About Gut Heroes

✔️ The goal of Gut Heroes is to help you find ways to lead a happy, pain-free life with ankylosing spondylitis

Welcome to Gut Heroes.

For years I struggled with a mystery illness that gave me crippling back pain and made simple day-to-day things a chore, sometimes impossible…

Everything from walking, sleeping, tying my shoelaces… sometimes even sitting down.

When I was finally given my AS diagnosis the only treatment on the table was a) stronger NSAIDs and b)  immunosuppressants, neither of which targeted the core problem.

That’s why I created this website…

To raise awareness about AS and autoimmune disease so we can speed up diagnosis and investigate root cause treatments.

If you’re battling unexplained back pain that shifts from side to side, consider whether it could be AS.

🩺 You can find information about getting a diagnosis for AS here

If you have received a diagnosis and you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, please don’t panic. That’s why I created this resource.

✔️ Targeting gut health to manage AS and autoimmune disease

My hope is that you’ll find the encouragement and tools to take control.

I am now completely medication-free for my ankylosing spondylitis and I truly hope you will experience the same success.

However, everyone is different. Your journey might be different to mine and that’s ok.

That is why I have put together a page detailing some of the best-known treatments for ankylosing spondylitis and their reported efficacy, as well as any side effects.

I’m not a doctor or rheumatologist. The goal of Gut Heroes is simply this:

To make it easier for you to get to the information you need by pooling the most compelling studies related to ankylosing spondylitis, the gut microbiome, and autoimmune disease research in one place.

I also want to show you some simple processes you can follow to help you identify your worst triggers.

✔️ This was the game-changer for me

Figuring out exactly which foods work for you could help you discover and remove painful triggers from your life.

And at the same time introduce (healthy, natural) elements that could help you thrive.

These aren’t wishy-washy strategies. These are based on research into the microbiome and genetics in relation to ankylosing spondylitis.

You can find my step-by-step guide here:

⚙️ How to create your AS Wellness Plan

So what’s the theory behind using diet to manage ankylosing spondylitis?

One of the key components is the starch free diet, devised by immunologist and consultant rheumatologist at the Middlesex Hospital (now UCH), Alan Ebringer.

That’s an essential part of it.

You will also discover quick and practical stretching exercises put together by people who have dedicated their careers to helping people with AS.

Plus bonus therapies and supplements tried and tested by thousands of others who’ve found ways to lead a pain-free life with their AS and have been kind enough to share their most successful strategies.

✔️ I’m someone living with this disease who wants to raise awareness, spark debate, and create a positive impact

About-MeDuring my own AS journey, there have been moments of crushing despair.

From absurdly long delays in getting a diagnosis (19 years) to moments where the pain was so constant and intense that life barely seemed worth living.

I don’t want anyone else to ever have to go through this.

While there is no magic bullet or cure, thanks to the determination of so many people living with and researching this disease and sharing their successes, I’ve now achieved something I never thought possible.

I now live with around 90% – 95% less pain.

Not every day is perfect, and sometimes I hit a flare, but these are far less frequent.

So far, my record is 72 days virtually pain-free.

This is by far the longest I have ever gone, as an adult, without experiencing a flare. When I do get them, they tend to be far milder and last 2 – 7 days, rather than 2 weeks or more.

The change has been so dramatic, I haven’t needed to take a single anti-inflammatory drug for over 600 days.

This alone is something I never would have thought possible. At the height of my AS, I was taking 12 ibuprofen tablets every day (under the guidance of my GP and physiotherapist).

I would walk around the house with a visible stoop for at least 1-2 hours every morning before I could stand up straight(ish). When I was in pain, I had to perform a slight but noticeable dragging act on the leg of the side affected.

Walking in general had become my only respite from pain, and yet getting to that pain-free moment often involved popping ibuprofen and slathering my lower back with Biofreeze gel. This might be enough to get me through the first 40 excruciating minutes, after which the pain would start to subside.

Today, most days, there is no longer any stiffness. I can move easily and, for someone with AS (even bendily!)

Me trying to remove a branch from under a car. I struggled to bend down to tie my shoes before!

For the first time in over a decade, I can actually break out into a run without grimacing and without plunging into a flare and weeks of relentless pain. Sometimes, I even have moments where I ‘forget’ what the pain of a flare feels like.

📰 You can read more about my AS journey here

I’m not cured (I wish it were possible!) and I’m not 100% pain-free yet, but there are so many days now where I am damn close, and I’m evolving and working on things all the time.

If you have patience, determination, and willpower – and this does involve hard work – I truly believe there are things that you can do to thrive with ankylosing spondylitis.

It is my hope beyond all hopes that one day, you will experience what it’s like to be almost completely pain-free.

In order to give you the best tools and the best help I can, I thought long and hard about what took me so long to get here on my own journey and that’s why I created this website.

Want to know exactly what my personal AS Wellness Plan involves currently? You can view it here:

🪷 View my Wellness Plan

In each of these cases, I have tested methods on myself and kept detailed notes of each method I have used. Some of the methodologies may work brilliantly for you. Others may not. We are all different, and that’s absolutely key.

The biggest part of the process which I want to help you with is to give you the tools to figure out your own AS wellness plan. I’ll point you towards some of the core tests you can try as you start your journey (such as certain foods to avoid and introduce).

For my full diet and Wellness Plan walkthrough, take a look here:

⚙️ My Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet walkthrough (a guide)

Many of these were life-changing for me within the space of a few months, but again, your experience may be different. You may find other game-changing discoveries that work for you.

Please remember this is about tailoring your journey. Willpower, determination, and patience are key.

You might start to see some positive results in a few weeks, it might take 6 – 12 months. You might find changing completely different elements of your diet and lifestyle have a bigger impact for you. And you might well find that a certain medication and/or combination of changes is what’s right for you.

My hope is you may even discover some effective new strategies that you can share with others via this website.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with me here:

✉️ Contact me

Let’s benefit from each other’s experiences, share what works for us, celebrate our successes, and work on open-source strategies to help people thrive with AS.

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