Excited and enthralled I am sitting in Melbourne attending the International Congress on Natural Medicine.
I tell my patients regularly that I am a nerd and really this weekend is about me nurturing that very important side of me. The frustrated professor, the lab rat, the part of my that want to know why…
Some of you will be reading this for interests sake but others will be reading intently seeing if medicine/science/research has new doors to open. Especially if you are suffering with an auto immune disease (AID).
Firstly a little back ground on AID.
Immunity is the body’s ability and systems that it has in place to defend itself from diseases, bacteria, viruses and invading pathogens. Overall it is called the immune system and is one area of medicine that is AMAZING!
On the exterior we have skin, tears, coughing to protect us and internally we have probiotics, mucous production and a permeable mucous membrane system that includes our ears and upper airways, lungs, gut , bowel and bladder.
Historically most invading pathogens (things that cause disease in humans) comes through our gut so the gut system has approximately 70% of the lymphoid (or immune defending cells) situated just inside the gut wall. Infact food has to pass by the immune surveillance cells (or MHCS) which is why foods can trigger immune confusion.
When we are rested, eating well and have a range of good bacteria protecting our boarders, we experience good health.
This person has rheumatoid arthritis. Painful, disfiguring and crippling.
If little viruses (that cause coughs/colds) , bacteria that cause infections, do penetrate our first line defences then usually we can fend them off with a stack of second line attackers – our white blood cells.
White blood cells (there are many different types) play a massive role in protecting our internal systems. There are some that just float around looking for mutations (Natural Killer cells) and play a BIG role in protecting us from cancer, while others monocytes and macrophages are deployed when our body senses a bacterial or viral attack.
White blood cells are made in our lymphatic system (remember most of this is actually in your gut) and can lead to your glands swelling when you are battling an infection/invasion.
You may recognise this as swollen glands in your arm pits, groin, kids get tummy aches as their tummy glands inflame and hurt, and then the white blood cells orchestrate a reaction in the body that increases blood flow to the area to facilitate the attack and removal of the dead debris.
In AID white blood cells go CRAZY and hypersensitive. They destroy good tissue.
Swelling, heat, redness, pain, fever and low energy levels are noticeable when this is happening. once the invading infection is dealt with the immune system should settle down and go back into surveillance mode.
HOWEVER sometimes our immune response stays switch on. And when white blood cells stay switch on, they can do damage. They can start turning on “self” and start attacking it in an unpatrolled self sabotage. This is known as auto-immunity and conditions arising from this phenomena are called auto-immune diseases (AID).
AID have confused the medical profession for years. Many causes of AID get put down to “idiopathic” causes. Which means “we don’t know” . Well let me say they don’t know.
Research and what the two following presenters talked about showed there are causes and reasons. It is clear that bacteria and viruses only express a genetic weakness. And virurses and bacteria are only two triggers. And it is highly likely that in many cases vaccinating was the cause of the disruption.
AID includes diseases such as MS, AS, ALS, diabetes type 1, Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, crohns, coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, vitiligo, juvenile arthritis.
There seems to be a myriad of things that will cause AID.
This slide summarises it well.
The two speakers this morning were fantastic and I can unreservedly refer you to their work if you would like more information.
Both of these world experts are disseminating so much information that I thought I would simplify things and put into punching points with references if you would like to read more. Similarly put questions on my Facebook page or leave comments here and I will do my best to answer them.
Take home grabs…
From Prof Yehunda Shoenfeld
1. 5-10% of the population are predisposed to AID
2. A family history of thyroid disease is a good guide that there is probably genetic predisposition.
3. There are definite geographic areas in the world where there is higher incidence of AID and this is usually due to environmental toxins (e.g. London airport and scleroderma)
4. Diet plays a big role as to whether genetics are expressed or not.
5. There is a strong association between bacteria and viruses and AID
6. EBV (glandular fever virus) present (95% ) in polymoositis, SLE, SS, Hashimotos. But many people do have EBV antibodies.
7. Worms or helminths may offer protection against some diseases. In malaria ridden areas there is little AID. Ingesting worms have been looked at as a cure for all sorts of things including asthma.
8. Infections during childhood can affect you later in life as an AID
9. Things like vaccines, hormones and other environmental factors express a genetic weakness
Prof Garth Nicolson
1. in Gulf War survivors infections and vaccine use was rife. He noticed that families were affected so realised that it was due to infections
2. Biggest associated infections was with mycoplasma species which is hard to detect.
3. In chronic fatigue patients, multiple infections are very common
4. Multiple infections usually equate to more serious the symptoms
5. There seems to be a combo of heavy metals, chemicals and genetics
6. In gulf war toxic exposure included PB, DEET, permethrin, paint, Radiological: DU, 90Rs, 70Cr, Environmental Fine sand, smoke, oil fumes Biological: parasites, bacteria, viruses fungi and toxing
7. 100% of Gulf War veterans have mycoplasma and many of their families have become infected
8. 4-6 % of commercially approved vaccines by the FDA are contaminated with mycoplasma
9. Lyme disease is alive and well and can cause AID
So if you are reading this for interest, I hope it gives you an overview. If you are reading this because you suffer from an AID, then I urge you to find a physician who works with a naturopath. This requires a double barrelled approach. Sometimes naturopaths are well equipped to help on their own, other times you will require some pharmaceuticals to get symptoms control and then do the mop up and life changing stuff. Please do not settle on the “there is nothing we can do, (except put you on steroids and methotrexate or thyroid meds, or whatever it is) except keep you on drugs”. Find the strength, find a good practitioner, part with some money to gain a better life. If I can support you or direct you let me know. Sam x