You depend on your immune system to protect you from “outside invaders” such as bacteria, pollution, and toxins caused by your diet, drugs, or environment. The fighters in your body recognize, fight, and eliminate these threats to your health.
An autoimmune disease is the result of your immune system breaking down, failing to recognize outside threats known as autogens, interpreting healthy tissue as the danger, and attacking those healthy cells instead of the bad stuff.
It goes against everything your immune system is intended to do.
There are more than eighty types of autoimmune disease and it is estimated that more than 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from one form or another.
The most commonly known autoimmune diseases are multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
These illnesses are chronic and many have no cure. Over the past three decades, incidents of autoimmune cases have climbed substantially every year and continue to rise.
75% of diagnosed patients of autoimmune disease are women.
The presence and causes of autoimmune disease aren’t talked about much in the media – despite the fact that women are eight times more likely to succumb to this threat than to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is one of the top ten causes of death of women and female children in every age group.
Too little knowledge about these ailments in the medical community means that many patients go undiagnosed and untreated. Trial and error treatment for symptoms – that can affect every organ in the body – translates to the average patient seeing six doctors over the course of four years before receiving an accurate diagnosis!
Though the causes of autoimmunity are unknown, scientists have found common threads.
- Immediate family member with autoimmune disease
- Bacteria and viruses
- Drugs – including legally prescribed for valid illnesses
- Exposure to chemical toxins and irritants
- Environmental pollution through air, water, and food
Recently, a study through Yale School of Medicine found that specific neurons within the brain that regulate hunger also influence immune system cells. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was fascinating.
Lead author, professor of biomedical research, and Yale comparative medicine chair Tamas Horvath simplified the findings, “If we can control this mechanism by adjusting eating behavior and the kinds of food consumed, it could lead to new avenues for treating autoimmune diseases.”
The team discovered that weight loss drugs that promote a “feeling of being full” could interrupt your body’s natural ability to communicate with the immune system. The popularity of such “quick fix” prescribed and over-the-counter drugs – without changing crucial habits related to lifestyle – could be one answer to the explosion of autoimmune diseases in the last thirty years.
How Can You Boost and Protect Your Immune System Naturally?
- The right nutrition! You know this one already but the Western diet is filled with fatty, chemically processed, high salt and sugar foods that drain your nutrients away – providing nothing and leaving you vulnerable. Balanced nutrition is the key to health.
- You can’t avoid exercise! While there is no need to run a marathon, a few minutes of regular activity every single day – from taking a walk to following a yoga video in your living room – will boost you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
- Sleep! Read my article on how crucial sleep is to your total body health. Your body requires it to function and denying this basic need is tantamount to asking for trouble.
- Limit stress in your life! Stress leads to inflammation – the single biggest danger to your health. Evaluation of the stress levels in your life, learning how to remove what you can, and good coping skills with what you cannot remove will drastically improve your entire body.
While no single thing can prevent every disease, choosing several of the most critical can protect your body from more than you can possibly imagine!