Is autoimmune disease really on the rise or is it just a fad? The diagnosis of an autoimmune disease is definitely a trendy thing right now in traditional and holistic medicine, but in addition, all diseases that are autoimmune in nature are shooting out of control!
The approach for a standard doctor to treat an autoimmune disorder focuses on treating symptoms with anti-inflammatory medication and even chemotherapy type drugs that focus on turning the immune system off.
As always the standard approach is inadequate and while it may relieve symptoms it doesn’t even consider what may have caused the immune system to be out of control in the first place.
I dislike the word “autoimmune” because most people see it as a permanent thing that you can do nothing about, after all, its automatic right? Wrong, the auto refers to self, or in other words, your immune system attacking your own body tissues. By understanding why your immune system is out of control and attacking your own body tissues is where we can see dramatic changes in your health if properly addressed.
Two of the most important considerations when trying to overcome any autoimmune disorder are stealth infections and leaky gut syndrome. Both of these have to do with an alteration of the barrier walls that line our body from the throat to the anus that is supposed to protect us from outside intruders. This protective barrier is critical to our immune system. Inside these walls we have immune system cells that make no less than 75% of our total immune system cells.
When you develop stealth infections and/or leaky gut, autoimmune diseases start to develop. Conditions that have been associated with leaky gut include irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, chronic fatigue, acne, eczema, psoriasis, autism, adhd, obesity and even seasonal allergies.
Stealth infections are infections that produce few symptoms if any and if you do have symptoms they are minor and difficult to describe. These stealth infections can exist for years undetected and are constantly battling with your immune system and using your immune systems valuable resources. These stealth infections can cause anything from back pain to arthritis and are constantly releasing toxins into your system.
Clinically, I find stealth infections in 80-90% of my patients. I consider checking for stealth infections an absolute must for all patients. If you are dealing with any chronic condition from bloating to thyroid disease, this is something you must have looked at. Stealth infections lead to leaky gut and leaky gut in turn leads to many conditions including autoimmune diseases.
Leaky Gut, Molecular Mimicry and Autoimmune Disease
I have written about all the various causes of leaky gut before, here.
Once you have developed leaky gut, this allows particles of the food you eat and other things from the outside environment to basically enter directly into your blood stream. When foreign particles enter your blood stream, your immune system reacts to them and creates antibodies against them in order to kill them just like it would any other foreign virus or bacteria.
From that point on, after you have developed leaky gut and a foreign protein has entered your blood stream, you FOREVER have antibodies against a specific food or environmental trigger. This means that even if you heal your leaky gut, if it becomes “leaky” again, you will have an immune reaction. So if you know you have had a leaky gut in the past, you need to keep it on your health radar.
In addition to that immune reaction, often times you will have a molecular mimicry reaction. This is where autoimmune diseases come into play.
A molecular mimicry reaction means that as your immune system filters through all of your cells trying to attack foreign invaders, it mistakenly recognizes some of your own human tissue as an invader and attacks there. It makes the mistake because the molecules look similar to one of the foreign particles of food, bacteria, virus or fungus that has entered your system previously.
When this occurs, you are having an autoimmune attack. If this reaction continues to occur you end up with an autoimmune condition.
Treating Autoimmune Disease Naturally
In my opinion fixing a leaky gut is the first step in treating any autoimmune condition. If you do not fix the barrier, you will have continuous detrimental immune stimulation.
Stealth infections are the leading cause of leaky gut in my office. I also feel that this is where most practitioners fall short. It is futile to try and heal a leaky gut with any number of nutrients if you have stealth infections.
Chronic systemic inflammation is associated with all autoimmune conditions. Regulation of inflammation by eating a healthy anti-inflammatory diet is critical for remission in autoimmune conditions.
The go to diet for autoimmune conditions is the Paleo diet, even better would be the Wheat Belly diet, which is completely grain free. These diets should be followed religiously until symptoms subside. After you are feeling better you can add foods back in to see if they exacerbate any symptoms.
When treating leaky gut, I rarely use traditional supplements. I focus on treating the stealth infections and almost always the leaky gut resolves itself. As I said above, this is where I see many practitioners doing it backwards. The only supplements I use for stealth infections are Supreme Nutrition products. They work extremely well and clinically I have seen unbelievable results in short periods of time.
So is autoimmune disease a fad? It is a fad… that is here to stay for a while. While many holistic practitioners are helping people with autoimmune conditions every day, the traditional model is still a few years behind. Leaky gut and autoimmune conditions will only become more prevalent in society, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do about it!