Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease
Illustration from www.TxFibro.com - a private online neuro-metabolic physician study group
The truth of the situation is that FOOD MATTERS. That's right, it's not just a movie (which by the way you should all watch!). Hyper-permeability of the gut, regardless of whether you can feel it or not is often a significant cause of an extremely long and ever growing list of conditions. The inflammatory cascade that takes place by any inflammatory trigger (diet, medications, infections, stress, hormonal, neurological, or metabolic) can break down the intestinal permeability and allows for the leaky gut mechanism to initiate.
Due to the variety of triggers, it is often possible to reduce an individual's immune reactivity but not cure it if leaky gut is not the primary trigger for the inflammatory process. There are multiple models of autoimmunity although it is becoming more well accepted that once you develop autoimmunity you will have increased Intestinal Permeability also.
Autoimmunity can be put into remission and this can have profound improved life consequences but it can also be turned on again if life circumstances change. It is considered "Incurable". You may be able to change the expression of it but to think that you are going to be able to take a boat load of supplements and change your diet and cure the condition you are generally going to be let down.
Waxing and waning responses are par for autoimmunity. When stress picks up despite dietary intake a person will be expected to flare up. This inflammation is initiated by increased levels of iNOS (inducible nitric oxide) which causes an immediate increase in intestinal permeability much like elevated cortisol levels from stress. Once this occurs serum protein particles leak through and become extremely reactive. Gluten is an extremely common serum protein in a situation of increased permeability simply due to the commonality of daily exposure.
If you take on too many projects, eat poorly, have limited or poor sleep patterns, then you can bet that intestinal permeability will increase and food will start to leak through.
Your immune system will then begin to recognize these proteins as other similar proteins like cerebellum, thyroid, etc... When that occurs you will experience symptoms that generally are far removed from what someone would consider to be food related since they are not felt in the gut. Instead you experience brain fog, pain, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, or endocrine dysfunction. When antibodies combine with our structural proteins, specific genes are turned on in a special type of immune cell in the body. Inflammatory chemicals are created called cytokines, which are strongly damaging to brain function. In fact, elevated cytokines are seen in such devastating conditions as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and even autism.
You see, autoimmune disease is not clinically diagnosed until you have tissue destruction. For some neurodegenerative conditions, you need up to 70 percent demyelination (nerve damage) before it will show on an MRI. You cannot afford to wait for that type of advanced destruction before taking action. If you are symptomatic in any way and show to have antibodies or test positive on any of the tests listed above, you have Autoimmune Reactivity and that is enough to take action and make life changes to potentially stop the process from continuing. Inflammation can be a great friend in this sense. Look at it as an early warning sign and take action before it turns into a fire that rages out of control from one body tissue to another.
Recap & Treatment
Inflammation is rampant. In fact 1 in 12 women and 1 in 24 men are dealing with full blown autoimmune mediated inflammation. The number of undiagnosed people is going to be much higher. People with inflammation in the early phases of autoimmunity will often claim no dietary involvement. This is an inaccurate assumption however because the autoimmunity is often triggered by factors not strictly related to diet and the diet can become a secondary trigger later in the development of the condition. If you are dealing with inflammation then get a comprehensive evaluation to look at what is perpetuating your personal fire.
Lifestyle: Remove adverse mechanisms (Stress, Over-exercising, Poor Sleep, Blood Sugar Dysregulation, Poor Social Behaviors.) Lifestyle factors are huge, the stress response triggers immune marker IL6 which turns on the immune pathway TH17 which is the fast track to Autoimmunity.
Lifestyle: Restore beneficial mechanisms: Create conditions of love & appreciation, keep positive attitudes, maintain proper exercise (training to a maximum heart range; i.e. Peak Fitness exercises), have adequate sleep, restore blood sugar balance, and facilitate healthy social interactions. All these things promote natural systemic opioids which pushes the immune pathway TH3 which reduces Autoimmunity.
Dietary Support: Stabilize blood sugar, remove food Autoimmune triggers, and promote intestinal integrity with proper flora and nitric oxide and glutathione pathways. Include fermented foods and supplement appropriately as may be needed.
Remember, a wide array of health problems, including but not limited to chronic pain, obesity, ADD/ADHD, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid issues, dental issues, and cancer are all rooted in inflammation, which must be properly addressed if you wish to be healed.
About the Author
Dr. Marquis is a Chiropractic Physician who is Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition in San Luis Obispo County, CA. He also holds certifications in Botanical Medicine, Class IV Laser Therapies, Manipulation Under Anaesthesia, Interactive Metronome Therapies and is currently pursuing another Diplomate in Functional Neurology.
David M. Marquis, DC, DACBN ; Diplomat American Clinical Board of Nutrition
Adapted from an article on Mercola.com, follow the link to read the complete article