Need Nutrients? Try Bone Broths!

I first posted this blog 11-12-2013. I have reposted it here because bone broths are alsoimportant sources of nutrients and great taste in that Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).


Earlier today a friend asked me for my chicken stock recipe. I had to confess that the recipe did not belong to me but to Sally Fallon. Fallon shares her recipes for chicken, beef, and fish stock on the in the cookbook that she wrote with Mary Enig (Nourishing Tradiions: the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats).

Fallon takes a position on almost every controversy that we consider when comparing the health benefits of dietary styles. She definitely believes that traditional animal broths and stocks provide a basis for both tasteful cuisine and good health.

Because Fallon challenges conventional nutritional knowledge so strongly, and provides so many instructions for creating health enhancing traditional foods, there are many websites and blogs that discuss her viewpoints and her recipes. My favorite site is the Nourishing Cook. The creator of this site, Kim Knoch, has set as her goal to cook every recipe in Nourishing Traditions. as her goal. I enjoy reading about her successes and her failures, as well as to how her family responds to each attempt. But what brought Kim to my mind today is her reason for being so committed to nutrient dense foods.

Nutrient-dense eating is personally important to me because I need all of the nutrients that I can get. I had weight loss surgery in 2001 and lost 200 pounds, and as a result of that became severely anemic and had a shortage of other vitamins and minerals in my blood. ‘Nourishing Traditions‘ got my eating back on track. I made sure that everything that I put in my mouth was the best quality that it could be. It worked, and my anemia has been corrected and my vitamin/mineral levels are normal, partly due to the methods that I talk about in this blog.

Like Kim my friend has had weight loss surgery and is anemic and dealing with other nutritional deficits. My friend also has lupus.  She needs all of the health enhancing nutrients that she can get. Like Kim my friend must cook for a husband as well as for herself. I think that she will enjoy reading about how Kim fits meal planning into a life that includes a husband, two teenagers, a full time job, and even playing in an orc tohestra, while keeping stress at a level that is manageable.

Bone broths are the starting points for many nutritious and delicious recipes. And because they are easy to cook they are a great place to start when considering the benefits of a traditional dietary lifestyle.

People with autoimmune conditions also need all of the nutrients that they can get. Bone broth is both highly nutritious and tasty.

Broth is Beautiful

In 2013 I was still living in my house and had lots of freezer space. I only made bone broth several times a year. Now that I have downsized, I make it more often and  in smaller quantities. I have been trying slow cooker recipes. I do not yet have a favorite. Do you have a favorite bone broth recipe for slow cookers? If so, please share.



Vegetables and the AIP


For years I have lived a nutrient dense whole foods dietary lifestyle. My customary approach to food was disrupted by the growth of a cyst on my spine and the surgery to remove it.  While recovering (or not recovering) from the spine surgery, I decided to transition to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), slowly. Chronologically, I am 71 years old. Physiologically, I am much older. I approach most things slowly.

I knew that the basis of the AIP in the Paleolithic dietary style meant that I must eliminate grains. I also knew, from reading the early work of Wahls, that I would also need to eliminate legumes and nightshades from my diet.

The first question that I asked was what plant foods can I have on the AIP and how much of them may I eat.  I quickly discovered that vegetables and fruits are very important in the AIP. Because of the nutrients they contribute (fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants), vegetables are not generally limited on the AIP.

My first step into the AIP required that I was getting plenty of vegetables at each meal.


In the Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, Ballantyne describes the nutritional benefits of leafy vegetables and writes, “Eat as many and as much of these leafy vegetables as you like, ideally with every meal.”


Ballantyne also makes it clear that I am free to choose other nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.






With the few already mentioned exceptions, I am free to choose from roots, tubers, and bulbs.

The bulbs of the aromatic alliums are also valued on the AIP. In addition, I can also choose from “vegetable like fruits” and have some choices from among sea vegetables. These I will discuss later. The bottom line is that transitioning to the AIP did not require me to give up vegetables.

In fact, Ballantyne does not mention a serving limitation until she gets to fruit.

You just have to make sure that your daily fructose intake is between ten and twenty grams—that’s about two to five servings of fruit a day.

She, of course, offers a table that shows the amount of fructose in various fruits. I also used the Nutrient List of the USDA Food Composition Databases. I realized that on those days when I eat whole fruit that is relatively high in fructose, I need to eat only 2-3 rather than five servings.

The AIP is a 30-day elimination diet. After the 30 days there is a period of reintroduction. I have eliminated coffee for more than 30 days. I was well on my way to making the other eliminations when I slipped on, or rather into, a bowel of vegetables with noodles hidden on the bottom. I have now started again.

The only food to which I have had a reaction during this time is beets! I love beets. I have eaten them all my life. The last two times that I ate them I developed a very unwelcome digestive issue. That requires additional investigation.

I have also continued to use Ted’s Pain Cream. It has greatly reduced the pain signals being transmitted along healthy nerves from tissues that have healed. This has allowed me to sleep longer and that has been very refreshing.

Ted’s Pain Cream – I have decided!

The January 2018 storms arrived a few weeks into my recovery from spine surgery. The changes in barometric pressure and the cold knocked me off my still unsteady feet. I no longer felt the surgical incision, the arthritis in my spine, and the neuropathic pain from nerve compression and damage as separate from the arthritis in my sacroiliac joint, hip, shoulders, wrists, and fingers. My entire body was painfully inflamed.

I did not want opioids or corticosteroids, so while waiting for the weather to change, I climbed under my favorite quilt, drank my turmeric and ginger tea, and read social media posts. Scrolling through Facebook, I saw an NPR story about the decision Theodore Price and his colleagues made to release a topical treatment for pain before clinical trials – Breakthrough Pain Treatment Or Snake Oil? You Decide.

I had used a number of the mind- body techniques that are in my repertoire. These techniques helped to keep my anxiety levels from going through the roof. They also helped me to stave off the slide into the pits of despair and the boughs of despond. They did not make a dent in the pain.

Neither did the array of topical pain medications in my possession. I have prescription patches, both lidocaine and diclofenac. I have prescription and OTC gels and creams. They are largely ineffective and sometimes down right irritating. I also have my own blends of carrier and essential oils. These at the very least leave my skin soft and smell pleasant.

I decided  to visit Ted’s Brain Science website for an introduction to the science behind the product. I do know my “way around a methodology or two” and I have spent 40 years immersed in the prose of academic science, so I read Ted’s their published research.

I am familiar with the idea that nerves can become hyperexcited and continue to transmit pain signals long after the initial injury has healed. This can be called “false pain.” In other words I was fascinated by the research and could not resist trying Ted’s Pain Cream. As usual, I wanted the product as soon as possible and ordered it through Amazon Prime.

I have chronic muscle and joint pain for which I am prescribed and an oral NSAID. I have also used various topical creams and gels. I was very interested in comparing the effect of Ted’s Pain Cream.

After several days of use, the cream produced using Ted’s Brain Science appears to have dialed down the “false pain” that I was experiencing in muscles and joints. The pain from damaged tissues is carried to the brain along healthy nerves. False pain occurs when these otherwise healthy nerves become hyperexcited. As advertised, Ted’s Pain Cream appears to do something much more exciting than mask chronic muscle and joint pain. This is exciting news because when it is effective, you no longer need to use it.

I am familiar with idea of oversensitive and hyperexcited nerves because in addition to pain from damaged tissues, I also have neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is coming from injured or damaged nerves. This distinction is not important to most people because they have no experience with the neuropathic pain that comes from damaged nerves. A recent report estimates that only 10% of the US population does.

To the one in ten members of the population experiencing neuropathic pain, the distinction is very important. The treatment approaches that reduce the pain carried to the brain from damaged tissues along healthy nerves are not effective in treating the pain of damaged nerves.

Trying to ignore severe neuropathic pain is like trying to ignore multiple smoke alarms. I confess that I have shut off a smoke alarm by disconnecting the battery. I have spent decades looking for an approach that has the same effect on neuropathic pain.

Prescription medications have not provided a solution. Those of us with neuropathic pain that is severe enough to require treatment are prescribed drugs that were developed to treat epilepsy and antidepressants.

I have adverse reactions to antidepressants and therefore do not take them (though reading this literature has me designing a new experiment).

I do take the gabapentin that I am prescribed. Just before my recent surgery, I titrated up to 1800 mg per day. The Cochrane Review rates the quality of evidence that supports the efficacy of gabapentin in reducing the neuropathic pain some people experience when they have diabetes or after shingles as moderate.

Over half of those treated with gabapentin will not have worthwhile pain relief but may experience adverse events.

I do experience several troubling side effects from  gabapentin. These side effects leave me on the horns of a dilemma. I cannot assess with confidence the level of pain relief that gabapentin provides me. In order to do that, I would have to stop taking it and start again. I am unlikely to do that. I am not the least bit ashamed that the thought of my neuropathic pain increasing because I stopped gabapentin is too frightening.

The lumbar plexus, labelled.

The lumbar plexus

My injured nerves are in the lumborsacral plexus.  The pain that I experience from these nerves is not the “darkside” of  neuroplasticity and memory. The pain is not the result of a memory of an injury that has now healed. The nerves are under constant pressure from the arthritis in my spine. The sciatic nerve is chronically compressed by the  dysfunction in my sacroiliac joint. Sciactica is a form of nerve injury with which many people are familiar. For some it happens only once. For others it comes and comes and goes. For me it is constant. I often find it difficult to differentiate the pain from the joints and the pain from the nerves.

medically accurate illustration of a painful sciatic nerve

medically accurate illustration of a painful sciatic nerve

The nerves that are damaged radiate severe pain into the buttock, hip, leg, and foot on the right side of my body. The pain in my buttock makes sitting difficult. In addition to pain, the damaged nerves cause numbness and muscle weakness in my leg and foot. This makes it difficult to walk and limits driving.

Damaged nerves also cause the sensation of pins and needles as well as burning. The bottom of my right foot often feels as though it is aflame. I definitely empathize with those who have peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes. I can stand without assistance for only a few minutes.

In order to reduce the compression on these spinal nerves, I have been receiving epidural steroid injections for the past nine years. I have also had two decompression surgeries. I believe that some of these nerves are now so damaged that taking pressure off them does not silence their song of distress. The hyperexcitability of these damaged nerves is exponentiated.

Ted and his colleagues do not advertise Ted’s Pain Cream for the treatment of neuropathic pain. They do not claim that it can soften the pain from damaged  nerves which are inherently hyperexcited. If this cream does reduce the volume of my nerve pain, “I will be over the moon.”

As advertised, Ted’s Pain Cream appears to dial down the volume of pain signals carried along hyperactive, but otherwise healthy, nerves from injured muscles and joints.

If you want to try it for yourself, you can buy it through or directly from Ted’s Brain Science site.

I will keep working on my diet. Reducing inflamation will reduce my pain.




An Autoimmune Protocol Reset

I was discharged from the hospital one day after the removal of a synovial cyst and some scar tissue from my spine.  I will be writing about that experience. What is important here is that several days later I was able to push my rolling walker into the kitchen, take a frozen prepared meal out of the freezer, and heat it in a microwave oven.

That is not my customary dietary style. For years I have preferred a nutrient dense whole foods diet that excludes prepared foods, refined oils, and sugar. My lactose intolerance also means that I customarily limit dairy.   I do not cook in a microwave. By the third week after surgery, I was feeling the effects from eating the prepared foods and dreaming about the meals I would prepare for myself when I able to cook.

I was reading about food and health, especially chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.  The autoimmune diseases with which I have been diagnosed are in remission, technically. That means that the disease activity in my body is too low to be detected by standard testing methods. However, I have been living with autoimmune diseases for more than 50 years. That means that I am one trigger away from a flare.  I tend to think of the autoimmune conditions as organic malware lurking in the background waiting for a single signal to launch an all out destructive attack on the systems of my body.

I also know that I am still living with chronic inflammation and pain. I am still living with unending fatigue. I sometimes experience nerve wracking brain fog.  I know that I am extremely photosensitive. By the first of March the need to protect myself from UV rays will require energy that I do not have. Each of these diminishes the quality of my life.

I am fighting back.  I believe that improving the quality of my life requires a complete dietary reset. I have decided to accomplish that reset using the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Transitioning to a Paleo dietary style requires that I continue to avoid processed foods, refined oils, sugars, and dairy while also avoiding grains and legumes.

The AIP then helps to identify other foods that may be problematic for me by eliminating them for at least 30 days and then allowing for their gradual reintroduction. The foods that must be eliminated for at least 30 days are eggs, dairy, nightshades, nuts and seeds.

My approach to implementing the AIP will be guided largely by the work of Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.  In her blog ( she generously provides all the information that I, or anyone else, needs to start an AIP lifestyle

AIP ReverseI have also invested in Ballantyne’s books. The first book that I am reading is The Paleo Approach,. This book is not just for people who have autoimmune diseases. It is for anyone who wants to understand how the foods we eat, and our lifestyle behaviors influence our health.

I want to improve my own health. I must try to understand the science behind AIP. I must implement the approach in a way that fits my personal circumstances. I am thinking of it as “AIP for One – On a budget.” I have a lot of work to do.

The work is not just for me. The secondary audience for this work includes those people with whom I share an inherited  propensity toward chronic disease. For us, this may be more than a simple dietary reset. It may be an AIP epigenetic reset. Another audience for this work is anyone who is interested in Ballantyne’s presentation of the contemporary scientific literature dealing with the impact of food, and lifestyle on health.

I would love to discuss this book with people. Let me know if you would be interested in reading this book and joining in the discussion.





The Autoimmune Protocol and Recovery from Surgery

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, I am a devoted advocate of “eating the rainbow.”  The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) does not allow all of the plant based foods that are included in my customary diet. As I eased into the AIP I concentrated on the beautiful array of plant foods that are allowed or encouraged.

For details on the AIP go to the website of Sarah Ballantyne, PhD



When I was snowed in by two winter storms, I worked with what was in my larder. There were collard greens that I cooked and froze before my surgery. There was broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and spinach.

The leafy green and cruciferous vegetables were complemented by the orange. I had carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Since I am still recovering from spine surgery and will always have issues with my back, I opted for “easy prep” dishes. Everyday after breakfast my orange option went into the oven. I made enough at one time to have them for both my midday and evening meals.

The first time that I drove my car was six weeks after surgery. My first stop was at the auto shop for the state mandated inspection and the second stop was the grocery store. While I waited for my inspection to be completed, my brain was screaming for red vegetables: beets, beets, beets!

I bought two bunches of beets. I oven roasted them with the skin on and then wiped the skin off with a paper towel just before eating them. The first day I ate them while they were still hot. The next day I ate them cold. They were so tangy and sweet that no seasoning was required beyond a little salt and pepper.

I bought melons, and grapes, and blood oranges. I also bought a red cabbage which I prepared with onions and apples. My preparation was similar to this recipe with honey crisp apples in greater quantity.

I also bought parsnips. Today I prepared honey glazed carrots and parsnips. I mixed olive oil and honey and rolled the carrots and parsnips (cut to similar sizes) in the mixture and then cooked uncovered in 350 degree oven until the smallest pieces were tender. This dish was almost as good as my sweet potatoes and apples dish that has the same color profile. For lunch I added spinach as my green. For supper it will be broccoli.

This protocol insists that I need nutrients that only come from flesh. I am accustomed to “eating meat as a condiment.” I am working my way up to the number of meat, poultry, and seafood servings required by this protocol. The only organ meat that I have added to my diet is calf liver and onions. This is a dish from my childhood. My body seems to demand liver after every major surgery. It is available to me. It is easy to prepare. And I do like the taste.

Yesterday, I also prepared slow cooked oxtails. Oxtails are another beef product with which I have a life long familiarity. I confess that I have already eaten the smaller pieces as finger food. I put grass-fed beef bone broth into a large slow cooker along with one sliced white onion, one sliced red onion, two teaspoons of minced garlic, and two bay leaves.


I started this mixture to heating on high while I seasoned the oxtails with salt and pepper and seared them on all sides in coconut oil. I added the hot meat to the heating mixture. The small pieces were ready after five hours on high. The huge pieces were given an additional 2.5 hours on low. Oh yeah, the liquid is delicious.

I am still weak and in pain. Shopping for nutrient dense whole foods and preparing them for myself takes a great deal of effort. That is a statement of fact and not a complaint. I know that physical exertion is required for physical rehabilitation. At this point in my recuperation, I think that using my limited energy and mobility to provide myself with nutritious meals is worth the effort.

I also require intellectual stimulation and adventure in the form of novel experiences. Experimenting with AIP provides both. I am resetting my palate and starting a new topic of conversation between my gut and my brain. My entire immune system will be the judge.

The Diagnosis is In

I have a cyst on my spine. Surgery to remove it planned for next month. I hope that the surgery will reduce my pain and my neurological deficits.

The cyst is probably associated with the spondylolosthesis ( discussed in previous blogs.

There are some thoughts specific to me. I have decided to take a risk as a patient. My surgeon is leaving town the next day. I am trusting his partners to care for me during the initial recovery period. This decision is also based on my past surgical experiences: so far, so good.

I am also prepared for the idea that there will be a fusion surgery in my future. I hope that once they are inside my back next month, they don’t decide that the more a complex surgery is required immediately. Recovery from fusion requires some planning.

As a health educator I wonder how wide spread these issues are among my kin. My back woes started at birth. I am not the only member of my kin group born with the spinal defects that have become more painful and debilitating as I age. I wonder how many younger kin were born with the same defects and how they are being helped to avoid the most negative consequences. It is time to talk about better spine health for future generations.



Practicing What I Preach

As a health educator I encourage people to get routine medical exams and tests. I try to practice what I preach.  I understand how difficult routine health checks can be for people with certain chronic illnesses because we often live in the land of urgent care.  I spent the spring and summer of 2017 in that land fighting allergic reactions and infections that interfered with my ability to breathe.  Breathing has a top-level priority.


The last infection left fluid trapped in my middle ear. The urgent care physician prescribed antibiotics and gave me a referral to otolaryngology. By the time I got to the exam room of the specialist, the fluid was out of my ear and the infection was gone. He insisted that it had never been there. The arrogance and the flawed logic ticked me off and that visit did not go well. Nevertheless, he diagnosed my hearing loss from my speaking volume and sent me off with the audiologist.


She thought that I might qualify for a used hearing aid at $25.  I am not quite that poor. Since then, I have been fielding calls from aggressive hearing aid sales representatives. Tomorrow, I finally have an appointment with a group that accepts my insurance.


I love this time of year! The angle at which UV rays from the sun are hitting the earth at this latitude means that this photosensitive woman can just get up and leave the house without taking loads of protective measures. THIS MEANS THAT MY NEIGHBORS ARE NOT ABLE TO SYNTHESIZE D3 FROM EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT. THEY NEED TO SUPPLEMENT.


This is also the time of year when I schedule routine visits with my physicians. In the last few weeks I have seen my colon specialist, yet I still need to schedule a colonoscopy. I have seen my ophthalmologist. I see him twice a year, as everyone taking Plaquenil should. I have also seen my rheumatologist. I drive on the hated I95 to see him. This is not a time in my life to be considering a new physician in this specialty.


I have also had several treatments, transforaminal epidural steroid injections under fluoroscopic guidance, from my neurologist/interventional pain management specialist. Those injections are designed to reduce the pain, numbness, and weakness that I experience because of spinal stenosis.


Since those treatments were not successful, I got a second opinion from an orthopedist. I was really hoping that he would say that some of my symptoms were being caused by the arthritis in my hip and SI joints. The orthopedist agreed with the pain management specialist. They both believe I do have arthritis in these joints but that the pain, numbness, and weakness are being referred from my lumbar spine. They both agree that I need to see my neurosurgeon.  Today I got an MRI. On Friday I see my neurosurgeon. Yes, I am dancing and singing and making like happy.


Next week I see my PCP. He is an internist. I have already been by his office to have my blood drawn so we will be going over those results. There will be a full metabolic panel. And a full lipid panel. I cannot lie to him about what and how much I have been eating. The evidence will be staring us in the face. I will use my pain and lack of mobility as excuses and he will just give me the look. Sometimes knowing better does not mean doing better.  There will also be a CBC (with differentials), thyroid levels, and a 25OHD level. These numbers do have meaning. Together we check levels against behavior and set goals for the next checkup. This usually takes about 45 minutes.


The orthopedist gave me an order for aquatic PT and my evaluation appointment is set for December 14. I am excited about that without even a hint of sarcasm. I love the water. And the therapeutic pool at Sheltering Arms is a safe place for me to have PT. I have been out of the water for too long. I miss it. I need the exercise to keep my metabolic indices within the normal range.


I have no more doctor visits planned for 2017. I start again in January of 2018 with my annual visit to the gynecologist. The dental hygienist is the next health care professional in my date book.







Just asking?

What Does “Our Ancestors” Mean in a Bilateral Kinship System

Ours is a bilateral kinship system in which we reckon our descent through both our mother’s side (maternal) and our father’s side (paternal). In the study of comparative family systems, the group formed through this pattern of descent is referred to as a “kindred.” Kindreds have several characteristics that distinguish them from the kin groups formed in unilineal or bilineal descent systems (

A kindred is a group of relatives who are linked together by a single individual who can trace descent and/or marriage relationships to every other member. Our kindreds typically include spouses and in laws (affine) as well as those to whom we are related by blood (consanguine). Clans do not include spouses or in laws.

The concept of a kindred captures the essence of the group we are attempting to identify when we consider DNA contributed by both parents and look for our DNA cousins on both sides and down multiple lines. Understanding that bilateral kinship systems lead to the formation of kindreds rather than clans also helps to explain why need to search for our ancestors. During the search process it is important to remember that our cousins only share some ancestors with us.

Our kindreds are unique, idiosyncratic, and personal. For example, even though my mother has three children, I am my father’s only child. This means that while I share some of my ancestors with many people, my complete list of ancestors, as well as my kindred, is unique to me. I am the only individual who is linked to every other member of my kindred by descent and/or marriage. I do not share all my ancestors with any other person.

My daughter has both a kindred and a set of ancestors that are not identical to mine. My sister has a kindred and set of ancestors that are not identical to mine. There is not a single person on the planet with whom I share a single set of ancestors. Being the only child of my parents makes me an extreme case. It is only full siblings that have a common set of ancestors. Cousins  only share some ancestors. For that reason, I find that in some discussions the concept of “our ancestors” is ambiguous.

I have been given an assignment that includes the concept and I am not sure what it means. I need concept clarification. What exactly do people in our bilateral kinship system mean when they say, “Our ancestors.” To what group are they referring? Are they referring to the relatives that we do have in common? Are they using the term as a rhetorical tool with no actual referent? In discussions of genealogy and family history the concept of “our ancestors” needs clarification.


Sidelined by Allergies and Asthma – Blindsided by Dust Mites


Mites are one of the major indoor triggers for people with allergies and asthma. Dust mite exposure can even cause asthma.


Discussing the fact that autoimmune disorders often accelerate biological aging led to a discussion of other disorders with similar consequences. The consensus was that the focus should be on chronic disorders as well as any other disorder that causes irreversible damage to the organs and systems of the body. It was clear that this would be a long list. It was also clear that those with autoimmune disorders might also be coping with any condition on the list.


While every issue on the list was deemed worthy of consideration, the discussion quickly started to focus on allergies, the relationship between allergies and asthma, and the significance of dust mite allergy. The information on dust mite allergies blindsided many participants. Many of the online sites that discuss dust mites sensationalize them as microscopic “monsters” that are found in almost every home, especially in the bed.


In some cases this is because the website is designed to sell anti dust mite products. In other cases it is simply an approach to increasing readership. Unfortunately, this approach grosses out many readers and they do not want to read anything else about dust mites or to even think about them.


For the majority of the population, those who are not sensitive or allergic to dust mites, ignoring the topic of dust mites may be a feasible plan of action. However, this is not a rational response for anyone who has respiratory allergies or asthma. For this smaller proportion of the population that has asthma or respiratory allergeries it is important to be educated about dust mites and to develop a plan for reducing their impact on health.

House dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) aggregate.
Scale : mite length = 0.3 mm
Technical settings :
– focus stack of 57 images
– microscope objective (Nikon achromatic 10x 160/0.25) on bellow


I found the Dust Mite page on the website of the National Lung Association ( to be very helpful. In just a few straight forward paragraphs the page defines dust mites and explains from where they come. It also discusses who should be concerned about dust mites and the steps that can reduce their presence in beds and in other places in the home. I recommend this page to anyone with a household member who has asthma or is sensitive to other respiratory allergens. In the second category I include people who have recurring episodes of nasal, sinus, and ear inflammation or infections as well as those who experience seasonal allergies.


For those with an interest in research literature and reports, I suggest the following as good places to start.


Calderon, M. A., Kleine-Tebbe, J., Linneberg, A., De Blay, F., Fernandez de Rojas, D. H., Virchow, J. C., & Demoly, P. (2015). House dust mite respiratory allergy: An overview of current therapeutic strategies. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-in Practice, 3(6), 843-855. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2015.06.019 –


Kanchongkittiphon, W., Mendell, M. J., Gaffin, J. M., Wang, G., & Phipatanakul, W. (2015). Indoor environmental exposures and exacerbation of asthma: An update to the 2000 review by the institute of medicine. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123(1), 6-20. doi:10.1289/ehp.1307922 –


Pomes, A., Chapman, M. D., & Wunschmann, S. (2016). Indoor allergens and allergic respiratory disease. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 16(6), 43. doi:10.1007/s11882-016-0622-9 –





What and How Many Autoimmune Disorders Do You Have?

When you are interested in how autoimmune disorders speed biological aging, it is necessary to know what and how many autoimmune disorders are involved. It is also necessary to know the severity of the disorder(s) and the chronological age at the onset as well as what other health problems are involved. In this brief post I offer a few references that address how many health conditions are considered to be autoimmune disorders and the tendency for patients to have more than one autoimmune diagnosis.

What Autoimmune Disorders Do You Have?

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recognizes 80 different autoimmune diseases ( The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association lists approximately 20 additional conditions (, for a total closer to 100.

It is not difficult for an interested person to gain basic information about these diseases. In addition to pages linked above,  a good place for anyone to start is on the Medlineplus web page that is devoted to autoimmune diseases (

This basic information will not make anyone an expert. Some of the descriptions are really poorly written. Some of them are older and use outdated terminology  Even so they can help to raise awareness that these are  serious and usually chronic -as in lifelong and incurable – conditions. They can be deadly. The person who is living with them cannot ignore them or the impact they have on chronological aging.

How Many Autoimmune Disorders Do You Have?

There is a well-established body of evidence cataloguing the co-occurrence of autoimmune disorders.

Over the years I have discovered that most people will not drop all of their autoimmune diagnoses into casual conversation. For example, even though people with lupus, people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are all quite likely to have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, they seldom mention it first. If you want to know how many autoimmune disorders are playing a role in their biological aging, you must ask.

When people have three or more autoimmune diseases at the same time, they are said to have multiple autoimmune syndrome or MAS. Some researchers are promoting the use of the term “polyautoimmunity” for the coexistence of autoimmune diseases that follow a specific  grouping pattern.

Adriana Rojas-Villarraga, Jenny Amaya-Amaya, Alberto Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Rubén D. Mantilla, and Juan-Manuel Anaya, “Introducing Polyautoimmunity: Secondary Autoimmune Diseases No Longer Exist,” Autoimmune Diseases, vol. 2012, Article ID 254319, 9 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/254319

A friend once said, “Autoimmune Diseases like to hang out together.” That statement sticks in my head. In Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You …That You Need to Know (2002), Mary Shomon introduces the concept of “underlying autoimmunity.” Since there is no single medical specialist trained diagnose and treat all autoimmune conditions, this can be a very important point for anyone  who is dealing with autoimmune issues as well as those who have questions about the relationship between their chronological and biological ages.

While I tend to think that autoimmunity always speeds biological aging, the relationship between them can become extremely complex when different glands, organs, and/or organ systems are involved. When a person’s glands and organs are aging at different rates, chronological age ain’t nothing but an often irrelevant number.