Autoimmune disease

What is autoimmune disease, what causes it and how can it be treated?  This is my stab at explaining what I have learned since I suspected I have one or more.  A recent conversation with two cousins revealed many of my relatives have similar chronic issues.

There are many known autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, arthritis, thyroid disease, fibrocystic breasts, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis, to name just a few. They are all caused by inflammation which causes your immune system to work overtime.  When your immune system is on all the time, it produces too much fibrin, a mesh-like protein.  Normally our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes to remove the fibrin, but if too much fibrin is produced, the enzymes cannot keep up.  It does not help that our natural production of these enzymes starts to decrease in our late twenties.

Your immune system is designed to attack anything foreign entering your body, whether it is a virus, bacteria, toxin or food allergen.  When it detects something foreign antibodies are produced.  The problem arises when your organs get attacked by these autoantibodies and surrounded by the cobwebs of fibrin.

Although research has shown that autoimmune disease is genetic, the genes are not activated until “turned on” by toxins, food allergies, yeast or mold infections and viruses.

A few indications that you may have an autoimmune disease include:

  • unexplained weight loss or gain

  • insomnia,

  • heat intolerance and sun sensitivity

  • muscle or joint pain, weakness or tremors, numbness or tingling in hands or feet

  • rapid heartbeat

  • unexplained hives or rashes

  • brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor short term memory

  • constant fatigue

  • multiple miscarriages

  • abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea

If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, unfortunately, you will probably have to stop and reverse your symptoms yourself.  Why?  Because most doctors only treat the symptoms, hardly a long-term solution.  Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars producing products to treat the symptoms, so why find the cause?  To add insult to injury, many of these medications increase the risk of cancer and severe infection. That issue is a whole other can of worms that I have talked about in a recent post.

These are my recommendations, again based on my (limited) knowledge on the subject.  I am not a doctor nor an expert, merely one who was frustrated and confused with my declining health at an early age.  This is not a get better quick process either, it will take months even years to straighten out.

Start with removing irritants from your gut because most of our immune system is in the GI tract or gut.  Problems in your gut are so much more than gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  Many chronic health conditions, like the ones listed above, start in your gut too.  Removing known inflammatory foods is the first step.  While it might be difficult to remove all of these from your diet, try to eliminate as many as possible.  They include:

  • gluten (a wheat protein): bread, bagels, pasta etc

  • sugar: brown, white, anything that ends in “ose” (sucralose, fructose etc)

  • nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, white (not sweet) potatoes, peppers, eggplant

  • processed foods that include trans fats and omega 6s

  • dairy and soy products

  • corn and other grains like rye, spelt, barley and rice

  • pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat

  • eggs

  • alcohol

  • legumes (peas and beans)

If removing these items from your diet for a period of six months does not do the trick, find a doctor that will test your stool for hidden infections and bacteria as well as your blood for antibodies, infections, and toxins like mold and mercury.

Once you have removed these inflammatory foods,  you can try supplements of natural anti-inflammatories.  These include turmeric, devils claw, rutin, bromelain, papaya, boswellia, ginger and yucca root.  I do not take any supplements, but I do include ginger, turmeric, and pineapple (bromelain) in my daily smoothies.

It is a long and frustrating process but can be done.  I know because I went through it myself!  Many of my previous posts, especially the earliest ones, discuss my journey to health.  In fact, that is why I started this blog.  Feel free to comment, email or message me with concerns, corrections etc.

The main thing to remember is this.  Just as the genes for inflammation get activated by allergies, viruses, infections, and toxins they can also be deactivated.

 

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Omega 3 vs omega 6 fatty acids

When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned that the balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats is another health concern.

First of all, you have to know the difference between the two. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither are manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets. While 6s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, 3s are usually supplemented.

omega 3s:

  • cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • garlic, flax seeds,  walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels

 

omega 6s

  • wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
  • grain fed chicken and their eggs
  • refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
  • nuts
  • meat from grain fed animals
  • processed and fast foods

 

pictures from Pexels and Pixabay

 

Both omega 3s and omega 6s have health benefits and drawbacks.  While 6s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause,  high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies, too many 6s can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.

Omega 3s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function,  good vision and hair, skin, cell and tissue growth.  They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers and irritable bowel disease.  A deficiency in 3s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin and more.

The problem comes when too many 6s, especially from vegetable oils and grain fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat, outweigh and overtake the benefits of the 3s.  This happens because the 3s and 6s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism.  Although a ratio of 1:1 between 6s and 3s is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 16:1   This higher proportion of omega 6s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.

Start paying attention to the ratio of omega fatty acids in your diet and make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse!

Is your body in acidosis, causing chronic inflammation that can lead to disease?

A previous post of mine outlines the dangers of acidosis and its suspected link to chronic inflammation, the root cause of many diseases including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more…

courtesy of google pictures labelled for reuse
courtesy of google pictures labelled for reuse

This article, by Dr Leigh Erin Connealy, suggests the same link between acidosis in our body to chronic inflammation to disease.  The article provides simple instructions on how to keep your body in an alkaline state (between 7.2 and 7.4) for optimum health benefits.

Eating the proper foods and avoiding the worst ones is the easiest way to optimize your blood pH level.  Use the following chart to pick foods from the alkaline (right side)categories and avoid the ones from the acidic (left) side:

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courtesy of google pictures labelled for reuse

Start today by sticking to food items from the right (pun intended) side of the chart…

Get a Handle on Ebola!

These words of wisdom about the EBOLA situation come from a nurse in Corpus Christi, Texas who just happens to be my sister.  Never one to beat around the bush, she hits the nail on the head here….

Get a handle on it!  Infections (viral and bacterial) have been around for a looooooonnng time and have caused many deaths before Ebola. Infection control is NOT new to any hospital or other health care facility. The problem is people not following protocol. Maybe because they are busy, forget, or are just plain lazy, but seldom because they lack the education. Infection control is 101 (basic learning) in health care. Be on the watch ….. in health care facilities, in grocery stores and at your neighbor’s….for good infection control practices and if you see something like …..people not washing their hands, using antibacterial or hand sanitizer, not covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, not disposing of used tissues, not washing their hands after restroom breaks, not using gloves when providing care, etc….. speak up and steer clear!  Don’t ever feel like you are “covered” and disease proof, even when you suspect that you or your government knows how the virus or bacteria is transferred from one person to another.

I am not meaning to come across as peeved and am not placing blame on the nurses. Just saying that we can’t depend on others for infection control and need to watch out for ourselves too. Obviously if this infected guy got over here and sat in an emergency room twice and waited several days for engineering controls, hazard suits and workplace controls to be put in place several people were potentially exposed. Take personal precautions like staying away from others body fluids, blood or other, keep your hands clean and away from your face, eyes etc and protect yourself! If the govt isn’t going to stop infected or exposed individuals from coming into our communities then each of us need to be aware and proactive in our own protection.

Also just because CDC or the president say an infection isn’t airborne doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves. Like anything they say…doesn’t make it the whole truth.