Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmunity is the result of our genes interacting with the environment. And our gut microbiome is the Segway into shaping a good immune response! Autoimmunity is on the rise and considered by many to be an epidemic – like a plague. More and more people are diagnosed with some type of autoimmune disorder. Diseases like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sarcoidosis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, Muscular Sclerosis, and many more are forms of immune system attacking itself. These diseases are becoming more common in the last 20 years. Yet, we have only begun to try to understand the underlying problem(s). 

What is our gut microbiome? This refers to the microbes that live in the human GI tract. Our bacteria outnumber our cells by 10 to 1! We are a petri dish! The kind of microbes that live in our gut help us or harm us either directly or by turning our immune system on inappropriately. If we have good microbes, we have no problems. But bad microbes = problems for our immune system.  

The term DYSBIOSIS is the person’s pathogenic response to nonpathogenic microbes resulting in an inflammatory reaction affecting that person. The makeup of the microbes determines a person’s path into a chronic inflammatory response that can cause different inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. And increased inflammation can cause the gut lining to weaken and become permeable to substances that could not pass the intestinal barrier before – causing even more inflammation and more problems. The gut becomes “leaky” and the immune system can become more dysregulated. Symptoms of the GI tract such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, belching, gas are signs that something may be wrong. But have you considered that symptoms outside the GI tract such as fatigue, headaches, rashes, anxiety, joint pain, weight gain, and brain fog among others can also be signs of your GI microbiome not working right? Do you know the GI tract starts in the mouth? Inflammation/infection in the mouth fuels the inflammatory response adding fire to inflammation. Inflammation in oral cavity, aka periodontal disease and/or failing root canals = impact on entire body via systemic circulation, peripheral nerve pathways, and the lower GI tract. Could it be that our GI system is the gatekeeper of how our immune system behaves? It could be! The cross talk between human genes and our gut microbiome determines if we develop an inflammatory disease. Did I get your attention?  

What can we do to improve our good microbiome and our immune response? 

  • Mediterranean diet better than Western SAD Diet (Standard American Diet) 
  • You may try Elimination Diet – a good way to find out which foods can be acting as triggers for your symptoms. Avoiding those foods can improve your body’s immune system 
  • Eat wide variety of plants or daily “rainbow” of veggies/fruits, preferably organic 
  • Eat seasonal and local foods Eating fresh, non-processed foods 
  • Eat fiber and complex carbs (no simple carbs) that come from fruits and vegetables 
  • Eat fermented foods like pickled veggies (cabbage, cucumbers, kimchi), miso, yogurt, kefir 
  • Avoid foods, meat treated with antibiotics – eat grass fed, grass finished 
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners (affect microbiome with a shift to cause metabolic d/o) 
  • Practice good oral care – see a Biological dentist or a dentist that has knowledge in periodontal disease 
  • Do not take unnecessary non-steroidal medications or antibiotics as these wipe out the good microbes in the gut (sometimes it may take up to one year to restore the good microbes)  
  • Practice good sleep hygiene and stress coping skills – inadequate sleep and decreased resilience to stress causes your gut to be more “leaky”