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Immune system on fire - the cause of autoimmune disease

Autoimmune disease could best be described as our body being at war with itself. An inflammatory disease afflicting 1 in 5 people (and rising) in the western world with 80 different varieties to choose from. The rate of Multiple Sclerosis has doubled in the last ten years and Hashimoto's and Lupus are now amongst the most common of all autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system loses the ability to detect self from nonself, causing it your body's own immune system to launch an attack against it's own healthy tissues and organs. The 'hyperactive' immune activity is associated with a chronic inflammatory response, producing antibodies which can destroy the anatomy of the affected organ over time.

Hashimoto’s and Graves Disease are two examples of autoimmune (AI) diseases, both affecting the thyroid gland. The difference between Graves and Hashimoto’s, apart from their weird names, is Graves disease is the AI condition commonly accompanying an overactive thyroid and Hashimoto’s is the AI condition that can be present in the case of an underactive thyroid.

Autoimmune diseases can affect multiple tissues and organs, such as Lupus, or Sjogren's disease, or it can affect single organs, such as Hashimoto's or Type I Diabetes. Throughout my years in clinical practice, I commonly see a combination of the thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands affected in the case of most autoimmune diseases.

Conventional medicine has been baffled by AI diseases, because an exact cause has proven extremely difficult to pinpoint . This is because AI diseases do not have any single cause, but are can be triggered from a variety of factors:

  • Genetics

  • Stress

  • Infection - the onset can be commonly preceded by a viral infection

  • Poor diet - excess sugar, coffee, alcohol, artificial additives

  • Poor gut health - leaky gut and chronic dysbiosis

  • Chronic nutrient deficiencies - including B12, Magnesium, iodine, Vitamin D

  • Environmental toxins

The main point of difference between one AI disease and another, lies in the organ/s or body system affected. For example,

  • Hashimoto’s and Graves disease affects the thyroid gland

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus predominantly affects the joints and in the case of Lupus - the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver can also be affected.

  • Multiple Sclerosis attacks the body’s central nervous system.

  • Ulcerative Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s Disease, predominantly affect the large intestine or colon

  • Sjogren’s Syndrome predominantly affects the salivary glands and tear ducts

  • Endometriosis generally affects the female reproductive system but in extremely rare cases can actually grow anywhere within the body.

  • Juvenile and Type 1 Diabetes – this is different to non insulin dependent diabetes type 2 which is dietary induced

The problem with the conventional medicine approach to AI diseases, lies in the testing and treatment. Conventional medicine practitioners commonly prescribe pharmaceutical drugs with no consideration or investigation into underlying nutritional deficiencies or dietary links, let alone stress management. Yet research has shown compelling evidence linking the exacerbation of AI disease to many nutritional deficiencies and poor diet and digestive function. I will elaborate more on these links in my upcoming webinar series. You can register here.

There is no doubt many sufferers of AI disease have experienced enormous relief from the often debilitating symptoms of various AI diseases, when prescribed pharmaceutical drugs such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. As both a sufferer and practitioner specializing in the treatment of AI disease, my experience has proven that the long term use of many pharmaceutical drugs such as these, with no consideration given to proper nutrition and nutritional medicine, is both ineffective and often more damaging in the long term to the immune and other body systems.

I have managed to overcome two autoimmune diseases Lupus SLE and Hashimoto's without the use of pharmacological doses of cortisone drugs such as Prednisone and Plaquenil, instead adopting an anti inflammatory diet -as detailed in my book Love Your Gut, repairing my gut and ensuring my lifestyle choices are conducive to a low stress life.

If you'd like to learn more about how I did this, why not join my online 6 week Eat Yourself Healthy program and I will mentor you through how to adopt the dietary and lifestyle habits here that will help you to better manage, maybe even overcome your autoimmune condition.

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