Curing Ankylosing Spondylitis

UPDATE: Steven has a new video update, to which I have added an updated commentary: Update: Attacking Ankylosing Spondylitis with PHD, November 18, 2014. FURTHER UPDATE, September 2015: Steven has created his own website with more information, www.recoveryfromas.com. Check it out!

Ankylosing spondylitis is a fearsome disease. The Mayo Clinic states:

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched-forward posture. A severe case of ankylosing spondylitis can make it impossible for you to lift your head high enough to see forward….

Inflammation also can occur in other parts of your body — such as your eyes and bowels.

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but treatments can decrease your pain and lessen your symptoms.

But the “no cure” part is probably mistaken. Yesterday I received an email from Steven Morgan:

Hey Paul,

Your website and book saved my ass and gave me a chance to recover from Ankylosing Spondylitis, no small feat.  I made a video about it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvgjJTLrM3M

There was a thread on your site about high cholesterol and possible causes when going Paleo.  That thread was HUGE in my recovery….  My cholesterol fell over 200 points in two months!

Anyhow, you’re the best.  Thank you!

Cheers,

Steven

Here’s Steven’s story:

In a follow-up email, Steven elaborated:

My health is fantastic lately!  I’m still able to push the edges of what I can tolerate, and am enjoying eating butter, some white-rice based gluten-free breads, some vegetables, and occasionally cheddar cheese.  Sure beats just the 5 foods I took on my trip!  Well, to be honest, after several months of just eating coconut, cacao, pemmican, fish, and white rice, I grew quite fond of it all.  It’s amazing how your palate can change.

I gave Steven a few suggestions that I think would help anyone with AS:

  • Nutrition:
    • Vitamin A (1/4 to 1/3 lb liver per week plus spinach, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, persimmons)
    • Vitamin D from sun and supplements.
    • Vitamin C
    • Collagen from soups and stews with joints, bones, tendons, and tripe.
    • Zinc and iodine.
  • Circadian rhythm entrainment
  • Intermittent fasting

Steven wants to share experiences with other ankylosing spondylitis sufferers; he asked me to “let folks know I’d be happy to connect; I’m especially interested in connecting with other people who have AS!” You can reach Steven by email at stevenmorganjr@gmail.com.

Conclusion

The Mayo Clinic is correct that medicine offers no cure for ankylosing spondylitis; but diet and lifestyle may do better. AS is probably an infectious condition caused by a pathogenic gut flora. Improved immune function and remodeling of the gut microbiome ought to be able to work a cure.

Steven experimented with a no-starch diet, but had better results on something more PHD like. As we’ve discussed, eating carbs is important for formation of the intestinal mucosal barrier and for proper immune function. A very low-carb diet often delivers short-term relief by starving pathogens, but it doesn’t support a probiotic gut flora and can bring long-term problems from suppressed immunity and impaired gut barrier integrity. That often leads to food sensitivities like those Steven suffered from. It’s better to obtain sufficient dietary carbohydrates to support a healthy gut. White rice is often one of the easier carbs to start with.

Thanks for writing, Steven! Your experiences and video should give hope to AS sufferers everywhere!

Leave a comment ?

109 Comments.

  1. Kathleen Buchanan

    Get on an anti inflammatory diet.
    It took a couple of month for the diet I am on to really start working. It stopped the and radiating pain. I have cut out all sugar & artificial sweeteners and packaged & processed foods that are full of sugar including anything that ends “ose”. NO HFCS, NO SYRUPS, Yes that means NO Sodas. It will take you 9 months to a years to really stop the craving for sugar. I do bake some sweets like banana bread using stevia and gluten free flour. Yes, it’s miserable but I also had to stop salt for my kidneys and that makes it much harder. Also fast foods are full of sugar and salt. Use stevia, I know it’s not as great as sugar but when I cheat, even a little, my pain comes back with a vengeance. Besides sugar, you need to stop wheat gluten and casein (in cows milk) try either almond milk or goat’s milk. You may have to water down goats milk a little. There are gluten free breads and sugar free breads and they normally keep them in a refrigerated sections. You may have to go to a store in a well to do section of town. I have to. Hidden sugars are in salad dressings, and sauces like ketchup, tomato sauce, pasta and bar-b-cue sauces & anything that say NO or LOW FAT. Sugar is in all regular breads. Cereals, breakfast bar or drinks are the worse offenders. I cook oatmeal and use fresh fruit or cinnamon and stevia to give it flavor NOT INSTANT OATMEAL). Fruit juice, canned fruits, dried fruits are like eating sugar. Just eat fresh fruit because it goes right to the digestive system and enters the blood stream slowly not causing a sugar spike. I would think the same about goat’s milk since it is natural and it would do the same. When you drink almond butter or peanut butter (almond is best) buy the kind that you HAVE to stir but still read the ingredients because one brand has started adding sugar just like the ones you don’t have to stir. If you have lower back pain start taking magnesium or ask your doctor for a magnesium drip (if they still have them). Take Magnesium citrate, malate (malic acid)(BEST FOR FIBROMYALGIA), taurate & glycinate or bis-glycinate, most vitamins use terrible kinds like aspartate and glutamate that are neurotoxins. Don’t take magnesium stearate or oxide. You will have to buy it separately since multivitamins that I have seen always put in the worst kind.There are not any good kinds of vitamins at grocery stores or pharmacies (just like pet foods). Go to a health food store or look on the internet. FYI if you have ringing or buzzing in your ears take Zinc. This diet has taken away about 60% of my pain. Biologics that Reumatologist & Dermatologist are the one that give bIOLOGICS the most.EVERYONE with AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES, AUTOINFLAMMATORY DISEASES AND BOTH TYPE 1 & 2 SHOULD BE ON THIS DIET because SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN & CASEIN are very inflammatory FOODS caused by the immune system attacking the body SO bIOLOGICS DAMAGE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. Start this diet an in about two months get off the biologics. Drugs that help your body get rid of sugar damage your kidneys. If you don’t believe me look up anti inflammatory diet on the internet.

    • thanks kathleen

      • Kathleen Buchanan

        Since I have discovered chromium picolinate it wouldn’t take near so long to stop craving sugar. I have taking magnesium for years but the next day of adding chromium picolinate I no longer craved sugar. You should take a minimum of 350 mg of magnesium but that is just the minimum. Read following article and you will see why magnesium is the most important mineral that humans need. Some of the foods mentioned are not as high in magnesium as doctors say because after farming for hundreds of years and the petroleum fertilizers now used has actually killed all microorganisms in the dirt. Scientist refer to our dirt as “dead”. Most Americans are very low in magnesium and the second mineral is zinc. Ever had buzzing or ringing in your ears. Doctors are right when they say it can be from too much caffeine or salt however My Aunt Verla years ago told me to take zinc. So I do take it once in a while but esp when my ears start ringing or buzzing and by the next day or so it is gone. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/25/magnesium-for-heart-health.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160725Z1_B&et_cid=DM112201&et_rid=1587580090

    • Kathleen, I hope you haven’t cut out all salt. The body does need some sodium. I know two people who almost died from eliminating all sodium from their diets.

      • Kathleen Buchanan

        Don’t worry. There is plenty of salt in our food without adding any. Fresh meat provides sodium that’s a natural part of its content. For example, 3 ounces of cooked lean beef contains about 55 milligrams of sodium, while fresh cooked pork and veal provide about 60 and 70 milligrams, respectively. Organ meats are also a source of sodium — beef heart and tongue provide 29 and 17 milligrams of sodium per ounce, respectively, while calf’s liver contains about 30 milligrams per ounce. Poultry also contains a modest amount of sodium, with about 70 milligrams in one-half chicken breast and 50 milligrams in one drumstick, both roasted with skin. Turkey is significantly higher in sodium, with almost 200 milligrams in one roasted leg or half a breast, both cooked with skin, although this is mainly because portions of turkey are larger than for chicken. http://www.livestrong.com/article/370613-sodium-content-of-meat-products/

        Now I don’t eat cured meats there is a lot of sodium added to them
        You’ve probably heard reports that many Americans consume too much sodium for good health. Although reducing the amount of table salt in your meals is one remedy, it can be easy to forget that sodium is a natural part of many foods and also added to processed products, sometimes in high amounts.

        As for vegetables http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-salt-naturally-vegetables-8949.html Higher sodium vegetables are ones that have more than 140 milligrams per serving. One cup of cooked spinach contains 184 milligrams of sodium per serving. One cup of raw Swiss chard contains even more, with 313 milligrams of sodium. When eating these vegetables, reduce your intake of sodium from other foods throughout the day.

        • 😀 Why don’t people use Celtic Sea Salt? The current low sodium policy is ridiculous, and many many illnesses arrive because of a LACK of sodium. Table salt is a heavily processed chemical byproduct, it is heated to 1200 C and it is refined that no trace minerals remain. Natural Sea Salt is pure health. It reduces bacterial overgrow, it restores immune system, it cleanses, it tastes good. Do people realize that in the past, not so long ago, people ate at least 10 grams of salt, and that many illnesses didn’t even exist? Drinking plenty of water and adding sea salt is a natural pain killer and restores bone function. Cartilage is in need of salt water in order to lubricate joints!

      • I use a lot of Himalayan Sea Salt, filled with amino’s & minerals. No chemical table salts. I supplement w/liquid iodine everyday & valuable other sources.

  2. Ankylosing Spondylitis Paleo Diet | Your Good Health Lost - pingback on April 13, 2016 at 2:10 am
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  4. Hi,

    I found this page very interesting and thought I had to share my experience suffering with A.S and how I am getting stronger, fitter more flexible and less pain everyday with my diet and exercise routines.

    Please read my story,

    http://theonlywayproductions.blogspot.co.uk

  5. I’m allergic to microwave. I have repeated to test. I have to eat microwaved food food for 2 week for my joints to start arching. Off medicine altogether never thought I would play soccer again as at a point it was so bad I could not walk. Need folic acid as immunity went low,thats it.

  6. Kathleen Buchanan

    It’s not the microwave, it is the sugar in the microwave dinners. If you want to stop aching stop eating SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN, & CASEIN (cow’s milk and cheese & yogurt made from it). I have Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Kyphosis, Scoliosis, Spinal Stenosis, Myalgia plus some others. I stopped cow’s milk but drink goat’s milk (fresh only). Almond, soy & rice milk are all processed foods and so, not good. The only processed foods I eat are almond or peanut butter that you have to stir and NO sugar. Also oatmeal you HAVE to cook, NO instant, use stevia or stevia blend using only erythritol. READ LABELS. I only eat organic produce, & organic meat. There are plenty of mixes of gluten free flour, pizza mix bread. You have to shop in stores in upper class neighbors because that is the only place they sell a lot of organic. You also need to take MAGNESIUM but there are good and bad forms. Good forms include Magnesium malate (malic acid), taurate, citrate, glycinate, bis-glycinate & theronate. BAD Magnesium is magnesium oxide, serrate, aspartate & glutamate, (last two are neuro-toxins). If you care for a list of everything you need to stop inflammation e-mail me at kat4552@gmail.com. I no longer have pain from my Fibromyalgia that cause unimaginable pain & I believe it stops most of the other pain unless I get up and clean the whole house or do yard work. Almost all Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency and if you have Fibromyalgia you need to take magnesium malate. The diet is so good that many days I do not suffer any pain. It’s not an easy diet but I would rather eat from this diet that be in such pain. On my diet I tell where sugar is found that you wouldn’t expect. Cereals, any sauces, anything that says low fat and alcohol is like liquid sugar etc.

  7. Thanks Brother Kathleen Buchanan,
    Dear,Can I eat Rice, Pulse, wheat. Please my brother send me the details in my mail id shak_khan@live.com
    I will be very grateful if you will help me.

  8. Kathleen Buchanan

    You can eat BROWN rice but not white rice like Minute Rice or Uncle Ben’s rice since it is processed. Wheat is wheat gluten. Even when bread is labelled oat bread or multi-grain bread it is still mostly wheat with wheat gluten. There are special breads that say Gluten free. Whatever type of bread you buy make sure it doesn’t have sugar in it. In the USA it always has sugar unless the gluten free doesn’t add it and some don’t add it. They are normally in refrigerated shelves.
    I know nothing of pulse but I looked it up and it is a member of the legume family. The legume family is fine. However if it is from the USA you cannot eat green beans from the legume family, unless they are organic, since it is very heavily drenched in pesticides. I cook pinto beans that is very good. However you need to use pulse from the seeds and not buy it already cooked & in cans. Realize I know nothing about pulse or even if they offer it in cans in your country, but if anything is already cooked, it is processed. Get and cook the raw seeds by yourself. It is wheat gluten you want to avoid. In the USA oatmeal that you cook yourself is about the only cereal you can eat. Everything else has sugar and the only other cereal that doesn’t add sugar is made of Wheat. I don’t know what country you are in, but I hope they don’t import foods from the USA. A lot of them are GMO foods and very bad. Our government is very corrupt and allows it. There are actually a few countries that still use DDT and you should check to see if your country does. It’s toxic. Made by the same company in the USA Monsanto that makes GMO foods, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons, a sweetener called Aspartame that causes brain tumors, petroleum fertilizers and more. I hope this helped some. Mail me back if not or you have other questions.

  9. I found this to be helpful I’ve only been told last few weeks I have HLA-B27and ANA I also have 2 other immune issues like raynauds phenomenon and vitiligo so what’s 2 more hey 😭But Stevens video gives me some hope .

  10. Hello there, am newly diagnosed with AS, its great to find this site. I hope that I my body would respond to the alternative treatments/ diet modification as mentioned above. huh. Let us pray for each other’s recovery.

  11. I have HLA-B27 and AS is in full swing! They want to start me on Humira and I am really not wanting to go down that path! I have other issues with stomach, allergies, joints, etc… I have been mis-diagnosed for several years and spend most of the last 12 months in pain and just plain miserable. I hope to find the right balance that works for me and pray for everyone that is dealing with this. it isn’t easy to explain to others, so it is nice to know there is a site where we can share information and I no longer feel like I am on a “island” of sorts. 🙂 Take care!

    • Shari Griffith

      What we can learn from each other and from listening very closely to our own bodies (which all react to foods and substances somewhat differently) can really help us gain some control over this condition that causes such painful, distressing and debilitationg symptoms which seem to come and go so unpredictably.
      Paying close attention to my diet and Completely Avoiding “triggering” foods has been the only thing that has helped since I was first diagnosed at age 58
      10 years ago after years of not understanding the spinal pain I was in much of the time. Since then I learned from another website about the therapeutic effects of taking “oregano oil” once a “flare” has started. At the dosage I take, I receive substantial reduction in level and duration of the “Pain Flare” but not complete relief. Before learning about Oregano Oil’s beneficial effects, I would suffer 1-3 days of completely uncontrollable extreme incapacitating spinal and peripheral pain. Now “flares” rarely last more than a day and I can “function” through them. Of course, learning all the new foods and “hidden substances” I was becoming sensitive to was important too, as the sensitivity to foods just seems to progressively get worse. Lately it has been new sensitively to various “gums” (guar gum,
      xanthan gum). Before that was reactions to “maltodextrin” in supplements. I can eat cooked rice, but only if it is made fresh everyday. I year ago I could eat “left-over” rice from the day before, but not any more. I don’t know about sweet potatoes for me, but Yams are great! Potatoes I can handle only in occassional small amounts and work best if cooked with lots of garlic. We’re all unique. Guidelines are great, but we still have to work out our own individual tolerances which may change over time, and may differ from those of our fellow travelers on this difficult and challenging journey. Wishing you all the very best in finding what dietary path works best for you. When you find it and can stay on it, it definitely works.
      For me, so does “fasting”/ just “not eating”, but that is much more difficult to do for more than a few hours.

  12. White rice is a starch, ankylosing spondylitis & starch is a no no, along with high glycemic sugars & lactose. I can become so inflamed on starch with AS, that it starts the paralyzing process even around my hip/femur, let alone that poor attacked spine. Be careful with the white rice advice! 😯

  13. Lonnie Chandler

    I was diagnosed with a severe on set of Ankylosing Spondylitis in 1982 while playing football at Washington State University. The disease progressed until 1990 when I opened a coffee business. From that time forward the disease eased and I’ve had a very steady period of over 27 years with no progression of the disease, if anything there has been a significant improvement. The lower vertebrae still show fusion but no progression. I’m on my feet 10-12 hours each day and probable drink 6-8 cups of coffee per day. Is it possible that the advice to limit caffeine is the opposite of what should actually be done? I’m no expert here but I find it interesting that it seems to ease the effects of other arthritis related diseases.

    • Hi Lonnie,

      Interesting! Coffee is associated with good health outcomes, but I don’t think it’s the caffeine that provides the benefits — at your doses the caffeine is probably a poison. I drink decaf myself and I’d recommend keeping the same amount of coffee but maybe switching to half caffeinated and half decaf. I believe the benefits are going to come from coffee’s antibiotic effect in the small intestine (e.g. due to its organic acids, especially chlorogenic acid, https://www.coffeechemistry.com/chemistry/acids), and possibly the coffee polyphenols are a healthy “fiber” that promotes a healthy gut microbiome in the large intestine too.

      Congratulations on discovering a really interesting and promising therapy! I think this is an important discovery you’ve made.

      Best, Paul

  14. Catherine Bottle

    I had a fecal transplant for an infection called c diff. and the difference it made to my AS symptoms were amazing.
    Definetly showing a big connection from gut microbiome. As I also have been diagnosed with arthropathy in crohns.

  15. Tanya Gilmore

    Catherine tell me where u had the fecal translation Kant done.

  16. Catherines comment is key. I am not a doctor. This isn’t medical advice. This is my experience. Your milage may vary.

    I had reactive arthritis for over 30 years. Recently my rheumatologist changed my diagnosis to ankylosing spondylitis. These are the same disease triggered by different infections. The key to that is the bugs. Mostly they live in your gut. This has been known for 35 years. Still mainstream medicine ignores it.

    It is vital to kill the bad bugs and support the good ones in your intestines. Killing them can be difficult. Antibiotics can do that if you take the right set at high enough doses for long enough. Figuring out what those are can be hard. Getting your doctor to help is harder. Using natural methids is better, but also difficult to figure out. And what works is different for each of us. Stay on it. You can do it.

    It is important throughout that to take a variety of excellent probiotics to rebuild your intestinal flora. Selfhacked.com can help you figure that out.

    At the same time, you need to heal and rebuild your intestinal lining. If you’ve been taking NSAIDs (you no doubt have) your intestines will be raw hamburger inside. Blood will be leaking out. Your B vitamin levels will be bad. You are probably seriously anemic. And you likely do not dream. At the same time, proteins leaking into the blood can lead to all sorts of food sensitivities. Etc…

    I resolved that by eating indian curries twice a day, eavery day for two years straight. Indian curries are chock full of powerful anti inflammatory herbs – cardamom, corriamder, cumin, fennel, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and others. Giant green cardamom was most important for me.

    Next up, once I killed the bugs and healed my gut, I needed to convince my immune system that all was well and to stop attacking. I did that using deep meditation for a long time. Yoga, Tai chi, hemi-sync and many other techniques can help.

    Along the way I learned that calendula ointment is a powerful topical aid. It reduces inflammation. It is a mild pain killer, a mild muscle relaxer and an anti infective. Amazing stuff. “Pain-ease” can help with pain and replace opiates.

    After 30 years I stopped the disease progression in its tracks. I have lots of bone deposits left. But i have no active disease.

    Oh also, I learned along tne way that l-arginine is amazing for health and for restoring dreams.

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