AS: seeing red with Dr. Alan Ebringer

Discovery is a funny business.  Sometimes explorers set out for the new land, braving dangers & going where no one has gone before.  And sometimes the process is much more serendipitous than that.

And it can be funny.

Dr Alan Ebringer. (Photo by Akil Simmons), Click link for more…(!)

I am thinking of the story I heard about Dr Alan Ebringer, which may be at least partially apocryphal.  In conversation with one of his patients, he suggested –in jest? Or in exasperation? –that the patient should consume only foods that are red: red wine, red meat & tomatoes.

Later –surprise surprise—when he followed up, inexplicably, the patient was in much better condition. I don’t know if this is a true story, but it has the bizarre ring of truth to it.

The patient’s ailment? Ankylosing Spondylitis, or “AS”, an inflammatory condition that is sometimes thought of as a kind of arthritis.  It leads to such symptoms as morning stiffness, excess bone growing in areas such as the neck or tailbone, and can lead to other conditions, some innocuous such as eczema, some more serious such as iritis.

The accidental discovery –through the red items—seems to be that some foods may trigger AS.  What was it about the red items? They had no starch, it turns out.

And so Ebringer is now an exponent of a dietary solution to AS, that may indeed apply to a series of other inflammatory ailments: the no starch diet, aka “NSD”, or low starch diet aka “LSD” perhaps in combination with drugs.

The really funny thing about this?  Pharmaceutical companies can’t make big money off of a dietary choice.  When my doctor asked me to take one of the “biologicals” –drugs that repress the immune system and leave you vulnerable to minor infections—I refused.  The one she suggested sometimes causes leukemia.


So nameless doctor, wherever you’ve gone, I hope you can forgive me if I chose not to turn an elephant gun upon myself. Already –without knowing about Ebringer–i was seeing red.  I retreated to the internet seeking alternatives, and google came to the rescue.

And I found one, thanks to Dr Ebringer, whose fame is all over the internet even if you’ve never heard of him. You can read about the NSD here.

Imagine then the choice, between….

  • a carcinogen, that cost $10,000 a year (paid by my health plan), that requires one to go to an emergency ward if you get the sniffles?
  • a non-invasive dietary choice that costs nothing

What’s more, it seems really clear to me that the expensive solution fights with my body’s inflammation but does not stop the inflammation at its cause, whereas the dietary choice fixes the inflammation at its root: in the digestive system.  Even if this weren’t so, isn’t it safer to avoid expensive & dangerous drugs? Surely.

Here’s Ebringer talking about AS, as well as another related condition, namely fibromyalgia. 

Finally… i hope no one is offended when i decline potatoes, rice, pasta or bread when offered.  It’s simply because I’m seeing red: just like Dr. Ebringer.  Oh and one last thought, namely THANK YOU DR EBRINGER. 

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10 Responses to AS: seeing red with Dr. Alan Ebringer

  1. Marcus says:

    OMG my pharmaceutical portfolio will go down if the public read this (LOL)

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  4. Ray Z says:

    Alan was my Immunology lecturer in 1979-1980 at Queen Elizabeth College, London. I aced an “A” in that course and I think I was the only one with an “A”. He loved me!!….good old days eh?

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  7. Anthony says:

    I have had AS for four years and I just stumbled upon this. Thank you and I never knew all this. I will try it and hope it works. Is it still helping your pain and has it slowed your disease down?

    • barczablog says:

      Good question, please take my words with a grain of salt, as I am no doctor, just a person trying to figure out how to cope.

      Please check out which is where I read a whole lot more about dietary choices, and saw lots of others discussing choices & sharing their experiences.

      I’m guessing I’m much older than you. The disease seems to work differently when you’re older, usually becoming milder (at least I hope so; so far so good). For awhile I was a strict vegetarian. I completely stopped taking the stronger meds. I’ve now been off any NSAIDs for years, relying on moderate exercise, and living with a certain amount of pain. My diet isn’t nearly as strict as it used to be, but occasionally when I feel a flare-up coming, I’ll be more careful to nip it in the bud. From what i’ve read, the disease becomes less active when you’re older: which seems to be true in my case. I suppose I am hesitant to make any pronouncements about it, but there’s no question I’m in a better place now.

      On the other hand, I know some people are having success using the biologicals (enbrel or humira etc), but I wasn’t willing to take that path because of my own personal risk factors; I think it depends on your age and the intensity of the disease in your body. As you’ve only had the disease a short while I’d assume you’ve had less overall damage to your body, and so the biologicals path might make some sense for you as an alternative (a path I simply would not /could not take). I wish I had discovered the dietary pathway sooner.

  8. True Data on AS says:

    Written by open cage kitty (fast version, it can be edited):

    I have Anklosing Spondylitis, but unlike most stories here, it was never a mystery how I got the medical condition. I have extensively researched my genetics, talked to thousands of extended family and other factors due to my dad dying for a family tree project and I can guaranteed with confidence that it is not in my family. I got in from one specific moment in July 2015 when a man that also had Akylosing Spondylitis forced a bottle of saliva of his and other immune compromising substances down my throat.

    I am very young, female and with no medical problems prior. I have a lovely record in Canada with free health care and constant testing (data) to prove this. After all the initial reactions of the attack like my skin burning like acid and other stuff, 3 months later I got Raynaud’s Sydrome in my hands and within 6 months Ankylosing Spondylitis showed up on my MRI at the hospital and was not in the previous MRI scans.

    I think we should stop wasting research on the family focus. I am very confident that all money should be flowing into researching the GI Tract, Immune responses and digestive system.

    I can attest to a no starch diet removing stiffness and pain. I do not consider this verifiable proof that this slows down the disease or progression itself. I still am progressing very fast for under 2 years with a problem. It has made my rib cage constricted and the tissue is painful. My heels hurt and feet. I can not flex backwards in a yoga position looking at the sky like I used two and limited range in the hips. This no starch diet is just removing the sensation of pain.

    I don’t know what other value my story has for researchers but to test me and the person that attacked me (known by name and location) to make a comparison.

    • barczablog says:

      Alas, the research seems aimed at studying ways to make $ for drug companies, while using the dietary strategy costs nothing. Of course there are other anecdotal reports like yours. Thank you for sharing!

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