Just to let you know I penned a new Autoimmunity factsheet for the A-Z yesterday. I am being asked more and more about it and realised I didn’t have anything to point people towards. So, here it is for you with the intro to start you off:
Years ago, we used to think that autoimmune diseases were just something you had to live with and often medicate for life; there was seemingly nothing to be done about them except manage the condition as best you could. In the last decade or so, we’ve learned that this is, happily, no longer the case.
Clinically, I have even seen the evidence where autoimmune antibodies start reducing, sometimes back into normal, if you do the right things! It won’t always happen, of course, especially with genetic types of AI disease, but I always think if we can at least prevent an autoimmune condition from getting any worse and – importantly – prevent any other developing, we are doing a good job! Autoimmune diseases never tend to come in singles because the process can affect several areas of the body. So, someone may have autoimmune thyroid disease, coeliac disease and lupus, for example, or a common one is diabetes type 1 and coeliac disease. The mechanism is basically the same – and so is the treatment.
Autoimmune disease is a condition really where inflammation combined sometimes with a genetic weakness, an environmental trigger such as a food (gluten especially) or a toxin (mercury, pesticide, mould etc), an infective agent (bacterial, viral etc) and often leaky gut or other body barriers trigger molecular mimicry. This just means the body mixes up things it should be attacking with body tissues with a similar structure and starts attacking that in error. It is an immune system gone awry.
The main thing to remember about autoimmune diseases is that they don’t just come out of nowhere. They take years, sometimes several decades, to develop. The trick I have found clinically is to test early on, especially if there is any risk in the family or symptoms suggest an issue might be developing. More often than not, though, someone presents to me with an existing autoimmune condition – usually thyroid or coeliac disease – and I then encourage them to check if any others are developing so we can do something about the process and target specific treatment.
I’ve then gone over the key tests to think about and given you some treatment ideas and resources.
There is a ton more I could add – and I will be. I am doing an Autoimmunity course with Dr Kharrazian towards the end of the year to make sure I am fully up to date with current research and thinking. Plus, I will likely be adding a new autoimmune recipe book. Yes, you read that right.
I am planning to launch a new meal-plan/recipe book service in Autumn – which one of you is going to be helping me with – yay! I thought it was about time we had some UK-based diet resources so myself and D – to be announced shortly! – will be working on those during the Autumn and Winter for you. For fun, I have put the first one up – a Hormone-Balancing One Week Meal Plan complete with shopping list and a planner to stick on your fridge.
Anyway, always working on resources for us, so hope the new Autoimmunity Factsheet helps – and that you like the idea of the new meal plans/recipe books 🙂