What Exactly are Autoimmune Conditions

Our immune system gathers its defenses to fight cells that are not ‘us’, such as toxins, viruses, bacteria, and other organisms. However, when our immune system is out of balance and we attack our own glands and tissues, it is called ‘autoimmune.’ We all have some aspect of autoimmune disease, but when we’re literally in dis-ease, our body is out of balance.

The National Institutes of Health estimate upwards of 23 million people are affected by autoimmune disease, about as many people who have Type 2 diabetes. Some of the more common conditions include rheumatoid arthritis (joints), psoriasis (skin), hashimoto’s (thyroid), celiac disease (gluten/gut), lupus (chronic inflammation), and multiple sclerosis (central nervous system).

So how did we get it? A sole etiology is difficult to pinpoint because multiple factors exist such as genetics, gluten, poor gut health, environmental toxins, emotional stress, and food allergies- in total, any one of these factors could have been ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back.’ This makes it more complicated than taking an antibiotic to eradicate a bacteria, like syphilis. Regardless, preventative therapies should always be incorporated to reduce the risk of getting another autoimmune disease (or re-infection of syphilis), or help prevent one from developing.

What can you do? After all, it’s your health.

1) Cut out gluten
This protein found in wheat, rye, and barley is 99% linked to contributing autoimmune disease. Gluten can inhibit digestion and cause tight junctions of our stomach to loosen therefore letting food particles slip through. Our body does not recognize these particles and creates antibodies to attack- sound familiar? And in this case too much is not a good thing. Gluten is also one of the most genetically modified organisms, in addition to soy and corn, meaning it has been genetically altered in the lab and does not bear much relation to the bread consumed 100 years ago.

2) Decrease stress

Why? Inhibits digestion (see ‘gluten’ above), decreases effectiveness of glandular functions, etc. How? You may have just realized that your body attacks itself- not exactly a soothing thought. Fortunately, positive thoughts can boost our immune system and favorably alter our DNA. Consider taking a few minutes a day to write down 3 things that you’re grateful for, and/or that make you happy. Now you have your bank of positivity to manifest uplifting thoughts at any time!

3) Check your vitamin D level

Low vitamin D (below 30) has been closely linked to developing or worsening autoimmune conditions. However, as toxicity does exist, work with your doctor in making sure you’re taking the active form (D3) rather than the inactive form (D2) in which your body has to then convert it to D3.