Autoimmune disease (AD)
There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases. Every tissue and organ in the body can be affected. There is good reason to believe that the incidence of all these diseases is rising. Some well know examples are:
Type 1 diabetes
Grave’s disease of the thyroid
Having one disease increases your risk of getting others. I know a child who developed type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease before one year of age. Others I know first develop symptoms in their late 60s and 70s.
AD is triggered by a multitude of factors. Let’s leave aside the ones over which we have no control, such as our genetics, age, past history of infection and exposure to toxins.
Of the remainder, what we take into our mouths is of prime importance. Modern diets are loaded with carbohydrates that convert to sugar, plant proteins that cause leaky gut, artificial food additives, colourings, emulsifiers, insecticide and herbicide residues, the list goes on. Meanwhile the food itself is being artificially modified, both genetically and by more traditional means. Intensive farming methods and food manufacturing, commonly known as agribusiness, has totally changed much of what we eat. The supermarket shelves are loaded with food that didn’t exist 200 years ago.
Is it possible to help? The saying “prevention is better than cure” applies particularly to autoimmune disease. But there are certain interventions that have been shown to be remarkably effective in improving and sometimes reversing AD. It is certainly worth a try. As it happens, many of the strategies that I use to help people with type 2 diabetes, obesity and other manifestations of the metabolic syndrome can be modified with benefit for autoimmune disease.