What Is POTS??

What Is POTS??

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What You MUST Know If You Don't Have a Gallbladder

Autoimmune Disease Diet or What's Eating You

It's coming up on the new year and I'm not really thinking about New Year's resolutions just a better way to start off next year. This past year along with my other issues I have had a lot of trouble eating and swallowing and generally getting decent nutrition.

A lot of people with autoimmune diseases swear by going off of gluten and sugar and all kinds of things and there is a diet called the AIP diet. I really support doing things that are that drastic unless for some reason the been tested to see if you are gluten intolerant pretty and or lactose intolerant or something like that. The diets call for eliminating pork, shellfish, nightshade vegetables(tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), dairy, eggs, chocolate, nuts, and caffeine sources such as coffee and chocolate for about 90 days.
I have found some things that are scientifically based that a person can add to their diet instead of subtracting from their diet.

In case you don't want to read or just don't have the time, I will be inserting some videos here and there, you can listen to them while you do something else if you don't want to watch either.

There is a condition called MTHFR-GENE-MUTATION. MTHFR is an enzyme in the body, MTHFR is short for Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.This mutation is associated with autoimmune disease probably for numerous reasons, we don't absorb vitamins, we often don't eat as well as we should(who wants to eat when they are sick?) and it is involved with DNA. DNA plays a big role in autoimmune diseases. “Apoptosis is the highly organized process of programmed cell death in which the cell degrades the nuclear DNA and signals for phagocytosis. In people with SLE and other autoimmune disorders this process is thought to be defective, causing either an increase in cell death and/or a decrease in the rate of dead cell clearance.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-dsDNA_antibodies

MTHFR Mutation, Symptoms and Diet: What You Need to Know

MTHFR Mutation and FOLATE

If you have the MTHFR mutation, and I have read that as many as 30% of people do, then you don't metabolize folate and folic acid correctly. They are both forms of B9.

As I wrote above, MTHFR is an enzyme in the body, MTHFR is short for Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.

Methylation is a process in the body that turns certain genes and off and it also repairs damaged DNA. It also converts folate and folic acid into the form the body can use called 5-MTHF.

You can see how having a mutation in this gene could cause problems. Some people don't have symptoms at all but depending on the variation of mutation you could have problems.

One of the purposes of the 5-MTHF is to break down homocysteine. Homocysteine is produced naturally in the body and if it isn't broken down it can damage the artery lining and elevated homocysteine levels are a risk factor for strokes, heart disease and other types of cardiovascular disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss, macular degeneration, and cancer.

“People with very high homocysteine levels should be carefully evaluated for other factors known to affect homocysteine, such as:” (https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10953/mthfr-gene-mutation

  • Chronic conditions (obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, high blood pressure)
  • Medications (atorvastatin, fenofibrate, methotrexate, and nicotinic acid)
  • Dietary deficiencies (folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12)
  • Smoking
  • Advanced age
  • Low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism)

Another condition that the MTHFR mutation is associated with is Autoimmune thyroiditis (AT), also known as Hashimoto's disease. (http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0026/ea0026p110.htm)

It is also associated with lupus and APS.(antiphospholipid antibody syndrome symptoms)

IBS and Crohn's Disease or any other condition that causes you not to be able to absorb your vitamins and nutrients properly.

“People with malabsorptive disorders—including tropical sprue, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease might have lower folate absorption than people without these disorders Diminished gastric acid secretion associated with atrophic gastritis, gastric surgery, and other conditions can also reduce folate absorption.”(People with malabsorptive disorders)

And last but not least, MTHFR is associated with  P.O.T.S, P.A.N.S, and P.A.N.D.A.S.
(Methylation and P.O.T.S.)

I am not sure how you can get your doctor to test you for the MTHFR mutation but I have read that the 23 And Me test will show it. If you have an autoimmune disease and high homocysteine levels and folate levels are low, you might want to look into it. You are more likely to get them to check your homocysteine levels and if they are high then you might have a folate absorption problem. Meanwhile, the foods that help aren't going to hurt to eat and at least it isn't eliminating anything.

Folate is important for the formation of cells during the cell division process and the formation of DNA. If this is impaired it initiates a process that can lead to megaloblastic anemia.

If you or someone close to you has had a baby, you have probably heard of folic acid supplements. If you don't have enough folic acid during a pregnancy it can cause neural tube defects.

Folate is better for you than folic acid. And it is usually better to get your nutrients from food than from a pill. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in plant and animal foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin that you find in supplements and fortified foods. The body can use folate better because that's how it is designed to work and it gets rid of the excess through your urine. Folic acid can actually build up in your body.

These are foods you can eat that have folate in them:

  • Beans and lentils and peas
  • Raw spinach and other dark leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Okra
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Beets
  • Oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, papaya, strawberries, raspberries
Vitamin B2 and B6 help your body make 5-MTHF and there are foods that contain those too.

Good sources of vitamin B2 are:

Beef and lamb
  • Oily fish
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Almonds
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Natural yogurt

Good sources of vitamin B6 are:

  • Turkey, chicken, pork, and beef
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Oily fish
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Spinach

You can find out more about Folate like the Recommended Daily Amounts put out by the FDA here:

This is pretty complicated. Because MTHFR causes problems with B12 absorption too. The following are the most common symptoms of megaloblastic anemia: Weak, Numbness or tingling in hands and feet, Difficulty walking, Nausea, Decreased appetite, Weight loss, Irritability, Lack of energy or tiring easily (fatigue), Diarrhea, smooth and tender tongue, Increased heart rate (tachycardia).

If you have Vitamin B12 deficiency, then you must find out the cause and then:

1.Eat more Vitamin B12-rich foods (liver, wild caught fish, grass-fed lamb and beef)
2. Probiotic (increases absorption)
3.Get inflammatory foods out of your diet
4. Supplementation (VitaminB12, B complex, desiccated liver supplement)
5.Get blood work and consider being tested for MTHFR 

Causes of B12 Deficiency and MTHFR Mutations

Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatment of B12 deficiency


People with autoimmune diseases have an improvement of their symptoms when they take fish oil.
People with rheumatoid arthritis showed a 73% decrease in their drug treatment use and 60% of patients who had Crohn’s disease experienced a decrease in their relapse rate. Dietary n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in immunity and autoimmune disease

I usually have this one covered because I take a combination fish/borage/flaxseed oil supplement. But I love salmon too. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/borage-oil.php

Antioxidants are supposed to reduce oxidative stress which causes damage to your tissues and inflammation. Those are both problems with autoimmune diseases.

Diets with antioxidants and lower in fat promote a healthier immune system and antioxidants help prevent loss of cognitive function which is also a problem with autoimmune disease.

Antioxidants vitamins act as anti-inflammatories and they inhibit the cytokines which signal inflammatory response in autoimmune diseases. Curcumin or turmeric are herbs which are antioxidants that act in the same manner as drugs like aspirin. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/turmeric.php

When some types of oxygen molecules travel freely in the body they cause oxidative damage, or they cause the formation of free radicals.

Everyone has free radicals in their body. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules.All free radicals aren't bad. The liver makes and uses some of them to detoxify the body. And white blood cells use free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses or damaged cells. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. The body makes some of these antioxidants itself, but we have to get the rest from our diets. Antioxidants stop the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.

If there are more free radicals in the body than there are antioxidants it can cause accelerated aging or damaged and mutated cells, harmful genes inside your DNA can be activated and your immune system becomes overworked.

Antioxidants & Free Radicals Explained

The antioxidants that you need to supply with your diet are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Beta-carotene.

Vitamin E: d-alpha tocopherol. A fat soluble vitamin. It is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains, fortified cereals, and apricots.

Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It is found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol). It is found in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. Because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body there is no set requirement. Instead, the RDA is expressed as retinol equivalents (RE), to clarify the relationship. (NOTE: Vitamin A has no antioxidant properties and can be quite toxic when taken in excess.) http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html

The level of antioxidants in food is evaluated with an ORAC score, which stands for “oxygen radical absorption capacity.

Below are some of the top antioxidant foods by weight:

  1. Goji berries: 4,310 ORAC score
  2. Wild blueberries: 9,621 ORAC score
  3. Dark chocolate: 20,816 ORAC score
  4. Pecans: 17,940 ORAC score
  5. Artichoke (boiled): 9,416 ORAC score
  6. Elderberries: 14,697 ORAC score
  7. Kidney beans: 8,606 ORAC score
  8. Cranberries: 9,090 ORAC score
  9. Blackberries: 5,905 ORAC score
  10. Cilantro: 5,141 ORAC score

Some herbs are also high in antioxidants. Below are ten of the highest in antioxidants.

  1. Clove:314,446 ORAC score
  2. Cinnamon: 267,537 ORAC score
  3. Oregano: 159,277 ORAC score
  4. Turmeric: 102,700 ORAC score
  5. Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
  6. Cumin: 76,800 ORAC score
  7. Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
  8. Basil: 67,553 ORAC score
  9. Ginger: 28,811 ORAC score
  10. Thyme: 27,426 ORAC score

Which Food Has Most Antioxidants? You Won't Believe The Answer!

Looking for a list of anti-inflammatory foods, I found that many of them were on these other lists, meaning they are good for more than one thing. https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Bok Choy
  3. Celery
  4. Beets
  5. Broccoli
  6. Blueberries
  7. Pineapple
  8. Salmon
  9. Bone Broth
  10. Walnuts
  11. Coconut oil
  12. Chia seeds
  13. Flaxseeds
  14. Termuric
  15. Ginger

24 ANTI INFLAMMATORY FOODS with CRAZY Powerful Healings Benefits

Magnesium is good for many things.

  1. It can help keep your blood sugar balanced
  2. It helps with energy production in your cells
  3. It can calm your nervous system down
  4. It helps with pain and muscle tension
  5. It helps with joint and ligament flexibility
  6. It keeps your calcium balanced and is good for bone density
  7. And it helps with sleep and insomnia
  8. It helps with brain fog (I definitely need help here)
  9. It can help with mood and stress, depression and anxiety
  10. Helps with lowering blood pressure and heart attack risk
  11. It helps with digestive motility and constipation

Some people take really large amounts of magnesium or swear by topical magnesium. But if you get too much magnesium(over 5,000 mg/day) you can end up with some side effects you don't want.

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Heart attack

Top 12 Best Foods For Magnesium

This website has a lot of good links for what to eat and what not to eat if you have arthritis or autoimmune diseases. 

I have kidney stones. Yay Me!! Apparently, many of these foods are also good for that. Magnesium and B vitamins help improve the alkali content of the body and reduce free oxalate and uric acid production. If you are on a low-oxalate diet you are supposed to eat lots of bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grass-fed butter and cheese and flax seeds which are low oxalate and high in magnesium and B vitamins.

Also, you should eat non-processed sea salt and pink salts like Himalayan sea salt. I am doing that anyway because I have POTS.

MTHFR and Oxalates: Understanding the Gut-Kidney Axis

The Down Side to High Oxalates: Problems with Sulfate, B6, Gut and Methylation

If all of this wasn't enough information for you, here are some more links. They are lupus related, but usually that doesn't preclude being useful to people with other problems.

Johns Hopkins Hospital--Lupus Diet

Diet Tips for Lupus

Web MD--Lupus Diet and Nutrition

Dr. Axe--Lupus Diet

Lupus Foundation--Diet and nutrition with lupus

Lupus Foundation--exercise-and-nutrition


Eat This, Not That--The 20 Best Foods To Fight Lupus

Friday, September 1, 2017

Reposting: chronic-pain-awareness-month-september


Things People With Chronic Pain Want You to Learn

One Step Forward And Two Steps Back

This will probably not be a long post. I am recovering from yet another illness.

  1. 1.
    a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.

    "the bureaucratic inertia of government"

    synonyms:inactivityinaction, inertness; More
  2. 2.
    a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

When I got sick this time, I had been feeling exceptionally good for a few weeks. I had a sort of vacation with some of my family and I had plans to do things that needed doing when I got back home.

And then, WHAM! I got sick within 24 hours of getting home. Now that I feel better(I don't mean to say well) I can't seem to get my stride. It's as if someone came up and kicked my legs out from under me and I rolled down a hill and got the breath knocked out of me.

In order to get back on my feet, I went to the store with my beautiful daughter this evening. I had to use a cane to stand up. That's how weak I am. It's taking me some effort to restart.

I had a really pathetic thought while I was out. I really want to get better so that I can get a flu shot. That's going to immediately make me sick again. I haven't mentioned that I had a whole week of doctors visits, tests and procedures scheduled which I had to miss. Now I have to reschedule those as well. But I have to get well enough to be poked and prodded. 

I make a concerted effort not to feel sorry for myself, but it's difficult not to be frustrated. One thing is for certain, with chronic illness and pain, your coping mechanisms get stretched to the limit. 

When I was in the hospital this time, it was for a UTI and dehydration from vomiting. The nurse stabbed me with the IV and when it didn't work she said, "Oh, you really are dehydrated." I really wanted to slug her. When I don't feel well my tolerance for stupid or condescending remarks is minimal at best. 

And then I had people aggravating me via text and phone. When you can't hold your head up, talking on the phone isn't on the to do list. You really want to cut loose with some expletives. No, I don't want to buy anything, do anything for you, be anything or hear anything.  

September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month. Maybe in time, people will get it and stop saying stupid things to sick people. In the meantime, all we can do is try to educate them. I know I hate it when I have been sick and someone tells me I should get out more or be more active. I've learned what my limitations are and I am not pushing myself without a good reason. I will eventually get
my steam back. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017



I have Sjogren's Syndrome, pronounced“SHOW-grins”. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the body's ability to produce tears as well as affecting the exocrine (moisture) glands all over the body.

Over the last few years, something that people take for granted has become increasingly difficult for me. I can't cry, or at least not to the degree that I used to be able to or when I ordinarily would have. It really bothered me when my husband died a few years ago. Not only did I not have the release, but I worried that others would think I was cold and uncaring. I loved my husband deeply.

I used to think it was related to depression and due to things that have happened in my life that cause me to dissociate. But it turns out there is more of a physiological reason.


To begin with, the surface of your eye is made mostly of water. And your tears are divided into two categories: Lacriminization and crying. You have lacrimal glands that are between your eyelids and your eyeball. When the gland on the outer corner of your eye, near the temple, produces a tear, you will blink and that will spread the tear across your eyeball. This takes about ¼ of a second.

Then the tear goes to the lacrimal punctum. Wikipedia describes it as follows: “ There are two lacrimal puncta in the medial (inside) portion of each eyelid. Together, they function to collect tears produced by the lacrimal glands. The fluid is conveyed through the lacrimal canaliculi to the lacrimal sac, and thence via the nasolacrimal duct to the inferior nasal meatus of the nasal passage.”

That is just a complicated way of saying there is a natural drain in your eye and from there it goes into your nasal passages and out your nose. This is why your nose also runs when you cry. Who knew?

 lacrimal drainage

During periods of high tear production, like a highly emotional state or severe irritation, the drainage system can't keep up and the tears run down your face. OR at least they are supposed to.


Under normal circumstances, your body has three different types of tears that it can produce. They are basal, reflex and psychic tears. Basal tears serve the purpose of keeping your corneas lubricated so that your eyes don't dry out. Reflex tears form as a response to irritation like when something gets in your eyes or when you are exposed to the noxious vapors of an onion, or you open a bottle of ammonia.
And last but not least, there are the psychic tears. These are the ones you make when you are experiencing a strong emotion, like sadness or happiness, or anger or physical pain. Some people actually feel better after a good cry due to a pain-killing neurotransmitter produced by your body called leucine enkephalin. These emotional tears also contain more protein than the ones produced in response to an irritation.


But how does this factor into your emotions? Within your brain, there is an area called the limbic system, and within it is an area called the hypothalamus. This is part of your autonomic nervous system. Your autonomic nervous system or ANS controls the things that you don't, such as tears, sweat, heart rate, breathing, etc. One of the neurotransmitters involved in the ANS is acetylcholine. It affects the lacrimal or tear-producing system.

Under normal circumstances, you feel a strong emotion, and this causes your ANS to signal tear-production.

When you cry, there are other things going on within your ANS. Part of your ANS called the sympathetic nervous system which controls the fight or flight response will also cause you to sweat, and your breathing will slow down, and you will also get what is called the globus pharyngis. That's the feeling of having a lump in your throat. When your ANS isn't working properly it is called dysautonomia.


Researchers Jonathan Rottenberg and Lauren M. Bylsma from the University of South Florida found that there are benefits to crying. Crying helps your body control breathing when it has been aroused in a negative way. https://www.livescience.com/5238-hate-cry.html

When a person experiences overwhelming stress and arousal, his or her heart rate increases and the body begins to sweat. But as a person cries, his or her breathing slows, rendering a calming effect, according to Rottenberg. 

The reason some people find having a good cry pleasant is that the calming effect of crying lasts longer than whatever stressor caused them to cry in the first place.

There are major areas of your life that can be affected when you can't cry. There is more going on here than a response to a stimulus. Evolution has given you this means of crying out in a non-verbal manner to others around you. It allows them to see that you need emotional help. When you receive social input from others it strengthens your emotional bonds with them because they share in your experience. When others say, “I can see that you are sad. I am sorry you are feeling this way. How can I help? Here is a big hug.” You will feel better. And they, in turn, feel empathy and sympathy. These responses are very important when babies cry. They can't speak and therefore need to be able to communicate so that their needs are met. They cry because they are hungry or in pain or are angry. And then their parents respond to them and this causes bonding.

When you cry it can show that you are submissive or vulnerable. This can cause potential attackers to perceive you as weak and underestimate you, or feel empathy toward you, thereby avoiding an attack. In a relationship, it might cause the other person to change their behavior in many ways.

In other social situations, crying can show trust a need for affection, and this results in bonding.

There have been studies that show women actually do cry more than men. However, men cry over the most of the same things as women do, like, death, homesickness or a romantic breakup. Women cry more over small things, but men cry more in response to happiness. The differences between the sexes can be attributed to several things. Culture, male testosterone levels( which inhibit crying) and their work environments.

When you can't produce tears, how do others know that you feel grief, despair, frustration, helplessness, powerlessness, pain, happiness, anger and empathy, pride, longing, anger, frustration sadness or love? If you are able to produce the sobbing sounds of crying, people might not feel empathy toward you if they don't have the visual cue of tears and then assume you are faking the emotion. If they don't see them signaled by the shedding of tears, then we lose out on the social interaction and response that we should get. The result is that we can be isolated socially. Tears are as important as facial expressions. “research provided further evidence for the facilitating effect of tears on processing emotion recognition and social judgments. Their function seems to surpass the connection with merely enhancing sadness recognition. Rather, tears seem to play a significant role as a visual signal in terms of promoting (pro)social behavior.” Emotional Tears Facilitate the Recognition of Sadness and the Perceived Need for Social Support

Studies have found that people feel better when they are with another person when they cry, which indicates that crying helps us to bond and get emotional support from other people. Dry eyes aren't just a medical issue.


Humans are also the only primates with the sclerae(the white outer layer of the eye) allowing both the color of the eye and how red the conjunctiva is to show up. Scleral redness shows important biological and social information about you. Other people make judgements about your sadness, healthiness, and attractiveness based on their perception of the redness of your eyes.

When your eyes are red it is mostly caused by blood vessels in your conjunctiva becoming dilated. The conjunctiva is the transparent membrane that covers the sclera or white part of your eye. When your eyes are red, others perceive you to be sadder, older, less healthy, and thereby, less attractive. On an evolutionary level, you don't appear to be biologically fit to a prospective mate. Binocular Symmetry/Asymmetry of Scleral Redness as a Cue for Sadness, Healthiness, and Attractiveness in Humans

People who have Sjogren's Syndrome and eye irritation can become isolated because of other people's perception of them.


Something worse than all of this is that another problem can be overlooked. There is a condition or symptom of depression and almost suicidal depression. Sometimes it is called emotional blunting and other times it is called a flat affect. The Inability to Cry Medical Definition of Flat affect

I had an experience with this once. I was put on an antidepressant. It caused me to feel this way. It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. I couldn't react to things in a normal way. I have a great sense of humor and I would be watching television and see something funny. I would think wow I know that is hilarious. But I couldn't laugh. It was like I could logically understand that it was fun and feel it but I couldn't express it. And it was similar with anger. I could see how a person might say, “that should make me angry, so I should react in a certain way.” Sadness was very strange too. Because not only couldn't I shed tears, now I couldn't even express sadness verbally. I think this is pretty close to what people on lithium feel. You can feel but you can't express. After that, I have this fear of ending up in a nursing home after a stroke, unable to speak and unable to cry, locked in my own misery.

If you have Sjogren's Syndrome and you are on SSRI's you might want to pay attention to how you experience emotions. Nienke van Leeuwen, a Ph.D. candidate in health psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, found that 22 percent of patients with the Sjogren's Syndrome had "significantly more difficulty" identifying their own feelings than control participants did (Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, 2012).

This condition doesn't need an antidepressant to cause it. You can read here all of the things that can cause it. Reduced affect display Emotional Detachment

A Dutch study of 300 people showed that 22% of the patients with Sjogren's Syndrome were clinically 'alexithymic'. This means they were having difficulty identifying and describing emotions. This was compared to only 12% of healthy controls. Other studies showed that those with higher levels of alexithymia had worse mental well being, proving a link between the two.


Tears can be a great relief for emotional stress and can get rid of pent up emotions. They actually reduce stress hormones. They also contain antibodies that fight of pathogens. After you cry, your breathing and heart rate decrease and you are calmer. Antibodies in human tears during and after infection. Effects of laughing and weeping on mood and heart rate variability

Dr. William Frey, a biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that emotional tears contain stress hormones that are being excreted through crying. When you cry, your body also produces endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones that make us feel good and are also pain relieving. Two of these are the endorphin leucine-enkephalin and prolactin. Another is adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), which is an indicator of stress in your body. Your body is getting rid of these hormones and toxins caused by stress. Emotional tears have a 24% higher albumin protein concentration that regular tears caused by irritation. Dr. Jerry Bergman writes, “Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers.

Crying can also lower your manganese level. Elevated manganese can cause anxiety, nervousness, irritability, fatigue, aggression, and emotional problems. Manganese Induced Oxidative Stress

When you can't produce tears, even light and air can be irritating and painful and lead a person to avoid going outside. The result is yet another way to become isolated. People with dry eyes can also end up with complications like infections and ulcers.

As you can see, tears serve more of a purpose than just keeping foreign bodies out of our eyes. And the ability to cry or not cry shouldn't be taken for granted. We are the only primates that can do it and this ability is a profound influence on our lives. I pray that someday soon there will be an answer for people like me. I know that God intended for us to be able to express a whole range of emotions and although I  often can't cry about it, I am still sad. 

Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there is an appointed time for everything, “A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance”. Romans 12:15 says we are supposed to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”. The shortest and one of the most profound verses in the Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept”.

Emotional Expression and Health: Advances in Theory, Assessment and Clinical Applications
Ivan Nyklícek, Lydia Temoshok, Ad Vingerhoets
Routledge, 2004

Adult Crying: A Biopsychosocial Approach
A. J. J. M. Vingerhoets, Randolph R. Cornelius
Psychology Press, 2001

American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/cry.aspx)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017



People with autoimmune diseases have a particularly hard time keeping their skin moisturized and protected. And people with Sjogren's Syndrome have an even harder time because their body doesn't produce moisture to start with.

All of the options in the moisturizer aisle can seem overwhelming. They all make claims about what they will do for you. But there are particular ingredients you need to look for. I don't like to just go by advertising or word of mouth. I want to know what is in any products I use and they science behind it. I suppose that is because my Father was a chemist who worked until he retired at Proctor and Gamble. He often discussed with me the products that they made and why they were superior to others at the time. When I was a teenager, I actually tested out some of their products before they were on the market as a volunteer.

The following information on the difference between creams, lotions, and ointments come from the website of the National Eczema Association. They have a list of approved moisturizers there.


Ointments are semi-solid greases that help to hydrate the skin by preventing water loss. Petroleum jelly has no additional ingredients, whereas other ointments contain a small proportion of water or other ingredients to make the ointment more spreadable. Ointments are very good at helping the skin retain moisture but they are often disliked because of their greasiness.


Creams are thick mixtures of greases in water or another liquid. They contain a lower proportion of grease than ointments, making them less greasy. A warning: creams often contain stabilizers and preservatives to prevent separation of their main ingredients, and these additives can cause skin irritation or even allergic reactions for some people.


Lotions are mixtures of oil and water, with water being the main ingredient. Most lotions do not function well as moisturizers for people with dry skin conditions because the water in the lotion evaporates quickly.


Ingredients fall into three categories. Humectants such as glycerin and urea absorb water from the air and hold moisture in the skin. Other humectant ingredients to look for are hyaluronic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, sorbitol, propylene glycerol, and sodium lactate. Emollients like mineral oil, lanolin and petrolatum fill spaces between skin cells to replace lipids and smooth and lubricate the rough skin. Other emollients to look for are jojoba oil, isopropyl palmitate, propylene glycol linoleate, squalene and glycerol stearates.Occlusives such as petroleum jelly and cocoa butter, are oily substances and they form a film on the top of skin which seals in cracks and prevents moisture from escaping.

Water: This is the main ingredient of moisturizers, and it serves to carry oil-based ingredients onto and into the skin, but oil-based ingredients also help lock water into the skin


Ceramides are waxy lipid molecules that are found in skin cell membranes that help prevent moisture loss. They are involved in things like programmed cell death of cells. Ceramides in your moisturizer will help maintain and repair your skin barrier, so that moisture stays sealed in and it helps your body's natural moisture defenses. That is especially important for people who have eczema and psoriasis because studies have found that they have fewer ceramides than people who have normal healthy skin.

Cerave, as the name implies has ceramides in it. It also has Dimethicone, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerine.
If you follow this link you can get a coupon for it from their website: Cerave Coupon The Itch Relief type also contains Pramoxine Hydrochloride which is an external analgesic, Shea Butter, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit Extract,

Curel says it has a proprietary ceramide-rich formula.


Peptides are chains of amino acids. Amino acids include the 22 proteinogenic ("protein-building") amino acids, that combine into peptide chains ("polypeptides") which form the building-blocks of proteins. In this case, the peptides and amino acids are involved in building proteins in the skin.

Products that contain short chain amino acids can penetrate the top layer of skin and stimulate the cell production.

Collagen is an important protein in skin. It is involved in the thickness and pliability(stretchiness) of skin. Collagen breaks down for things like environmental factors (sun and stress, chemical exposure) and age. This causes wrinkles. Peptides stimulate the production of collagen thereby reducing wrinkles

Elastin has the ability to stretch and return to its original length—like a spring or rubber band. Elastin is the major component of ligaments (tissues that attach bone to bone) and skin. In people who have connective tissue disease, it is common for collagen and elastin to become injured by inflammation. So if you have MCTD or SLE Lupus or Sjogren's Syndrome, Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Psoriatic Arthritis your collagen is probably not functioning properly.

If a product has that in it, it's probably something we could use.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid works by binding to moisture. It can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an excellent natural skin plumper. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin repair and regenerate itself after suffering from dryness, environmental stresses, or irritation. It helps the collagen and elastin in your skin stay moist and helps it to keeps it elasticity. It is also lightweight and isn't oily, which is good if you are acne-prone.
Fatty Acids

Fatty acids come in things like Olive oil, avocado, almond oil, and shea butter which are essential fatty acids that help lock in moisture. Your body needs fatty acids for fuel to do things like produce moisture. But it doesn't produce it on its own, so you have to either ingest it or apply it topically. Foods that have Omega-3 fatty acids in them are things like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, soy, flaxseed, and safflower oil. I take a supplement that combines fish oil, flaxseed oil and borage oil in it.


Glycerin is a simple polyol compound derived from sugar alcohol. It is colorless and odorless. Glycerin and glycols help to retain water in a product, in hair or the top layers of skin by drawing moisture in and then retain it. Glycerin can actually absorb moisture from the air.

Ethylhexyl glycerin

Ethylhexyl glycerin (oct oxy glycerin) is a topical skin care ingredient and deodorizing agent, often indicated as a conditioning ointment in the treatment of eczema. As its name suggests Ethylhexyl glycerin is made using glycerin.

Sodium PCA,

Sodium PCA is used in lotions and hair care products because it is naturally in skin cells and it binds to water in cells and that means it is great for water absorption.

Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides

Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides is a mixed triester derived from coconut oil and glycerin. It comes in the form of an oily liquid and is sometimes mistakenly referred to as fractionated coconut oil. Caprylic mainly works as an emollient, dispersing agent and solvent.)

Piroctone Olamine

Piroctone Olamine is used to treat skin conditions and dandruff. It is an antifungal.


Locochalcone is a molecule contained in licorice root extract which helps control oil production and is anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory. In short, it helps calm and soothes skin.


Dimethicone is used as a moisturizer to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations (e.g., diaper rash, skin burns from radiation therapy). It softens and moisturizes the skin and decreases itching and flaking.

Triethanolamine (TEA)

Triethanolamine (TEA)This emulsifier helps to blend the oil/water mix that makes up moisturizer.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is usually in the form of retinol or retinoic acid in moisturizers. It is anti-aging. It works by stimulating collagen production, which fills in lines and wrinkles

Vitamin C & vitamin E

Vitamin C & vitamin E are antioxidants and they help repair cellular damage caused by sun, pollution and free radicals that are created during oxygenation.

Magnesium Aluminum

Magnesium Aluminum Silicate is a naturally occurring mineral derived from refined and purified clay that is used primarily as a thickener in cosmetics and beauty products. It is an off-white powder used in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process as an absorbent; anticaking agent; opacifying agent; slip modifier; and an aqueous viscosity increasing agent. But magnesium is considered as ”the mineral of beauty” in traditional Chinese medicine. Magnesium deficiency results in lower levels of fatty acids on the skin. This results in less elasticity and moisture and that, in turn, causes dryness and inflammation. If you take magnesium to boost the levels in your cells, it helps protect the cells and detoxifies them and encourages healthy skin tissue growth. It helps in DNA replication and repair. It also prevents free radical damage and inflammation.

In a 2007 study cited in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” Magnesium was discovered to help reduce inflammation caused by an excess amount of E-selectin and C-reactive protein.

When the skin is injured or damaged or when acne-causing bacteria enter the skin, E-selectin is produced. This results in acne inflammation. Magnesium helps reduce E-selectin’s effects and prevents the inflammation.

Magnesium aluminum is sometimes called Kaolin or China Clay.

At the Skin Store website I found this:

Kaolin (also know as China clay, hectorite or magnesium silicate) is a naturally occurring soft clay. In cosmetics, kaolin helps to cleanse and exfoliate dead skin cells and debris from the surface. It adds absorbency, texture, and bulk to cleansers.

...Because it’s safe nature and has great absorbency and soothing properties, it’s quite the popular ingredient in formulas designed to purify

Kaolin wages war on acne and breakout-prone skin by improving the skin’s balance and decreasing levels of pore-clogging oils, dirt and toxins. General skin inflammation, caused by the usual environmental factors can also be addressed with kaolin cleansers. Kaolin increases circulation to the impacted areas of skin, helping to stimulate healing and to reduce irritation. Using a cleanser that contains kaolin prior to applying makeup can help to control oil production and prevent unwanted shine.”http://www.skinstore.com/blog/skincare/beauty-glossary-kaolin/

Eczema is associated with a magnesium deficiency. If you have a deficiency of magnesium your body will produce histamines. Those histamines will cause you to be itchy and have red blotches or hives on your skin. They are caused by blood vessel swelling that causes fluid to leak into the skin and other tissues.

Taking supplements gives some people diarrhea. But if you can take it, it helps avoid kidney stones and calcification in the joints too. It also good for circulation and high blood pressure. Doses less than 350 mg daily are safe for most adults. When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death. Magnesium strengthens bones; maintains nerve and muscle function; regulates heart rhythm and blood sugar levels, and helps maintain joint cartilage.http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/vitamins-minerals/guide/magnesium.php

I know some people apply magnesium oil directly to their skin. But I don't know about the safety of it.

Vaseline, Intensive Care, Cocoa Radiant, With Pure Cocoa Butter, Non-Greasy Lotion is one of my stand-bys. It has Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Dimethicone, magnesium aluminum, shea butter and cocoa butter in it. And of course vaseline.

Eucerin Calming Cream and the Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Creme is good lotion it has Oatmeal, Ceramides, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Castor oil, Piroctone Olamine, Licochalcone, Ethylhexylglycerin.

                          "Moist" Is A Disgusting Word - Here's Why


After you have considered all of the other ingredients, don't forget the sunscreen. You need an SPF of at least 30. I happen to think people with Lupus SLE and Sjogren's should use the highest they can get. If it isn't in your moisturizer, you may have to use a separate one. I have some for sensitive skin that I use and that have pretty high SPFs.

I haven't tried it but just by virtue of the fact that it also hydrates this one seems promising.

And since I know the spray on is good, I might try these:

A facial moisturizer with an SPF 50 seems like a pretty good idea. I love my Oil of Olay products, but as far as SPF is concerned, I think this is the highest SPF. Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen SPF30 Sensitive Skin

If you have ever given birth then you are probably familiar with Palmer's Cocoa Butter products for stretch marks. But they make products for your face now and they are excellent. If they can help with stretch marks they have got to be doing something right. If you compare the ingredients to the ones listed above, you can see that they are very good for your skin. And I have some of them and they worked pretty well. I used the serum and day cream in the day and the night cream, obviously at night during a time that my face was super dry.

They have an SPF 15. Some of them say they promote collagen production and they contain antioxidants, a peptide complex, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. It depends on the individual product. Among other ingredients they contain, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa)Seed Butter, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Glycerin, Triethanolamine. The night cream contains Natural Cocoa Butter, Retinol and Antioxidant Vitamin E.

They also have a gel oil for the body with an SPF 15 and cocoa butter, vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba oil. Palmer's Formula Moisturizing Gel Oil, Cocoa Butter, SPF 15

Last but not least I just discovered a new moisturizer line that sounds interesting. Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb “WATER-LIGHT FORMULAS. ANTIOXIDANT-PACKED HYDRATION.
Including formulas that feature goji berry and pomegranate, our refreshing gel cream, SPF 30 lotion, and all new super hydrating sheet masks blast dryness away, flooding skin with long-lasting hydration for a softer, healthier-looking complexion.”

Lupus, The Skin & Hair - Dr Abby Macbeth