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Autoimmune Diseases: Immune System Gone Loco?

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One of the most interesting concepts that I’ve learned is that so-called “autoimmune diseases” are caused by accumulation of toxins in the whole body (that means including the brain, which, we are led to believe is impermeable like an iron curtain because of the blood brain barrier). This is in contrast to the general belief that autoimmune diseases are caused by an “immune system gone haywire”. Standard treatments include the use of anti-inflammatories such as NSAID’s and steroids. If they don’t work, then the use of immuno-suppressive agents are next in line. Makes sense if you just want to address the symptoms of inflammation. However, doesn’t it make more sense to try to find out the cause of why the immune system’s gone haywire? Toxins from the environment including heavy metals, pesticides, synthetic hormones and microorganisms, as well as toxins produced from internal metabolism, all contribute to these toxic burden. Well-functioning detoxification organs help our bodies eliminate these toxic build up. However, there are those people who just aren’t able to keep up with the elimination of these wastes. Thus, symptoms of toxicity start to appear. These include allergies, asthma, digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, mood swings, skin problems and weight changes. Therefore, it makes sense to help rid the body of toxins and these can be done in different ways. Simple detoxification “procedures” that someone could easily incorporate include fasting, drinking more water, eating a plant-based diet, deep breathing and exercise. Other detox programs may need the guidance and support of a nutritionally-minded physician or other holistic practitioners. Nutritional supplements to support the organs of elimination and drainage such as kidneys, liver, lymphatics, lungs, colon and skin, all go a long way in improving someone’s over-all health. As far as auto-immune illnesses are concerned, natural anti-inflammatories can be used for symptomatic treatment while waiting for the “detox treatments” take effect. These include your essential fatty acids (from fish oil or krill oil or for vegetarians, flax seed oil), curcumin, and peppermint oil, among many others.

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Baby, You’re A Firework! The Role of Chronic Inflammation In Premature Aging

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One of the common issues associated with aging is chronic inflammation. This manifests as symptoms a lot of people are so familiar with, such as arthritis, allergies, headaches, asthma, weight gain, etc. Inflammation in general, is a natural process that protects us in certain situations. Chronic, unregulated inflammation however, could cause more harm to our selves more than we all know. It is a major factor in all chronic degenerative diseases or the aging process in general.

One of the reasons behind this surge of inflammatory disorders lies in our diet. A deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids due to the process of refining our foods, has led to this epidemic. Studies show that a person needs at least 4,000 mg. of EFAs to prevent symptoms of deficiency. In my practice, I’ve recommended 8,000 and upwards of EFAs for cardiovascular and neurological problems. I always start with dietary recommendations like the avoidance of hydrogenated oils or trans-fats. I recommend primarily a plant-based or anti-inflammatory diet. There are those people who actually do better with animal protein in their diet (small, cold-water fish; organic, free-range poultry; grass-fed beef; wild game; etc.). What this really means is that, we need to consider each person’s biochemical individuality when it comes to making dietary and supplement recommendations (even exercise recommendations, for that matter). Regarding the use of EFA’s, the key words to look for when purchasing them are “molecularly distilled” and “free of PCBs and heavy metals”. It’s best to refrigerate the bottle once it opened. More info on this in future blogs.

We Need Bugs….

The good ones, that is. In a recent article in Scientific American magazine, it was reported that prophylactic bacteria may protect critically ill patients against pneumonia. The study was done at the Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and was subsequently published earlier this month at the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. This is great considering that you rarely hear about preventive medicine in mainstream medical journals. Good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifodibacterium are part of the body’s normal flora. Their numbers can decrease due to factors such as antibiotic intake, NSAID use, and even just by drinking tap water (chlorinated and fluoridated). When this imbalance between good and bad bacteria happens, conditions such as antibiotic-related diarrhea, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, candidiasis and “leaky gut syndrome” could occur. Symptoms of these conditions could range from gas, bloating, food sensitivities, allergies, joint pains, muscle aches, fatigue and brain fog. It’s really important to take probiotics on a regular basis nowadays (even without a history of taking antibiotics or NSAID’s because our water supply is not as safe as it used to be). Typical water purification methods usually remove particulate matter and certain microbes. It does nothing however for removal of heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.), VOC’s (volatile organic chemicals), certain bacteria (such as Cryptosporidium), and mostly importantly, pharmaceutical drugs (from people flushing them in the toilet, etc). It certainly won’t hurt to invest in a good water purification system. Remember, most water sold in plastic containers may just be filtered municipal water. Let’s not even get into that now! I’ll save that rant for another day. How about that? In the meantime, take a good probiotic supplement daily and make sure to stay hydrated with pure water. By the way, the probiotic that I use is called Life 5.

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