What is Auto Immune disease?

March 21, 2012

in ABC's of Healing

The body attacks itself. This is not supposed to happen! This happens when we mess with the environment. When we’re able to go in and clean up the environment, we allow the body to do it’s job and heal itself. The body has an innate intelligence, it’s amazing, because the body can actually heal given half a chance.

Here’s some of the behind-the-scenes info on the immune system and how it works:  Lymphocytes (White Blood Cells or WBC) regulate the body’s response of foreign agents (gluten, sugar, alcohol, lack of sleep and exercise, stress, toxins, heavy metals). There’s two classes of WBC,  B and T cells, and in a healthy immune system they need to be in balance. In  a compromised immune system one tends to dominate over another and suppress it. Oy vey.

T Cells make proteins called cytokines, and cytokines cause inflammation.  Inflammation is a normal and absolutely necessary part of the immune system when it comes to our body’s response to injury or infection. The problem is that when the T cell balance is out of whack, they produce more cytokines than we need and BAM you’re looking at inflammation of a whole body system, or organ. So how does the T Cell balance get thrown off? It could be trauma, chronic stress, environmental toxicity and all the things I wrote about in this post.

When you’re already overstressed, under-nourished and fatigued, even certain foods can cause cytokines to jump into high gear.  Thing is, when food is not well digested (from eating quickly and not chewing your food (!), stress etc), and when the intestinal lining is not-so-healthy which is the case for most of us as a result of antibiotics, gluten and other toxins, leaky gut can develop and then food can go where it’s not intended to go,  activating your immune system and causing an inflammatory response. Check out this fascinating article about the brain/gut connection in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago and my favorite, Dr. Mark Hyman, talking about Auto-Immune Disease in a short video.

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