Let's talk about autoimmunity! Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dr. Gennett, modern medicine doesn’t have a cure for autoimmunity and they don’t know what causes a lot of autoimmune conditions. What can you tell me that modern science can’t?” That’s a good question. Let me explain.
Autoimmune diseases have been on the rise ever since World War 2 with the increased use and production of chemicals in industry and agriculture. With well over 100 documented autoimmune conditions, it’s a wonder how more people aren’t affected. According to the National Institute of Health, it’s estimated that there are over 23.5 million Americans who are affected (compared to 13 million suffering from cancer). Many of which can be life threatening and at the very least, lead to drastic changes in quality of life. I should know because I have been hospitalized twice with complications from Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune condition affecting more than one million people in the US. Not only am I educated on the topic, but I have lived it. I’ve suffered through the constant wondering of where the nearest restroom is, the weight loss, the fatigue, the change in personality. I lived through it, but most importantly, I fixed what was causing it. I took control back from this autoimmune disease and while taking back control I ignored the advice of most of the medical community. I ignored the advice because they wanted to remove 30ft of intestine with only a 70% chance that the problem would be fix. It was surgery or stay on a terrible medication whose side-effect include certain form of cancer. Yeah right! Get me out of here!!
The sad truth is that most people don’t know or believe they have any control over their autoimmune disease. You don’t just wake up one morning and have a full-blown disease. That’s not how it works. These diseases build up over time in the body and it takes time. The environment you live in contributes a lot to autoimmunity as well as lifestyle factors and genetics. We won’t be talking about genetics here. That’s a subject for an entirely other blog post.
Here is where food allergies come into play. When we think about food allergies we think of an 11-year-old eating peanuts and then going into anaphylaxis. The throat closing, can’t breathe, panic and fear set in. This is the traditional image of a food allergy. But look at this list of other less-immediately life-threatening symptoms that appear and people don’t relate back to having reactions to foods:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Greasy stools
- High blood pressure
- Brain fog
- Focus & Attention Problems
- Tired of reading this list yet?
- Behavior disorders
- Rectal itch
- Thyroid disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
The term allergy is often used as a catchall phrase to describe all of the body’s altered and excessive responses to otherwise harmless substances.
However, true allergic reaction is a function of the specific immune system while the broader category of intolerance is generally associated with nonspecific immunity.
Food intolerance is much more common than true food allergy. However, many people are unaware that they suffer from food intolerance because their symptoms may vary widely and often appear hours, or even days, after the causative agent is consumed. Food intolerances arise from activation of cellular responses of the innate immune system. Instead of perceiving them as harmless, the immune system responds to specific foods and other substances as though they were threats requiring aggressive targeting to destroy them.
This takes a toll on the body. Your immune system is working overdrive to help search out and destroy these substances that are harmful to the body. However, the body can’t always tell what is harmful and what is not harmful. This is a start to autoimmune diseases via food allergies. Since the body can’t always tell the good from the bad it attacks without discrimination and normal healthy cells are suddenly bombarded with immune regulatory cells and are destroyed. If this happens long enough the tissue that is being attacked can weaken the whole organ system. When the whole organ system is weakened and damaged then autoimmune conditions rear their heads.
Food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions are not death sentences. What Next Gen Chiropractic focuses on is a totally body approach from your head to your toes, inside and out and everything in between. If you are having any of these symptoms and you suspect they might be from food schedule your appointment for your free consultation so we can discuss your worries and get to the body of the problem.
Dr. Bryan Gennett