Auto-immune diseases

The Problem
Auto-immune conditions occur when the immune system begins to attack normal tissue.  Some of these conditions include classic auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.  The underlying cause of auto-immune disease is poorly understood. However,  it appears to involve the breakdown of the body’s immune system to recognize a cell as “foreign” instead of “self,” thus targeting that cell for inflammatory attack by the immune system.   Many auto-immune conditions are also associated with increased insulin resistance (1).

The Traditional Medical Approach
The primary drug treatments are anti-inflammatory drugs.  These drugs can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or monoclonal antibodies.  However, these same drugs can reduce the immune system’s efficiency to fight off microbial infections or reduce healing from physical injuries.  Although the cause of auto-immunity is unknown, it is associated with increased insulin resistance.

The Metabolic Engineering™ Approach
Metabolic Engineering™ offers a sophisticated dietary approach to reduce the side effects of standard anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat auto-immune conditions. The goal of Metabolic Engineering™ is to activate AMPK, which in turn reduces inflammation in the cells (2,3).    The Zone diet component of Metabolic Engineering™ increases AMPK activity via calorie restriction without hunger or fatigue that, in turn, decreases the activation of the gene transcription factor NF-κB.  Reducing NF-κB activity decreases pro-inflammatory eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) and other pro-inflammatory inflammatory mediators such as cytokines (such as TNF-α).  The omega-3 fatty acid component of Metabolic Engineering™ is a far more precise inhibitor of eicosanoid and leukotriene formation without causing immunosuppression.  Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks to make resolvins, the hormones critical in repairing the damaged airway passages caused by an asthma attack.  Finally, the polyphenol component indirectly activates AMPK to increase the activity of the gene transcription factor, Nrf2, which reduces oxidative stress. 

The consistent use of Metabolic Engineering™ results in an overall decrease of inflammation, which helps the immune system better recognize normal cells as being “self” instead of perceived as being “foreign.”     

Thus, Metabolic Engineering™ works to help reprogram the metabolism to reduce inflammation.  This makes anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat auto-immunity either perform better or allow the physician to decrease the amount of drug to manage inflammation associated with their auto-immune disorder to have fewer side effects.

1. Uddin J, Tran K, Hannan A, Rahman A, Lam A, Ngoc TN, Chu D. Autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders: Molecular connections and potential therapeutic targets. Translational Autoimmunity. Elsevier (2002)

2. Noor HB, Mou NA, Salem L, Shimul MFA, Biswas S, Akther R, Khan S, Raihan S, Mohib MM, Sagor MAT. Anti-inflammatory property of AMP-activated protein kinase.  Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 2020; 19: 2-41. doi: 10.2174/1871523018666190830100022.

3. Sears B and Saha AK. Dietary control of inflammation and resolution. Front Nutr. 2021; 8:709435. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.709435.