See also Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Grave's Disease, Hashimoto's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis and Myasthenia Gravis
The immune system's job is beautifully orchestrated to determine what is "self" and what is "not self" and to get rid of anything that is "not self" by destroying or eliminating that "'not self" substance. But sometimes things go awry and the immune system becomes confused enough to begin to attack the body's own tissues. This is what causes autoimmune disorders. In essence, the immune system goes renegade.
Think of the renegade immune system as an army that has received confusing messages on who and where the enemy is. Acting on this critical misinformation, the officers order an attack on what they think is the enemy while in reality they are attacking their own troops and destroying them with what is called "friendly fire".
Like the confused commanding officers, instead of being the protector of health, the confused immune system become the destroyer of health. These attacks are directed at different tissues, systems and parts of the body in different people, creating symptom clusters that have been named as various diseases.
Before our modern society started monkeying around with our health and environment, immune disorders were relatively uncommon. In the last few decades, the incidences of immune disorders have risen at alarming rates. In order to turn the tide and stop the onslaught, we need to understand what we are doing to ourselves and to our environment that may be major contributors to these increases in autoimmune disorders. We also need to know what we can do to prevent further health damage, and how to recapture our health through diet, life style changes, and natural health supplements.
There are many possible causes for autoimmune disorders. Here are the major ones and what to do about them.
Certain viruses are known to trigger immune problems. A good example is Epstein-Barr virus which is often at the root of many fatigue and pain related autoimmune disorders. Antiviral remedies may be helpful as long as they are not immune stimulants. VS-C and Silver Shield would be good choices.
Immunizations bypass our body's first line of immune defense, the skin and mucus membranes. This can confuse the body's immune system and may cause the viral material in the vaccine to get mixed in with the body's own DNA. The body then associates some of its own tissues with disease organisms. The polio vaccine is particularly suspect in multiple sclerosis. Vaccines have been associated with type I diabetes and autism. They may also be involved in multiple sclerosis (MS).
One of the most toxic of all substances on earth is the liquid metal mercury. Among other things, it damages our immune system. Just touching it is extremely dangerous, and yet we mix it with silver and put it in our mouths where it stays for the rest of our lives, leaching tiny amounts into our bodies. Consider having a properly trained dentist remove the mercury/silver fillings and replace them with composite fillings, then do a heavy metal cleanse.
If the air we breathe is loaded with toxins and chemicals, it will negatively affect the immune system. If you live
where the air has been damaged by pollutants, use filters and ionizers in your home and make sure you take frequent breaks to clean air places. We have to do whatever we can to protect our air. Plant trees and other greenery and have an active voice in environmental issues.
Our bodies are made of nearly 70% water, and we need to constantly replenish our water supply. When we put bad water and chemically loaded liquids into our bodies, we suffer immediate loss of energy. Some of the most dangerous viruses are waterborne, as are chemicals and toxins, so filter and purify your water.
Chemicals in Food
Commercially grown and processed foods typically contain numerous chemicals. These chemicals also contribute to immune problems. Non-organic foods are grown with artificial chemical fertilizers and toxic chemical pesticides in "dead" soil. This greatly reduces the nutritional value of the foods, as well as being questionably safe for human consumption. Non-organic meats are raised with steroids, antibiotics, and hormones. These are passed through to us when we eat them. So, wherever possible, insist on certified organic foods.
Avoid eating saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, prepackaged foods, artificial dyes, flavorings and additives. Hydrogenated fats are a major problem for people with autoimmune problems.
Other Negative Environmental Influences
Many cleaning fluids are made of highly toxic chemicals. Toxic paint fumes, formaldehyde in new carpets and chemicals in particle board and the electromagnetic frequencies from high tension electrical wires that scramble our energy can be invisible enemies. Microwave ovens and cellular phones are also suspect in our quest to find and eliminate factors that can be negatively affecting our immune systems.
Some medications can also negatively affect the immune system
Aids to Balanced Immunity
The key to overcoming and healing autoimmune disorders lies in calming down the immune system response, detoxifying the body gently, and building health from within. Natural therapy for autoimmune disorders includes undoing the damage we have done to our bodies and our environment. Massage, acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, spas, gentle exercise, regular stress-breaks, calm and quiet, and rest are valuable possibilities. One way to recover from autoimmune disorders is to pamper and take care of yourself.
Avoid or reduce stress wherever possible. Stress can push one's health to the breaking point and exacerbates autoimmune problems. Practice meditation, prayer, yoga or tai chi, take walks, do gentle stretching, garden, journal, enjoy life, take a nice bath or listen to quiet music. Nearly everyone with an autoimmune disorder has exhausted adrenals. The adrenals make cortisol which helps regulate the immune system by dampening excessive inflammation. Adrenal tonics like Adrenal Support and adaptogens like Nervous Fatigue Formula can helpful.
Autoimmune disorders involve chronic, low grade inflammation. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory remedies can be particularly helpful. Licorice root, Yucca and Wild Yam all have a cortisol-like anti inflammatory action and can be used as alternatives to the corticosteroid drugs often used to treat these conditions. Antioxidants like Thai-Go and Super ORAC and anti-inflammatories like IF Relief and APS II with White Willow Bark may also be helpful.
Find the attitude or feeling that may be presenting itself as a health condition in your life (i.e. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) eats at the nervous system, so take a look at what in your life could be eating at your nerves.) If the inner body is attacking itself in any way because of self-guilt, shame, anger, etc., then self-care and self-love, the antithesis of the attack, can be a powerful tool for turning the autoimmune condition around.
Exercise has to be the right kind for the autoimmune profile. It is very important not to overdo on exercise and stress the body! Hard aerobics and intense team sports are out. What is needed most is oxygen in the system and staying flexible. Yoga, tai chi and other flowing martial arts and dance disciplines, hiking, walking, swimming, light bicycle riding and other enjoyable activities that stretch the body and gently oxygenate the blood are appropriate choices.
Keep the exercise regime on the gentle side, but be regular about it.
Stick to white meats (fish and organic poultry), cut off extra fats and avoid fried foods, It may take total abstinence from meats for awhile for the body to heal, then careful reintroduction. Hydrogenated Oils are very aggravating to autoimmune conditions. Use Olive Oil, coconut Oil, flax seed Oil and other good fats. Essential fatty acid supplements are often helpful for autoimmune disorders.
Make sure your diet is two-thirds fresh veggies and fruits, organic when possible. Watch out for dairy, corn and wheat/gluten sensitivities. You may also need to abstain from these completely for a time while the body heals. Stay off of sugars and sweets.
The autoimmune disorder profile includes digestive weakness and malabsorption, so enzyme supplementation is essential. Consider taking Proactazyme Plus or Food Enzymes. Extra doses of protease enzymes like High Potency Protease may also be helpful.
As mentioned under inflammation above, essential fatty acids can be very helpful for reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis. Consider flax seed oil, Super Omega-3 EPA or Super GLA.
Antioxidants are usually very helpful for autoimmune conditions. Green Tea Extract and Grapine are particularly helpful. Also consider Thai-Go, Super ORAC and Carotenoid Blend.
Remedies that balance the immune system include astragalus, Mineral Chi Tonic, black walnut and colostrum.
Gentle detoxification with one capsule per day of Enviro-Detox is helpful. Other helpful supplements can be found in the list below or under the headings for specific autoimmune disorders.
Herbs and Supplements to Avoid
Avoid all herbs and supplements that stimulate the immune system, such as Colostrum With Immune Factors. Immune stimulants can be devastating to autoimmune disorders because the immune system is already in a state of hyperactivity. (Small amounts in formulas may be moderated enough, but use with care.)
Herbs and supplements to avoid include echinacea, golden seal, yarrow, dandelion root, Nature's Immune Stimulator and Trigger Immune. Caffeine containing foods and beverages may also over stimulate the immune system. Avoid ylang ylang, geranium and thyme essential oils, as they are too stimulating to a hyperactive immune system.
Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.
Herbs: Aloe Vera, Cordyceps, Licorice Root, Wild Yam and Yucca
Herbal Formulas: AdaptaMax, HSN-W and IF-C - My-Immune
Foods: GreenZone Ultimate
Flower Essences: Find Strength