Truth bombs were falling out of the sky last night as I sat down at my desk to watch the rest of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s lecture from the Wise Traditions London DVD.
I learned all about how the health of the digestive system plays a HUGE role in asthma, epilepsy, depression, and a whole lot more! Mind blowing info, indeed.
Tomorrow, I plan on filling you guys in on the whole asthma situation. Did you know that asthma meds actually cause long-term lung damage?
But today I felt the need to talk about one of my favorite topics, reproduction. I love talking about baby making!
Click the video below to learn how your immune system was inherited from your mother, and why it is so incredibly important for women (and men) to ensure that their guts are well stocked with healthy flora.
Too many babies are coming into this world with the chips down. What results is an ugly cascade of compromised immunity, infections, antibiotics, worsened gut flora and immunity, leaky gut, toxicity, food sensitivities, and autoimmunity.
Talk about a domino effect!
Let’s nip this thing in the bud by educating ourselves and eating with our children in mind.
If you’re interested in learning more about health baby-making, click HERE to check our my buddy Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code program. You’ll dig it.
NOTE: If you have not read yesterday’s blog, this one will likely go over your head. Check it out and come on back!
So now that we’ve met the players in this game, let’s discuss how we can keep them from screwing up team chemistry and resulting in autoimmunity.
Once considered quackery, the role of the gut mucosa, or intestinal barrier, has over the years become a more established factor in triggering autoimmunity. As you learned yesterday, when your gut is inflamed with big holes punched in it (intestinal hyperpermeability), undigested food particles and other not-so-nice stuff can make their way into the circulation (your bloodstream) and trigger an immune response.
But what happens when your immune system gets a little trigger-happy? What happens when that undigested rib-eye steak molecule you’ve been fighting off for years starts to look a lot like your thyroid, or your pancreas, or your adrenal glands?
In a case of mistaken identity, your immune system begins attacking tissues, organ, and glands. It can even attack hormones like estrogen, leaving you infertile. No bueno. This process is called molecular mimicry, confusing one molecule with another.
Environmental toxins, called haptens, can also trigger autoimmune reactions. Haptens include inorganic compounds like the formaldehyde coming out of your carpet, chemicals in your water, as well as heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium.
Here’s where glutathione comes in. As I explained in last week’s Underground Antioxidant blog, one of glutathione’s primary roles is detoxification. It acts like sticky paper grabbing onto toxins and carrying them out of the body for you. In other words, when rogue chemicals and bad guys come into your body, glutathione takes the hit for you, allowing the immune system to rest.
However, when glutathione levels are depleted due to aging, toxicity, stress, and poor diet, YOU take the hit. And you take it right in the immune system! When environmental toxins enter the body with your glutathione defenses down, big bad TH-17 is upregulated, contributing to autoimmune flare-ups.
If you recall, the activity of the TH-17 system determines the severity of the autoimmune flare-up. If you are currently dealing with autoimmunity, or would like to avoid it altogether, downregulating TH-17 by way of maximizing glutathione levels is certainly in your best interest.
Note: If you are a practitioner and suspect toxicity is playing a role in your patient’s or client’s autoimmune condition, you may want to think twice about using heavy detox protocols (like chelation) without increasing glutathione levels first. Heavy metal chelation can be devastating to anyone with autoimmunity if glutathione is not there to take the hit.
Let’s get back to the TH-1 and TH-2 balancing act. Autoimmune conditions typically (but not always) show dominance in one system over the other. The role of the T-regulatory cells is to reduce this polarity. When there is a downregulation of these T-regulatory cells, TH-1 and TH-2 go off kilter, thus triggering the faulty immune process.
I’ve been here for almost three years. The people are nice, crime is low, and Padres season never fails to liven things up during the spring and summer months.
But if there is one thing I haven’t gotten used to in all my time here it’s the one-way streets. Those things come out of nowhere! There have been plenty of days when I’d come to my senses at just the last moment before going against traffic down 7th Avenue.
I prefer walking to driving anyway. At least once a week I catch myself waving my arms frantically from the sidewalk in an attempt to get an errant driver’s attention.
No one wants to see an accident.
But imagine a place where no one called out to that driver, a place where oncoming traffic preferred not to flash their lights and slow down, where bystanders just stopped, watched, and waited for a head-on collision.
That would be crazy.
Such is the state of conventional medicine’s approach to autoimmunity. Allow me to explain.
Right now, approximately 50 million Americans, or one in five people reading this blog right now, suffer from autoimmune disease. According to our good friend-in-gluten Dr. Tom O’Bryan, autoimmunity is the number three cause of morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death) in the industrialized world. Unfortunately, many people with autoimmune conditions are either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
Autoimmunity is what happens when your body’s immune system goes haywire and confuses your own tissues as foreign invaders. The immune system produces antibodies against these tissues, causing their progressive destruction.
The keyword here is progressive. It doesn’t happen overnight.
For example, your immune system may be currently producing antibodies to your thyroid. You may not feel any effects today, however five years from now you may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Your doc may ignore the antibodies (they usually never test for them anyway) and prescribe some form of thyroid medication. Yet the problem does not reside in the thyroid itself. Rather, the root cause is the autoimmune reaction being perpetrated by the thyroid antibodies produced by your immune system! Medication won’t stop these antibodies from flaring up and chewing away at your thyroid tissue. The destruction continues.
So you’re in and out of the doc’s office for years with the same recurring symptoms that only seem to be getting worse. Eventually, you are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition for which severe conditions are commonly treated with steroid medications. Not good.
Here’s my beef. In order for an autoimmune condition to be officially diagnosed, there must be severe tissue destruction. But again, this destruction does not happen overnight. It is progressive. What absolutely boggles my mind is that the current medical approach to autoimmunity is to be the bystander watching the car drive against traffic without warning until an accident happens!
Indoctrinated to be a processed food salesman by my university-taught nutrition courses, I spent several years drilling the base of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid into the skulls of my personal training clients.
“Six to eleven servings of bread, rice, and pasta a day, you people!! How on Earth do you expect to meet your energy and fiber requirements? Do it! DO IT NOW!”
Fast-forward ten years to present day and I can’t help but wonder how much damage my whole grain zealotry may have caused. Who knows how many of my clients were overweight, fatigued, depressed, and more due to undiagnosed gluten sensitivity.