Autoimmune Disease: Don’t Get Caught in Friendly Fire

Stonewall Jackson StatueGeneral Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by one of his own men who mistook him for the enemy. It was at the Battle of Chancellorsville that this sad event happened. The immune system acts as a line of protection from invaders of disease and infection. This internal army must discern between friend and foe so that it can distinguish your good cells from the intruders. Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and your own tissues get caught in friendly cross-fire. Unfortunately, with an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.

The Difficulty: There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches, and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Treatment depends on the disease. In most cases, the most important goal is to reduce inflammation.

The Determination: There are some things you need to be checked for in order to pinpoint the specific problem. Dealing with the root causes will ultimately help you to achieve your health goals. There are four things you should definitely be tested for.

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Hidden Infections: such as yeast, viruses, bacteria, and Lyme disease.

Food Allergens: Get an IgG food allergy test.

Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance:The starting point is often a blood test which can be done by your doctor. Much of the time this test will come back negative or inconclusive. Further testing, such as a biopsy of the small intestine or an elimination diet may be needed to rule out celiac disease or gluten intolerance.  If you have recently lost a great deal of weight or experience severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, or migraines when eating, you may be gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption). Gluten Intolerance and celiac disease have identical symptoms in some cases. In extreme cases celiac disease can cause death due to extreme malnourishment. Taking a good probiotic is important.

Heavy Metal Toxicity: Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity. We have a wide variety of effective chelation supplements available. EDTA is primarily for lead and DMSA is primarily for mercury. Glutathione will also help with detoxification. It will work at a slower and gentler pace.

The Defense: There are things you need to do to protect and help yourself. You want the internal issues to be addressed and deal with your leaky gut problem. It is important to get certain nutrients through quality supplements. Nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally. Added Protection III is an excellent multivitamin to get some of these vitamins together. Externally, have a regular exercise program. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory.

Learn to relax and manage your stress. Stress worsens the immune response so it is important to reduce it and not to be filled with worry, fear, and anxiety. You can go forward with your health. Be diligent and consistent, staying focused on your health goals. Let’s take care of that friendly fire before it attacks you again.