Autoimmune Disease affects over 50 million Americans. It is one of the top ten causes of death among women over 65, and is the second highest cause of chronic illness in the US. Autoimmune Disease is on the rise, not only in the US but worldwide.
There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases currently. Autoimmune diseases are chronic and are often life threatening. They can affect any system in the body, and symptoms can vary, making them difficult to diagnose.
The current medical system offers little in treatment other than medications. Often only prescribing them once damage has been not, and not offering options for prevention. Autoimmune disease has an underlying cause, a trigger, that cause the body to overreact and attack itself. The goal of TCM and Functional Medicine is to find and treat the underlying cause to reverse and prevent damage.
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When you are in a healthy state, the immune system is balanced with both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds. High cortisol levels skew this natural balance increasing the cells that fight external pathogens. These cells produce very inflammatory cytokines that are associated with autoimmune disease damage.
Symptoms of Emotional and Mental Stress Overload:
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Most of us share some level of unhealthy coping patterns:
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Benefits of Acupuncture on Stress Management
In ALL autoimmune conditions we see multiple nutritional deficiencies....IN EVERY SINGLE ONE!
Common deficiencies include antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as minerals like Zinc, Selenium, and Magnesium.
The standard American diet is very nutritionally poor, and full of preservatives, pesticides, and other chemicals that can affect the biology of our bodies.
Food talks to our genes. Good foods that are nutrient dense signal normal and healthy processes in our body. Bad foods (like hydrogenated oils) signal genetic mutations to become active or even form cancer. This is called Nutrigenomics; the science of how food affects our genes, and it is fascinating.
Many of the commercial farming practices in the US are controversial or banned in other countries. Research is still budding into how certain processes, like GMO, Glyphosates, and other commercial practices are affecting our immune system.
Benefits of nutritional Coaching
The most common foods allergens are: Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Strawberries, Wheat, Fish, and Shellfish.
An "intolerance" is different. This is an abnormal physiological response to a food NOT caused by an antibody or antigen reaction. These can be cause by enzyme deficiencies, or a weak digestive track.
Constant exposure to an allergenic food can cause a chronic immune response. Eventually triggering an autoimmune reaction. Some allergens create what we call Molecular Mimicry.
Molecular Mimicry is seen often with Gluten reactions. As the structure of the gluten protein is similar enough to our own body proteins that after chronic exposure the body begins to attack itself no long recognizing a difference between the gluten protein and our own body proteins.
Benefits of Gluten Free
If you have an autoimmune disease and want to try a gluten elimination diet, please call. (970) 631-8119. We offer gluten free coaching. Sarah is a certified Gluten Free Practitioner with the Gluten Free Society.
Over time all of the above stressors and mechanisms can lead to GI inflammation. 90% of all the Serotonin in the your body is produced in the GI tract. If there is dysfunction it can affect your brain and mood.
The GI tract makes up 80% of our immune system, and houses over a trillion beneficial bacteria. When this system is out of whack, this is a condition we call Dysbiosis. Dysbiosis of the bacterial ecosystem can lead to intestinal damage and inflammation, causing the immune system to overreact.
Leaky gut is another term often discusses when talking about GI inflammation. This is a condition of intestinal breakdown. The gaps between intestinal cells become too loose and allow larger particles of food, bacteria, yeast, and other toxins into the bloodstream. The immune system does not recognize these products and begins to overreact.
Symptoms of GI Inflammation:
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Benefits of Acupuncture for GI inflammation
Studies show that Acupuncture is more effective in reducing digestive upset symptoms in IBD than medication.
Over time, this chronic stress can overwork our adrenal glands, the organs that produce our stress related hormones. When our adrenals become exhausted, they no longer function properly.
With Adrenal Fatigue, or exhaustion, we have lower than functional levels of Cortisol. When this occurs, we get a relatively higher amount of Norepinephrine, Noradrenaline, and these cause high levels of inflammation when not properly balanced.
Symptoms of Elevated Stress Hormones and Adrenal Fatigue:
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Having a good way to deal with the stress of disease and a healthy outlet for emotion is key to healing. Professional counseling and Acupuncture can help.
Environmental And Internal Hormone Disruption
Chronic stress and elevated stress hormones can affect your hormones. The adrenal glands are also responsible for making our sex hormones.
Poor nutrition, the over consumption of sugars and processed foods can cause insulin resistance which can lead to insulin based hormone disruption. Insulin receptors are found on the reproduction organs and insulin plays a role in hormone regulation. When insulin is too high or too low, it affects the production and function of the reproductive hormones.
But there are also external hormone disruptors.
Birth Control, Hormone Replacement Therapy, and exposure to environmental estrogens also affect the natural functions of the body. They also play a role in nutritional deficiencies that are associated with several autoimmune diseases.
These synthetic hormones mimic natural hormones. They turn hormone signaling on and off, as well as bind to receptors and block natural hormones from working properly. When this happens we get altered and mutated hormone activity. The immune system is partially controlled by our hormones. When the hormones are disrupted, so is the immune system.
Xenoestrogen are environmental toxins found in everything from our skin care products to plastic water bottles. They are also found frequently in poor quality, commercial meats and dairy. Exposure to these toxins has been directly linked to autoimmune diseases, and cancers.
These excess synthetic estrogens cause inflammation in our body as a non-natural hormone that the immune system responds to. This pushes the immune system to overreact. This is particularly important for young women on long rounds of birth control as well as women who are perimenopausal or menopausal.
ALL hormones must be detoxed in the Liver. Synthetic estrogen metabolite 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone has been linked to autoimmune disease and breast cancer. One study found it 10x higher in patients with autoimmune RA.
Obesity & Binge Eating
Adipokines, inflammatory cytokines secreted by adipocytes (fat cells), have a very strong epigenetic effect on the entire body. Adipocytes also produce excess estrogen. They can trigger the gene expression of autoimmune diseases.
Binge eating is another cause of increased inflammation in the body. Binge eating is eating to the point of stomach pain, or discomfort. We are all guilty of this from time to time, we even have a holiday where it is expected of us. But this behavior, when indulged in frequently, can be a trigger of autoimmunity. Even if someone maintains a healthy BMI, but consumes enough food in one sitting to cause discomfort, they can produce an autoimmune reaction.
As the stomach distends past its appropriate size, it send out distress signals. This raises cortisol levels, and elevates our fight or flight responses. It also increases our insulin levels and can raise them high than the level needed, in the end leading to insulin resistance and diabetes. This mechanism also triggers the body to store more of the food consumed in the adipose tissue, the fat of the body, specifically around the middle belly region.
Benefits of Acupuncture for WEight Loss
Acupuncture works with the neuroendocrine systems of your body, and helps to regulate neurotransmitters and hormones associated with binge eating, stress eating, insulin issues, and obesity.
Common Infection Triggers:
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The key to prevention is making the environment inhospitable to the infectious pathogens. A body that is already suffering from inflammation or chronic stress, will be more likely to activate a dormant infection and trigger autoimmune disease. This is why many people who are carriers never have symptomology or repercussions, and others have triggered autoimmunity.
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- Mechanisms of Disease: The Role of Intestinal Barrier Function in the Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Disease
- Stress as a Trigger for Autoimmune Disease
- Acupuncture Blocks Stress Hormones
- Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Synovial Fluid Estrogens in RA
- Obesity in Autoimmunity
- Environmental Chemicals and Autoimmune Disease: Cause and Effect
Allergies And Asthma
Anxiety & Depression
Group B Strep
Labor And Delivery
Nuts And Seeds
Sleep & Insomnia
Type 2 Diabetes