Autoimmunity its causes and treatment:
Once considered rare, autoimmune diseases are today the highest cause of chronic ailments in India and is the top cause of morbidity in men and women of almost all age groups.
It is surprising how I am witnessing an increasing number of patients visiting my clinic to find answers to their vague symptoms which are often not understood.
With so many women, men and children affected by autoimmunity, it could certainly be seen to be an epidemic.
Autoimmunity is characterized by an inappropriate response of the immune system, which leads to damage and dysfunction of various organs and tissues. Some of the common autoimmune diseases include
Type 1 diabetes
while some of the lesser known include Behcet’s disease, restless leg syndrome, sperm and testicular autoimmunity and pemphigus. It is now more clearly understood that autoimmune diseases develop over time via a constant interaction between susceptible genes and environmental factors, these put together lead to damage to the intestinal lining and therefore leaky gut. this causes food particles to leak out from damaged intestinal lining, which incites an immune response and this unusual immune response starts to act against our own organs!
Loaded with pesticides, preservatives & genetically modified all responsible for damaging the gut lining.
Excessive exposure to antibiotics, Oral contraceptive pills, Damage to the microbiome plays a role in disease.
Tobacco smoke, Radial Tyre smoke, Industrial pollution: All leading to heavy metal overload in the cells and leading to cellular damage.
Toxic molds (mycotoxins) and heavy metals such as mercury, Aluminum, Cadmium are seen commonly in those with autoimmune conditions. Mycotoxins are very volatile compounds produced by toxic molds that wreak havoc on the immune system.
We are exposed to heavy metals like mercury in different ways: mercury amalgam fillings in teeth, fish consumption, and the environment. Mercury is toxic to our bodies and can be solely responsible for those with autoimmune diseases.
Excessive cortisol feeds pathogenic organisms such as candida in the intestinal lining. both physical & emotional stress, trigger and intensify autoimmune disorders. Stress disrupts immune function through several distinct pathways. Chronic stress leads to long-term inflammation that never really shuts off, leads to an autoimmune disease. Once the autoimmune response is in place, immediate stress only exacerbates it.
Pathogens such as viruses, Bacteria ( Lyme disease) & Fungus ( Chronic candidiasis), There are now a number of infections, including Epstein Barr (the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis), Herpes Simplex 1 and 2, E. coli, that have been linked to autoimmunity.
Gluten contributes to autoimmune disease in many different ways. it is the primary cause of leaky gut because gluten triggers the release of zonulin in intestines, a chemical that signals gut lining to “open up” the tight junctions. It is highly inflammatory, therefore it stresses the immune system. Gluten protein has a similar chemical structure to some of the body’s tissues (especially thyroid), which can lead to molecular mimicry, where body mistakes its own tissues for gluten and attacks them.
Autoimmune diseases can manifest over long periods of time with only vague symptoms hinting to the chronic and even catastrophic inflammation, tissue or organ damage occurring inside the body. The most commonly reported of these symptoms is unremitting fatigue which sufferers cite as being the most debilitating aspect of their disease and which may result in significant
Under the current medical system, autoimmune diseases are not recognized as diseases of the immune system as a whole. Instead, they are treated as diseases of different organs.
Supporting, not Suppressing, The Immune System will help!
The common belief that if you have an autoimmune disease, there’s nothing you can do to reverse it, the only way is to manage the symptom! Managing the symptoms involves using harsh medications that are given to suppress the immune system. These medications can temporarily reduce some of the symptoms of the disease, but as they suppress the entire immune system, they reduce the overall immunity and cause new symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, increased infection rates and even cancer.
Freedom Age: Functional medicine approach to treat Autoimmune disease
We at Freedom Age use 4R Program to treat Autoimmune disease:
Remove: Inflammatory food, Infections, Environmental toxins
Replace: Lost nutrients, Digestive enzymes
Replenish: Pre-biotics & Probiotics
Repair: Amino acids, Minerals, Vitamins, Collagen etc.
1. Heal your gut
Healing your gut is essential to treat all Autoimmune diseases. 80% of immune system is in the gut.
Gluten and all other food that you have developed Intolerance to this can be tested with a simple comprehensive food intolerance test.
3. Test for heavy metals and mycotoxins
We do Oligoscan a Spectro-photometric test to know the cellular concentration of minerals and heavy metals!
4. Find and treat infections
There are a number of bacterial and viral infections that have been associated with autoimmune conditions. These can be tested by comprehensive stool analysis and certain blood tests.
5. Manage your stress
Exercise, Meditation, Yoga, Sleep hygiene, Music therapy all can help relieve stress.
At Freedom Age, With Functional Medicine approach we get to the root cause of the problem: removing the threats that derailed the immune system and strengthening the immune system rather than suppressing it! That’s why using this approach enables you to reverse and prevent many different autoimmune conditions with one approach!
Dr. Kalpana Shekhawat- M.D.
Functional Medicine Specialist