The term Autoimmune Disease refers to a varied group of more than 80 distinct, chronic illnesses in which the underlying problem is similar – the body’s immune system is misdirected, attacking the body tissues it was designed to protect. Autoimmune diseases can affect any system, organ, or tissue in the body, including the gastrointestinal (GI), nervous and endocrine systems as well as the eyes, blood, blood vessels, skin and other connective tissues.
Examples of autoimmune conditions include the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Type I diabetes
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Neurological diseases (myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
In order to successfully treat an Autoimmune Disease, it is necessary to identify which triggers may be contributing to the immune system going array. The main triggers to evaluate and treat are:
- The sex hormones, particularly estrogen, appear to play a role as mediators and perpetrators of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
- A number of drugs and environmental pollutants can induce immunotoxic effects.
- Research suggests there is a correlation between abnormal gastrointestinal mucosal barrier function (leaky gut) and autoimmune disease.
- T helper (Th1) dominance data suggest the same immune mechanisms that protect against invasive microorganisms are involved in the generation of organ-specific autoimmune disease.
- Research indicates that inflammation is intrinsic to autoimmune diseases.
- The depletion or insufficiency of any cofactor involved in biotransformation (series of chemical alterations of a compound) can significantly impair proper immune function.
- Nutritional deficiencies can exacerbate the autoimmune response.
- Emerging research suggests that chronic oxidative stress may play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease and related complications.
Once these triggers are identified they can be corrected or managed with acupuncture, specific nutrients like vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acids, various anti-oxidants, specific probiotics for immune regulation, L-glutamine for intestinal repair, anti-inflammatory and hormonal regulating nutrients and herbs, and various drainage remedies to aid the body in eliminating toxins.