By: Crystal Springe, NTP, S.A.G.E. Holistic Health & Wellness Center
Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body instead of foreign threats and invaders. In order to holistically treat, prevent, or reverse them, you will need to get the immune system back under control. The first step is to determine the underlying root causes.
Start by addressing your gut health. Your gut is the foundation of your whole body’s health because 70% of your immune system is located there. Without a healthy gut, you can’t have a healthy immune system. Without a healthy immune system, you’re open to infections, inflammation, and autoimmune disease.
Inflammation and Leaky Gut
Inflammation is the immune system doing its job. It is your body’s natural and helpful immune response. For example, when you fall off your bike, the cut swells reddens, and feels inflamed. These are all signs that your immune system is busy at work sending white blood cells to the site of your injury to repair the tissue. In this situation, inflammation is your friend, you couldn’t live without it. Our bodies were designed to heal themselves! But what starts out as a healthy response can have reverse effects or if it persists too long, especially in the digestive system. Certain aspects of our modern lifestyle, like toxic foods, chronic stress, and medications cause inflammation in the intestines. When this inflammation is unmanaged it causes increased intestinal permeability aka Leaky Gut. Meaning the tight junctions that typically hold your intestinal lining together have become loose. This allows toxins and undigested food particles to leak through the intestines, they make their way into the bloodstream and trigger an immune response.
Overtime, your defense system gets so overwhelmed and so confused that it literally doesn’t know the difference between the invader and you. As a result, your well-meaning immune system turns on itself, destroying healthy organ tissues.
One of the biggest warning signs that you may have a leaky gut can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Symptoms of food sensitivities can be gut-related, but they also go far beyond the gut:
o Acid Reflux
o Thyroid conditions
o Joint and muscle pain
o Skin issues like rosacea and acne
o Digestive problems
o Weight gain
If left un-repaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.
Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients.
The first step of healing from autoimmune disease is restoring damage done to your gut. You can do that by following the 4 Rs of digestive health.
1.Remove certain foods and factors that damage the gut
2. Replace gut-damaging foods with gut-healing foods
3. Repair your gut with certain supplements
4. Rebalance: It is important to pay attention to lifestyle choices. Sleep, exercise and stress all affect your gut health. Rebalancing your life and lifestyle are very important to an optimal digestive tract therefore autoimmune.