As I have spent time researching, talking with other people who have gone through autoimmune issues, and listening to those who are finding out new things about this journey, I have found that there are various theories or ideas about what autoimmune disease is. Perhaps better stated, what is the root cause of why our body would begin to attack its own healthy tissues? I feel that the best hypothesis, and the one that I feel is true and accurate, is that autoimmune disease is brought on by leaky gut syndrome.
So, what is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
leakygut-syndrome.com defines it as “a little known but very common disorder that refers to an irritated and inflamed small intestine. This irritation or inflammation results in foreign substances being absorbed into the bloodstream, thus causing symptoms and other health problems. In other words, large spaces formed between the cells of the intestinal wall allow penetration of bacteria, toxins and food.”
The challenge with leaky gut syndrome is that the mainstream medical world has little to no understanding of what it is, an admitted fact by webmd itself:
Therefore, taking an allopathic approach would likely leave you with a lot of guesswork and re-direction to better understood physiological conditions, rather than diving into the issue of addressing the healing of the gut.
Remember, the gut is where the vast majority of the immune system is found (about 80%). “A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The immune system is inside your body, and the bacteria are outside your body.” And yet they interact. For example, certain cells in the lining of the gut spend their lives excreting massive quantities of antibodies into the gut. “That’s what we’re trying to understand—what are the types of antibodies being made, and how is the body trying to control the interaction between ourselves and bacteria on the outside?”
Once I knew that I effectively had a “gut issue,” I knew that addressing the food that was fueling my body was going to be an important aspect of my healing journey. For leaky gut and, therefore, autoimmune, I knew that I needed to eliminate foods that were inflammatory and reactive in my body. Fortunately for me, I had a friend who had been on the AutoImmune Protocol for over a year, healing her body from Lupus. She was a huge resource to me and was generous with her knowledge and time. I asked her tons of questions and started absorbing every piece of information that I could find.
One side note here. I give all of my patients, who I encourage to try AutoImmune Protocol, to pick a date and completely dive into the deep end. Do not try to slowly acclimate to this drastic shift in your food consumption; to me, that is torturous. Get all of your information, gather your ‘what you can and cannot eat food list,’ put together a handful of easy recipes and rip off that bandaid.
In Part 3 I will talk about the AutoImmune Protocol, and what this dramatic shift in food looks like for me.
Check back next week for more information, and Part 3 of “My Autoimmune Journey”.