I made a series of posts here a while back on what I believe is at the root of all autoimmune diseases-an inability to digest dietary proteins due to a lack of enzymes called protease. Here is some info from my book on the connection to RA and the inability to digest proteins.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Vitamin D, and Adequate Protein Digestion
As early as the 1940s, Dr. Arnold Renshaw of Manchester, England suspected rheumatoid arthritis might stem from an enzyme deficiency that interferes with protein digestion. He based his suspicions, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease in 1947, on the high incidence of intestinal atrophy he observed while conducting thousands of autopsies on patients who had rheumatoid arthritis at the time of death.
Dr. Renshaw understood that the inability to digest proteins would lead not only to nutrient deficiencies, it would also result in incompletely digested protein fragments in the bloodstream, which would trigger an immune response. In the following excerpt from his study, Dr. Renshaw stated, “It has been held that the insidious and slowly developing processes of chronic rheumatism may be due to the continued influx of incompletely digested protein fragments into the blood stream.”
Intestinal extract in rheumatic diseases.
Renshaw, A. 1947. Ann Rheum Dis. 6:1 15-35doi:10.1136/ard.6.1.15
“…As a result of numerous post-mortem examinations, sometimes as many as four or six a day for many years, the frequency with which atrophy of the small intestine occurred and the variations in the appearance of this organ when it was systematically opened and examined throughout its entire length impressed itself upon the writer. The conclusion was reached that rheumatoid arthritis might be a deficiency disease, with perhaps some associated allergic basis, and that the deficiency might arise from an inability to deal adequately with protein digestion and metabolism…
It has been held that the insidious and slowly developing processes of chronic rheumatism may be due to the continued influx of incompletely digested protein fragments into the blood stream, which act as antigens against which the antibody content of the circulating blood is low. The antigen-antibody reaction takes place within the cells with subsequent anaphylactic inflammation, the condition being described as allergic. The theory of protein allergy has the support of many workers in this field, one of whom, Gudzent (1940), was able to produce rheumatic tissue lesions in animals by various types of proteins, and observations on patients indicated that food proteins (animal as well as vegetable) are chiefly responsible. They produce under certain conditions antibody-antigen or allergic reactions, with their cytotoxic effects on the connective tissues, and thus lead to rheumatic tissue lesions…”
Lita Lee, Ph.D., a chemist and enzyme nutritionist, explained the connection to an inability to properly digest proteins and arthritis clearly when she wrote:
“All forms of arthritis involve abnormal calcium metabolism. Ninety-nine percent
of the body calcium is (or should be) in the bones and teeth. The other one percent, found in
the blood, is just as important because it is essential in the blood clotting
mechanism, muscle and nerve function, vitamin D function, and the
function of hormones that control calcium metabolism (called parathyroid
hormones). Of the one percent of calcium in the blood, half is protein-bound
and half is ionized. Both require adequate protein digestion. If you
are deficient in protein because you can’t digest it, you cannot carry protein-bound
calcium. If you lack optimum acidity from inadequate digestion of
protein, you will not have enough ionized calcium. In either case, you are a
candidate for arthritis.
The abnormal deposit of calcium is one of the factors involved in arthritis
and arthritic inflammation. Soft tissue, any kind of body tissue other than
bones and teeth, is a target for depositing calcium. Wherever this happens,
pathology occurs: in the joints, around inflamed areas (osteoarthritis), in
the arteries (arteriosclerosis), in the kidneys (kidney stones), in the soft
lenses of the eyes (cataracts), in the brain (stroke) and so on” (Lee, 2009).
As the following study from Mayo College of Medicine stated, an “array of studies” implicate PROTEASE in MS pathogenesis.
The multiple sclerosis degradome: enzymatic cascades in development and progression of central nervous system inflammatory disease.
Scarisbrick, I.A. 2008. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 318:133-75.
“An array of studies implicate different classes of protease and their endogenous inhibitors in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis based on expression patterns in MS lesions, sera, and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Growing evidence exists regarding their mechanistic roles in inflammatory and neurodegenerative aspects of this disease…”
The same thing that Dr. Renshaw knew was taking place in arthritis is taking place in MS. A lack of protease leads to incompletely digested protein fragments entering the bloodstream.
In the following study researchers discovered that 40.9% of the MS patients tested had undigested meat fibers in their stools. Protease would be responsible for the digestion of the proteins found in meat, as well as the proteins found in other foods. A lack of protease would explain the undigested meat fibers in patients with MS.
Multiple sclerosis and malabsorption.
Gupta, J.K., A.P. Ingegno, A.W. Cook, L.P. Pertschuk. 1977. Am J Gastroenterol. 68(6):560-5.
“Malabsorption tests were studied in 52 patients with multiple sclerosis. The stools were examined microscopically for fat and undigested meat fibers and were found to be abnormal in 41.6 and 40.9% respectively. Malabsorption of Vitamin B12 was found in 11.9% cases…”
There are two basic components to autoimmune disease. The first is the "immune system" component triggered by the DNA and protein fragments entering the bloodstream. The second is the deficiency component that results from a lack of proteins. One of which would be vitamin B12, which was mentioned in the study.
There are immune cells called dendritic cells that will react to the foreign protein fragments and DNA. These cells then release cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor.
In the following study the researchers stated that emerging evidence indicates that dendritic cells play a critical role in the initiation and progression of MS.
Targeting dendritic cells to treat multiple sclerosis.
Comabella, M., X. Montalban, C. Münz, J.D. Lünemann. 2010. Nat Rev Neurol. 6(9):499-507. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2010.112. Epub 2010 Aug 17.
“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered to be a predominantly T-cell-mediated disease, and emerging evidence indicates that dendritic cells have a critical role in the initiation and progression of this debilitating condition…”
Here is one study that discusses dendritic cells in the initiation and progression of RA, but you can find many more if you do a search.http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/b ... 6/art00004
These missing enzymes can explain every component of the disease process of MS and RA in a very direct biological way.