box, not everyone, but certainly I think that makes a lot of sense. Some of this seemed to kind of onset post viral because you had a viral issue before this all started.
DR: One of the things that people have heard me say before is viruses are known to initiate or propagate or worsen autoimmunity, so that may have been what happened in your case, and that’s kind of a good segue to some of the stuff that we did. We found a minor bacterial imbalance in the gut, not small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, just kind one of these bacteria that’s maybe pathogenic, and you look at this and you say, well, depending on if the person this bacteria presents in is not feeling well, we might want to address it. If they’re perfectly healthy, we can probably let it alone. In your case, we did a little bit of work with low-dose antimicrobials to help clear that guy out. We did a short course of antiviral therapy, especially based upon the viral issue you had had shortly before coming into the office and based upon some of your blood work findings, and those seemed to be marginally helpful. The gut, I would say maybe we got about 30 percent improvement from doing work with the gut.
DR: The antivirals didn’t seem to really yield a whole lot of change, but the thing that I found was most interesting was one of the final things that we found when we kind of went back and opened up our scope a little bit, we did find quite a bit of iron overload. I think you were probably consuming too much red meat, and you were also using a cast iron pan. Not to say that red meat is bad, but I think you were consuming too much of it for your own genetics, per se, and your iron levels were starting to accumulate in the blood. So we did a low-iron diet for a short period of time and some natural agents that can help chelate and bind and clear out iron, and that, I think, got you that last kind of 70 percent of improvement. That really seemed to be when you turned the corner.
D: Yeah. Basically with the low-iron diet, I was maybe doing red meat once or twice a week now instead of making red meat my staple protein, and I did switch to more fish and chicken.
DR: Right. So in your case, nothing incredibly exotic, but certainly an important piece where we just needed to figure out the dietary piece. We’ll continue to monitor you, but I anticipate that we’ll, over the next several months, figure out what your tolerable threshold (is).
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Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area and distance patients via phone and Skype.