Looking For Answers For Your Autoimmune Disease?
Or, looking for other ways to help you conquer your conditions to rid yourself of the symptoms of autoimmune disease?
Sarah (name changed for privacy reasons) presented with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to me. She was constantly gaining weight and always tired, no matter how much sleep she had. Sarah was also anxious a lot of the time and wasn’t living her best life.
Even though she had been on thyroxine replacement medication for a while, it wasn’t correcting her symptoms. Sarah felt like she could not find any answers and wanted to find out what the next step was to help take control of her life and change the way she was feeling.
Flynn (name changed for privacy reasons) consulted with me as he had been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, his extreme pain prevented him from sleeping and participating in his active lifestyle.
He loved all kinds of sports. But unfortunately, he found that he couldn’t even go for a walk without pain. He loved participating in sports and being active, and his inability to do this made him irritable and angry.
Both clients were looking for ways to help them manage their disease condition. They were looking for answers to beat their symptoms.
What are the triggers of autoimmune diseases?
In my clinic, I see the number of clients presenting with autoimmune disease increasing. You do not have to be a slave to your disease condition. Instead, it is about taking control and being proactive with your health.
But first, what is an autoimmune disease?
There are over 80 different kinds of autoimmune diseases, but here are some exampples:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hashimoto thyroiditis
- Celiac disease
And the list goes on……
In autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks its own body (self) and creates destruction.
But the question is, why would a highly intelligent body suddenly turn on itself? Why would an immune system that is supposed to protect us from infections, toxins, and invasive organisms suddenly turn on self and start attacking us?
Years ago, it was proposed that genetics dictated whether you suffered from an autoimmune disease. So if your parents or family suffered from autoimmune disease, you would too. This is when I think people felt like they were at the mercy of their genes and had no control.
Thankfully current research shows that there is more to disease than just genetics.
Researchers have found that epigenetics plays more of a role in disease. Genetics contributes about 30% risk to disease, whereas epigenetics contributes the other 70%. Epigenetics includes diet, lifestyle, thoughts and biochemical reactions in the body.
I find that so exciting. You see…..
You are in control of the 70%
There are a lot of factors that influence autoimmune disease that you can control:
- Diet and Gut Health
Diet involves what you put into your mouth – food and drink. You can choose what you put in your mouth, and what you put in your mouth influences the immune system.
Some foods can trigger an immune response in individuals, known as food intolerance.
Certain foods can increase inflammation in the body, and other foods can decrease inflammation. These foods influence and drive the reactivity of the immune system.
Eliminating food intolerances and inflammatory foods can help to reduce your autoimmune disease symptoms.
Gut health is determined by a few factors, primarily by what we eat and the level of probiotic microbes in the gut.
We need balance and variety of intestinal flora (probiotics) for health. In addition, these beneficial microbes contribute to 70% of our immune system. So they seem important – right?!
For autoimmune disease support, addressing gut dysbiosis and supporting beneficial gut flora is vital.
When working with my clients, diet and gut health is the crux of any autoimmune disease treatment, because it is the pinnacle in helping unravel the disease condition.
- Toxin Burden
In this current environment, we’re all exposed to many different toxins. Some toxins are in our environment, household furniture, cleaning, personal care products, and food products.
Toxins can even be produced from inside the body – metabolic waste, microbial breakdown…
While we cannot always eliminate all toxins from our environment, the aim is to reduce the burden or load in the body by supporting the detoxification organs like the liver, kidneys and lymphatics.
Toxins can interfere with gene transcription. Gene transcription is the process where the information encoded in the genes is turned into a body function. Think of genes as the recipe to make proteins, which have an effect or function in the body.
If a toxin influences the genetic transcription incorrectly, there will be a mixup of the recipe, and the result may be disease.
Some toxins, especially those in personal care products, can directly interfere with immune functioning and affect our hormones. Reducing toxins in your life and detoxing your body regularly will help support detoxification.
Let’s face it. Stress is abundant in modern life. However, it is more about our reaction to stress and the impact that the reaction has on our health, which is important!
Many clients that consult with me about their autoimmune disease have experienced a major stressful event or chronic stress in the lead-up to the diagnosis of their condition.
Stress increases inflammation in the body and impairs the immune system.
A Harvard University study determined that individuals with a stress-related disorder had an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease and they had an increased risk of multiple autoimmune diseases.
Look at ways to manage your stress.
Statistics show that about 80% of autoimmune sufferers are women. The theory for this is related to female hormones.
Hormones play a role in inflammation in the body, and inflammation increases the risk of autoimmune disease.
High estrogen (estrogen excess) increases the risk of autoimmune disease by stimulating the production of antibodies in the immune system. These antibodies attack infectious microorganisms and can also attack the body’s own cells.
Progesterone helps reduce inflammation. Low progesterone can increase the body’s inflammatory response and affect the immune system.
This can be why many women are diagnosed post-pregnancy and birth with autoimmune disease, especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Stealth Infections
In my opinion, stealth infections are underestimated as a trigger of autoimmune disease.
Here are some examples of stealth infections:
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
- Ross River virus
- Herpes viruses
- Helicobacter Pylori
A stealth infection is an infectious agent that can hide or evade our immune system and live in our bodies for an extended period of time. Most infections are short-lived and eradicated quickly, like cold and flu viruses. Whereas stealth infections tend to be able to stay in over the years, and it places a significant load on the immune system.
The theory of how stealth infections trigger autoimmune disease is that the microorganism, whether a virus or a bacteria, hides inside our cells. When it is inside the cells, the immune cells detect its presence, and Natural Killer Cells destroy the cell as well as the hidden stealth infection.
Ensuring the removal of stealth infections and supporting the immune system is important to helping reduce autoimmune disease and symptoms.
From these factors, you can see that it is important to address the triggers of autoimmune disease. Looking at why the condition presented.
For Sarah, her Hashimoto’s was triggered after giving birth. Flynn suffered quite a severe viral infection before his diagnosis. Balancing the body is the key to good health.
The Naturopathic way…
Naturopaths have a reputation for looking at a person as a whole. I call it looking at the BIG PICTURE rather than just the diseased part.
Your diet, lifestyle, your biological functions are all essential in creating true health. An imbalance in any of these affects gene function, health, and disease.
Looking at the big picture and putting the ‘puzzle’ together is what I enjoy doing with my clients.
If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease and are looking for solutions. Work with a health professional who addresses all the areas of your life to support and balance your body back to health.
Your in Health
Teressa Todd xx
I offer free 15-minute chats to help you get started. So don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.
I look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you live your healthiest life!
Ready to kick start Gut Health? Book a Call!
This is how gut microbes can influence weight!
Probiotics can help you gain weight or lose weight by interacting with our genetics, food and metabolism.
And yes, I did say lose or gain weight……..
Firstly, let me explain that the trillions of microbes in the gut need to be varied, meaning that there should be a large variety of species. There are many different species (or breeds) of microbes, and they all have their place in aiding health — the more variety and balance, the better health results.
Back to the weight loss or weight gain issue….
Do you eat yogurt and berries for breakfast? Thinking that it’s helping you lose weight?
Well, Lactobacillus acidophilus (like the species found in yoghurt) has been connected to weight gain.
I am not saying throw your yoghurt and berries in the bin. Instead, I am suggesting looking at the overall picture. If Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant micro-organism of the gut, then weight gain can result.
It is about the variety of species of gut microbes. Imagine if we only have trained german shepherd guard dogs in the world. It may be a safe world, but I am sure that other breeds may be more suitable as a family pet.
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with weight gain, other Lactobacillus species correlate with weight loss.
Species like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacteria animalis have been found to support weight loss.
Want to lose weight?
Look at your gut flora to support your goal.
Tests can be performed to identify the predominant species of the gut, and specific species can be utilised to support weight changes.
Want more information about your gut health?
Or want to look at all the factors contributing to weight gain, I’d love to be able to help.