Autoimmune Disease - Detailed Info

Autoimmune disease is the consequence of a malfunction in human immune system in which the immune system mistakenly identifies and compels its auto-antibodies to damage its own cells and tissues. A healthy immune system of body identifies unfamiliar attackers by particular protein tags that are present on the membranes of cells. These are known as “antigens”. The human body produces antibodies that clings to these antigens and target the attackers (cancer cells or viruses) for obliteration. In autoimmune disorder body mistakenly take self-antigens, its own proteins, for unfamiliar attackers and commences an immune reaction against itself. The tissues affected differ for different diseases. Joints are affected in arthritis and in diabetes the pancreas are affected. However, the outcome is the same for all diseases, that is, devastation of healthy tissue resulting into failure of function.

Autoimmunity is the second top cause of chronic illness, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) and about 75% of these cases occur in women. Approximately 24 million people in USA are afflicted by this disease in one form or the other contributing to $120 billion health care cost annually.  These diseases are hard to cure and lead to a progressive loss of physical and mental function. The bad news is that this disease is increasing at dramatic rates in every modern society. Autoimmune disease is related to almost every known chronic disease from heart disease to cancer, diabetes to obesity, autism to dementia, allergies to asthma, arthritis to depression. Scientists have identified more than 80 clinically distinct autoimmune diseases.

Below listed are the main types of Autoimmune Diseases:-
Autoimmune diseases of Blood - Autoimmune hemolytic anemia / Pernicious anemia / Polyarteritis nodosa / Systemic lupus erythematosus / Wegener's granulomatosis.
Autoimmune diseases of Digestive tract (including the mouth) - Autoimmune hepatitis / Behçet's disease / Crohn's disease / Primary biliary cirrhosis / Scleroderma / Ulcerative colitis / Celiac disease.
Autoimmune diseases of Eyes - Sjögren's syndrome / Type 1 diabetes mellitus / Uveitis.
Autoimmune diseases of Glands - Graves' disease / Thyroiditis / Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Autoimmune diseases of Heart - Myocarditis / Rheumatic fever / Scleroderma / Systemic lupus erythematosus.
Autoimmune diseases of Joints - Ankylosing spondylitis / Rheumatoid arthritis / Systemic lupus erythematosus.
Autoimmune diseases of Kidneys - Glomerulonephritis / Systemic lupus erythematosus / Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Autoimmune disease of Lungs - Rheumatoid arthritis / Sarcoidosis / Scleroderma / Systemic lupus erythematosus.
Autoimmune disease of Muscles - Dermatomyositis / Myasthenia gravis / Polymyositis.
Autoimmune disease of Brain - Guillain-Barré syndrome / Multiple sclerosis / Systemic lupus erythematosus.
Autoimmune disease of Skin - Alopecia areata / Pemphigus/pemphigoid / Psoriasis / Scleroderma / Systemic lupus erythematosus / Vitiligo

Necessary Tests required for Autoimmune Disease
Hidden infections - Yeast, Viruses, Bacteria, Lyme, etc.
Hidden food allergens - IgG food testing.
Celiac disease / Gluten intolerance - Blood test.
Vitamin D and Magnesium Deficiency Test - Former is extremely important for immune system operations and the later regulates most enzymes in our body.
Heavy metal toxicity - Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.

While conventional pharmaceutical drugs like Advil, steroids, immune suppressants like methotrexate, and the new TNF-alpha blockers like Enbrel or Remicade can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, psychosis, osteoporosis, muscle loss, diabetes, infection and cancer; they do not cure the main underlying cause of the disease. Th17 cells are the highly inflammatory cells that appear to play a primary role in the development of autoimmune disorders. Therefore to cure the main cause one must find and eliminate the causes of "Inflammation" in their diet, lifestyle and environment. To know more about the Cause of inflammation, please click here.

Access Sodium - In recent studies, it has been revealed that the consumption of salt manipulates the balance in immune system by ultimately promoting the excess production of Th17 immune cells. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. For more on this study, please click here and for more information on high sodium foods, please click here.

Exposure to Bacteria in Childhood – Effective way of Building Immunity
Autoimmune disorders occur almost exclusively in developed countries. Interestingly, people in poor nations without modern sterile amenities don't get these diseases. According to a recent research study, exposure to bacteria at early stages of life that is in childhood is significantly vital to ward off autoimmune diseases all through the life. The study showed results that supported the hygiene hypothesis, the idea of significance of bacterial exposure to form a healthy immune system and that leading bacteria-free lifestyles are resulting into increased cases of asthma, allergy and other autoimmune diseases.
The study published recently in the journal Science in which comparison was conducted by investigating normal mice with mice nurtured in special germ-free environments, revealed high count of special white blood cells called invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT) in the lungs and intestines of the germ-free mice. These iNKT cells liberate proteins that lead to inflammation and attract further inflammatory white blood cells. Inflammation plays a significant role in numerous autoimmune diseases and iNKT cells are acknowledged to be a considerable factor in asthma, which is in the lungs and ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory disease of the bowel. Hence, the germ-free mice showed more vulnerability to the diseases as compared to the germ-exposed mice.
Even when these germ-free mice were exposed to normal bacteria afterward in life, they still had unusually high levels of iNKT cells and diseased lungs and intestines. This signified that an immune conditioning occurs in very early stages of life and is vital for the correct development of the immune system.

Controlling Immune Function

Bovine colostrum - Bovine colostrum refers to the milk produced by female cows in the first days after they have given birth. Bovine colostrum's high concentration of IgG-type immunoglobulins is especially significant for people suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Vitamin D – Autoimmune diseases are also more prevalent in countries that are at greater distance from the equator. It may be because of reduced exposure to sunlight as sunlight is a major source of vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in enhancing the body’s immunity, decreasing the possibility of autoimmune disease. Intake of adequate amounts of vitamin D, either by exposure to sun or through ingestion of dietary supplements, may lessen the danger of developing autoimmunity and decreasing severity of disease. The suggested daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 600 to 800 international units. Food sources are fatty fish, liver and eggs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Autoimmune diseases typically involve ache and inflammation and it is suggested to eat foods that reduce these processes to offer relief. Including foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids in the anti-inflammatory diet are recommended to provide relief from inflammation. Sources of omega-3s are salmon fish, sardines, egg yolk, flaxseed, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. The doctors recommend intake of 1 to 2 g omega-3 daily.

Fermented Foods - Formation of normal gut flora in the initial twenty days of life plays a significant role in proper development of baby's immune system. Development of abnormal gut flora leaves babies with compromised immune systems and then they are normally vaccinated to avert the risks of disaster. Vaccinations were initially developed for children with absolutely healthy immune systems however children with deranged gut flora are not in shape to be vaccinated as stated by the standard vaccination protocol. Numbers of children nowadays suffer from autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems because of a deficit exposure to the beneficial bacteria in early life. The answer to this is to nurture your gut flora with a probiotic-rich diet. Examples of naturally fermented foods that are excellent sources of beneficial bacteria are various fermented vegetables such as cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots; yogurt prepared from organic raw milk, fermented soy – natto, probiotic supplements and fermented milk such as kefir.
Intake of fermented foods on a regular basis will help to revive the body's beneficial bacteria which are under continuous attack from antibiotics, antibacterial soap, chlorinated water, the metabolic side-effects of anxiety and stress and deprived diet consisting of excessive intake of sugar. Sugar consumption essentially fosters the dreadful or pathogenic bacteria yeast and fungi in gut.

Chang Shan - Investigation conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) have revealed that natural Chinese medicine called Chang Shan is useful in treating autoimmune disorders. The team evaluated its active components and observed that one component in particular called halofuginone (HF) which blocks the development of T helper 17 (Th17) cells.

Alpha Lipoic Acid – Revolutionary Step in smashing Autoimmune Disease
Everyday our body deals with never ending assault from a range of sources, from deprived diets to pollution. Our cells, including the brain cells, everyday are assaulted by free-radicals several times a day. This aggressive process is called oxidation which damages the cells of body. In order to fight back our body requires antioxidants which are vitamins and other nutrients that target free radicals. Food mainly fruits and vegetables, is a dominant source of these protectors. Besides external source, our body also produces some itself. Their job is to curb the damage to the cells which can further hold back disease and slow down the signs of aging. Alpha lipoic acid is also one such antioxidant which is produced by the body in small quantities and major source of it is the diet we eat. A few of the best natural sources of this antioxidant are grass-fed red meat and organ meats.
Alpha lipoic acid has many useful functions and it is one of the most effectual free radical scavengers. It is the only one antioxidant that can easily get into the brain. It has the ability to revive other antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and glutathione. Therefore, when all these antioxidants are used up by the body, alpha lipoic acid helps to regenerate them. Glutathione is another very imperative antioxidant which can be obtained from supplements. However, it works effectively only in the reduced form which is hard to absorb when taken orally. It is more lucrative to supplement with alpha lipoic acid that restores glutathione in body. Besides above functions, alpha lipoic acid also reprocesses coenzyme Q10 and NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
This powerful antioxidant is also a modifier of gene representation to ease inflammation and also an augmenter of insulin sensitivity. People with diabetics or metabolic disorder are likely to perform much better when receiving lipoic acid. In some parts of world, doctors have effectively used alpha lipoic acid intravenously to reverse ischemia reperfusion injuries by injecting it immediately following a heart attack or a stroke. A research though not performed at large scale, shows that it can restore T-cell function.
Use of alpha lipoic acid along with low dose naltrexone can be very beneficial for the reversal of a several grave health conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis (an inflammatory muscle disease) and autoimmune diseases.

Treating Autoimmune diseases with Low Dose Naltrexone
Naltrexone (generic name) is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, traditionally used as a medicinal remedy to treat drug and alcohol addiction, usually taken in doses of 50mg to 300mg. It has been an FDA approved drug for over 20 years. But recently researchers have revealed that naltrexone when taken at very low dosages - 3 to 4.5 mg, has immunomodulating characteristics that may aid in successful treatment of cancer malignancies and a wide range of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s,fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease.
Low dose naltrexone is taken at bedtime which aids in blocking the opioid receptors for a few hours in the middle of the night. It is believed that this event results in up-regulation of essential elements of immune system by augmenting the body’s production of metenkephalin and endorphins (body’s natural opioids) and hence improving immune function.
A growing body of research over the past 20 years signifies that the secretion of endorphins in body (endorphins are body’s internal, natural opioids) play a notable, if not fundamental, role in the functions of the immune system. Previous clinical evidence also indicates significantly that opioids modify the development, differentiation and function of immune cells, and both innate and adaptive systems are affected in this process. Fairly latest discovery of opioid-related receptors on immune cells increases the possibility that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.
Low dose naltrexone for Multiple Sclerosis – An Italian neurological researcher treated forty patients who suffered from Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) with low dose naltrexone for six months. It was concluded that low dose naltrexone was not only secure and well-tolerated but also stopped the progression of the disease in all but one patient.
A clinical study published in American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2007 revealed that low dose naltrexone therapy improves active Crohn’s disease.
In addition to the diseases already mentioned, low dose naltrexone is most normally used for diseases such as hepatitis C, diabetic neuropathies, lupus, dermatomyositis, ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases. It has also found to have a positive effect on children with autism and curing cancer.
Other benefits of naltrexone are its low-cost and there exists almost nill negative side effects associated to those that are experienced normally with any pharmaceutical drugs.