Tapping Into Autoimmune Disease Through the Gut

Autoimmune Disease

By Karen Langston

I used to suffer relentlessly from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) called Crohn’s disease. It’s an autoimmune condition that affects the digestive system.

Did you know that over 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease? According to the Institute of Medicine, the exact cause of autoimmune disease still eludes scientists. The most current solution often given is to take medications to manage it for the rest of a patient’s life. So, why is it me and countless others are reversing the symptoms of autoimmune conditions and even some cancers without lifelong medications?

Autoimmune disease occurs when our immune system goes haywire and keeps pumping out inflammation, which makes us experience all sorts of uncomfortable and painful symptoms. The medications to treat the symptoms are getting stronger and stronger and do not seem to be working, but we take them anyway. What if we looked at what’s causing the inflammation? Could we reverse some of the symptoms?

Gut Microbiome

This is where we turn to our gut microbiome, a collection of bacteria and other microbial material which, when in balance, work with us keeping us healthy. When out of balance, they create pathogenicity, which can lead to autoimmune conditions. Our gut bacteria influences our immune system.

Have you seen the 1984 movie Gremlins? In the movie, Billy is gifted a small creature called a mogwai, named Gizmo. There are three crucial rules: keep Gizmo away from bright light, never get him wet and never, ever feed him after midnight. When water is accidentally spilt on Gizmo, it causes him to multiply, creating mischievous mogwai’s who then trick Billy into feeding them after midnight. This transforms them into scaly ugly monster-like creatures called gremlins. The gremlins wreak havoc, terrorizing the town.

This is what happens with our gut microbes. When we eat good quality organic, sustainable foods, get a good night’s sleep, and we keep our stress in check, our bacteria stay friendly, decrease inflammation and protect us. When we eat processed, refined, sugary foods and drinks,[1] stay up late, and we let stress run amok, our immune-protecting bacteria polymorph into rogue pathogenic bacteria, increasing inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation slowly deteriorates the gut lining, leading to inflammatory compounds and pathogenic microbes entering the rest of our body. Eventually, this can lead to autoimmune conditions and some cancers.

Infections of Bacteria

Studies have shown infections of bacteria, yeast and parasites associated with particular diseases. Prevotella species have been associated with periodontitis, bacterial vaginosis, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders and lowgrade systemic inflammation.[2] The Multiple sclerosis (MS) gut has a higher concentration of the inflammatory promoting microbe Archaea.[3] In IBD, Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli (E. coli) can mimic the symptoms of a flare-up. Thyroid disease, including Hashimoto’s, has a higher prevalence of antibodies to Yersinia enterocolitica.[4] 

I have worked in integrative centers in different countries. Although their methods were slightly different, they all had one common theme. Change the diet to whole organic, non-GMO foods, reverse nutrient deficiencies, and learn techniques on how to deal with stress and past traumas. These techniques help seed and feed our protective gut bacteria, which in turn keep us protected and our immune system healthy.

How to Approach This Method

My last diagnosis 10 years ago was “no evidence of Crohn’s disease.” How did I do it? First, I ate organic, non-genetically altered foods. Studies have shown bacteria which keep us healthy such as Roseburia inulinivorans, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia muciniphila are deficient to non-existent in those with autoimmune conditions. These bacteria produce anti-inflammatory compounds called butyrate, which keeps the intestinal mucosa healthy. Fasting and eating polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables, colored black, red, purple and blue, feed these bacteria, which in turn pump out anti-inflammatory properties, keeping us healthy.

Upgrade your conventional animal products to sustainable pasture-raised animal products. Pasture-raised animals have more essential fatty acids and nutrients your body can use than conventionally raised.

When it comes to autoimmune conditions, there are always multiple nutrient deficiencies due to pathogenic bacteria and leaky gut.

Get the artificial sweeteners, sugar and refined carbohydrates out of your diet. It is a well-known fact that some bacterial species, such as Bacillus spp. and Pseudomonas spp., feed off of the glyphosate found in conventional crops and animal feed. This leads to increased inflammation, which over time, leads to immune problems.

What Can Help

Learn how to better manage your stress, let go of your emotional past traumas, get good quality sleep in a darkened room with no electronics (no cell phones either). Move it! The temperatures are cooler here in Arizona, get out and walk in nature. Mother Nature helps cures what ails us.

If you can’t do it alone, find a qualified practitioner who can help you.

*Always speak with your doctor for medical advice before starting any program.

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Karen Langston is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist working with clients and professionals on how to have three healthy poops a day. Poop well, be well. www.healthygutadvisor.com

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