Did you know that in the past 50 years the cases of autoimmune disease in North America have TRIPLED! Rates are developing so quickly that autoimmune conditions are now the third leading chronic illness, right behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. To top this off, of the 50 million Americans living and coping with autoimmune disease, more than 75 percent of them are women.
I know from personal experience the debilitating effects of autoimmune disease and chronic inflammation. At a young age I was diagnosed with endometriosis. A disease that is now being classified as an autoimmune disease. Endometriosis is a painful gynecological condition in which bits of the endometrial (uterine) lining grow outside of the uterus. This causes pain, scar tissue, and heavy clotted periods.
To make matters worse I contracted a parasite while living in Mexico in my thirties, which wasn’t discovered until recently. This parasite created years of systematic inflammation in my gut which has contributed to many chronic health issues with autoimmune components to them. Chronic migraines, weight gain, arthritis, eczema, fatigue, hormonal dysfunction and digestive issues. Through applying these tips that I am sharing with you today, I was able to get control of the symptoms and regain my life.
Autoimmune disease is now in the top 10 leading causes of death in women under the age of 65. Autoimmune diseases remain among the most poorly understood and poorly recognized of any category of illness. Well known autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease either Hashimotos or Graves, Crohns disease, Type 1 diabetes, and scleroderma. There are also many inflammatory conditions that are now considered to be along the autoimmune spectrum and some of these are chronic acne, obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergies, arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and eczema.
Unfortunately conventional medicine only consists of treating autoimmune conditions by medicating the symptoms and suppressing the immune system. There is another way to deal with autoimmune conditions by addressing the root causes of inflammation through diet, lifestyle and stress management.
How do you start to reverse autoimmune symptoms?
More and more researchers and physicians are recognizing that heavy metals and chemicals that are present in our everyday environment-at home, on our food, in our medication, cleaning supplies and beauty products-are at the core of the increase in the number of people who are affected by autoimmune disorders. Minimize your toxic load by going green, use natural cleaning products, use chemical free beauty products and drink clean water. Buy organic, non-GMO, hormone and antibiotic free food.
Stress is believed to play a very important role in autoimmune disease. Many studies have found that a high proportion (up to 80%) of patients reported uncommon emotional stress before disease onset. Unfortunately, not only does stress cause disease, but the disease itself also causes significant stress in the patients, creating a vicious cycle. Stress-triggers neuroendocrine hormones which lead to immune dysregulation, which ultimately results in autoimmune disease. In simple words stress is messing with your hormones which messes with your immune system! I encourage all autoimmune clients to practice daily stress relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation, journaling and being in nature.
Change your diet and remove toxic foods
When it comes to diet and the foods you eat they can promote, if not cause autoimmunity. You will want to remove all foods that can be potentially causing you harm.
Nightshades are a family that includes vegetables that are quite new to human consumption and that contain chemicals that are irritating. Night shades include bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes. Eliminate them when dealing with an autoimmune problem for at least 30 days then add in them in one at a time and monitor your reaction.
Gluten, grains and legumes
Gluten contributes to a leaky gut which then leads you down the path to autoimmune disease. It prompts your immune system to attack your own tissues, it’s not easily digested, and it contributes to gut imbalances. But even more damaging is gluten’s ability to trigger the body to produce zonulin, a protein that can signal the tight junctions between the cells in your intestines to open and stay open. Other grains and legumes contain similar proteins that contribute to leaky gut by damaging intestinal cells, opening the tight junctions of the gut lining and feeding unfriendly bacteria to create gut dysbiosis.
Egg whites contain an enzyme called lyposyme which is inflammatory to people with autoimmune conditions.
Test for heavy metal toxicity
Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
Check for hidden infections
It is quite common for people with autoimmune disease to have underlying infections such as candida, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, H pylori and parasites. Recent studies show that infectious agents have variable effects on autoimmune disease and can induce or enhance the disease.
Heal leaky gut
Hyperpermeability or “leaky gut” syndrome is the name given to a very common disorder in which the cells lining the intestines become “leaky” due to inflammation. The abnormally large spaces present between the cells of the gut wall allow the entry of toxic material into the bloodstream that would normally be eliminated. Leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease. In fact, reversing symptoms of autoimmune disease depends on healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. You can heal leaky gut by removing the offending foods listed above, reducing stress, eliminating underlying infections and taking appropriate supplements to help heal and seal the gut lining (see below).
There are many key supplements that can help repair the different levels of dysfunction that contribute to autoimmune for example:
- Omega 3 Fish oil
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin C
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
- Liver Support
- Digestive enzymes with HCL and pepsin
- Soil based probiotics
- Adrenal glandular
- Panax ginseng
Detox your body on a regular basis
People with autoimmune conditions will often have altered detoxification pathways. Basically your body will have a hard time removing toxins from the body. It is important to do a proper liver cleanse that supports both phase 1 and phase 2 of detoxification.
Living with an autoimmune disease can be confusing and overwhelming. You might feel like you have completely lost control of your body, your health, and your life. But with some determination and guidance it is very possible to reclaim control over how you feel on a day to day basis. To help women live longer and healthier lives, a better understanding of these diseases is needed, as well as better, more effective methods of diagnosis and treatment. If you are wanting to get help on your journey with your autoimmune disease and are interested to begin applying some of these tools read more about what I can do to help you here.
Did you know I have a meal planning program that offers an autoimmune friendly meal plan each week!?
Download a free 2 week sample autoimmune meal plan here!