This post is going to be full of medical information and references, along with some Ellie information, so it may not be a post for everyone. Though it will give you a glimpse into my daily research ventures!
As fantastic as it was, Ellie's blood work had four interesting pieces of information: elevated Vitamin A, elevated Neutrophils, low sodium, and missing iron. OK not missing iron. What I mean is that our lovely doc forgot to order an iron test. MAN! So I will be contacting our pediatrician about having blood work done for that. Such a bummer!
Low sodium I will address in another post. (stay tuned)
Investigation into the Neutrophils revealed that they are a type of white blood cell that helps your immune system to fight bacteria and fungi. This makes perfect sense for Ellie, whose body is riddled with yeast and bacteria as a result of severe gut dysbiosis and immune system imbalance. This showed me that her body is working hard to rid itself of the fungus and bacteria, and that the Nystatin we have been giving her is serving a purpose. A good, multi-strain probiotic, combined with compounded pure Nystatin powder for a long period of time will help her body to heal and give it the jump start that it needs from having battled with corn for so long.
The Vitamin A was most interesting. My automatic assumption was that she was getting too much and to look for signs of toxicity. The new osteopathic doctor said she was not sure but that she would cut back on the liver to help with this level. Made sense. Then another FPIES mom (who knows just about everything under the sun) brought some interesting articles to my attention about vitamin A. For your most enjoyable reading (should you choose), here they are:
Vitamin A: The Key to a Tolerant Immune System?
Roles of Retinoic Acid in Induction of Immunity and Immune Tolerance
And one more
Basically, from what I can put together in my research fried brain, is that Vitamin A is used to down play inflammation. If you would like to know specifics about which T cells and such, it is all explained in the previous three articles.
After reading these articles I thought to myself: Wait a minute. Vitamin A goes with Vitamin D. GAPS and my emails from Dr. Natasha promote these things for Ellie....why in the world have I not just looked back at my GAPS book?
Here is what I found:
The parent vitamin A is called retinol. Real (straight-up no conversion needed) vitamin A that the body absorbs comes from animal products, but bile and pancreatic enzymes are also needed. There are publications that say you can get vitamin A from fruits and veggies in the form of cartenoids. Cartenoids have to be converted into vitamin A in the body which takes magnesium, zinc, amino acids, and other important things that immune-compromised bodies are already lacking. Toxins also can block carotenoids from being converted to Vitamin A, and immune-compromised bodies are generally very toxic.
(This explains the need for Ellie to have the additional liver, and why it is most unfortunate that she has not been able to tolerate fermented cod liver oil. The notes below relate to 'real' vitamin A, and not synthetic supplements.)
What else I found:
Vitamin A used to be called the "anti-infective vitamin" because of its role in immunity.
And the best sentence yet?
"Supplementation of vitamin A in children shows proliferation of normal B and T cells and better response to antigens." HEY! That relates to all of those previously mentioned medical articles!
Regarding the overdose of vitamin A, it takes more than 10 times the daily allowance for a period of weeks to years, which would equate to 10 teaspoons of cod liver oil per day for a child.
So since Ellie's Vitamin A levels were elevated and not off the charts, I now started wondering about her vitamin D.
page 282 of GAPS:
Vitamin D and Vitamin A "do not work properly without each other and a deficiency in one creates an excess in the other." So what are Ellie's vitamin D levels looking like? Low. Low normal. In fact, it is within the normal range but has not gone up since starting GAPS. Hmm.
How do I help her to increase those levels of Vitamin D for body repair, and to use up that Vitamin A? Foods with large amounts of 'real' vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, butter, and liver.
AHA! Seriously. That was a GIANT A-HA! for my tired brain. Ellie did not tolerate cod liver oil. She is already getting liver. She needs something else, and Dr. N has said the next steps for her are to get her on eggs, and try for homemade raw goat milk ghee. Both seemed absurb to me when looking through the FPIES filter. But from the nutrition and GAPS filter? Perfect sense! Perhaps it is time to look past the vegetables and examine eggs and *cringe* homemade raw goat milk ghee. Whew. My brain needs some REST!