WORRIED ABOUT DEVELOPING AUTOIMMUNITY?
WHAT DOES THE STANDARD PROFILE OF AUTOIMMUNE DEVELOPMENT LOOK LIKE?
- GENETICS / EPIGENETICS: Everyone knows what genetics are, but what are "epigenetics?" Contrary to what many of us have been taught, most of us carry a cadre of genes that can potentially lead to all sorts of nasty diseases. Notice I said potentially. Thankfully, most of us never express those genes. In other words, EPIGENETICS is the field of study concerning what factors and exposures are going to flip the genetic switch and make a person start expressing certain diseases --- many of which are autoimmune. "Autoimmune disease is characterized by an immune response against self-antigens. Gene involvement in autoimmune diseases is inarguable with hundreds of risk loci identified for and shared between different diseases. Despite the genetic associations for each distinct autoimmune disease, much of the heritability remains unaccounted for. This establishes that the missing heritability probably reflects the fact that genes do not operate alone, but in the context of the environment leading to the gene–environment interplay." Again, the vast majority of "genetic" disease processes never manifest themselves until the gene is affected by things such as those found in this list.
- ENVIRONMENTAL AGENTS: OMG; this could be absolutely anything. It could be MEDICATIONS. It could be ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS. It could be VARIOUS SORTS OF POLLUTION. It could be OCCULT INFECTIONS. And as you'll see momentarily, it could be a crappy diet as well. And this is just for starters. Honestly, it's almost a Pandora's Box grab-bag sort of thing. Here is an example given for a single disease. "Environmental exposure (i.e., ever smoke, coffee consumption, silicone implants, organic solvents, hair dye, and pesticide exposure) influences the risk of developing lupus." Everyone associates lupus with autoimmune diseases, but the reality is that lupus is just a microcosm of what's out there. Besides the above, these authors list "occupational hazards, exposure to industrial and household pollutants, water quality, climate, altitude, air pollution, living conditions, lifestyle, behavior, diet, physical activity, cultural practices, use of addictive substances, etc" among "environmental agents". BTW, I've seen more than once that the number one indoor pollutant is a gas cookstove --- something that those of you with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivites) should be aware of.
- MICROBIOTA: Name me a disease --- any disease --- and you can find studies (plural) linking it to your MICROBIOME in some form or fashion. This is why GUT HEALTH is everything --- the ultimate force that is either driving or squelching INFLAMMATION. I once heard DR. ART AYERS say something along the lines that the food we eat is not really feeding us, as much as it is feeding our microbial population (there are ten times the number of bacteria as cells in our body), which in turn feeds us with what we need to thrive and survive. In other words, figure out what good bacteria like to eat and feed them. One thing for sure is that we already know what specific foods screw them up, feeding the DYSBIOSIS that was caused by the ANTIBIOTICS (or NON-ANTIBIOTOICS) included in the first bullet. "It is noteworthy that microbiota is the first barrier against pathogenic microorganisms. Any change in microbiota could induce dysbiosis and a pathological event." I challenge you to find me a recent (5 years or newer) study on autoimmunity that does not deal with the importance of biosis (normal flora) and dysbiosis (abnormal flora).
- DIET: While these authors did not include diet on their main list (it was mentioned in this study secondarily several times), we know that "environment" includes diet. We also know that there are about a jillion studies showing that diet affects one's microbiome (see links in previous bullet). On top of everything else, it's also been shown that diet is a major way to adversely influence your genetics (epigenetics). It's why most experts are recommending anti-autoimmune diets be along the lines of PALEO / KETOGENIC (remember Dr. Seaman's rule --- EAT VEGETATION OR ANIMALS THAT ATE VEGETATION). "Finally, diet plays a central role in the homeostasis of the microbiota because it defines which microorganisms can survive in the gut due to differences in the preferences of microorganisms for energy sources. Thus, diet composition is extremely important in microbiota maintenance."
- TOBACCO: Because this is such a no-brainer, I am not going to spend much time on it. Smoking is bad news (even third-hand smoke --- HERE). This study states, "The association with ADs has also been extensively studied and confirmed based on the direct tissue damage and inflammatory response to tobacco." And while there is abundant information linking smoking to autoimmunity, the studies on its relationship to smokeless tobacco are fewer in number. However, we now have a pretty good idea that Buerger’s Disease (Thromboangiitis Obliterans) is both autoimmune and highly related to nicotine. A 1999 study from the International Journal of Immunopharmacology (Smokeless Tobacco and Nicotine Bring about Excessive Cytokine Responses of Murine Memory T-Cells) explained how nicotine from dipping tobacco can cause EXCESSIVE CYTOKINE RESPONSE --- something very similar to what is currently happening with "healthy" people who are dying from flu.
- ALCOHOL & COFFEE: "Multiple studies have evaluated the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of ADs, especially regarding rheumatoid arthritis and lupus." As far as coffee is concerned, be aware that there are studies linking coffee to LEAKY GUT and other health issues, but there are also a lot of studies showing that coffee has some health benefits (I've seen studies showing that it's unfortunately, American's greatest source of ANTIOXIDANTS). Read today's study (free online) if you are a serious coffee drinker, and make up your own mind. Be aware that along with corn and other non-gluten GRAINS, coffee is arguably the biggest of the GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS.
- SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS: This one can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, socioeconomic status can be good because of the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS. On the other hand, it can be bad because of the hygiene hypothesis (many people in today's society end up TOO CLEAN, both inside and out). "According to this theory, social and environmental exposures have a direct impact on immune tolerance and response, supporting the association between socioeconomic status and autoimmune disease development." Trying to make sense of this section is not my cup of tea. Again, if you are curious you can read it yourself.
- GENDER & SEX HORMONES: Are you female? Then you have a far greater chance of developing autoimmunity. In fact, for some diseases such as lupus, you have as much as ten times greater chance. "Over 75% of patients with autoimmune diseases are estimated to be women, and hormones are important in regulating the onset, severity, and progression of the disease. In fact, autoimmunity is considered the fourth leading cause of disability for women." And as far as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), it also happens to be associated with autoimmune diseases. "A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the association between exposure to exogenous sex hormones (estrogens) and lupus, showed a significant association between HRT exposure and increased risk of lupus." By the way, PCOS is now believed to be autoimmune (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome May Be an Autoimmune Disorder from the May 2016 issue of Scientifica).
- VITAMIN D STATUS: Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is so critical for so many body functions that I barely know where to begin. Allow me to mention the autoimmune diseases that these authors specifically discussed as associated with low levels of the sunshine vitamin. MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, Type I (autoimmune) Diabetes, CELIAC DISEASE, LUPUS, AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE (by most estimates about 90%), Rheumatoid Arthritis and INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (yes, most of it, along with IBS, is now known to be autoimmune as well). The authors said that "Overall, vitamin D confers an immunosuppressive effect." In an age where most of our common drugs are immunosuppressive (HERE), you would think that it would make sense to want to "BOOST" the immune system. Click the link to see why this assertion is usually false, which will explain why Vitamin D is critical to help stop autoimmunity --- a runaway immune system intent on attacking self.
- EXPOSURE TO ORGANIC SOLVENTS: While this is another no-brainer (see my earlier links on pollution and endocrine disruptors), listen to what the authors say. "Solvents are liquids that dissolve a solid, liquid, or gas.... such as benzene or xylene." Be aware that BENZENE IS AN ULTRA-COMMON XENOESTROGEN. "Common uses are dry cleaning, paint thinner, nail polish, nail polish removers, glue solvents, spot removers, detergents, perfumes etc. OSs are capable of altering cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and tissue-specific function. Both the amount and duration of OS exposure are essential in pathology causality. Chronic exposure to OSs might lead to deposits in an organ and consequently to immune infiltration similar to what is observed in ADs. The self-proteins that are modified by OSs may become immunogenic, recognized as foreign and, thus, initiate an inflammatory response and tissue injury." In other words, exposure to these baddies alters your body's cells (proliferation leads to CANCER and apoptosis refers to pre-programmed cellular death). Once altered, your body no longer recognizes these cells / tissues as self and begins attacking them as though they were foreign invaders. Once your body has begun the attack, it will never totally stop the attack, although it can be dramatically tempered / dampened.
- VACCINE EXPOSURE PART I: VACCINE EXPOSURE? Huh? This is a rather amazing assertion by a group of mainstream medical doctors and immunologists (I have previously shown you that these sorts of assertions are rarely published by American researchers -- HERE). The question now becomes how --- how are vaccines associated with autoimmunity? Although I have discussed this before (HERE), understanding the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS provides great examples for grasping this phenomenon. Oh, and before you read the next section, you need to know what ASIA (Autoimmune / Auto-Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants) is. Bottom line, we are polluting ourselves with neuro- and immuno-toxic ALUMINUM, which is as close to a universal VACCINE ADJUVANT as there is. "Autoimmunity is a concern for many vaccines. ASIA entails autoimmune conditions appearing after the exposure to an external stimuli of an adjuvant, including vaccines. In spite of some controversy about the diagnosis and classification criteria of this syndrome, we have observed and discussed patients who developed autoimmune conditions after quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination". After specifically mentioning the HPV VACCINE, these authors mention the NARCOLEPSY INCIDENT as an example.
- VACCINE EXPOSURE PART II: After telling us that there are many mechanisms of vaccine-induced autoimmunity, the authors mentioned one that I talked about the other day concerning flu vaccines --- "cytokine production" (the CYTOKINE STORM). They then discussed some reasons why this fact (vaccines are associated with autoimmunity) isn't discussed more than it is (I mentioned one in the previous bullet). Lack of studies / cases ("In fact, in most of the clinical trials evaluating vaccines, a systematic screening for ADs is not performed (i.e., testing for autoantibodies and evaluation of familial autoimmunity)"), the diseases often take years to develop, and one of my favorites --- "bias in data interpretation." I've shown you an almost unlimited amount of pharmaceutical bias (HERE), making it tough to argue that the problem is improving. "On the other hand, in patients with autoimmune diseases receiving immunosuppressive therapy [see earlier link on immunosuppression], vaccinations are often not offered or provided for a variety of reasons, including the fear of complications or vaccine-related illnesses, a concern for disease flare or reactivation, a perceived lack of effectiveness, or a misunderstanding of current vaccine guidelines. Patients with ADs often show decreased immune responsiveness, which in turn would make them vulnerable to infection given their underlying disease and frequent use of immunosuppressive drugs." This is why those of you with autoimmune diseases should seriously contemplate whether or not certain vaccines (ESPECIALLY FLU) are in your best interest.
There you have it folks, straight from the horses mouths. And if you've followed my site, none of it is a surprise. The question now becomes, what can be done to reverse autoimmunity, or better yet, prevent autoimmunity? As I showed you earlier, the best you can hope for is slow it's progression to a crawl, which is doable (HERE and HERE are two examples). What's nice is that I've given you (that would be "given" as in completely free of charge) a template on what it may take for you to start taking your life back (HERE). Why is this helpful to know? Because, as these authors indicated in the first few lines of this post, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES SHARE COMMON / UNIVERSAL TRAITS.