Is my autoimmune system confused?
By: Daphne Olivier
The body's immune system is incredibly complex. It is a network of cells, tissues, and organs which protects us from germs, pathogens and other undesirables. When the system is working properly it is great and protects us from disease. However when the perfect storm of events are in place, the immune system can get confused and misidentify normal tissue in the body and turn on itself attacking its own body tissue, which is considered an autoimmune disease. There are upwards of 80 different types of autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, among many others. While it's unclear the exact cause of autoimmune diseases, there is much research being done to understand the mechanisms.
After autoimmunity occurs, the immediate treatment is to tame the immune system. This can be done in various ways, including decreasing stress and decreasing toxins. From a food standpoint removing food sensitivities (which is different from food allergies) will help to decrease the immune response. The body can create sensitivities to numerous foods. Some of the most common are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and legumes. However, immune responses can be created for everything from coffee to onions to watermelon. These food
chemicals (even natural ones), if moved through the digestive tract, are often mistaken by the immune system as a foreign invader and can cause attack. The exact foods which are causing an immune response can be determined through food sensitivity testing or following an elimination diet, removing the most common offenders. Depending on the body part that is being attacked will depend on what other treatment options are available.
All in all, autoimmune diseases are very serious and can lead to the body's self destruction. However, they are reversible through work, persistence, and patience. Keeping the immune system "in check" and working properly is largely possible.
By: Daphne Olivier - My Food Coach
6 Signs You May Have an Autoimmune Disease
If you are experiencing any combination of the following symptoms, you may have an autoimmune disease.
1. Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance
2. Joint pain, muscle pain, weakness or a tremor
3. Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea or mouth ulcers
loss, insomnia, heat intolerance or rapid heartbeat
5. Recurrent rashes or hives, sun-sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks
6. Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth
What to do if you suspect you have an autoimmune disease?
If you suspect that you have an autoimmune disease, consult with your family physician immediately, then seek a qualified dietitian who can help you take the proper steps to stopping and reversing your disease, its symptoms and treat the underlying cause.