Meet John who recovered from ankylosing spondylitis

Meet John who recovered from ankylosing spondylitis

I want you to meet John MacGregor who generously agreed to tell his remarkable recovery story —  how he cured an “incurable” disease called Spondylitis which causes a great deal of pain in the back and neck. John experienced a great number of autoimmune conditions and has beaten many of them. He’s currently doing heavy metal chelation as I am. His story is a great testament to our ability to recover from diseases that doctors mostly consider inexplicable and incurable. In John’s own words:

I seem to be expert at contracting (and often enough curing) autoimmune diseases.

In the past 20 years I have had the following – which are suspected or confirmed to be autoimmune:

  • Celiac – accepted
  • Blood-sugar problems (diabetes type 1 is accepted)
  • Glomerulonephritis – partly autoimmune (only recently confirmed)
  • Meniere’s Disease – suspected
  • Psoriasis – accepted
  • Psoriatic arthritis – accepted/Ankylosing spondylitis – suspected
  • Restless Legs Syndrome – suspected

In that same period I have:

  • Got around celiac (I’m only borderline anyway) by minimising, often eliminating, gluten grain intake.
  • Much-reduced blood-sugar problems via chelation, supplements & adrenal support.
  • Cured my mild cases of Meniere’s Disease and Restless Legs.
  • Not had much impact on my psoriasis, unless I maintain an absolutely perfect diet. (Have got it down to 10% at times.)
  • Helped cure a friend of MS (also autoimmune), via the paleo diet and supplements. (From almost total paralysis to full functioning; brain scans can no longer find her lesions.)
  • I’m presently working on the nephritis by resuming the strict paleo diet that cured the spondylitis, along with Chinese herbs & other supplements. In three months my urine-creatinine reading (the key measure of the disease) has gone down from 595 to 392 – a satisfying fall in that period. I am confident that it will continue falling, and that I will be cured of this incurable disease by about mid-2013.
  • Cured my ankylosing spondylitis – my version of which was also called psoriatic arthritis.

Due to limited time, I might confine this to the spondylitis, which was the worst illness I’ve had. It took about a year to fix. At the end of that year my swelling and staggering pain had vanished, and my ESR blood inflammation tests had gone down to 1 – the lowest possible reading.

Here are the details:

The first thing I did was get blood tests for inflammation (the ESR at the time – a good basic test still in use), so I could keep objective track of progress. Over the year, my ESR went from 43 down to 19 down to 6, then finally down to 1 – the lowest possible reading. (Normal range for middle-aged people is 1-15; 1-10 if young.)

All symptoms disappeared for good. I haven’t had a problem since – tho the rheumatologist at the time said I’d end up a cripple.

From the notes of my 1997 visit to the rheumatologist:

Q: What is the inflammation? And what causes it?
A: A pathological chain of events within tissues. White cells moving into tissues. For me, mainly characterized by the presence of macrophages and lymphocytes (from the immune response). No-one knows what causes it.

So I take it this was autoimmune.

These days I do get the occasional twinge in a finger if I eat a lot of fruit or drink a lot of beer. (I.e. too many sugars.) So I just stop doing that for a day & it goes.

I was in agony from head to foot: 20 digits swollen like sausages; spine fusing up; even breastbone extremely painful; couldn’t turn over in bed at night.

I was in agony from head to foot: 20 digits swollen like sausages; spine fusing up; even breastbone extremely painful; couldn’t turn over in bed at night.

To do this I went off acidic food – was eating a lot of tomato paste at the time; and off gluten grains; and off alcohol and cigarettes. And cut way back on the sugars, including fruit. And no dairy.

The regime varied from time to time. Sometimes I found that animal protein was making symptoms worse, and making my tears stingy & acidic. So I went off all animal protein – & those symptoms went away. Other times I just cut down to chicken or fish every second day. That’s something to experiment with.

I eat a ton of meat now – no ill-effects: but when one is in a critical state, trying to subdue the autoimmune response, one needs extra measures. Therapeutic diets are usually different from maintenance diets.

I took anti-arthritis herbs, & got mobility exercises from a physiotherapist.

My fastest rate of cure came when I went to live on a quiet beach for a few months, & exercised & swam every day.

My fastest rate of cure came when I went to live on a quiet beach for a few months, & exercised & swam every day.

Some of my ideas came from an English herbalist named Rowland. I didn’t follow every item – excessive fastidiousness is counter-productive, as it causes you to rebel at some point. I also don’t agree with him allowing bread and coffee. Other people’s laundry lists are for picking the eyes out of, not following fanatically.

My hunch is that for me lowering the intake of sugars was the biggest factor. Cutting out/back on bad fats, gluten (& much grain of any sort) & red meat were also curative I’m sure.

Modern fruit is not the low-sugar, fibrous fruit we evolved on, so there’s a good rationale to being careful with even natural sugars.


Fish oil! There’s even some science on it for arthritis. MAX-EPA absorption is improved by replacing polyunsaturated fats in the diet with monos.

n-6 fatty acids tend to be pro-inflammatory, a scientist told me at the time – so I avoided them (e.g. sesame seeds).

I also took quite a few supplements, tho can’t recall which ones. There’d be websites on this now. If you can’t take any supplements that shouldn’t be a barrier to getting well, if diet is in order.

It’s of tremendous practical & psychological benefit to keep track of your ESR – get it measured regularly. Seeing those numbers fall is a real boost. This is one thing doctors are useful for.

Going off anything that I reacted to for a while (until the allergic response settled down) was helpful. Some people find rotation diets useful, tho I didn’t need one. I tried an elimination diet once, which picked up a couple of things (e.g. more pain after eating chickpeas – which incidentally are a post-paleolithic food).

Some writers say going off nightshades is very important: I never had any problem with them (except the acidity of the tomatoes) – but I didn’t eat a ton of potatoes, to keep starches/sugars down.

A final point which sums up a lot: There isn’t much arthritis in the fossil record before the advent of agriculture.

General observations:

  1. Medicos will be useless. This is not their field.
  2. Pain is your friend, as it tells you you are sick & (when reducing) shows you that what you are doing is working. So I never took painkillers or anti-inflammatories. It’s a good spur to try hard.
  3. Acting early is a good idea, because the calcifcation caused by the arthritis isn’t reversible.
  4. If progress is slow, gene testing & fixing methylation is worth exploring. But this is a whole ‘nother ballgame, & shouldn’t be needed by most.
  5. The big absence with ‘incurable’ diseases is not an absence of remedies – there are plenty – but an absence of will to apply them. Most sick people don’t want to get well – only about one in 100 IMO. You would be a rare bird if you made the kind of effort implied in the above.
  6. Following my regime exactly may not be optimal: you’ll need to experiment a bit. But the broad guidelines should be useful.

Related posts