The Hidden Cause of Autoimmune Disease?
"Leaky gut", the concept of foreign particles puncturing the intestinal wall for a number of reasons, has been gaining ground for the last decade. While most mainstream doctors don't recognize it as a real phenomenon, or are even aware that it happens, this is a very real problem because of the toxic diets, chemicals, metals, plastics, and other irritants that Americans consume in growing quantities. Leaky gut triggers a large immune response that results in inflammation and the body attacking its own cells in various parts of the body.
The above picture is called a villus, plural being villi. These are the tiny hair-like structures that line the small intestine, where most of our nutrients are absorbed from food. As you can see from the diagram, the epithelium or coating is only one cell thick. These cells are ravaged by toxins, ultra-processed frankenfoods, and all of the other junk that we consume on a daily basis.
Since the cells are so thick, the body has a mechanism where most of the immune system is actually in the gut. This is to protect against foreign objects like bacteria and food particles (among other things) getting into the bloodstream. Because once that happens, a larger "red alert" response is launched since the invaders are now running through the circulatory system and can then harm cells throughout the body and even get into the brain.
Once this happens, the various immune particles launch an aggressive attack. If it is a one time deal, the problem is dealt with, the macrophage digests the foreign body, and it is discharged through various means (mucus).
The real problems start when these gut punctures get worse over time, are not healed because the diet and lifestyle is not changed, the gut bacteria that serve to protect and nourish us are being systematically destroyed by the same crappy diets and stresses, and we get chronic inflammation.
Many people here the term inflammation and understand that it means an enlarging and reddening, such as an inflamed ankle that has been sprained for example. What most people don't understand is that inflammation itself is an immune response that is meant to happen for a short term. The inflammation itself serves as a bat signal for the rest of the immune system to come to the rescue to destroy any pathogens, clot the area and then fix the damage that was done....we call this healing.
So chronic inflammation could also be called chronic auto-immune disease, because the two things are virtually identical!
Most people can name a few autoimmune diseases; fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, etc. But in reality all chronic disease, even obesity, could be considered autoimmune disease.
And like usual, most doctors tell patients that there is no cure, because they don't know how to cure it, because they don't know the actual science behind it, because they are, sadly, little more than drug pushers for pharmaceutical companies. And these companies have eternal disdain for the word cure!
But if we can get to the root problem which is the chronic leaky gut and the allergenic problems that it causes, just as we could fix a hole in a picket fence by nailing up a few new boards, then by defacto the immune system would stop launching this massive assault on itself.
Because what happens is that these foreign objects are migrating to certain tissues. If it is a heavy metal like aluminum, or a toxin like fluoride, or a bromide, they are going to migrate to different tissues than say, a squadron of e.coli. They will cause different symptoms, which will then be given a different name, but the root cause would be the same.
Obviously its not that simple, and there are other aspects of healing the problem, such as making sure to rid the cells and bloodstream of the particles that have already punched through, but fixing up the holes in the gut will plug the leak and allow healing to happen much more efficiently.
There are various nutrients, herbs and other things that we can do with our diets (and mindset) to help heal the villi, plug up the holes and begin the healing process for the autoimmune conditions.
One of those is shitake mushroom, for example. This is one of the primary ingredients that is in the Cell Activator product that I use personally and with nutrition clients and is a staple of our diets.
Here is an article from Medical News Today detailing certain foods and dietary options for helping with leaky gut. As we can see, there is information to be had in the medical system about leaky gut...the problem again is that most doctors just don't know about it. But, at least I'm not just making this whole idea up right?
Fermented foods and probiotics are among those listed to help. Think about that for a second. Why would helping the bacteria in the gut help to fix the gut wall? Because those bacteria are our friends, and we ravage them constantly with poor eating, toxic overload, and ANTIBIOTICS.
You would not believe how many times I have encountered people while talking about nutrition, fitness or just health in general, only to find out that at some point in the near past, they had a course of antibiotics, and then their problems started to materialize after that. When you consume antibiotics you are literally carpet bombing your intestines. And when you kill off trillions of good bacteria, it leaves the area open for open invaders. You can end up with candida overgrowth, a yeast infection. This is a growing problem.
So if you have taken antibiotics, you must consume something to replenish the troops in the form of prebiotics and probiotics. Fermented foods are key. Why? Because fermented means controlled spoilage more or less, and spoilage is bacteria. So you are consuming tons of bacteria that then replenish and heal the internal biotic environment. This helps to protect the other cells in the body to fix the holes in the gut.
Notice at the bottom of that article it talks about zonulin which regulates the size of the gaps in between the villi. People with irritable bowel syndrome have higher zonulin and thus more leaky gut.
Its always amazing to me to see the correlations between different diseases and the one common / root cause behind them all.
Obviously stopping the crappy, processed, ultra-high sugar diets will help. Its not rocket science after all. If you clean up the diet, add in good foods while systematically removing bad foods, and using proper supplements to fuel your body, it will tend to heal, and rather quickly.
So if you have autoimmune conditions and are frustrated with all of the problems, the chronic fatigue, and the endless doctors visits and medications that have their own problems, then do yourself a favor and look into leaky gut. And start adding in the fermented foods and shitake mushroom.
We have an epidemic of autoimmune diseases, and again most diseases are actually autoimmune because their inflammatory, and its all coinciding with increases in 1) poor diets and obesity 2) more medications being prescribed 3) more flagrant abuses of antibiotics without the proper follow up of probiotics and 4) more stress in general which affects the gut.
Hopefully this article helps just one person. Until next time.
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