Tag Archives: immune system

Autoimmune diseases by Anni Dahms

Cropped image woman with joint inflammation. Female's elbow

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I hear of an increasing number of people that suffer from what is called autoimmune diseases. There are even more and more people that suffer from multiple autoimmune illnesses at the same time.
An autoimmune disease, is when the immune system wrongly attacks its own cells and tissue.

When I was a young nurse, I rarely heard of autoimmune diseases and the expression was used with great respect. Now the word has become more normalized and is used to describe a myriad of different illnesses. 

By looking at the list of what is now considered autoimmune diseases, it looks to me like we might as well call them “our actual civilization diseases”.

I believe, and my belief is shared by many researchers, that a large amount of autoimmune diseases are caused by a leaking mucosa in the intestines. It appears, from researcher’s perspective, that as long as the bacterial composition is in balance, from living and eating reasonably healthy, we will be protected from many illnesses. And on the contrary, if we eat unhealthily, struggle with infections, and use antibiotics or other kinds of medicine, then we become more susceptible to diseases.

The genes we get from our ancestors can be a contributing factor. All ages can develop autoimmune diseases, but some of these diseases are more common when we age. It is thought that roughly 3 – 400,000 Danes suffer from autoimmune diseases. 3 out of 4 of them are women. Researchers have until now discovered over 100 different autoimmune diseases.

Many autoimmune illnesses develop silently over many years. They start for instance with hair loss, tiredness, problems sleeping, muscle pain, and similar symptoms.

Some of the most common illnesses, which are a part of the autoimmune diseases are Sjögren syndrome, type-1 diabetes, lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, celiac disease, and many different variations of allergies and asthma.

It would appear that people, who have had certain diseases, such as mononucleosis, herpes zoster, different forms of the herpes virus, gingivitis have an increased risk of autoimmune diseases. I’ve read that having had mononucleosis increases you risk of attracting an autoimmune disease by 30%.

Other large factors can contribute, such as the quality and the cleanliness of our food and beverages, how clean is the air we are breathing? Do we even have any locations with clean air? 

Heavy metal poisoning, too much sun, heat, or cold together with smoking also plays a role.

An interesting discovery has been, that children who live together with furry animals are less likely to develop allergies. 

Other researchers believe that the many vaccinations and other forms of medication contribute in promoting autoimmune diseases.

sund_madThe diet

What dietary changes you should make, obviously depend the given autoimmune disease in question. Nevertheless, some common guidelines can be made. There is not one diet which is great for all autoimmune illnesses, but it is always important with a healthy and varied diet. If you need individual guidance tailored specifically for your illness, then it might be a good idea to contact a skilled dietician or nutritionist, that can provide you with more concrete instructions for what would be good to eat in your situation.

Eat natural and unprocessed foods whenever it’s possible. I think it’s especially important for delicate people to eat ecological.

Avoid too much poor-quality meat, especially be careful with dark meat, too much poor fat, sugar, salt, fast food, too many spices, as well as all forms of alcohol. There have been studies which have shown, that eating a vegetarian diet can decrease the activity of certain autoimmune illnesses.

Avoid cola and coffee, together with all other caffeinated drinks. If you are a devoted coffee drinker, then you’ll be more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Try drinking green tea and other herbal teas and drink juices from fruits and vegetables.

Make sure that you get plenty of good ecological vegetables, fruits, whole-wheat products, fat fish, different nuts, and olive oil of the highest quality. You could also eat a bit of ecological butter, which contains healthy fats.

Some people have a hard time processing dairy products, just as it might be an idea to avoid foods with gluten. Gluten is especially present in wheat, rye, barley, and to a lesser extent in oats. There are researchers who hold the opinion, that glutinous foods can open you up to autoimmune diseases, as they believe that the gluten weakens the mucosa in the intestines and can make it leak. That would mean that food scraps, toxins, virus, and bacteria could flow straight into your blood and in that way provoke an autoimmune disease.

More researchers are also convinced that gluten can be problematic for people who might suffer from an autoimmune illness without being aware of it.

I have personally never been diagnosed with any autoimmune disease, but I’ve discovered that I feel slightly uneasy and have trouble with my intestinal system, as well as my delicate heart which starts racing, after consuming gluten.

In some cases you might also need to avoid foods from the night shadow family, such as tomatoes and potatoes.

Dietary supplements

  • Take a base multivitamin / mineral product of high quality.
  • Make sure to get the important omega-3 oils and combine it preferably with a good flaxseed oil.
  • A completely incredible antioxidant is alpha-lipoic acid. It is an antioxidant that can aid significantly with most autoimmune illnesses. If you start taking alpha-lipoic acid you will, in most cases, feel a rapid improvement. Not only does it help combat autoimmune diseases, it also sharpens the memory.
  • For most of us it will be important with a supplement of vitamin-D. More American researchers believe that many autoimmune diseases can be connected with lack of vitamin-D. There are multiple studies, which show that vitamin-D can help people with mb chron. Vitamin-D is present in foods such as fat fish. If you don’t like fish, then you should have extra focus on getting your vitamin-D supplement. Vitamin-D has a very important influence on the immune system, which makes it functions optimally. The dose should be around 100 mcg daily. The older you are, the higher the chance is that you’ll contract an autoimmune disease. The intestines absorption of vitamin-D is reduced with age. It is therefore especially important to take an extra supplement of this daily.
  • It also might be a good idea with an extra supplement of zinc. If you for instance lack zinc, then it can affect more than 100 different enzyme processes. The doses should be between 20 – 40 mg daily, and it is best to take it in the evening.
  • Supplement with manganese.
  • Take selenium in its organic form, roughly 200mcg daily.
  • Cats claw is good for cleaning out the entire intestinal system and can be helpful with different autoimmune illnesses. It can also help with a set of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The entire immune system will most likely be improved.
  • Curcumin which is extracted from turmeric counteracts many overreactions in the immune system caused by autoimmune diseases. Curcumin has an antioxidant effect and is an active key ingredient in turmeric.
  • Make sure you get an extra supplement of high-quality vitamin-C, preferably combined with bioflavonoids.
  • It is important to have a healthy intestinal flora. Liquid Vita Biosa is a collection of healthy bacteria and mushrooms, which are great for reestablishing a healthy intestinal flora. There is a myriad of different lactic acid products. It is important to choose one of high quality and to change them every now and again.

Tips

  • If you have silver fillings in your teeth, you might want to consider consulting a dentist with experience and knowledge of safe amalgam removal. Mercury is seen by many experts, as a cause of different autoimmune illnesses.
  • If you are a smoker, then quit it. Smoking can lead to different autoimmune diseases. If it’s too big of a mouthful to quit your cigarettes completely, then I believe in the milder spectrum of therapists, who believes that you should reduce your cigarette consumption to 5 or even better, to 2, then you have made a great effort, and you can realistically live a good life.
  • For and against vaccinations is a very hot discussion topic at the moment. If you are planning on getting a vaccination or you have a child which is about to get vaccinated, then I think it is worth the effort to read up on the views, both for and against, and then use that information to make your own decision.
  • Stress weakens our immune system and is believed to be a triggering factor for autoimmune diseases.
  • The same can be said for getting too little sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for us and our wellbeing.
  • It is therefore essential, that we put our worries behind us when we go to sleep. Keep disturbing elements out of the bedroom. Make sure the room is cool and ventilated and have a quality bed. Keep mobile phones, TV, and computers away from the bedroom.
  • You could for instance read a bit in an uncomplicated book or listen to soothing music.
  • Use your body properly every day, and make sure you get exercise that fits your type, without having it being dependent on elitism or competition, so it doesn’t become a stress factor. It could for instance be a daily walk in a peaceful environment. You should know that, if you exaggerate your exercise, then it might be immunosuppressive.

Important: Enjoy life and happiness

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