By now most of us have seen the rise in autoimmune conditions over the past decades. Simply ask your grandparents what an autoimmune condition is and you may have heard about one like Lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis. Today there are over 80 such conditions according to the American Autoimmune Disease Association and Johns Hopkins Medical Center conventional Medical. It is important to note before going into why this may be, we understand how it is being managed. Today’s conventional medical care is focused on targeting the symptoms and minimizing inflammation. This is based on the medications to help minimize damage over time. While that is great in terms of helping a patient’s symptoms and minimizing long term outcomes, it does not come without side effects, and immune suppression which can lead to a myriad of other problems. Not to mention it doesn’t do much in the way of helping reverse the underlying problem.
What is the cause:
Let’s talk about sources. Over The past 50 years As the industrial revolution peaked We’ve started to see a rising number of chronic disease not just autoimmunity. What changed? Well the food certainly has from animal studies we know GMO foods increase allergies and malabsorption. This can trigger immune dysregulation and may play a role. Some distinctive causes that have published reports documented on links to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are as follows:
- Pesticides and heavy metals. These have been bellowing into our atmosphere and food sources over the last half decade at significant rates. We know today these are linked to chronic diseases of all sorts and can even be transmitted from mother to child even.
- Our gut health. Believe it or not our Microbiome or in other words the growth of organisms in our intestinal tract help keep us healthy and absorbing the right nutrients to help us function properly. Poor food choices Can lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome including growing yeast and bad gram negative bacteria that can cause damaging inflammation not only in your gut lining, but seep across it spreading through your body acting as a source of chronic illness. This increased inflammation often remains turned on which is how it develops into autoimmune conditions. One key component recently that has taken the world by storm is gluten. While people have been consuming this for centuries it was wondered why now is it associated with autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The explanation is none other than the fact that we have been seriously modifying our foods, genetically, over the past 50+ years making gluten particles in fact bigger and more allergenic it is believed. By simply cutting out gluten products, studies have shown impressive improvements in these conditions. Conditions like MS (multiple Sclerosis) another autoimmune condition of the central nervous system have been positively associated with the consumption of milk, animal fat, and meat.
- Stress is another main contributor. Chronic stress results in the overproduction of cortisol, a hormone which can have similar detrimental effects on the immune system is elevated over prolonged periods.
- Lastly there are infections. Known infections or hidden infections such as Epstein Barr virus (EBV) also known as ‘Mono’ have been associated with autoimmune conditions as a potential culprit by the way it tricks our immune system in certain patients into recognizing our own tissue as harmful.
What to do to protect yourself:
Research shows that these conditions may be the result of years of such inflammation building up in the body. Testing your gut microbiome and other labs to assess your level or risk can help not only prevent these conditions but may offer promise to those living with them. Such levels of inflammation and our key nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy is a leading edge approach not commonly offered other than by trained Functional Medicine Physicians. It is advisable, therefore to seek out the right doctor.
For those who have autoimmune conditions there is hope. Targeting such underlying causes can possibly help by removing the stimulus and improving your overall health status by looking at it in depth. As we continue to follow the latest updates in the research we hope this helps people make the best decisions for themselves and their health. In health!
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