Autoimmune disease is when the body attacks itself. It is when the body has a difficult time deciphering self from non-self. There are a number of different autoimmune conditions including allergies, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis.
There are lots of different autoimmune diseases and they all of three common components that you will see in ALL autoimmune diseases.
Number one is intestinal hyperpermeability, leakiness of the digestive tract. How this happens is that we have inflammation in the digestive tract, then we have damage to the tight junctions of the intestinal lining, which are proteins that hold the cells lining of the digestive tract together. When you have damage to the tight junctions, you end up with small holes in the digestive tract so food that is not completely digested ends up in the blood stream, then the immune system sees these substances as foreign and activates the immune system. When the immune system is activated on a continuous basis over a long period of time, then the immune system is overactivated and this can set you up for an autoimmune picture. This means to heal autoimmune disease, one of the main components we need to take care of is the digestive tract.
Another component is an overload of stressors on the body. We will often describe this as a barrel of stressors. These stressors can include food sensitivities, immune challenges, heavy metals, environmental toxins, emotional stressors and physical stressors. Once that barrel is full and it starts overflowing with toxins that is when we start to see symptoms. We have an overload of toxins and sometimes we can be just one more stressor that overloads that barrel and triggers that autoimmune condition.
The third component is a genetic susceptibility. I don’t blame genetics on most health conditions. Only have 5% of health conditions are linked to genetics. Genetics do play a role in the sense that if you don’t do something about it, then you can have a genetic susceptibility. If you have had an autoimmune disease at any point in your life, then you are more susceptible to have another later in life. If a first degree relative has an autoimmune condition, this can increase your susceptibility to having an autoimmune condition.
These are the three ingredients necessary to activate an autoimmune condition within a person.
These are the three things we’d be addressing in a treatment plan, healing the intestinal hyperpermeability, removing the overload of toxins then we want to clean up that internal environment so that the genetic susceptibility will not express itself.