Autoimmune conditions are becoming more common and striking at younger ages. There are currently more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. They can occur in almost all of the body’s organs, including the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, stomach, and even the reproductive system. These wide-ranging diseases can cause symptoms ranging from moderate to life-threatening. Diet Plays a huge role in Autoimmune Diseases. Many of the chemicals and other inflammatory ingredients in today’s highly processed foods are foreign to the body and can aggravate an autoimmune response. Here is a list of the most commonly known autoimmune conditions that we can help with at TACGA.
Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis
These painful, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases can cause an embarrassing and uncomfortable set of symptoms being bloating, severe stomach pain, loose stools to explosive diarrhoea, which indicate a flare-up. Diagnosis is common in the late teens striking suddenly with and interrupting life, and then going back into remission before flaring up again repeatedly throughout a lifetime.
This autoimmune condition causes chronic pain and inflammation to joints and organs. Usually striking older people, though we have seen people in their 20’s with this condition.
This neurological disease targets the central nervous system. The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (or MS) include pain, muscle weakness- ultimately affecting mobility, tingling and numbness, tremors, vision issues, and sometimes ensuing depression.
Many sufferers of this autoimmune disorder first notice that something is wrong in their 20s. This causes digestive symptoms such as uncomfortable bloating, gas, severe stomach cramps, brain fog, mouth and gum sores, hives, and diarrhea/constipation. It then leads to more serious issues such as malabsorption of important nutrients, weight loss and iron deficiency.
Thyroid issues – both underactive and overactive
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where antibodies react against proteins in the thyroid gland, causing gradual destruction of the gland itself, and making it unable to produce the thyroid hormones your body needs (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s is a disease whereas hypothyroidism is a condition. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, but the two terms are not interchangeable. There can be periods where in Hashimoto’s where the thyroid sputters back to life, even causing temporary hyperthyroidism, then a return to hypothyroidism. This cycling back and forth is characteristic of Hashimoto’s disease. So, for example, periods of anxiety/ insomnia/ diarrhoea/ weight loss may be followed by periods of depression/ fatigue/ constipation/ weight gain. Another telltale sign of Hashimoto’s is a goiter, which is one or more growths in the thyroid gland.
Graves disease on the other hand causes the thyroid to overproduce thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism in which the body’s immune system incorrectly begins to attack otherwise healthy tissue. The symptoms of graves include muscle weakness and deterioration as well as weight loss, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, and an erratic heart rate.
Eczema and Psoriasis
These conditions involve the skin and cause irritation, flakiness, scaly skin patches and itching.
Looking deeper at all the contributory factors of these autoimmune disorders, such as food intolerance’s and allergies, hidden infections, family history, leaky gut, deficiencies of vitamin D, selenium and essential fatty acids, stress and environmental factors to name a few, will help to identify the source of the issue.
How we can help autoimmue conditions?
As mentioned above, the power of food is key in chronic conditions. “You are what you eat” holds true – our bodies are literally built from the food we eat. At TACGA we employ numerous techniques which determine which dietary approach has the best fit. Nutrigenomics, especially, offers a unique and precise way to determine a person’s nutritional requirements for optimal health based on their biological blueprint. Put simply, we test a variety of genes which we then, using food and food based interventions, ‘turn up or down’ to change the way the gene is affecting the body.
We also use an Australian first, micro-biome sequencing system. The beauty of this system is that it detects the “finger print” of every species of bacteria that are in your system. This picks up many methods that traditional pathology methods would completely miss and helps us establish if you have too much of a certain type of flora- or even more importantly not enough of another. Lack of gut diversity is linked to many common chronic conditions such as Allergies, Auto-immune and Chronic Fatigue.
The role of microbiota and intestinal permeability in the pathophysiology of autoimmune and neuroimmune processes with an emphasis on Inflammatory Bowel Disease Type 1 Diabetes and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Morris G1, Berk M, Carvalho AF, Caso JR, Sanz Y, Maes M.