Autoimmune problems is a scenario whereby the body seems to develop an allergy to its own tissue and attacks it! In other words, it perceives its own normal tissues as being foreign and produces antibodies against them. The type and severity of the symptoms varies considerably depending on which tissue is being attacked. However, chronic fatigue and unrefreshing sleep are present in all autoimmune disease to some degree.
Autoimmune disorders are known as a “family of diseases” and include; rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune liver disease and many others. There are 81 different autoimmune disorders.
Tissues that may be attacked in autoimmune conditions include:
- Hair follicles (causing loss of hair)
- Thyroid gland (causing hyper or hypo thyroidism) Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease of the thyroid (see Thyroid Disease),
- Adrenal gland (Addison’s disease)
- The blood vessels anywhere in the body, or in the brain (vasculitis)
- The joints causing arthritis (eg: see Rheumatoid Arthritis),
- The skin, causing psoriasis
- Certain blood components such as platelets (ITP) and red blood cells.
Another autoimmune condition is Polyarteritis Nodosa in which the arteries become inflamed. Then there are conditions where the skin or muscles become inflamed and often the joints can also be involved.
Scleroderma is a rather rare condition that makes the skin shiny, thick and tight in appearance. It may also attack the esophagus so that swallowing food becomes difficult.
Hashimoto’s Disease is a type of thyroid disease in which antibodies attack the thyroid gland. The gland eventually becomes destroyed and the patient suffers with a deficiency of thyroid hormone. (see Thyroid disease)
The basic component of all connective tissue is collagen. Because autoimmune problems often attack collagen, these diseases are also known as collagen diseases or connective tissue diseases.
Those who suffer with autoimmune disorders will sometimes feel quite good and at other times quite poorly. They have quite a cyclic effect. Sufferers can go for months feeling well and then have a relapse.
What causes autoimmune conditions?
In all cases of autoimmune disease the immune system has become very unbalanced and is overloaded.
The liver is usually implicated in autoimmune conditions. If the liver detox pathways are overloaded, this causes the immune system to become hyperstimulated. The hyperstimulated immune system produces excessive inflammatory chemicals and antibodies, which attack the body’s own tissues/cells (this is an autoimmune reaction). It is vital to improve the liver function to take a load off the immune system and calm it down. To help take the load off the immune system, follow . This offers the best chance of long term improvement.
- Follow the Liver Cleansing Diet
- Avoid all dairy products and gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, oats, spelt, kamut and barley. Some people with autoimmune disease also need to avoid all grains and legumes.
- Avoid industrial seed oils high in omega 6 fats – such as cottonseed oil, soybean, canola, grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower, safflower and corn oils.
- Never use artificial sweeteners – see www.dorway.com for more information.
- If you are menopausal and are taking oral synthetic hormone replacement, it would be much safer for you to use a more natural form of HRT that is not processed through the liver, such as a natural hormonal cream or troche.
Raw vegetable juices are essential for supporting the immune system. See recipes such as Immune Dysfunction Juice found on page 103 of . The Raw Juices book is set out in an A – Z format of different health conditions and symptoms with an appropriate juice recipe for each.
It is very important with this type of condition to have a large glass of fresh raw vegetable juice every day – twice a day if possible. If you do not own one – invest in a vegetable juicer. Fresh vegetables have powerful healing benefits.
8 Steps to a Healthy Immune System
Strengthening the immune function reduces susceptibility to infection, suppresses cancer growth and slows down the aging process. Here are nine easy steps to achieve that aim.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics and drugs such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Avoid excessive electromagnetic fields by minimizing the use of cellular mobile phones, electric blankets turned on during sleep, microwave ovens, unnecessary x-rays and do not live near major power lines or large power stations.
- Drink around 8 glasses of water daily to increase elimination of toxic body chemicals. For drinking purposes use purified water or boil your water and filter it.
- Minimize prolonged stress by planning your life and get proper advice and take your time to think things through. Avoid impulsive behavior and decisions. Remember that your health is far more important than anything else. Many people become so stressed about money or relationship problems that they weaken their immune systems to the point that they develop cancer or autoimmune problems.
- Practice good hygiene to reduce your chances of bacterial and viral infections. In this day and age, safe sex is a must, so avoid promiscuity and use condoms if not in a long term stable and honest relationship. Otherwise you may be unlucky and catch a sexually transmitted disease such as AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, human papilloma virus or gonorrhoea. These infections may destroy your immune system (in the case of AIDS), increase your risk of some cancers or produce chronic health problems. Wash your hands regularly and avoid eating raw meats or contacting animal feces through which you may acquire serious infections.
- Improve your diet by increasing the amount of raw fruits and vegetables to 40 percent of your diet. Make yourself raw fruit and vegetable juices every day with a juice extracting machine and drink two to three glasses daily. Good combinations are carrot, beet, celery, capsicum, apple and spinach. Raw foods and juices will have a powerful boosting effect upon your immune system because they contain living enzymes, bioflavonoids, chlorophyll, carotenoids and natural antibiotics. No vitamin pill can give you such a powerful immune boosting cocktail as raw foods and juices. Avoid consuming foods that are not fresh such as preserved packaged foods or delicatessen meats (eg salami, smoked meats, pizza meats, frankfurts, cabanossi, fritz etc) as these may contain dangerous bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Try to get organically grown fruits and vegetables and free range eggs and grass fed meat to minimize exposure to insecticides and antibiotics.
- Avoid toxic chemicals in the home such as cleaning agents containing solvents and glycol ethers, and pesticide sprays.
- Avoid things to which you are allergic. Many people with asthma, respiratory infections, excessive mucus congestion, cystitis or irritable bowel syndrome have severe allergies. The most common ones are dairy products, wheat, corn, soy and artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings. If you continue to expose yourself to things that you are allergic to, you will make your immune system work overtime; it will eventually become unable to control excessive inflammation.
Supplements to support healthy immune function:
Take 1 teaspoon twice daily in water or raw juice or 2 capsules twice daily. A liver tonic containing St Mary’s Thistle and Taurine is advised to assist with autoimmune liver diseases such as autoimmune hepatitis, sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis or connective tissue diseases.
Take 1 to 3 capsules daily. N-acetyl cysteine helps to support your liver’s production of the powerful antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
Take 1/2 teaspoon twice daily in juice or water – MSM (an organic sulfur) is helpful in arthritis and autoimmune problems and is recommended for connective tissue conditions, as sulfur forms the basis of collagen.
Take 1 capsule daily. Selenium will help to exert an anti inflammatory effect and assist with inflammatory and autoimmune problems.
Take 2 tablets twice daily or 1 teaspoon daily – Magnesium is an important mineral which assists with muscle pain and is known as the ‘great relaxer’. It can help you achieve a deep and restorative sleep.
Take 1 teaspoon twice daily. Glutamine helps to heal and seal the intestinal lining, helping to repair leaky gut syndrome. This reduces the amount of toxic wastes and bacteria entering the bloodstream through the intestinal lining. Colostrum supports the immune cells living in the intestines.