Understanding autoimmune disease (part 1)

Why are our bodies attacking themselves? Autoimmune Series Part 1


 JUN 2, 2018, 3:02:19 PM

The subset of illness known as autoimmune disease is perhaps the most pertinent threat to our collective health worldwide.  They are difficult to treat conventionally.  There are so many different symptoms that misdiagnosis is commonplace, and the exact cause is often very hard to pinpoint.  Sufferers of these diseases typically have a dim prognosis from mainstream medicine.  They are told that there is "no known cure" and that they will probably have to deal with the issues for the rest of their lives, as the symptoms get progressively worse.  The patient then becomes a cash-cow for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, who now have a life-long customer.  The patient is left hurt, discouraged and hopeless, accepting their fate of lifelong disease and discomfort, because of "genetics" or some other excuse.  The horrendous mainstream medical system excels with its ability to convince people that there is no other way than to suffer through the exceedingly inefficient and frustrating allopathic medicine system.  

The prophecy of doom is followed up with more encouraging news:  Constant tests, visits, and surgeries for the rest of their lives.  Not a single word is usually uttered about natural and holistic remedies, possibly even cures.  

Because that is the current system.  The high priest class of medicine is the last say on any subject, any who question are heretics or quacks, or unqualified to discuss the issues.

Fortunately for us it doesn't have to be this way.  More people are starting to realize the root causes of autoimmune disease, to understand the mechanisms of attack.  And by identifying the culprits they can be detained and the problem can be solved.  Pure and simple.  Much of the anguish of autoimmune conditions like M.S. and fibromyalgia can be treated, possibly even reversed in the presence of the proper nutritional environment.

What does "autoimmune" mean?

Autoimmune conditions include a vastly growing number of diseases.  Some are more common, like multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia or Hashimoto's disease.  These diseases are examples of the body's immune system attacking itself, destroying vital structures over time.  

But there is growing evidence that many other diseases that were not historically grouped in, are actually in fact autoimmune related.  Even obesity and type two diabetes are sometimes considered autoimmune.

Autoimmune disease is characterized by some sort of immune system attack on a certain organ in the presence of inflammatory markers.  For instance with thyroid disease the body attacks the thyroid, responding to markers that are inflammatory.  Wherever there is inflammation there is going to be an immune system reaction because that's what it is designed to do.  Inflammation is a normal part of fixing the human body.  But the body is not designed to be chronically inflamed.  Too much inflammation over time causes physical disease to manifest.

For instance when we get a cut on our skin, the spot becomes red and tender.  This is inflammation.  The inflammation signals certain cells to migrate and do their work.  T-cells, helper cells to track down pathogens and anything that may have gotten into the wound from the external environment.  Macrophages to clean up the debris.  Then the skin cells are repaired and the cut heals.

This is a normal process.  But what happens when the immune system is triggered chronically?  Healthy cells begin to be destroyed in the chaos.  These could be considered collateral damage.  Do this long enough and entire structures can be destroyed as in the case of mangled joints with rheumatoid arthritis, or the thyroid with Hashimoto's, or the pancreas with type 1 diabetes.

So we know that autoimmune disease is characterized by chronic inflammation.  So the next step is to figure out what is causing the inflammation.  What exactly is getting the immune system up in a tizzy?

The answer is fairly simple.  The body attacks anything that is not compatible with it.  Foreign bodies like parasites and bacteria can penetrate the body's defenses (and we'll see exactly how they do it in a second) and enter the bloodstream.  Here they are detected, identified and hopefully attacked and destroyed.

But its not just parasites and other critters that are the biggest problem.

In the next part of the series we'll look at the complex and vast amount of environmental toxins, as well as psychological and even mental poisons that are causing leaky gut and beginning the cascading process of autoimmune disease.

Benjamin Hetzel