What are autoimmune conditions … and how can they impact my health?
An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.
FOR AN AUTOIMMUNE
DISORDER TO DEVELOP, THREE FACTORS MUST BE PRESENT:
1 . GENETIC PREDISPOSITION. Some of us have an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on our genetic makeup — our blueprint that is inherited from our parents. Unfortunately, we can't control our genes, so this is one aspect of our health that we can’t do anything about.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS. Our immune system is there to protect us — and usually, it does an incredible job. However, sometimes elements in the environment (which could be anything from toxins, to eating a food that you are sensitive to, to job stress -- even the hormonal changes of puberty) set off an immune response … in essence an “attack” on part of the body. In genetically predisposed individuals, the attack is launched against whatever part of the body is weakest. If your weak link is your brain, the immune response targets your brain and multiple sclerosis develops; if your weak spot is your joints, rheumatoid arthritis is the result; if it’s your pancreas, type 1 diabetes results; if it’s the intestines … celiac.
3. INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY. The walls of our intestines are like interlaced fingers, called tight junctions. They are designed to selectively loosen up and allow vital nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream, and tighten up to prevent things we don’t want from getting through. The loosening and tightening is controlled by a protein called zonulin. Unfortunately, diet and lifestyle factors can cause zonulin to become up-regulated, leading to the tight junctions becoming stuck in the open position. This allows food particles, antigens and pathogens to penetrate the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream, leading to a cascade of immune responses.
Since we can’t control our genetics, our focus at BetterFed is on environmental triggers and intestinal permeability — minimizing the toxic burden on your body and strengthening your immune system to achieve better health and help prevent and treat autoimmune conditions.