Autoimmune diseases, often referred to as Western Diseases because of our poor diets and life styles, are conditions that occur when the immune system becomes chronically out of balance and mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. 100 such disorders have been identified, with many more suspected of fitting into the category. They are all the result of impaired gut immunity.
Current rates of autoimmune disease have tripled in the last 30-40 years to reach epidemic proportions. Nearly 24 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease yet 9 out of 10 Americans are unable to name a single one and most of the 24 million sufferers are unaware that their ailments originate in their guts. the This group of diseases is the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening life by an average of 15 years. Autoimmune disorders are now the #2 type of chronic illness in the US and the third leading cause of Social Security disability – behind only heart disease and cancer. (Nakazawa, 2008).
This 8:30 minute video by Functional Medicine doc Vikki Peterson discuses a 2011 study about how autoimmune diseases develop and how to reverse them.
Here’s a more recent and excellent video describing strategies for creating a healthy gut microbiome. It’s by a well respected Functional Medicine doc, Mark Hyman, MD.
Read more about Autoimmune Disorders.
This is my short hand version describing how autoimmune conditions/diseases develop over time:
Chronic unbalance in the composition of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) —-> leaky gut —-> chronic low level inflammation, which eventually —-> one or more autoimmune diseases
Nakazawa, D.J. (2008). The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance. Alternet. See http://www.alternet.org/story/80129/the_autoimmune_epidemic%3A_bodies_gone_haywire_in_a_world_out_of_balance
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