Hashimoto’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, …. These types of dis-ease in the body seem so different because they attack different parts of the body. However, they are all actually caused by dysfunction of the immune system – an overwrought, confused immune system. The brain, the thyroid, the skin, the joints, etc. are just the various localized battlefields.
With the rapid increase in exposure to processed foods, chemicals, toxins, chronic stress, GMOs, and many other foreign molecules – usually on a daily basis – it shouldn’t be a surprise that our immune system is confused! To put AI disease in remission, we have to find out why each person’s unique immune system is overwrought and fix it. I have helped several clients to do this over the years – and many others to experience significant relief, often being able to stop immuno-suppressive drugs. And you can be a bridge to this type of healing too! Yes, AI disease can indeed be put into long-term remission.
The true root causes of immune activation are unique for each person. Usually, it’s a small handful of triggers. Things like intestinal Yeast overgrowth, lead or arsenic toxicity, undiagnosed food sensitivities, Vitamin D deficiency, B vitamin insufficiency (which leads to poor detox capability), adrenal exhaustion, and/or non-pathogenic bacterial overgrowth such as Clostridia. There is testing available for all of these things! It just takes some time to sort out the puzzle pieces. However, there is one simple change that can begin this journey for all clients with an AI disorder. One thing all auto-immune diseases have in common. Something our clients typically won’t hear from their physicians. Intestinal permeability. Dr. Alessio Fasano has done extensive research in understanding the common link of intestinal permeability in triggering activation of AI disease. Dr. Fasano is currently the Director of the Celiac Resarch Center as Mass General in Boston. Instead of my typical clinical tip video, I want to feature Dr. Fasano himself sharing this breakthrough discovery. This is a quick video you won’t want to miss!
Yes, genetics can play a role in predisposition for certain AI disorders, but alone, genes are almost never enough to cause activation. Environment determines which of our genes “turn on”. And a primary way that our body senses and responds to our environment is in the gut. Intestinal permeability – a.k.a. “leaky gut” – offers a short-cut for chronic inflammatory molecules in the gut (and a myriad microbial and ingested toxins) to rapidly get into our blood supply for systemic circulation. It is well-understood that some individuals are more vulnerable to leaky gut. Now at last, it’s also well-understood that gluten – the protein found in many common grains especially wheat – can trigger release of a protein in the human gut called zonulin which actually causes leaky gut.
Full gluten elimination from the diet and healing the leaky gut can be very powerful ways to break the cycle of intestinal permeability in our clients with AI disorders. It’s critical for these clients to understand that the elimination must be complete (cold-turkey!) in order to yield results. That’s where our role as practitioners can really shine! Help your clients to find convenient, whole-food, nutrient-dense alternatives. Teach them how to read labels. Prepare them for navigating family gatherings. Practice what to say at a restaurant. Give them a list of common hidden sources of gluten. Cheer them on! And once they have fully eliminated gluten for a couple of weeks, you can help them to begin to heal their leaky gut with supplements that include both l-glutamine (an amino acid that heals damage to the villi in the intestines) and mucilaginous herbs that repair the mucosal intestinal lining (e.g. aloe, DGL). I really like easy-to-use blends of these two e.g. Metagenics Glutagenics or Designs for Health GI Revive. There will almost always be other sources of inflammation in the gut that need to be identified and resolved for full intestinal healing (and clients with IBS should work on healing the gut lining until the microbial imbalance is fully addressed). But this is a powerful way to get started and get them some relief while the rest of the puzzle pieces are put together! Generally, l-glutamine supplements are very well-tolerated, but there are just a few considerations to ensure you know for potential contraindication.
Here is an excellent article by Dr. Joe Pizzorno summarizing the effect of Zonulin, wheat, and other foods in the etiology of autoimmune disease. This is great reading if you want to explore this topic more in-depth or share information fodder with a savvy client.
One last tip about supporting autoimmune disorders… Long-term relief and remission require addressing root causes. However, Yes indeed, short-term support can help to reduce AI symptoms, especially remedies that calm inflammation at its source and calm immune system activation at its source (in the gut!). Specifically, I recommend the following for nearly all my adult clients with AI disorders. These can provide relief while we work together to get to the root cause of their challenges:
I recently recorded a deeper dive video on intestinal permeability which you might want to check out. This gut vulnerability is ubiquitous in autoimmune dis-ease, but it is associated with many of dis-ease states..