What is Autoimmune Disease? A Health Muses understanding
Autoimmune diseases are the number 1 health malady in the United States. In total there are more than 100 of them. They are the # 1 cause of body dysfunction in the United States.
What are they?
- Autoimmune Addison’s disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Dego’s Disease
- Dermatomyositis – Juvenile
- Discoid Lupus
- Fibromyalgia – Fibromyositis
- Grave’s Disease
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Insulin Dependent Diabetes (Type I)
- Juvenile Arthritis
- Meniere’s Disease
- Mixed connective Tissue Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Rheumatic Fever
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
And many others with long names I don’t understand
Autoimmune also includes symptoms that don’t fit into a named peg hole yet. I was diagnosed with undefined autoimmune disease.
Newly added to the list
- Diabetes Type II
- Some skin conditions
- Cardio Vascular
- Possibly even autism
And more to come
Autoimmune Disease is rapidly on the rise in the US. What is causing it? What can we do about it? Why is the conventional medical community failing to stop this epidemic?
The traditional approach of naming the syndrome and giving the patients pills is not healing the body. It is not putting the disease into remission. It is covering up the symptoms and it is only exasperating the problem.
In the last couple of decades, there has been a shift in lifestyle, in our food, in our environment, and they are all having a diverse effect on the human body.
The Functional Medicine approach to Autoimmunity is to bring balance back to the body. Not to name the dysfunction, necessarily, but to enable the body to heal itself where ever there is inflammation.
The key is to heal an inflamed gut. They don’t treat the complaint; they want to heal what is causing the complaint. (Remove the tack)
There are more bacteria in the gut than there are cells in the body. These bacteria send messages to all functions of the body. There is even a brain gut connection. The gut is your second brain.
So what in the world is leaky gut?
This is my paraphrasing Dr. Tom O Bryans explanation on how this works.
Your gut has a wall that is only 1 cell thick. On that wall are little tiny fingers, like a shag carpet. Over the shag carpet is something like cheese cloth.
The bacteria in the gut break our food down into amino acids. A healthy gut lining, allows friendly amino acids to go into our system as particles that are recognized by our immune system as friendly particles.
If our digestion isn’t working properly, if we don’t have enough “good” bacteria, large chunks of food are in the gut, not yet broken down into amino acids.
Leaky gut is where the link in the chain of your gut breaks, and tiny little holes allow these larger food particles to pass through the wall and into your blood stream.
Your immune system is set up to identify “name tags” according to Dr. Susan Blum. All your cells have name tags so that your immune system knows that they are supposed to be there, so it doesn’t attack them.
Digestion is supposed to destroy the “name tags” on food. But if the food isn’t broken down properly, and if it is left in big chunks, it can cause holes in the cheese cloth barrier over the shags and get into the body cavity. They still have their “name tags”, and your immune system can’t identify them and goes “whoa”, sees them as the enemy, and attacks. Over time, you can build up antibodies against any food that is slipping through, chicken, tomatoes or a long list of other foods that are your sensitivities, so your immune system perceives more and more particles as the enemy..
What causes the link to break and the gut wall to be punctured ?
Again, paraphrasing Dr. O Bryan
- Genetic vulnerability. If you don’t eat real live green food, the light switch can be turned on. These are the markers you genetically inherited, but they don’t need to necessarily be turned on unless your body functions are not working properly.
- Environmental triggers, could be a food (a sensitivity) a toxin, a chemical, could be wheat. Whether you are tolerant of gluten or not, we are not born with an enzyme to properly digest wheat…and over time it alone can cause permeability in the gut wall. Studies are just coming in that this could also be the result of glyphosate ( the stuff Monsanto is spraying all over GMO crops and feeding us with)
- It could be toxic metals
- It could be caused by radiation
- It is exasperated by stress
Your gut heals itself every 7 days, but eventually it can’t keep up.
When these particles are attacked, the immune system is signaled to attack different body systems, where ever our greatest vulnerability is. For me, it was my muscles, my liver and my pancreas. For someone else it might be their thyroid. It is what causes MS and Lupus, and it is what causes Rheumatoid Arthritis and diabetes. It causes brain fog and eventually it causes Alzheimer’s. It is now thought to be what causes Parkinson’s. It might even cause autism. It causes healthy body functions to break down.
What are the early symptoms of Leaky Gut? Dr Blum breaks it down to:
- You have poor digestion
- You are probably pooping too loose or too hard, or back and forth.
- Bad skin
- Swelling, for me it was most noticeable in my ankles and my fingers
What you can do to help your body and heal a leaky gut?
- Get a food sensitivity test done, and whatever they are for you, avoid all of them like the plague. It is possible, after your gut heals for a while, that you can bring them one at a time back into your diet. But for now, they are gone.
Eliminate toxins in your life. You can research on the EWG site for a list of products low in toxins. You can go to references on my website, cherylmhealthmuse.com for my recommendations for products that I use.
- In my opinion, avoid GMO foods. It can’t be good for the body to eat herbicides, pesticides, or fumicides. If those things are killing bacteria and bugs on our crops, they are also killing the good bacteria in our gut.
- Eliminate sugar. It is more addictive than cocaine. It is what causes triglycerides in your body. It is destroying your liver and your pancreas. It is doing damage to your brain and your kidneys. It takes 2 -4 weeks (my experience) (one sugar expert says 2 months) to detox off sugar, and then you don’t care. Sugar also increases appetite, and turns off your body’s ability to know it is full, causing it to crave more sugar.
According to Dr. Blum:
- “Sugar in the blood stimulates your immune cells to actively release inflammatory molecules that travel throughout your body causing damage and irritation.
- Avoid high glycemic foods like soft drinks, juices, foods made with white flour and processed sugar, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc”
3. There are good and bad gut bacteria. One of the things that need to be increased are the good gut bacteria. You will need a good probiotic and also a good prebiotic. Probiotics add the good guys to your lower intestine.
Prebiotics are for your small intestine and eventually feed you good bacteria below. You can also eat prebiotic foods like jicama and asparagus to feed the bacteria in the large intestine so that the good bacteria thrive. Other prebiotics are onions, garlic, leeks, rye, chicory, blueberries, and bananas. Also artichokes and chicory.
You can increase the good bacteria below by eating fermented foods and drinking things like Kombucha. You can also do it eating plain yogurt and kefir.
There are also good prebiotics and probiotic supplements to take. I take Klare. I also take Klare enzymes so that I maximize the good nutrients going through the gut wall.
Other foods that help heal the gut
- Ghee and Coconut oil
- Glutamine: Can be found in all animal protein, such as chicken, beef, and dairy Can also be taken in powder form until balance in the body allows the liver to replenish the L- glutamine naturally 30-60 days.
- Glutamine is also in beans, cabbage, beets, spinach, and parsley, so don’t focus only on animal sources.
If you stop throwing gasoline on the fire, the lining in the gut begins to heal. From personal experience, eliminating food sensitivities, eating live green food, eliminating toxins, eliminating sugar, gave me relief in as little as 2-4 weeks. No pills, I just gave my body the tools needed to heal itself.
This was not my total solution, but it certainly put a big dent in all of the inflammation I was suffering with in my body.
Isn’t the body amazing?
Cancer is just being explored as a possible leaky gut issue.