How Changing My Diet Sent My AS Into Remission
Last updated: May 2022
Editor's note: Please check with trusted doctor, dietician, and/or healthcare provider before beginning any significant dietary changes.
In early 2017, dissatisfied with the superficial nature of pain medication, I sought out alterative methods to manage my ankylosing spondylitis.
I began seeing a naturopathic doctor.
Naturopaths draw from systems of natural remedies to help the body heal itself. Naturopathy encompasses many therapies, including working with herbal medicine, utilizing therapeutic massage, acupuncture, exercise, and even providing nutritional counseling.
The naturopathic system of healing really appeals to me. It’s all about helping the body to heal itself, as opposed to modern methods which only treat the symptoms. I’ve found that in my case, modern medicine reduced my pain, but was unable to address the source of my pain itself. By using pursuing a naturopathic approach, I’d be able to figure out and reduce external sources of inflammation in order to reduce flare-ups. I’d essentially be helping my body return to a baseline state, where I feel generally good and movement is easy again.
After six months of pursuing a naturopathic medicine, my AS went into remission
I can safely say that I’ve been flare-free since the fall of 2017.
My naturopath guided me towards eating less food that may be causing inflammation in my gut. Her theory adhered to the idea that the gut – the stomach, intestines, and their bacterial contents – dictates the overall health of the rest of our bodies. She told me that intestinal inflammation can radiate out and effect the whole system. I realize I’m describing this in a very un-scientific way, and if you’re interested in the exact science, please seek out peer-reviewed information (either via reputable website or print publication) about how reducing intestinal inflammation can alleviate health problems.
My food sensitivities
I’ve taken several food sensitivity tests over the years, and I’ve stuck to an anti-inflammatory diet according to my specific results. I currently don’t eat dairy, eggs, apples, garbanzo beans, and sesame products, among others.
There are several types of food sensitivity tests available to all. I used a company called “Check My Body Health" which was a hair test I did through the mail. Other common types include blood tests or skin injection tests, and I’ve done both of those as well.
A lot of practitioners would first suggest a food-elimination diet, where you simply omit common inflammatory foods like soy, dairy, eggs, sugar, and gluten for a period of time and then gradually add them back in one at a time. Personally, I’ve found these diets to be very annoying and time consuming. I’ve found success by simply bypassing the experimentation and taking specific food sensitivity test and using my specific food sensitivity test results to determine my food omissions.
Of course, there is no “magic pill” for this approach to managing AS
Many people might find completely changing their diets to be time consuming and difficult. It also took me a few months to feel better after diet changes were implemented.
It’s certainly not easy to have different nutritional needs than the rest of my family of four. Cooking separate food for myself is really annoying! But, being able to run, jump, and play with my little boys is the best reward.
Has changing your diet helped manage your pain and flares?