• Christine Phillips

WHAT IS AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE ?


AUTOIMMUNE FACTS


Autoimmunity is a state of immune confusion that results in the body attacking itself. Autoimmune disease is on the rise and now among the top 10 leading causes of death for girls and women in all age groups.


THERE ARE OVER 100 IDENTIFIED AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS WITH THE MOST COMMON BEING:


· Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

· Grave’s Disease

· Type 1 Diabetes

· Lupus

· Rheumatoid Arthritis

· Multiple Sclerosis

· Guillain-Barre syndrome

· Psoriasis

· IBD (Inflammatory Bowel disease)


There are 50 million people living with autoimmune in the U.S alone. The majority of those diagnosed with the disease, are female.


ARE YOU AT RISK?


Risk factors


· Being female

· Young to middle aged

· Family history of autoimmune

· An existing autoimmune

· Previous infection

· Obesity

· Smoking and toxin exposure

· Ethnicity & genetics


THE HORMONE CONNECTION


Woman at risk


Women have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune disease than men. It’s estimated that over 30 million women in the united states are living with an autoimmune condition. Since autoimmune disease is grossly misdiagnosed, the numbers are likely higher than estimated. Studies show it can take up to 7 years to get a diagnosis!


What is going on ?


The exact cause of autoimmune disease in women is unknow, however researchers believe there are some likely factors that put women at an increased risk such as:


· The unique nature of a woman’s immune system

· Having 2 x chromosomes

· Pregnancy and childbirth (major hormonal fluctuations occur during this time)

· Estrogen dominance (estrogen increases the inflammatory process of the immune system)

· Synthetic hormones (birth control, etc.)

· The presence of other autoimmune disease


Hormone imbalance left untreated can set you up for chronic health problems, even autoimmune disease. Thus, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy hormone balance. If you’re experiencing hormone imbalance, making strategic dietary modifications can help.


THE GLUTEN CONNECTION


Gluten intolerance is common among those with autoimmune disease. For instance, gluten intolerance is so common among those with autoimmune thyroid disease, experts suggest anyone with autoimmune thyroid be tested for gluten intolerance and vice versa.


Some studies show gluten causes damage to the intestinal gut lining, regardless if you are intolerance or not. This can lead to gut permeability, aka Leaky Gut.


In addition to increasing the risk of leaky gut, gluten also causes inflammation in the gut that can initiate an autoimmune response.


THE GUT CONNECTION


Leaky gut


If your gut health is compromised (antibiotics, medications, food allergens, stress, or poor diet) your intestinal lining may, over time, become permeable (aka Leaky gut). If your gut becomes leaky then bacteria, toxins, viruses, and other food particles may escape the gut and pass into the bloodstream triggering the immune system.


Dr Alessio Fasano, a gastroenterologist and leading researcher in the field of autoimmunity says there are essentially three conditions needed to produce an autoimmune disease…leaky gut, genetics and a stressful event (trauma, toxic exposure, infection, etc.)


THE TOXIN CONNECTION


Hormone disruptors


The endocrine disruptors (aka hormone disruptors), as the name indicates, are such chemical substances that affect the endocrine system to impact the neurological, reproductive and developmental systems negatively. These chemicals resemble the body’s natural hormones and hence damage the normal functioning of the endocrine system. These chemicals also affect immune functions. Their common sources include p