Autoimmune Disease may include: eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, sjogren’s syndrome, MS and allergies and hives just to name a few.
“When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time” – author unknown.
Our immune system can work for us and unfortunately at times it can work against us, this is often the case in autoimmune disease. Autoimmune conditions occur when our immune system attacks our own body’s tissues and result in increased systemic inflammation. Some common conditions you may recognize include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos, Coeliac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and an ever-increasing list of other diseases. The question is- why are they increasing?
Reducing the chemical Load
There are a number of theories as to why the prevalence of autoimmune conditions are rising and one consideration is that we have an increased toxic load including exposure to pesticides in our food and water supply; heavy metals; plastics; and solvents. The rise in Coeliac Disease and Gluten Intolerance has actually been linked to the residues of glyphosphate (a heavily used herbicide) in the food supply leading to disruptions in our gut bacteria. So it’s so important to find yourself some pesticide and preferably organic food!
Hygiene – Have we become too sanitised?
We’ve all heard that ‘a little dirt never hurt’ and it is very true! An increase in the use of antibiotics and hand sanitisers, for example, has lead to disruptions in our microbiome, our inner universe of bacteria and often out of balance in people with autoimmune conditions. This is primarily in the digestive system. Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis (just to name a few) have also been linked to Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), which basically means that antigens can pass from intestinal flora into the bloodstream and further aggravate the immune response. There’s hope! Leaky gut can be helped with a number of nutrients including glutamine, aloe vera, zinc (just to name a few) and a number of dietary changes.
Psychoneuroimmunology, a part from being is a mouthful, is a new field of study that investigates how mind states, such as excessive worry, overt anger, pain or anxiety can end up disrupting our immune function in much the same way as environmental chemicals by triggering an influx stress hormones and inflammatory markers. It may then come as no surprise that Mindfulness Techniques are such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, exercise or tai chi have been shown to reduce inflammatory markers in the body!
Changing your Personal Prescription
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, at any time you can change your personal prescription to exchange excessive stress, anger and food toxins for more exercise; laugher; time out and nutrient-dense food. Time in the sun is particularly important as vitamin D deficiency is very common in anyone with an autoimmune condition. They key is trying to address as many of these factors in order to reduce the toxic load, whether that may be chemical, nutritional, physical or emotional. There is HOPE!