What Causes Scleroderma?
According to Western Medicine Scleroderma is identified as a connective tissue disease of excess collagen production in any tissue in the body (ie. skin, blood vessels, internal organs, digestive tract).
Of course this is how it is defined however it tells us nothing about what may cause this to occur. What has been shown is the effects of light therapy on Scleroderma and other skin/tissue issues which offers more of an insight into the possible causes. There is an enzyme in the mitochondria dependent on red light as well as copper to produce energy. In our observations and research, health in the body comes down to cellular respiration and the ability to produce energy in the body at the cellular level.
“A weakened ability to oxidatively produce energy can lead to maladaptive over production of collagen.” Ray Peat PhD
Is Scleroderma really a “disease” or a maladaptive response to altered cell energy production?
The body is a system of systems and we have to treat it as that. Understanding that cell energy production is at the root of health is key when it comes to healing. According to Broda Barnes, “the thyroid affects the metabolism of every cell in the body”.
Lets take a quick and basic look at what is going on in the cell in order to produce energy. Carbons Dioxide (CO2), ATP and water are the end product of efficient glucose oxidation, which is termed oxidative metabolism. When there is optimal respiration and CO2 production from glucose oxidation, hemoglobin releases O2 to the cells. When CO2 is present from eating the right foods, ratios and frequencies, there is a continuous release of O2 from hemoglobin allowing for continued and efficient cellular respiration. ~The Metabolic Blueprint: Understanding Oxidative Metabolism
What can affect the ability of our cells to breathe properly?
According to Ray Peat PhD: dioxins, unsaturated fats, heavy metals, halogens, radiation, estrogen, adrenaline, cortisol, serotonin and free fatty acids. These factors alter the energy-producing efficacy of our cells shifting energy production from glucose oxidation to lactic acid fermentation: the biological process by which glucose is converted into the metabolite lactate. The more lactic acid we produce, the more of a metabolic burden it becomes. CO2 and lactic acid are antagonistic.
Scleroderma and Myxedema
Myxedema is a retired word for hypothyroidism and refers to the collection of mucus compounds in the body made of polysaccharides: complex substances made up of sugar units. These mucus compounds build up in the tissue in large amounts as a result of inadequate thyroid function, binding H20 and leading to edema marked by swelling in the hands and feet. The above-mentioned significantly affect thyroid function and are rampant in our society.
This is important in the case of Scleroderma as these muco-polysaccharides have been suggested, by Johnson, to create a matrix for calcification. Calcification is a common factor in:
Any lack of oxygen in the cell stimulates the formation of collagen. Anytime the body is stressed the tissues swell taking up H20, calcium, estrogen and iron leading to a very alkalenic environment within the cell and acidic environment outside the cell.
As we have discussed repeatedly, any disturbance in cellular respiration pushes the energy producing functions of the body away from the use of glycogen to produce CO2 and ATP and instead converts it to lactic acid. This forces an already deficient body to produce more energy using less resource further burdening the entire metabolic system as a whole.
Adrenaline cuts circulation off from the superficial aspects of the skin and shunts blood surrounding the organs most important to survival. This can result in cold hands, feet and nose, a very accurate measure of the state of the metabolism.
It has been shown that people with Scleroderma have what is called proximal vasospasms also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon common in 90% of all Scleroderma patients. Estrogen and adrenaline produce vasospasm correlating with the effects of hypothyroidism.
There are many simple stress-reducing steps you can begin taking to restoring the function of your metabolism and essentially reversing maladaptive processes such as Scleroderma.
1. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Eating easily digestible, frequent and well-balanced meals will help regulate blood sugar throughout the day and provides the body with what it needs.
2. Eliminate Poly-unsaturated fats from the diet. This includes all vegetable and seed oils, fatty fish and fish supplements. Excessive PUFA consumption leads to a suppression of the metabolism, elevated stress hormones and inhibits digestive function leading to malabsorption and malnourishment.
3. Increase consumption of foods containing magnesium, take frequent Epsom salt baths or use a magnesium oil daily to help replenish deficiencies accelerated by chronic stress and inflammation. Excess estrogen causes rapid depletion in magnesium levels.
4. Increase sea salt intake. An elevated sodium intake limits the stress reaction by suppressing the release of the excitatory hormone aldosterone.
5. Vitamin E. "Hans Selye found that he could produce scleroderma (hardening and calcification of the skin) in rats by giving them a toxic dose of a heavy metal, and then irritating the skin a little by plucking hair. Iron is now tending to be recognized as a factor in inflammation. Vitamin E was able to prevent the development of scleroderma under Selye's experimental conditions, suggesting that the irritation allowed the heavy metal to cause oxidative damage to the skin.
6. Calcium from eggshells. Calcium overload of cells can't be avoided by avoiding dietary calcium, because the bones provide a reservoir from which calcium is easily drawn during stress. “Persons suffering from arthritis, bursitis, scleroderma, hardening of the arteries and any abnormality where calcium deposits or spurs may cause pain are often afraid to eat foods rich in calcium. Actually they can never improve until their calcium and magnesium intakes are adequate.”- Ray Peat
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