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Posted by in wellness

The Glutathione-Autoimmune Connection! (Part 2)

by Sean Croxton

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.

Glutathione to the rescue!

Research shows that glutathione plays a critical role in upregulating T-regulatory cells, bringing TH-1 and TH-2 back into balance and calming autoimmunity.

Speaking of research, this study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science demonstrated “a significant correlation between plasma glutathione and SLE (lupus) severity exists that may aid evaluation of the disease severity and usefulness of the management of SLE”. (sources: Pubmed & Kharrazian lecture slides)

SLE, or lupus, is the most destructive of all autoimmune conditions. This study showed that those with the most severe symptoms had the lowest glutathione levels.

If its role in the activation of the T-regulatory cells, the balancing of TH-1 and TH-2, downregulation of destructive TH-17, and improved detoxification isn’t enough for you, consider this. Glutathione also reduces intestinal barrier inflammation, promotes healing of the mucosa, and contributes to healthy gut function. In other words, it helps keep the flies out, reducing or eliminating yet another autoimmune trigger.

Glutathione’s ability to enhance tissue healing is critical not only for preventing autoimmunity but also for recovery from autoimmune flare-ups. This likely explains the reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness when taking my favorite supplement (can’t say the name due to dumb company rules), which is proven by peer-reviewed research to increase glutathione by 300%.

An additional therapeutic measure for dampening autoimmunity is to increase levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), another powerful antioxidant enzyme. Coincidentally, the discoverer of SOD is Dr. Joe McCord, the primary formulator of said supplement and winner of the 1997 Elliott Cresson medal for co-discovering the biology of free radical reactions in living organisms. That means he co-discovered the entire field of free radical biology.

I think he’s credible! :)

This paper from The Ohio State University published in 2011 demonstrates a threefold increase in SOD activity in the supplement-treated group.

Boom.

I cannot say enough about how vital and imperative it is for you to maintain healthy glutathione levels, not only for preventing or dampening autoimmunity, but also slowing down cellular aging, reducing oxidative stress, and protecting you from chronic degenerative diseases. I hope that this series of blogs has opened up your eyes to the power of this critical antioxidant enzyme.

There are 50 million people in this country with autoimmune disease. One of the most well-known is former talk show host Montel Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1999. MS develops when the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths coating the neurons in the brain. Symptoms include lack of coordination, double vision, jerky eye movements, involuntary leg movements, slurred speech, muscle weakness, and seizures.

This is not a sales pitch. I’m just sharing what I know can help millions of people boost health and fight disease. No more. No less.

That’s it for me today. It has given me much pleasure to share this life-changing information on nutrigenomics, hittin’ switches, NRF2, glutathione, and autoimmunity this past week.

Tune in tomorrow for another Inspire Millions challenge from Brett Klika and me! If you have low back pain, you won’t want to miss it!

I’m out! Keep hittin’ those switches!! ☺

Source: Lecture notes/slides from Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s Autoimmune Regulation by the Nitric Oxide and Glutathione Systems lecture

Sean


Posted by in wellness

The Glutathione-Autoimmune Connection! (Part 1)

by Sean Croxton

I love living in downtown San Diego.

I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

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!

Maybe it’s just me, but I would assume that early detection of these antibodies (we’ll discuss this tomorrow) as well as addressing the faulty immune system would be a much more effective approach in controlling autoimmunity.

Notice that I used the phrase “controlling autoimmunity”. Once the autoimmune genes have flipped on, they stay on. The best we can do is contain them. This may be discouraging for some, but containment is certainly preferable to severe tissue destruction.

Think of it this way. You can turn your car around and drive with traffic instead of against it.

Understanding the cast of characters playing a role in autoimmunity is paramount to containing it. The key players we will discuss today are the mucosal/intestinal barrier, the TH-1 and TH-2 immune systems, the regulatory T-cells, and TH-17 system.

You’re Letting the Flies In!
A healthy mucosal barrier acts like the screens that cover your windows, letting the good guys in and keeping the bad guys out. This protective mucosal layer lines your airways, lungs, intestines, and reproductive tract.

Your intestines are where 80% of your immune system resides. When the intestinal barrier is compromised, it is like a kid coming around and poking holes in your window screens on a hot day with no air conditioning. Next thing you know, you’ve got a house full of flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. Ugh!

When your intestinal barrier is compromised due to inflammation, bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth, parasites, stress, medications, and/or food sensitivities, you’re in the same predicament as you were with the holey window screens. But this time undigested food particles and various gut bugs can cross over into your bloodstream where they’re not welcome. When this happens, your immune system recognizes these antigens as invaders and mounts an immune response to fight them off. In other words, it acts just like you when you have a room full of flies. Your immune system grabs a magazine and starts whacking away!

Of course, you can’t spend your whole summer swatting flies. If you’re smart, you’ll go to the hardware store and buy yourself some new window screens. And maybe give that crazy kid a spanking. We’ll get back to this. The new screens. Not the kid.

Playing Seesaw with the Fat Kid
The design of your immune system is something to behold. It makes nerds like me get all excited and stuff!

The two pathways of primary importance to those with autoimmune reactions (antibodies only, no diagnosis) and autoimmune disease (severe tissue destruction, diagnosed) are the TH-1 and TH-2 systems.

The TH-1 system goes on the attack when it encounters an invader (antigen). You can think of it as the FBI chasing after the bad guys.

The only problem with this FBI squad is that they got hit hard by federal budget cuts and lost their vision coverage, making them dependent on the TH-2 system to properly identify intruders for them in the case of future antigenic invasions. The TH-2 system does this by tagging intruders and entering them into a criminal database. That way, the next time the intruders attack, the TH-1 system will be ready to pounce all over them.

An imbalance between these two systems is where the immune system goes wrong and autoimmunity begins. If the two sat on opposite sides of a seesaw, they should both have their feet off the ground. However, when the systems become polarized with one side of the seesaw on the ground and the other way up in the air, you should start looking for oncoming traffic.

An overactive TH-1 system is an immune system in “shock and awe” attack mode just looking for something to go after, including your own harmless tissues, glands, and organs.

An overactive TH-2 system is one that gets tag-happy, sticking tags on everything it can, including innocent bystanders like perfectly healthy foods you consume every day. Consequently, mistaken identity goes on the rise with your immune system committing frequent acts of friendly fire.

Autoimmune conditions tend to be TH-1 or TH-2 dominant. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, TH-1 dominant conditions include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and Type 1 diabetes. TH-2 dominant conditions include lupus and dermatitis.

Regulators! Mount up.
If the dominance of one side of the immune system is keeping the seesaw from moving, you need the help of the T-regulatory (T-3) cells to even them out. Think of them as seesaw-balancing specialists. When these cells are asleep on the job, imbalance occurs and one side of the seesaw hits the dirt.

Quite interestingly, opioids stimulate T-regulatory cell activity. This is why many autoimmune conditions go into remission while spending time laughing with loved ones.

Crazy, huh?

There’s Always a Villain
The final character in this immunological movie is TH-17. He’s all about drama. The severity of autoimmune flare-ups depends on the activity of TH-17. When activity is high due to increased stress, lack of sleep, or depleted glutathione, bad things happen.

Did someone say “glutathione”?

(((the crowd goes wild)))

Sorry, guys! I’m out of time. Gotta wait until tomorrow when you’ll learn how raising your glutathione levels repairs the intestinal barrier, balances TH-1 and TH-2 via activation of T-regulatory cells, turns down that big meanie TH-17, and much more!

Same underground time! Same underground channel!

Out!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2!

Sean


Posted by in mind

What’s Your WHY?

What’s your WHY?

When we have a big enough reason, we will do ANYTHING to achieve our objectives. In the world of health, fitness, and weight loss, that can literally mean anything. Just a few days ago, a link was tweeted to me regarding a soap that helps with weight loss! Drop pounds in the shower!

Seriously?

We weren’t born yesterday. We know darn well that a belt that sends an electric charge through our abs won’t help us lose weight. We know that cabbage soup won’t keep the pounds off forever. Let’s just get real with ourselves.

Last month, I attended an outstanding business conference. One of the common themes was finding our WHY. No business takes off from day one. In fact, we’re lucky if we break even after 3 years. Success in any endeavor requires support, a plan, specialized knowledge, patience, and a big enough reason.

We can talk about health and wellness until we go blue in the face. We can make the same resolutions every year. But we will always come up short if we don’t have our WHY.

Looking good at next month’s pool party isn’t a big enough WHY.

Impressing your old classmates at the high school reunion isn’t a big enough WHY.

You’ll know when you have your own personal WHY. You’ll be overcome with emotion. Tears may even run down your face. You’ll have a crystal clear vision of your objective. And you won’t care what anyone else thinks.

What’s my WHY? Well, I have many. Here’s a handful:

1. Help others (with big WHYs) achieve health and wealth.
2. Build a gymnasium for my elementary school.
3. Open up UW Headquarters with consulting rooms, a radio show booth, kitchen, and classrooms.
4. Be financially free in two years, so I can stick it to The Man for the rest of my life.
5. Host an annual UW Health and Wellness conference with the best speakers in the real food and functional medicine.

What’s your WHY?

Post your WHY on my Facebook page or send me a Tweet!

Sean Croxton
One Driven Dude with a Monster WHY
www.undergroundwellness.com