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Article:  Immune Suppression Drugs

Article:  Chronic Inflammation
Article:  Why Did I get an Autoimmune Disease?

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It is important to understand that an autoimmune disease is a process for which Western medicine does not have a cure. The best they can do is try to minimize your symptoms by prescribing pharmaceutical grade medications to suppress the immune system and other drugs that minimize pain caused by the immune attack. This addresses the "what" or the symptoms of the autoimmune, but unfortunately, not the "why." The question then becomes: Why is your immune system attacking  you?

When you have an autoimmune disorder, there are two things occurring. First, you have an immune system that has decided to attack healthy tissue. Next, you have inflammation which can cause other health issues such as adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and permeable bowel syndrome. [7]

Let's use the autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto's disease as an example. In this case, the immune system decided to attack the thyroid tissue. Along with the enraged immune system, you may feel fatigued, tender lymph, experience weight gain, hair loss, or depression. Most likely, you are on a synthetic hormone to replace what your thyroid can no longer produce; however, prescribing a thyroid hormone does not address the real issue of your immune system attacking healthy thyroid tissue.  Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease before it is a thyroid disorder. Similarly, multiple sclerosis is an immune disease before a demyelization disorder, and Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disease before it is a joint disorder. This process is the same with each autoimmune disorder.


Our bodies rely on natural defences to keep us healthy and well; this is our immune system. It is the job of this system to protect us from foreign macromolecules or invading organisms. The foreign macromolecules are known as antigens and can be a virus protein, worm, parasite, all things that should be in the body. [9]


The immune system has two sides. First, there is the innate, or non-specific immunity. Secondly, there is the adaptive, or specific immunity. You are born with innate immunity, while adaptive immunity is your immune system’s adjustment for a different situation (adaptation) based on what antigens your body has been exposed to at any given time. Innate is like the wall of the city, it can defend all attackers, and it is not specifically targeted for a particular pathogen.  When it needs assistance, it signals the other side of our immune system, the adaptive or specific immunity. [9]


The adaptive immune response is unlike the innate, as it is highly specific to the pathogens that it remembers. Any substance eliciting an adaptive immune response is called an antigen.[6] For example, if you had the chicken pox once, you will not get it a second time because of your adaptive immune system. However, that does not mean you would not get the mumps or measles, as these viruses are different than chicken pox and a specific memory has not yet been created in your immune system.


The responses of the adaptive immune system are also injurious (looking to destroy) invading pathogens; therefore, it is essential that they only attack something foreign and not a part of the host cells, which is healthy tissue. The cells that make up the adaptive immune system have a the ability to distinguish something foreign from what is native; however, sometimes this fundamental ability fails and the immune system sees our tissue as foreign and attacks it. [5] This is called an autoimmune disorder.


What causes the immune system to no longer be able to tell the difference between foreign and self is not known. Researchers have been asking this question for years. While there are many ideas of what happened, there are multiple factors, including the following:


Gender  

Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women than in men. According to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Society (AARDA.org), the ratio of a woman contracting an autoimmune disease versus a man is 10:1.


Genetics

Autoimmune diseases run in families. If a family member has an autoimmune disorder, there is a higher chance that you may develop an autoimmune disorder, although it may not be the same disease. For example, while one family member could have lupus, another could have scleroderma.


Vaccinations

In an extensive research study done by a French scientist, it was discovered that vaccines were not the major cause of autoimmune disease. However, they also suggest that a potential link between vaccines and autoimmune diseases cannot be definitely ruled out and should be carefully explored during the development of new candidate vaccines. [10]


Chemical Toxins

It has been found the chemical contamination of the environment (for example: pesticides) play a significant role in allergies and autoimmune disorders. Research proves that these harmful chemicals cause a shift in the balance of the immune system. This shift is medically associated with a wide variety of chronic illnesses, including (but not limited to) AIDS, CFS, multiple allergies, viral hepatitis, autoimmune disorders, and a host of other chronic infections. [2]


Metal Toxins

As early as 1987, it was shown that high levels of metals in the system are associated with autoimmune conditions. Heavy metals such as mercury (found in amalgam or metal fillings) can attach to collagen tissue in those individuals with multiple sclerosis. When heavy metals are present in the tissue, the body sees them as "not self" and mounts an immune attack. [8]


Food Toxins

All processed food is toxic. Processed food is anything that has been altered from its natural state. Unfortunately, a large number of foods consumed on a daily basis are processed. Consuming these foods multiple times each day may be toxic to you and can cause your immune system to react. [1]


Food Allergies

The top foods to cause allergies and intolerance's in people are wheat (gluten), corn, soy, dairy, peanuts, sesame, sugars, grains, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and eggs. [3]


Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut is a term that modern medicine will not discuss. Unfortunately, physicians do not know enough about the gut. The gut leaks when the tight junctions do not work properly and become permeable, allowing food particles into the body. "In a self-perpetuating viscous cycle leaky gut flares up autoimmune conditions, which in turn further damages the gut lining". [4] My fellow holistic practitioners and I believe that every person with an autoimmune also has leaky gut.


What does all this information mean? As you have read, there are a number of things that lead to chronic disease states and autoimmune disorders. And, in reality, it does not matter if you have one or all of these interferences leading to an autoimmune disorder; you need to find those interferences and remove them.


The quieting of your immune system is not a mystery; it is a method—a roadmap. At Educated Nutrition, we do not look at the symptoms; we address the foundations and determine where you are imbalanced, and it starts with nutrition. Optimizing your nutritional status by teaching the body to digest properly, and by encouraging a whole foods, properly prepared, nutrient dense diet. We will work together to remove the foods that your body views as toxic. Proper nutrition leads to strengthening and healing the immune barriers, including your intestinal barrier.


Educated Nutrition looks forward to partnering with you to determine which chemical stressor(s) you have encountered in your environment; we will remove them so your body can heal.





References:


1. Campbell-McBride, N. (2010). Gut and psychology syndrome: Natural treatment for autism, dyspraxia, a.d.d., dyslexia, a.d.h.d., depression, schizophrenia . Medinform Publishing.

2. Ehrman, J. (2009). Pesticide use linked to lupus, rheumatoid arthritis. Retrieved from http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/newsletters/2011/03_18_2011/story4.htm

3. Guandalini, S., & Newland, C. (2011). Differentiating food allergies from food intolerances. Current gastroenterology reports13(5), 426-434. Retrieved from 10.1007/s11894-011-0215-7

4. Kharrazian, D. (2010). Why do i still have thyroid symptoms? when my lab tests are normal: a revolutionary breakthrough in understanding hashimoto's disease and hypothyroidism. Elephant Press.

5. Manoff, M. (2012). An epidemic of absence: A new way of understanding allergies and autoimmune diseases. Scribner; Reprint edition.

6. Owen, J., Punt, J., & Stranford, S. (2013). Kuby immunology. (7th ed.). New York, NY: W. H. Freeman.

7. SE Shoelson, L Jongsoon, and BG Allison, "Inflammation and insulin resistance," Journal of Clinical Investigation (2006): 1793-1801,

8. Silberod, R. (1992). A comparison of mental health of multiple sclerosis patients with silver/mercury dental fillings. 70: 1139-51, Psychology Reports.

9. Sompayrac, L. M. (2012). How the immune system works. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.

10. Wraith, D., Goldman, M., & Lambert, P. (2003). Vaccination and autoimmune disease: what is the evidence?. The Lancet ,

Why Did I get an Autoimmune Disease?


By HEIDI TOY

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