Autoimmune Disease and Treatment
Autoimmune diseases are becoming increasingly more common in the United States, leaving researchers scrambling for answers. There are many known causes as to why these diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. The following paragraphs will discuss some of these reasons, but more importantly, will discuss how to treat autoimmune diseases safely, naturally, and effectively.
Autoimmune conditions consist of Autoimmune Thyroid (Hashimoto’s/Grave’s), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleraderma, and Psoriasis, to name a few. The most common of all of these conditions is Autoimmune Thyroid. None the less, if you have one of these conditions(or one not mentioned) you are probably taking multiple medications to control pain and inflammation. These medications may help you function, but they will never correct your autoimmune condition. My guess, however, is that 99.9% of you are not doing anything to control the immune system response. This is the most important aspect to understand. The immune system is, to put it simply, “Out of Control”. Our goal is to control the immune system attack. The symptoms you are experiencing, the ones that make you feel lousy like chronic pain in joints and muscles, chronic fatigue, headaches, stiffness in joints, and foggy brain to name a few are all too common to autoimmune sufferers. I tell my patients, having an autoimmune disease is like having the flu everyday of your life. As you will see, it doesn’t have to be this way!!
Let’s discuss the immune system for a bit. ( Please view the video as this will help tremendously with the understanding) When the immune system recognizes a foreign invader, the first cell to respond is called a MACROPHAGE. The MACROPHAGE “swallows” the invader (called an antigen). It then becomes an ANTIGEN PRESENTING CELL, which alerts the rest of the immune system cells. Next, T-HELPER CELLS send messengers to bring in the swat team – which are NATURAL KILLER CELLS and CYTOTOXIC T-CELLS to swarm the intruder and destroy it. There are also T-REGULATORY CELLS which are the captains of the immune system and monitor the attack to insure there are enough T-HELPER CELLS(these cells are the “attackers”) and T-SUPPRESSOR CELLS. T-suppressor cells are designed to stop the attack once the invader has been destroyed. At this point, the immune system takes no chances on having another attack, so it sends B-CELL ANTIBODIES to the scene. These cells tag the foreign invaders for future recognition. This allows the response from the NATURAL KILLER CELLS and CYTOTOXIC T-CELLS to be super fast if the same foreign invader comes around again. Natural killer cells and cytotoxic T-cells have poor vision and rely on the B-cells ( taggers) to spot and tag intruders.
O.K. hang in there. Patients with autoimmune conditions have some, or many, of these cells working “out of control” and they start destroying the body it was designed to protect. Here are a few possible scenarios of how these cells misbehave:
* Some people don’t make enough T- Suppressor cells (cells that stop the attack when the invader is destroyed), so the immune system’s attack goes on. This is how innocent bystanders, like thyroid tissue, are more likely to be mistaken for the enemy.
*Some people make too much Interleukin 2 (IL-2), a chemical messenger that deploys natural killer and cytotoxic T-cells. Too many of these cells attack everything in their path, including healthy cells.
*Some make too much interleukin 4 (IL-4), a messenger that deploys B-cells. Remember, B-cells tag an intruder after the attack for future recognition. Too many may cause them to tag innocent bystanders, like the thyroid. If the immune system is tagging everything, then it is attacking everything!
* Many patients have problems with blood sugar control leading to insulin surges. This will also increase B-cell production leading to the same situation as above.
* A parasitic infection or multiple food sensitivities drive up IL-4, increasing B-cell production. Again, B-cells are the taggers. Too many and they tag healthy tissue to be attacked.
* A chronic virus (like Epstein Barr, Lymes Disease, Hepatitis C, etc.) will drive up IL-2, causing an overproduction of Natural Killer cells and Cytotoxic T-cells (the attackers)
The key to treatment involves testing the pathways and cellular levels of everything written in the previous paragraphs. We need to find out where your immune system is breaking down. As a result, we test IL-2 and TNF alpha( messengers that increase T-helper, Natural Killer cells, and Cytotoxic T-cells to see if you are making too many of the attackers. We also test IL-4 and IL-10. If these are high, we know you are producing too many B-cells which tag the foreign invader.
Once we find where the malfunction is occurring, we then have proven, natural remedies designed to “CONTROL” these malfunctions at the exact point in the pathway. We also need to help the T-regulatory cells, which control T-cells (attackers) and T-Suppressor cells ( stop the attack after the foreign invader has been destroyed. Remember, if T-Regulatory cells are not working well, your immune system will be attacking constantly without the ability to shut off. There are very proven remedies to assist the T-regulatory cells. This is a key to treatment as well.
At the end of the day, so to speak, we do initial testing, treat, and then retest. Our goal, which we accomplish everyday, is to have these abnormal findings within normal functional ranges again. So, as an example, if TPO antibodies where very high indicating Hashimoto’ s, when we retest, these antibodies should be in the normal range. This means the immune attack is no longer present and consequently, YOU FEEL MUCH BETTER!!!! It does not, however, mean the autoimmune condition is cured, as research shows this may not be possible. It does mean, however, we can control and manage it naturally to the point it no longer shows the disease is active. I can’t emphasize how important the knowledge I have shared with you is to you getting better.
There are many reasons a person may develop autoimmune conditions. They may include breakdown of the immune system do to unstable blood sugars, gut infections, poor adrenal health secondary to stress, food intolerance, multiple chemical sensitivities and many others. The primary goal of our care is to restore immune system balance, but also support a patients overall health. The extent of which is determined by health history, symptoms, exam findings, and metabolic/hormone balance questionnaires, etc. This is, by far, one of the most comprehensive and successful programs on the planet today for restoring health and vitality when autoimmune conditions are present